Raise your hand if those tiny house shows on home improvement channels are your guilty pleasure. There’s just something so entrancing about seeing how other people live – especially if they live in a 300 square foot tiny house!
While they may be interesting to watch, most people can’t imagine getting rid of 80% of their belongings to live the tiny house life. But Luke Thill, a middle school student from Dubuque, Iowa, begs to differ.
The 13-year old boy is like most teenagers in the sense that he dreamed of the day he’d get to live on his own as his own man. However, while most teens have accepted the fact they’re stuck under their parents’ roof until they’re at least 18 years old, Luke was not going to wait that long.
While other 13-year-olds played summer sports and creeped on their Instagram crushes, Luke built his own tiny house in his parents’ backyard. And it only cost him $1,500 to make!
Luke explained that his desire to build a tiny house primarily grew out of boredom. He was on summer break and needed something to do. So, he set out to build a tiny house.
However, building a house is not your average teenager’s goal. Luke was well aware of that fact, so he started by doing a bunch of research on tiny houses before he started building.
Luke also knew that it wasn’t exactly going to be cheap to build a tiny house. It took him about a year to raise the money. He explains in a YouTube video that he raised most of the money by cutting lawns.
His parents fully supported Luke’s goal. His father even offered to help the boy, as long as Luke raised the money and did most of the building on his own. Mr. Thill explains that he was happy his son found something productive to do rather than just sit at home a play video games.
As for Luke, he seems smart beyond his years. The practical teen admitted that he wanted his own house but he didn’t want a huge mortgage. This house is a way for him to figure out what it takes to create his own home so that when it does come time to move out (of his parents’ backyard), he won’t be burdened with that giant mortgage.
Tiny houses may be a way to live a simpler life, but they’re not exactly that simple to make. Luke explains that he learned way more than he ever thought he would during the building process. He picked up valuable skills in carpentry, woodworking, and even witnessed some electric work.
Yes, Luke’s tiny house has electricity! It’s not just four walls and a roof. Luke bargained with an adult electrician friend for that amenity. He offered to clean out the friend’s garage if that friend would wire his tiny house for him.
In a question and answer video on Luke’s YouTube channel, the boy admits that his house has electricity but no plumbing. He considered a composting toilet – like most tiny houses contain – but ultimately decided against it, as it would just be taking up valuable space when he could walk a few yards and use his parents’ bathroom.
Luke’s house is only 10 feet long and 5 1/2 feet wide. The house’s height varies from 10 to 8 feet tall. To top it off, the tiny house is only 89 square feet!
The house is made primarily out of reclaimed materials. 75% of it is reclaimed, to be exact. For example, the front door is from an uncle’s friend and some of the siding was leftover from Luke’s grandmother’s house.
Luke is incredibly proud of his tiny house. He’s also proud to admit that his house was featured in the Telegraph Herald newspaper, courtesy of an impressed teacher.
You might be wondering how much time Luke spends in the tiny house if his parents’ house is just a few yards away. The 13-year-old does his homework in his tiny house after school and sleeps in its loft bed a few nights every week. The house even has a tiny living room, complete with comfortable seating and a TV.
The young Thill boy typically refers to his tiny house as his “homework center,” since he doesn’t live in it full-time. However, he also admits that it gives him the perfect escape when he needs it. Luke has a twin brother, so he’s appreciative of his own separate space to relax.
While Luke loves his tiny house and is extremely proud of his work, the boy considers it to be more of a starter home. In his Q&A video, he explains that he intends to sell his tiny house after a few years and use the money to build an even better tiny house that he can actually live full-time in.
Watch Luke’s tiny house tour below.