All it takes to do something great is a single idea and a little support. For one Iowa teenager, his idea was building a house and, believe it or not, his parents supported him if he could pay for it.
Luke Thill, son of Angie and Greg, was checking out videos on YouTube like many kids his age do to wile away the hours. That’s when he stumbled on a video about “Tiny Homes” or structures smaller than 100 square feet in which people can live. These structures are minimalist, cozy, and possibly a solution to the problem of homelessness.
Of course Luke’s goals are much smaller, at least for now. He wanted to build his own tiny home probably just for some space to get away from his twin brother and sister for some peace and quiet. Luke may only be in middle-school, but that doesn’t mean he can’t make big things happen.
Luke’s parents agreed that he could build the tiny house of his dreams, but they had conditions. First, Luke had to raise the money and obtain the materials for it himself. Secondly, Luke had to build it on his own. Finally, the tiny house would be his responsibility to maintain. Luke quickly agreed, and he and his dad Greg got to work building.
Luke focused most of his efforts on obtaining reclaimed materials. He used vinyl siding leftover from his grandmother’s house (and did chores to pay her back for it). He mowed the lawns at an apartment complex to “pay” a family friend for his help in laying carpet. Luke cleaned out his neighbor’s garage, and in turn the neighbor taught him how to wire the house for electricity.
Luke was very determined and even faced setbacks. His first attempt at building a counter-top failed. But, with persistence and a little creativity he was able to fix it.
As Greg told ABC News:
“He’s a very driven kid for his age…. There were times the project got stalled out and he had to earn more money for the next phase. He wouldn’t let it go and kept working at it.”
Finally, 18 months and $1500 later, Luke had build his tiny home.
Luke has since added a deck to the home, and he often entertains his friends in there, fitting up to four people. He also spends the night sometimes in the loft bedroom he built into the top, calling it more comfortable than his own bed.
The final structure is five-and-a-half feet wide and 10 feet long – with a deck and a mini-fridge and even a table that can seat four kids. But along with a cool little house, Luke gained much more.
He documented the building experience on YouTube to one thousand subscribers. He also attended a Tiny Home festival at the Jasper County Fairgrounds near his home. So while he now has his own little getaway from his family, he’s joined a much larger community.
Luke’s not done either. He learned a lot from his experience and hopes to build more tiny homes for himself and others.
You can watch the tour of Luke’s home-away-from-home in the video below!