Come one, come all for an interesting story about 13-year-old Luke Thill from Iowa. While other kids played baseball and football during summers, he wanted to do something worthwhile in the great outdoors. As a result, he accomplished a feat that seemed to be impossible for many adults. He single-handedly built his own tiny home in one summer. Now, he is a proud owner of his very own tiny house. To understand why and how he did that, continue reading on. You will surely be fascinated with his incredible innovations and craftsmanship.
An Idea Born Out of Summer Boredom
Most kids at the age of 13 look forward to doing nothing during summer breaks, but young Luke Thill is not one of them. Although he was just 13, he wanted to do something productive during his vacation. This desire led him to browse around Youtube for DIY projects that he could do outside.
The Fascinating Tiny House Movement
Among the thousands of videos on Youtube, he stumbled on a couple of videos that featured “Tiny House” tutorials. For those who are not updated with what a “Tiny House” is, it a movement across the globe that encourages people to create versatile and mobile tiny homes. The incentives brought by this are freedom from mortgages, a constant space, and sustainability.
Due to this, the then 12 years old Luke was enticed to join the movement and make his own tiny home by using Youtube video tutorials.
Can He Do It?
It is understandable if you are questioning his capabilities as a home builder because he is still 12, right? But, Luke is no ordinary kid. He is strong-willed, and when he sets his mind on performing a task, he will stop at nothing to achieve his goal, and this is precisely what he did after watching all those Youtube videos. He decided to build his own tiny house.
He was an inquisitive kid that performed any action that he set his mind to.
When Luke came to his parents with his brand new idea, they positively responded to it. In fact, they supported it because they thought that it was a good way for Luke to have some exercise outside rather than playing video games and staying on the couch all day.
However, they did not plan on giving Luke everything even the money to begin the project. They wanted him to earn it by working, in order to get a sneak peek of adulthood. Some kids might have been turned off by this, but Luke is a strong-willed kid. He then began to mow the neighbor’s lawn and clean their garage for cash.
Staying Authentic to the Values of the Tiny House Movement
Luke needed to save money to begin his project, he did that by mowing lawns and cleaning neighbor’s garages. While he was cleaning his neighbor’s garages, an idea came to him. This idea was to use as many recycled materials in his construction as possible to stay true to the sustainability value of the tiny house movement.
He also realized that by doing so, the cost of his project would significantly become lower. It seems like Luke cares about the environment deeply and decided to stick to the sustainable path. He truly has a green thumb.
Win-Win Situation with a Neighbor
Handling house electrical work without prior knowledge can only result in a catastrophe, and Luke did not want to risk that for his beloved project. This is why he sought the help of his neighbor, who was an electrical professional. In exchange, he promised to clean his garage. The neighbor agreed as he saw the determination in the child. His neighbor was pretty handy with setting up the home entertainment system and Luke was happy to receive help from him. Now he could watch all the shows he could possibly want!
Gaining People’s Interest
When people around him started knowing the reason why he was taking odd jobs and asking for help, many became fascinated. Imagine, a 12-year-old building his own home? This is not a common occurrence. This is why many people wanted to get an update from Luke about his project. However, although he appreciated people’s interest in what he was doing, he got tired of people repeatedly asking him the same questions throughout the day. As a solution, he decided to put up his own Youtube Channel. There, he posted updates on the current status of his home.
Instead of having to explain to people one by one about his project, he would just ask them to check out his channel. He then quickly gained loyal subscribers.
Luke’s Visit to the Principal Office
Luke was a good kid but he suddenly felt worried when he heard that he was being called to the principal’s office. He racked his brain to figure out what he could have done wrong. Little did he know that the reason behind the request for his presence is because the media had caught the news about his project and they wanted to interview him about it.
Apparently, his principal was a close friend of a local news reporter. He then realized at that moment that he is officially a mini-celebrity.
The Actual Beginning of Construction
At this point, Luke was already able to save $1,500 from doing odd jobs for his neighbors, and he finally had sufficient materials gathered to begin building his tiny house. However, he did face a lot of setbacks from the getgo, but that didn’t faze him. The media attention pumped him up to work harder and see the project through.
In the end, Luke managed to reap its benefits and he also managed to inspire people around him.
Learning From Failures
Luke wanted to make his house unique, so he decided that he would create his countertop. He found a Youtube tutorial that gave detailed step by step instructions on how to use broken shards of colored glasses into a countertop. However, things did not go as expected. The glaze he placed on the top of the arranged shards shattered, condemning the project to be a failure. However, Luke considered it as a learning curve and wanted to take on more work.
Luke was a determined person and didn’t mind learning a few tricks even if he came across struggles in his pursuit to build his own tiny home.
TinyFest Recognition and Public Speaking
Luke felt like he had finally been welcome to the tiny house movement even before his house was finished. While the project was ongoing, it gained the attention of multiple national media outlets. Due to this, Tinyfest Midwest sent a representative to reach him and ask if he could give a speech at the festivals. Tinyfest is a festival that promotes Tiny House, and during this event, many people who are interested and who own tiny house confer to share tips and ideas.
Of course, Luke accepted the invite, and he proved that he deserved his recently earned Boy Scout public speaking badge!
Luke has indeed had a lot of exercises while he was building the project. All of it paid off because he is now close to the finish line. However, the setbacks never stopped coming. He wanted the house to have its comfort room, but it was too much for him to do it on his own. This is why he decided to compromise on the idea. Besides, his tiny home is in his parent’s backyard, so he could quickly go to their house to use the toilet or shower. Aside from the bathroom compromise, he also did not have an AC.
An Answer to Iowa’s Brutal Summer Heat
Luke’s tiny home did not have an AC. When he was finishing the exterior and testing out the house, he did not see that as a problem. However, Iowa is known to be extremely hot during the summer. So, as a precaution, he decided to make his own AC since standard AC is not compatible with his electrical system and they can be costly as well.
He did this by buying a furnace filter that cost $2. He then sprayed these with water and placed it in front of a fan. The air that goes through the filters creates a cooling effect due to water evaporation. You can say that Luke was a resourceful and cool kid! He truly had a knack for being a self-starter.
Experiencing the House
The day that Luke had been waiting for has finally arrived. He can finally rest his head in his very own tiny house. He was ecstatic to see if everything was fully functional and what minor changes he could do before declaring it to be complete. However, he expressed a lot of worry about the insulation of his house and whether it could withstand the test of the peak of winter. He then realized that he worried for nothing.
He used enough insulation that the upper loft was warm and cozy at night. At one point, he even had to open the window a bit because it was getting too warm.
Time to Hang up The Boots
By the time he was 13 years old, his tiny house was finally 100% completed, and Luke was excited to share this milestone with his by then 16,000 Youtube subscribers. This was why he immediately made a house tour video and posted it. To his shock, the video went viral and reached more than 7 million views. Many people were impressed with the level of craftsmanship he had. People just couldn’t believe that he was only 13 and he had done so much already.
He also inspired a lot of individuals to take on productive projects across various age levels and start building their own tiny homes.
The Story Wages On
If you think the story ends on the completion of the project, then you are wrong. The orange and white exterior provided Luke’s tiny house with a quaint cabin vibe. When you enter inside, you would be impressed by how beautifully made it was. The interior is composed of a separate bedroom, dining area, living room, and kitchen. One hundred percent livable, right? It is innovative, too, because due to the space constraint, the living room and dining area are in one space. How is that possible?
It is possible by making multipurpose furniture that can be dismantled when not in use. It goes to show the amount of planning and creativity that Luke put into the construction.
Everything That he Needs and Want
In the end, Luke’s tiny home measured at 87 sq ft. Enough for a single person to feel at home. It also has a fully decked kitchen equipped with bottled water, an electric stovetop and a small fridge. It is a kitchen where he can comfortably make a full meal for an entire family. Luke also went extra on the walls to achieve the rustic vibe as he laid down linoleum floors.
Also, he repurposed his failed countertop mold into storage. Talk about using failures into an advantage right?
A Safe Haven
Luke is living the dream in his living space that is small but practical. It has a TV and a couch and all the basic amenities he needs. The house has everything a person needs to survive except a bathroom, but then again, Luke is only 13, so he is not moving out any soon.
However, his parents do let him sleep on his tiny home a couple of times a week, and they expressed that they would want to stay in it as well.
Smack Center on the Front Page!
As mentioned, Luke is already very popular by now as the child who built his own tiny house. However, that didn’t end there. The attention kept growing and growing until he eventually landed on the front page of the Telegraph Herald and Des Moines Register. This was followed by Good Morning America and ABC’s show, reaching him out for an audience and a tour of his tiny house.
Luke climbed the celebrity ladder by simply following his own dream. His story is an inspiration for everyone who wants to start their own initiative.
An Adult in a Child’s Body
Most 13 years old is all about fun and games, but young Luke was asked by the show why he decided to build his own tiny house, and his response blew them away. He said that he did not want to deal with a mortgage. What an adult thing to say, right?
Luke is an example of a determined young kid with an adult mindset. His parents certainly raised him to be a smart and independent boy.
The Goal to Achieve Sustainability
In the same interview, Luke also elaborated that his home is ¾ made from reclaimed materials. So, he was economical and environmental friendly at the same time. It goes to show that downsizing will significantly help us save more money and mitigate our carbon footprints. He also said that he did this because he wanted to stay true to the fundamental value of the tiny house movement, which is sustainability.
“Reuse, reduce and recycle” these seem like words that Luke lives by. Recycling is imperative in this day and age where climate change is rapidly affecting the state of our planet.
The Negative Publicity
Although Luke’s hard work and dedication inspired many people, some cannot help but spread negativity to others. Among the comments in his youtube channel are some people downplaying his achievement as he was not the one who built his tiny home entirely. The accused him of letting adults do all the untrue work. However, out from this came the massive support from Luke’s followers who defended him.
Every action comes with an effect and sometimes this can come across as negative. Luke nonetheless kept his cool and remained strong despite adversity.
A Budding Builder with Entrepreneurial Potentials
Luke was fully aware of his popularity, and the business side of him started to kick. He thought, why not capitalize on this frame by branching into retail. With thousands of subscribers and followers, we decided to release his T-shirt and sweatshirt merchandise. His items have his name printed on them. He thought that this was an excellent way to gather funds for his next venture and to educate people about the tiny house movement.
So, this means that we can expect more projects from him in the future.
The Benefits of Living in a Tiny House
Each year, more and more people are being convinced to join the tiny house movement. Their decisions have a lot to do with practicality. Most tiny homes are mobile so that you can bring them anywhere with you. You could park them somewhere that you have the permission to do so. It is also easy to maintain. Smaller space means smaller mess as well. However, contrary to popular belief, downsizing does not mean that you have to sacrifice your home amenities.
You can still get a spacious bedroom, living rooms, and kitchens. You can even have bathtubs in your comfort rooms. All it takes is creativity and innovation, which is what most tiny house builder has.
Big Brother Joins the Tiny House Movement
From the getgo, you might have already been thinking that Luke’s parents are very cool for allowing him to take on the project, right? Well, they are, and because of Luke’s accomplishments, his brother, Cole, also followed suit. He decided to build his teardrop camper, which he also documented in his own Youtube channel. Just like luke, their parents did not help him with the finances and asked him to save up for. So he also took odd jobs to achieve his goal.
Luke and Cole’s parents seem like hardworking people and they certainly raised their sons right.
Momma Thill Joins Her Sons’ DIY Craze!
Aside from Cole, Momma Thill was also inspired by Luke to join the family’s DIY craze. However, she was not planning on making her own tiny house. Instead, she bought a camper that needed some attention. Her son, who is now a certified celebrity, intends to help his mom with her project and document the progress on his Youtube channel. It seems that being creative, hardworking, and innovative runs in the family.
It’s beautiful to see a family working together to achieve their goals and after one person initiates a goal, the rest follow suit.
Luke admitted that there were a few things he wanted to do differently with his tiny home. The results were far from perfect — one of those is light fixtures that can be bumped by people who are standing up. However, as a first time builder, these types of things are typical. Also, he is only 13 years old, so he still has a lot of time to do other projects and improve his building skills.
A True Inspiration For All
Luke has accomplished a feat that even some adults spend their whole lives accomplishing. His story has been spread throughout the entire world and inspired hundreds of people. If a 13-year-old boy can do it, then what is your excuse? Luke once again reminded us that all it takes to achieve a goal is vision and hard work and that excuses lead to nowhere.
Also, can we mention that his smile is to die for?
According to Luke, this house was on a trial run. He wanted to know what he could do and how he could turn the ideas into reality. He said that he learned valuable life lessons from this experience. He also stated that he was planning to have another go at building a bigger and more efficient tiny house when he has enough money and knowledge.
This time, he said that he plans to move into the next tiny house fully, and he would document his progress the same way he did with his first build.
Wrapping Things Up
Who would have thought that an ordinary child who was bored during his summer break would end up like Luke Thill? When you think about everything that he did, it is remarkable to know that he is only 13, and there is more for us to see. The potential in him as a builder, entrepreneur, and sustainability advocate is endless.
We hope that Luke Thill continues on his path and gains knowledge and values along the way to becoming the best possible version of himself.