At the age of 13, Luke Thill bought a house.
The middle schooler in Dubuque, Iowa, had completed building an 89-square-foot miniature house in his parent’s backyard.
With a budget of $1,500 that he had acquired via doing tasks around the neighborhood, he began working on the project when he was just 11 years old and completed it in a year and a half.
Luke’s journey had only started, and that was only the beginning.
With his brother Cole, 17-year-old Luke Thill has added a teardrop camper to their expanding collection of tiny houses. According to Luke, who spoke to Insider, he wants to adopt a tiny-living lifestyle.
Luke told Insider that constructing the tiny home was “a huge experience.” My life was undoubtedly changed by it.
The summer of 2016 was going to be uninteresting for Luke. The 11-year-old came upon the small home movement while searching YouTube for projects to work on because he had no immediate plans.
He was talked into building his small cottage, which he did.
Before they started, Luke and his father evaluated how much it would cost to build a simple, modest house and came up with $1,500.
Luke started saving as many young people do by taking on odd jobs in his community.
Everything started as a simple plan for Luke to work one summer mowing lawns and do odd jobs for his grandparents and neighbors to earn money.
Soon after that, he began building his tiny future house.
Although Luke claimed to be skilled at little home improvement projects, this was by far his largest project.
According to Luke, most of the building supplies used to construct the home were salvaged. To reduce costs, windows and doors, in particular, were donated by friends, neighbors, and family members.
Luke took around a year and a half to complete the project, with help from his parents.
While his father assisted with the building, his mother helped with interior design. In the fall of 2017, Luke turned 13 and already had a little home.
Luke avoided installing plumbing, which would have been expensive, time-consuming, and difficult to do, by claiming he never meant to reside permanently in the small house.
The house was meant to be a retreat and a place for friends to meet.
This is demonstrated by the home’s straightforward design. It has a small kitchen with a countertop, an electric stove, a micro-fridge, and a living area with a drop-down dining table.
A ladder leads up to a lofted space where Luke sleeps some nights and accommodates visitors for movie nights.
One year, Luke even hosted his family’s Thanksgiving meal.
After building the little house, Luke was prepared to start a new endeavor.
Cole, his twin, was working on his own project and had started building a teardrop camper from the ground up.
About halfway through the project, Luke stepped in to help. According to Luke, the brothers bought the 36-square-foot teardrop camper for roughly $2,500 by the time they were both 14 years old.
Luke claimed this project was surprisingly more challenging and intricate than building a little dwelling.
Luke remarked that you need to get things perfect, “You don’t want anything to fall apart if you’re traveling down the highway at 75 mph.”
The camper gave Luke and his brother the chance to be back together. Since finishing the structure in 2018, according to Luke, the two have taken more than 50 camping trips throughout Iowa and its adjacent states.
In 2020, Luke made considerable adjustments to the teardrop camper. He refinished the internal woodwork, put in new cabinets, and replaced the woodwork on the trailer.
Luke learned the value of a strong feeling of community.
Luke asserted that his early experience building a little house taught him many important life lessons, including the value of perseverance and fiscal responsibility.
But Luke insisted that one of the most crucial lessons he learned was the value of group affiliation.
According to Luke, he needed assistance from his neighbors while building. For instance, he would trade goods with a neighbor or offer electrical help in exchange for garage cleaning.
He said, “A little project in my backyard brought the community and neighbourhood together.”
Luke said he was ready for the next endeavor after building the camper. As a junior in high school, he asserted that he also values working, spending time with friends, and finishing his tasks.
Luke remarked that although he is currently focusing on high school, small-space living would continue to be important to him in the future. He may even consider building a larger version of his current residence when he goes to college.