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Kasl Family on Tiny House Nation

tiny-house-tiny-homeby Terry Salmela

Compliments: Kanabec County Times

Imagine moving from a 1,900 square foot home in Shakopee to a 207 sq. ft. tiny house where you homeschool two children on your aunt and uncle’s farm in southern Kanabec County. Well, Ryan and Kim Kasl are doing just that in their tiny house that ended up being built and featured as an episode on the new FYI TV channel show called “Tiny House Nation.”

Kasl Tiny House featured on Tiny House Nation Terry SalmelaAccording to the TV show, tiny houses are a nationwide trend as a way for owners to achieve financial independence, a simpler life style or to just make an extreme downsize.

“A tiny house is a chance to live out our family values that we want our children to have and not just to teach and talk about them. It also helps us to achieve another family goal of being a close family,” Kim said.

“We want to put our resources into experiences rather than into stuff,” Ryan added.

Being closer as a family is just one of the reasons the Kasls were interested in a tiny house. They wanted to get out of debt by selling their existing house, paying off their mortgage and paying off college debt. So, as a family they decided to live a simpler life style by downsizing.

The Kasls grew up in Cambridge, got married and moved to Shakopee where Ryan is a special education teacher. Ryan is now completing his second master’s degree in special education administration at the University of Minnesota. He anticipates that in the future he will have to move to different communities to set up special education programs. So, he would like to take his family and home along and not have to sell and buy houses.

Kim Sully Story and Ryan Kasls on tiny house porch Tiny House NationThey began exploring tiny houses by attending a couple of tiny house group meetings in Minneapolis. It was there that they learned that the Tiny House Nation TV reality show was looking for families to film for the show. Their dream became a reality after they applied for and were chosen for one of eight show episodes.

“We went through two huge experiences at once,” said Ryan. “One was to build the house and the other was going through the TV production process. It was fun filming for several full days for a month. It worked out great since I had time while taking a graduate course this summer. The kids really liked having a microphone on them.”

Kim added, “We were supposed to show doubt when filmed, but that was hard to do because we were so grateful and happy.” While filming, the TV crew stayed in Mora.

One of the greatest challenges was to help their children (Sully age 6 and Story age 4) to pare down their toys and get comfortable about moving into a smaller home. The TV production crew did a great job of making the move fun and special for the children. The crew inserted a round window in the loft between the children’s beds, built a kiddie catwalk with a full railing, added books and a place for their dog. They brought the children to see the house in progress several times so that they understood what was going on and in an effort to increase their enthusiasm for the neat things that they would have in the tiny house.

Another challenge for the show hosts Zach Giffin and John Weisbarth was to deliver a home that would withstand harsh Minnesota winters. It was built using a Tumbleweed blueprint that they greatly modified for a $30,000 budget. The New York production company obtained the building materials from Oslin Lumber Company in Mora.

The house was built for them by their uncle Patrick Mattson from Stanchfield along with help from his Nicholas Construction Company crew and the TV production company.

On the TV show Pat said that he wanted to do the best that he could because he wanted the best for his niece. “I think it’s neat, something different,” he said.

The house was built on wheels so that when Ryan moves for his job they can take their home with them. It is now located on a farm owned by Kim’s aunt and uncle, Ron and Julie Johnson, between Brunswick and Braham. The next location for the Kasl’s tiny house will be at an R.V. park in Shakopee.

Source: Kanabec County Times