This 13-Year-Old Boy Decided To Build His Own House. You Won’t Believe How Much He Spent!

This 13-Year-Old Boy Decided To Build His Own House. You Won’t Believe How Much He Spent!
Image: Ice Pop

The Joy of Owning a Home

Image: Ice Pop

For most adults, owning a home is a main priority in life. And when you’re older, it’s definitely an easier feat. However, it’s not so easy when your 13-years-old and still in middle school with no chance of getting a loan. Despite the odds, one teenager decided he would buck the odds. He wanted a home of his own and he didn’t care if he had to build it himself. 

The Surge of the Tiny Houses

Image: Curbed

This new movement is taking the world by storm—it’s the surge of the tiny houses. As people begin to redefine what the American home and lifestyle entails, people are finding living in portable 100-400 sqft houses is not only more affordable, but allows the opportunity to travel and maintain a more rootless existence.

The movement has become so popular, even the younger generation is beginning to explore the possibilities of owning a tiny home

Meet Luke Thill

Image: Cheap Genius

Luke Thill was just your average American teenager. Living in Dubuque, Iowa with his family, Lucas found himself looking at a long summer with not much to do. However, an idea began to form that was slightly outrageous, but also awesome as well.

Too Much Energy, Not Enough to Do

Image: YouTube

According to Luke, he didn’t have any solid plans for the summer, so he decided to build his own house. Not one to spend his days at a camp and finding himself with way too much energy, he decided to look into what it would take to build a tiny home.

The Dream of Building a Home

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After watching a plethora of “tiny house” videos on YouTube, Luke was 100% determined to build his own tiny house in his backyard. Of course, in order to even begin he would have to pitch the idea to his dad.

Would Mr. Thill be down for the project?

Pitching the Idea to Dad

Image: HomeShacks

Hoping that his dad would be onboard, Luke pitched his idea in detail. Impressed by his son’s determination and willingness to give up his summer for manual labor, he agreed to put up $1,500 towards the building of the home. However, Luke would have to come up with the rest.

Raising Money for Materials

Image: GreenSocks

Luke decided to take odd jobs over the summer to raise money for building materials. He mowed a lot of lawns that summer, scrimping and saving every penny he could come up with. It would take just over a year to raise enough money to beginning building the house.

Lower Costs Than Your Average Home

Image: Domaille Real Estate

While Luke would only have around $1,500 to play with when building his home, the average cost for most manufactured tiny houses is $23,000.  This is way less than $300,000 which is the going rate for the average home these days. You have to think it’s much more manageable to save $23k than a full $300k.

Learning the Ins and Outs of Home Building

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Luke knew he would need to learn from the best when it came to building his tiny house. Therefore, he read everything he could when it came to framework, electricity and insulation. He then turned to YouTube to help fill in his knowledge gaps.

Helps the Environment

Image: HGTV

Did you know that buildings (including your house) contributes to 1/3 of the greenhouse gas emissions in the world? By reducing your home’s size, you are automatically reducing your carbon footprint. How cool is that?

Turning to YouTube for Tutorials

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Since there were many people who had built tiny houses before, YouTube became an excellent source of information. Luke absorbed everything he could from the tutorials, and began to get to work one small step at a time.

Learning As You Go

Image: HomeShacks

Thankfully, Luke had his dad right there to help him when he needed it. Together, they documented their entire building process through YouTube videos. While not everything worked the first time, Luke learned from his mistakes and kept pushing on.

Hard Work

This project wasn’t a piece of cake by any means, it took a lot of work and dedication. Even some late nights were needed to get everything just right.

Placing the Electric

Image: The Des Moines Register

After the framework was complete and the walls were in place, Luke set out to install the electrical wiring, which was no easy feat. Thankfully, with his dad’s help along with YouTube tutorials, he managed just fine. We’d probably wind up in the hospital from an accidental electrocution.

Providing Proper Insulation

Image: ABC News

The next step was providing proper insulation to the outside of the house. As you can see it’s really coming together nicely. For 13, Luke is accomplishing way more than most kids his age. Video games? What’s that?

Staining the Outside

Image: ABC News

One of the final tasks was to stain the wood shingles along the outside of the house. This finishing touch certainly gave the home an upscale and professional appeal. We prefer this to paint since it maintains the wood’s natural beauty.

The Amazing Finished Project

Image: Mother Nature Network

Ta-da! A finished house. In a little less than a year, Luke managed to raise funds and build his own tiny home. We have to admit we’re quite impressed. His YouTube Channel amassed quite a bit of followers as well.

Inside the Home

Image: The Des Moines Register

As you can see, the inside of the home is quite cozy. It definitely seems like the perfect place to watch some Netflix or read a good book. Hey, Luke! Would you consider putting this tiny home up for sale?

Achieving is Believing

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The accomplishments that Luke achieved are really out of this world for someone his age. It just goes to show that with determination and passion, you can achieve anything regardless of your age. We have a feeling Luke could have a tiny house business in his future.

Another Look Inside

Image: Youtube

Luke even has a tiny makeshift kitchen with a hot plate for cooking. His first meal inside his new home was fried eggs. It seems simple enough, just like his new tiny house! As he added more detail to the home, it really started to come alive.

A Nice House

You can see here how the kitchen came together quite nice. He even thought of putting the enough storage, too. The way everything is situated makes it look way bigger than it actually is. Luke shares with his YouTube followers what he thinks is the best part about his tiny house is.


Luke’s parents even let him spend a couple nights a week sleeping in his tiny house. Talk about the best sleep-over ever! I bet all of his friends love to stay over, too.

Saving Time

Image: Go Bank Rates

One interesting fact that Luke learned about tiny homes is how much time he would save down the line. Time you say? Well, think about it. The average home is roughly 2600 sqft and the average tiny home is 100 sqft. That is a lot less to clean!

For The Future

Luke hopes to build a second tiny home in the future, but this time he wants it a little bigger and built on a trailer so he can haul it to college. We have to say, he sure is a smart 13 year-old.

He’s not the only one that’s jumped on the tiny house band wagon, either.

Gypsy Getaway Wagons

Another person who thinks a tiny house on a trailer is a wonderful way to live, is Jeff Deming. Deming left New York to settle in the mid west, somewhere quite where he could reconnect with nature, and himself. During this process, he decided to use his extensive knowledge of remolding and building to create: Gypsy Getaway Wagons–tiny homes brought to the general public.

Custom Houses

Teaming up with a local artisan, Deming created a business building custom tiny houses that also double as pieces of art. Unique and quirky, these houses are created for customers and renters alike.

Sharing This Lifestyle

Sharing this type of lifestyle with others was something Jeff found important, because everyone needs to get away every now and then,  “Everyone needs it whether they know it or not. Life decisions, romantic getaways, meaningful family vacations…we all need to live like a gypsy to reconnect occasionally.”


Jeff and Luke have more in common than their love of the tiny-house lifestyle. In fact, despite their age differences and different aesthetics, their designs have something in common.


Jeff says that his project is a family affair! Both his children, ages 11 and 13, are lead designers and creative directors at Gypsy Getaways. So why are tiny houses so appealing to kids?

The Future

Some say that kids and tiny houses work so well together because of their size similarities–they’re both fun sized! But I think a more likely explanation is that kids are the future, and they know that the tiny house movement is just getting started. The more populated the earth becomes, the more tiny houses you’ll see.

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