Tiny traveler: Huntley resident buys tiny home for vacations, retirement

For Kathryn “Kat” Kresic, her boyfriend Ty Ziller and their dog, Chompers, small is beautiful.

The family of three is the proud owner of a 175-square-foot tiny home, and although they don’t live in it full time, they love the cozy but functional space.

“When I saw this tiny home, I just knew I had to have it. The way the space is laid out doesn’t make us feel cramped or crowded,” Kat said. “We feel like we have our own space. It feels very open but cozy at the same time.”

The tiny home movement is booming. With origins often linked to Thoreau’s cabin on Walden Pond, tiny homes became increasingly popular in 2008 after the housing crash. Now, a search on finds dozens of books with titles such as “Tiny Home Basics: Living the Good Life in Small Spaces” and “Tiny House Design and Construction Guide.” HGTV airs the popular shows “Tiny House Hunters” and “Tiny House, Big Living.”

For Kat and Ty, the movement is more than a fad; it is an opportunity to travel in style and remarkable comfort.

They bought their tiny home in October 2016, a Vista model from ESCAPE, a tiny home designer and builder in Rice Lake, Wisconsin.

Kat was drawn to ESCAPE for its models’ open, bright spaces, panoramic windows and lack of lofted floor plans.

“I’m 41 years old, and I didn’t want to be climbing a ladder every day!” Kat said with a laugh.

The ESCAPE homes also are RVIA-certified, meaning they meet safety and quality standards, and are equipped to withstand extreme cold and heat.

The couple use their tiny home for local trips, and plan to do more traveling with it when they retire. In May, Kat hosted a free community event in Gilberts dubbed Tiny Kat and invited the public to explore her tiny home and enjoy food and live music. She said her goal was to become an objective source sharing the benefits of tiny homes and tips she has learned along the way.

“We had more than 250 people come, and it was a such a fun event. It was so cool to share this space and our unique experience with others,” Kat said.

For example, even though their tiny home measures less than 200 square feet, it includes a full-size tub and shower plus a gas oven. Counter space and storage are available, making cooking meals a breeze. The home even boasts a queen-size bed and what Kat calls a “martian toilet,” a Diaper Genie-like commode that vacuums away waste.

“Buying a tiny home is just like buying a real home; it is a reflection of your style,” Kat said. “I would love to answer any questions and share my insight with local people interested in the tiny home lifestyle.”

To learn more about Kat’s tiny home, visit her blog,

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