Luke Thill, a 13-year-old from Dubuque, Iowa, is our new tiny house hero. Most middle schoolers we know are concerned with school dances and Instagram followers. But this smart, savvy 8th-grader built his very own tiny house in his parents' backyard! For just $1500 he's living the dream of home ownership at a young age.
Thill's story is truly one of good old-fashioned goal setting. As he explains on his YouTube channel, his desire to build a tiny house grew out of summer boredom. So, after doing lots of research, he came up with a plan to build a tiny house.
It took him about a year to he raise the funds for the house and gather the materials. Thill cut lawns, raised money online and worked out barter agreements with neighbors and other adults in his life for both work and supplies. An adult electrician friend helped him wire the house in exchange for Thill cleaning out his garage, for example.
He used about 75-percent reclaimed materials, as well—leftover siding from his grandmother's house and a front door from his uncle’s friend. At 89 square feet, the house is wired for electric, but does not have plumbing.
"I liked the minimalism," Thill told the Des Moines Register. "And I wanted to have a house without a huge mortgage.” He considers it a "starter home."
Thill posted a video on YouTube giving a tour of his tiny house, complete with information about the build:
He did, of course, have a little help from his parents, both financially and in the actual building of the house. Still, his dad, Greg Thill, explained that he told his son he would support his idea if he raised the money and built the house himself.
“It was a chance for a kid to do something more than play video games or sports. It teaches life lessons.”
TinyFest Midwest, a tiny house and simple living festival where Thill spoke earlier this year, shared a photo of him hard at work on his tiny house:
Thill's tiny house serves as teen haven
Thill's truly created a tiny teenage haven, complete with micro living room (with TV and seating) and a lofted bed. He does homework there after school and sleeps in it a couple of nights per week. His ultimate goal is to eventually build a larger tiny house, one he can haul to college to save money on living expenses.
Color us impressed—and inspired. Thill's story is a great example of what a kid can accomplish with a solid goal, a support system, and a good work ethic. And who knows, maybe Thill will inspire other kids to become interested in budgeting, building, and simple living. That's what he'd like to do:
"I want to show kids it's possible to build at this age."