Most kids in their early teens think of playing basketball or video games, hanging out at the mall, or collecting sneakers. This teen loves basketball, too, but apparently, he also built his own house as a hobby.
Luke Thill, a thirteen-year-old (now just turned fourteen) boy from Dubuque, Iowa, started building his own “boy cave” in his parents’ backyard back in June 2016. The shingled, electricity-powered 27sqm house, which has its own living-dining area, kitchen, and sleeping loft, is good enough to appear in the famous TV show Tiny House Nation. Here are some tiny house lessons we can learn from him:
Barter labor for goods and services.
The entire house cost only US$1,500—that’s roughly P77,557, or approximately P2,800 per square meter. Luke got a little bit of financial help from his parents Greg and Angie Thill, but the savvy teen raised most of his funds by doing odd jobs around the neighborhood, starting an online fundraiser, and bartering labor (an electrician wired up the house when Luke helped clean out his garage).
Use reclaimed materials.
Another way Luke saved up was by reusing reclaimed building materials. He picked up old siding from his grandma’s house, a front door from a friend, and other decorative details from around the area.
DIY when you can.
Luke built this house with own hands, and with the help of his dad Greg, and the teen admits that he got some really good bonding time with his dad while doing this project. The kid has got some mad skills when it comes to woodworking, and he assembled most of the house himself, saving a lot of money (kids, don’t do this at home without any parental supervision!).
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Maximize your space to the fullest.
The house is only 27sqm, but it has all of the living areas one could need, except for a bathroom (the house has no plumbing—for now). It has a tiny kitchen by the entrance with a mini-ref, kitchen cupboards, an ottoman with hidden storage, a drop-down dining table for when he needs to eat (above photo), and stairs, which lead to his sleeping loft.
Luke uses an electric fan in his sleeping loft when it gets hot in the summer, and a portable space heater in the winter. “I’m not moving in fulltime into the house, but I do spend a couple of nights sleeping in it,” he says on Youtube. See how Luke's tiny house looks like inside by watching this video: