Teen Built His Own Tiny House For $1,500

Typical teen boy activities don’t usually include constructing tiny homes, but one Iowa boy was ahead of the game.

Luke Thill of Dubuque, Iowa, built his first tiny home between 2016 and 2017, finishing it when he was just 13. The 89-square-foot house sits in a corner of his family’s four-acre property.

Thill started his tiny home project because he was “really bored” one summer, as he explained in his YouTube video showcasing his tiny home.

He has also documented the build on his Facebook page, where you can see images of the project in progress.

He saved up to pay for his building materials by mowing lawns, bartering work with family and friends (including a neighbor electrician who installed wiring), getting online donations and using reclaimed materials.

His family also pitched in with some of the work. Thill’s father had taught him carpentry skills from a young age and helped show him how to do parts of the project. His mom and grandmother helped with furnishings and the interior. His twin brother and sister also helped.

The total cost for building the house came out to $1,500. It includes a TV, a tiny kitchen area, a fold-down desk and a sleeping loft.

Flash forward five years and the now 17-year-old still has his 89-square-foot tiny home and is planning his second. He’s gone to various “tiny living” conventions to speak about his handiwork. He’s also redecorated it a little and added air conditioning.

Thill has kept up his YouTube channel where you can see his latest updates about things like scouting, ice fishing, hanging out with friends and (of course) the tiny home. He recently renovated a camper and showed that process off as well.

While Thill doesn’t live in his tiny home full-time, he would spend a couple of nights a month in there in the past and regularly do homework in the house. He said in April 2020 that he’s been able to spend a lot more time hanging out in it since the COVID-19 pandemic started, and has even mentored a younger boy interested in making a tiny home of his own.

These days, the 17-year-old is also working part-time at a care facility and helping with his family’s YouTube channel, which will soon feature video of their new puppy. Talk about mature for his age!