13-Yr-Old Builds Own House For $1,500 And It's A 89 Sq Ft Masterpiece

Come To My Office

Young Luke was in class one day when he heard the loudspeaker come up and the announcement from the principal that she wanted to see him. Since Luke had done absolutely nothing wrong to his understanding, he had no idea what it would be this time. It must have been connected to his after-school mischief.

His father would insist that he unlock his door that afternoon and show him what he had been up to.


13-year-old Luke Thill was a resident of Iowa. He would get bored quite quickly, like all young boys, and have all kinds of difficulties coming up with something to do. This time, he promised to construct a home for himself.

But he had no idea how difficult his new endeavor would be once it got going.

Teaching Him A Lesson

Luke was aware that he would require resources and cash to construct his home. He then went to his parents and explained his plan to them. Both his parents gave their blessing, but dad warned him that he would have to put in the bulk of the work.

Greg, Luke's father, said, "It was an opportunity for a teenager to do something more than play video games or play sports," and that Luke would acquire valuable things about life that he otherwise wouldn't have.

Getting The Job Done

Luke mowed a lot of his neighbors' lawns and completed a lot of errands for the locals in his town in an effort to make as much money as he could. As an example of working for a favor, he once cleaned the garage of the local electrician in exchange for him putting wiring in his newly built home.

Luke soon had enough money to start working on his house. But it would require more work than he had anticipated.

Hidden Treasure

After a year, Luke had amassed a staggering $1,500 in donations and acquired all the goods he needed. His home was built with recyclable materials in three-quarters.

Everyone benefited from this because Luke was able to use a lot of the things his friends and neighbors didn't want. To obtain more materials, he would even clear out every piece of clutter from some garages.

Getting Attention

Luke's house quickly became known throughout his neighborhood. Many others were interested in the teenager's plans for all the trash he was gathering. Luke made use of this as well and started a YouTube channel where he posted updates on the construction of the house.

He soon became well-known at school, and his principal would call out his name. What was he to blame for?

What Was The Reason?

Luke was now sitting outside the principal's office, trying to think of ways that he might have gotten himself into trouble. He was at a loss for words, and he knew it couldn't be anything he was doing after school.

He might be advised to put more effort into getting good grades at school rather than the pointless project he spent so much time on. But in his opinion, there was no way to know.

Mesia Attention

It turned out that Luke was receiving unfavorable attention from the media. They were close friends with an Indianapolis-based journalist who was desperate to meet Luke and hear his tale. Although Luke didn't mind the attention, he preferred to concentrate on finishing the assignment.

But despite his best efforts and preparations, there was something he could not have foreseen. Additionally, it was close nearby.

Testing The Waters

See, Luke had made the decision to construct his countertop from stained glass and liquid glaze when he built the kitchen for his little house. He decided to give it a shot after seeing how it was done in a YouTube video.

However, the glaze leaked out of the mold when Luke built the countertop. He would be disappointed that it hadn't worked as it had in the video, but then he would get an amazing invitation that he could never have anticipated.


A representative of Tiny Fest Midwest, a celebration honoring tiny homes and compact living, got in touch with the teenager. They requested Luke to speak about his experience building his little house in addition to wanting him to attend.

Due to his recent achievement of a public speaking merit badge, he was eager to prepare his speech. He would soon be able to move in because the house was nearly finished. But he had missed a crucial point.

Finishing Touches

Luke’s tiny house was finally done, as it had everything he would need to sleep, eat, and go about his day. Still, no house is complete without a few homely touches.

After all, now was the time to expose a year of hard work, not only to his family but to his entire fanbase. But the house was missing an important feature.

Can't Have Everything

Luke had one problem: the house had no toilet. The teen realized that installing plumbing was more than he could manage, but in the end, he didn’t mind.

“I liked the minimalism,” he told the Des Moines Register. Once the house was ready, he made a video tour that wowed everyone.

Personal Haven

The 89-square-foot house, which took a year to complete, was a teenage boy’s dream: a micro living room, complete with a TV and couch, a lofted bed, and a kitchen area with an electric griddle.

It was so comfortable that Luke started spending his afternoons there doing homework, and now sleeps there a few nights a week. Now that the project was done, he thought his fame would subside – but he was wrong.

Media Darling

After speaking at Tiny Fest, the teen’s story made the front page of major Iowan newspapers, the Des Moines Register and the Telegraph Herald. Then it got picked up by local TV stations and other outlets across the country, until it reached Good Morning America.

The show sent a crew to Luke’s house to interview him and do a tour of the house. But it was a different encounter that blew the young boy’s mind.

Meeting His Hero

Luke was contacted by Derek Diedricksen, author of a guide for designing and building tiny homes. This book was actually the inspiration for the teen in his mission to build his own tiny house, so being able to chat with him meant a lot.

Diedricksen sent him messages of support and they became online friends. Little did Luke know that soon he himself would be the inspiration for someone else’s DIY journey.

It Runs In The Family

In a recent video on his YouTube channel, the teen shared the news that his brother Cole was starting to build a teardrop camper. Like his brother, Cole was relying on reclaimed materials and a tight budget for his build, but he had something invaluable: the advice and support of his brother.

Luke has been documenting the progress on his channel, which has recently become a bigger focus for him, and for good reason.

Branching Out

With more than 9,000 subscribers and growing, the teen’s YouTube channel is becoming a force of its own in the tiny home community.

Aside from chronicling his own building journey, Luke is now also showcasing other people’s small living projects, such as a sheepherders wagon and his mom’s renovation of a 1972 camper. Does this mean being a tiny house celebrity is this kid’s true calling?

Role Model

When Luke set out to build his tiny house, his intention was just to create a very simple, shed-like house. As soon as he recognized his skill for it, the project grew more ambitious, and the rest is history.

Though he does plan to go to college, he also likes the idea of inspiring other kids to do what he did. “I want to show kids it’s possible to build at this age,” said Luke.

Minimalist Lifestyle

There have been other teens who were enamored with the idea of building a tiny house, too. Annabel O’Neil had the idea when her sister went off to college.

She had taken note of how expensive tuition could be and decided to build her own tiny home. Subsequently, she adopted a minimalist lifestyle in order to save money.


Another teen in Sicily also built her own tiny house, and she was only 13 years old when she embarked on the project. It took an entire year and 4 months to complete the 128-square-foot home.

The project had started as a fun venture, but unfortunately, her father passed away before she completed it. After her father’s death, she used the project as a form of therapy that helped her cope with the loss, carefully documenting her journey on her blog “La Petite Maison”.


Luke’s plans don’t end with the completion of his tiny home, though. “The main purpose is to be my starter home. I’m going to save money and expand,” he explained.

He has plans to eventually build a home large enough for a trailer. For now, he is content to sleep in his fully-functional home a few nights a week, and he uses it as a quiet spot to do his homework.

In The Spotlight

In a recent interview with YouTube, the delightful Luke told us his Tiny House story in detail. He was actually 12 years old when he started building it. The exact measurements of the space are 10ft tall, 5.5 ft wide, and 89sqft.

The main reason for him building the tiny house is that he was getting really bored during the summer

Summer Projects

He had a lot of extra time on his hands so he decided to do something educational and fun. He was always fascinated with tiny houses. When he had the idea to build, he thought about how he was going to make the money to buy all the materials.

Worked hard enough and made enough money, could build a tiny house.

A Good Community

He didn’t know then that his determination would really inspire his community to help him out.

Luke learned a variety of skills. At his age, it is extremely good that he had hands-on experience in how to build small projects. Some of the skills he enjoyed learning were woodworking, learning how to use power tools, and handling the impact drill.

Luke's Father

His dad is the one who taught him how to use all the tools. It was a learning curve for him. He always grew up learning how to build with his dad.

In the beginning, he was confused about the process of building, but now he knows what to do and is confident that he can handle another TinyHouse project by himself.

A New Passion

He enjoyed building the little house so much that he wished he learned how to earlier. When asked if his TinyHouse came out the way he imagined, he said that he had a different vision, it didn’t exactly turn out the way he wanted it to.

 But that it was never meant for living in at all.

Learning Project

He made it a strong learning experience. He never intended on moving into the Tinyhome. He can build a bigger Tinyhome later on.

To earn money, he helped clean his dad’s friend's garage They lived down the road. Luke learned a lot about bartering. His dad's friend was also an electrician by trade and had no problem helping his buddy’s son out.

A Helpful Neighbour

He helped to pay and showed him how to wire the house. The friend helped him with the whole wiring process. He cut the wires and taught Luke about the electricity box.

Many people were inspired by the young boys' determination and intelligence. Luke started a Gofundme page, he knew that he would need a bit more cash to complete his project. Most of the money he made himself and his parents gave him the rest.

Support Galore

His GoFundMe page created some online stir. And then big things happened, he was contacted to be on the front page of the Telegraph Herald. They asked him if he wanted to talk about his experience.

He inspired many young boys and decided to start a Youtube channel about his interests in the outdoors and woodworking.

Becoming Recognized

They wrote an inspiring story about him. It was a quick process and he was an overnight hit. Luke received lots of emails from TV producers from tinyhouse shows. He was also invited to speak at tiny house festivals.

He was enjoying being a young local celebrity Today, a lot of people from the city know him because of his TinyHouse success.

Going Places

When asked what his current plans are, he said that he wants to hold a Tiny house open house. The reason is that he wants to invite everyone who helped him make the tinyhouse a success.

He doesn’t live in the tinyhouse, but he does spend a great deal of time there. It is now a homework centre for the next few years.

An Identical Surprise

Not many people know that he has a twin brother. So, it is great that he has created his own personal space. He approximates his building costs at $1200- $1500. He thoroughly enjoyed the whole building project and saw it as a way for him and his father to bond.

The father and son spent many days and nights bonding and building together. Luke’s dad is really special because he made time for his son even while working a full-time job and going to college. He helped his son to complete the project no matter what. Luke is very grateful for a good family and he is studying hard at school to prove to his family how thankful he is for all they do.

A Tour Outside

On the official tour of the tinyhouse Luke showed off all the exterior features. He didn’t really do a pattern, just made sure that it was neat outside. He has a mini fireplace and a Deck outside. He didn’t use any money, all his outside décor was reclaimed

Luke showed off the new trees he planted around his tinyhouse and also the modernity of the electricity box. He had power running through.

A Familiar Touch

The side panels were reclaimed Vinyl from his grandmother’s house so it had a special touch. His gran also stitched all the curtains herself for some privacy. His front steel door was also reclaimed and he just painted it which made it look brand new. It all came together very nicely and was starting to look pretty decent.

On the inside tour, we a greeted with a long carpet, to make it feel more homely, Luke says. The centerpiece is a beautiful reclaimed frosted glass from his own home. He reused them because they didn’t fit and the doors were leaking.

Eye For Detail

When you stand inside you can see that Luke has all the basic essentials. Even though there is no running water, he saves water by using a glass urn and bowl. The tinyhouse has a flat-screen TV, so he can play video games and watch his favorite shows.

In the corner, he has a sleek ottoman and a practical fold-out table where u to 4 people could sit, but would be a pretty tight squeeze!

A Private Bedroom

You would think that the tour is over but no, that’s not all. There is a second level. When you climb the ladder up to the deck. Luke has a single foam mattress where he comfortably sleeps. He also has fitted storage cabinets for playing cards and tissues.

During the winter he just uses a space heater. This helps to keep the space warm as the roof is low.

A Lovely Little Home

There is no aircon but he does use a filter. It’s an old trick to spray water on them, place them by the windows or fans and let cool air pass through them.

Luke is currently busy with the Scouts club and his camping. He loves being outdoors and has much to learn as he grows. At least we know where he will be for the next 5 years, working on his tinyhouse projects. Keep following him on YouTube to see what adventures this club scout is on next.