Catching on in popularity over the past decade is the tiny house. We see them run the gamut from being planted on small plots of land, on wheels, or in garbage containers.
People build them as starter homes, to downsize, or for other folks like seniors or the homeless. Out of all the enthusiastic self-taught builders, there’s a small group of budding designers emerging: kids. One such kid is Luke Thill.
The middle schooler from Dubuque, Iowa is already a proud homeowner at just 13 years old. Luke got absorbed into tiny house culture through watching YouTube videos and was inspired to design his own. The first thing he had to do was get his parents on board, and his father gave him permission with one condition.
Luke would have to fund his own project – and he did! He launched a plan to finance his pursuit by doing odd jobs and bartering. With a thumbs-up from his mom and dad, he staked a spot on the family’s 4-acre property to build his tiny house.
Construction started in June 2016 and over the span of a year, Luke finished with some help from friends and family. By bartering his odd job skills, he learned how to wire a house from a pro electrician (who assisted) and lay carpet from a different professional.
Luke’s father helped him build the structure, and his mom, sister, and twin brother all pitched in too. When he ran out of funds, he put the project on pause until he could get things started up again. Sounds like some grownup budgeting business, right?
Luke had to learn on the job how to frame, layer, and wire his house with his bare hands. At 89-square-feet, the house features a foldable table, TV, mini fridge, and seating area. It also has reclaimed windows and siding from friends and family.
Storage is hidden but scattered throughout the house, and for safety, a smoke alarm! Are you impressed yet? A ladder leads to a small loft space where there’s room for a mattress. For now, he sleeps in it a few times a week and uses the home to chill with friends. His total cost? $1500.
Luke started his own YouTube channel to share his own tiny house journey and to give viewers a glimpse of what it’s like to live in one – mortgage-free! Luke’s story attracted national media attention, and earned him the opportunity to be a guest speaker at the TinyFest Midwest festival.
His tiny house tour video has amassed over 3 million views, and the innovative teen has plans of building another house by the time he heads off to college. With his newly acquired skills and interest in minimalist living, perhaps there’s a future in home design and construction for Luke!
It’s always cool to put the spotlight on kids like Luke who are turning their ideas into reality. We can’t wait to see what he comes up with five years from now!
What do you think of Luke’s undertaking? Do you know any inventive kids like him? What are your thoughts on his tiny house?