Teen who built his own tiny house just purchased land for next project

Luke Thill | Simplemost

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 still 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 the project:

He has also documented the build on his YouTube channel, 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.

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.

In the years since his first build, Thill has kept busy. He’s gone to various “tiny living” conventions to speak about his handiwork and has taken on other projects like a camper renovation, shown below, redecorating the original tiny home and even mentoring others who want to build their own tiny homes.

In December 2023, the wunderkind dropped another update via his YouTube channel. The update, his first in a year, provided a glimpse into Thill’s busy life: the now-20-year-old is a full-time EMT working to advance his skills through paramedic school. On top of all that, he just purchased a plot of land in Wisconsin to build a “barndominium” and will be documenting the journey on his YouTube.


We can’t wait to follow along on this project and any others Thill has in store for the future!

MORE: Home Depot has a tiny home kit with a spiral staircase for under $45K

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Anna Weaver
Anna Weaver is a writer and multimedia journalist from Hawaii. Her two young kids keep her on her toes and hooked on online shopping. Anna’s also a fan of movies, reading, photography, and sharing far too many IG stories about cute dogs and capybaras. Visit Scripps News to see more of Anna's work.

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