Luke Thill is a 13-year-old middle schooler from Dubuque, Iowa who built a tiny home in his parents’ backyard for $1,500 USD. Luke is just a regular kid but he wants to show other “regular kids” what they can do when they really put their minds to it. He was simply bored last summer and decided to do some research on home building. He formulated a plan and got to work raising funds.
Over the course of a year, Luke raised money for his idea by mowing lawns and running errands for anyone who needed help in his neighborhood. Some of the work done on his tiny home was paid for by bartering his services. For instance, an electrician Luke was friends with helped him install the electricity in exchange for Luke cleaning his garage out. He also started a small fund-raiser online to cover some of the cost.
About 75 percent of the material Luke used to build the house was recycled or repurposed. Some of the repurposed items came from his grandmother’s house. A friend of his uncle gifted the front door to Luke.
The tiny home is a mere 89 square feet and is only 10 feet long by 5 1/2 feet wide. There is working power, but no plumbing or toilet (yet).
“I liked the minimalism,” Luke said. “And I wanted to have a house without a huge mortgage.” Smart kid!
As you can imagine, Luke received some help with the building itself, but his father made sure that it would be Luke himself who paid for most of his project and also built most of it himself.
“It was a chance for a kid to do something more than play video games or sports,” Luke’s father said.
Luke usually does his homework after school at his new house and some nights during the week he gets to sleep there.
He already has aspirations to build another house- one that’s a bit bigger for when he begins college. He also hopes to inspire others to follow their dreams.
Luke said, “I want to show kids it’s possible to build at this age.”