Missouri brothers Rehan and Taimoor Nana stumbled into the world of designing and building about eight years ago, when they encountered a problem on the land they shared.
“We have a property in northwest Missouri that we use as a nature retreat,” Rehan says. “We do a lot of conservation work out there, and we didn’t have a place to stay. But we did have an old grain silo.”
Instead of building a new structure on the property, they decided to turn the silo into a cabin, using reclaimed wood from an old barn with help from close friend Kyle Davis, a contractor. From there, the brothers’ cabin took on a life of its own.
“The silo got famous by chance—some pictures of it got out, and it was featured in a book called Cabin Porn,” Taimoor says. “It just kind of became a hobby for us to build new spaces out of old structures.”
The brothers and Davis, who graduated with a degree in architecture from The University of Kansas, are now the three faces behind You Can’t Turn That Into a House, a new show that premiered Saturday on the FYI Network.
Although the show focuses on small spaces—most projects featured are less than 500 square feet—the series steps away from showcasing traditional tiny homes by transforming unusual objects into living spaces.
“It’s not like we’re going out and flipping a house or designing a house from scratch,” Taimoor says. “We’re repurposing a structure and turning that into a house. The upcycle factor is what’s really interesting.”
Most of the builds shown on You Can’t Turn That Into a House take place in or near Kansas City, where all three men have roots.
“We love being from Kansas City, and the fact that we’re bringing this here is fantastic,” Rehan says.
The Nanas and Davis have turned a dumpster, two school buses and a horse trailer into cabins or retreats for homeowners, bringing their own influences into the mix and incorporating authentic materials throughout the design.
“A nice base to our design philosophy is being true to materials,” Davis says. “In the original grain bin, we used the oak beams from the barn as the steps. In these small spaces, you see the true material—there’s no façade.”
Taimoor describes the group’s aesthetic as minimalistic and Scandinavian, with an emphasis on functional, practical spaces.
“Our goal is to make people feel comfortable and at home,” Rehan says. “If they aren’t comfortable in their spaces, they’re not going to spend time in them.”
The series, which comes on at 8:30 p.m. CT on the FYI Network every Saturday, consists of 14 episodes, each project taking about seven to 10 days to complete.
“We’re all best friends, and I think this is just a positive show, showing what people can do and how they can have a good time doing it,” Rehan says. “It’s about showing the positive aspects of life.”