A 13-Year-Old Builds His Own Tiny House In His Backyard

It even has a sleeping loft, living, kitchen, and dining area! See how it looks inside.

Photography: Luke Thill Facebook page

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 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 Hill, 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.

READ: RL Picks – Home Accessories Made From Recycled Materials

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!).

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:


So what did you do today? 

More on

5 Small Space Ideas We Learned from the Hosts of Tiny House Nation

Jumpstart Your Day: A 140-square-feet Tiny Home Designed by a Filipina Interior Designer

See a 15sqm Tiny House and Learn Innovation Ideas From Experts


Latest Stories

Lazada Plans to Launch an Online Grocery This Year

Shopping for the home will be easier as the e-commerce startup aims to build cold storage hubs in Metro Manila and nearby provinces

What Kind of Furniture Do Millennials Look For?

Are they all about aesthetics or do they care about functionality, too?

14 Baguio And Ilocos Destinations To Visit On a Summer Weekend

The beginning of summer vacation is the perfect time to head up north! Here are fun and easy places to visit and shop at.

Beautiful And Functional Ways To Decorate A Bi-Level Home

Maximize every nook and cranny of your humble abode with these ideas

These Captivating Facades Will Make You Stop and Stare

Modern, charming, and minimalist—these homes sure know how to catch your attention

These Millennials Restore Heritage Sites In Intramuros And Bohol

This amazing foundation teaches construction and restoration skills to the youth, who in turn help protect Philippine heritage sites

A Young Artist And Architect Create This Cool Paint Booth

Artist Kris Abrigo teams up with architect Lando Cusi to create a Worldbex paint booth that breaks from the usual exhibit mold

Here's How You Can Use Mirrors To Make Your Space Look Bigger

Practice this tried-and-tested tip with these reminders

These Houseplants Can Help Clean Indoor Air

Keep your home safe while relishing the feeling of being outdoors

6 Local Internet Service Providers You Probably Didn’t Know Of

Surprise! There are more choices for faster WiFi at home, and some go for as low as P699 a month.

Make Your Own Countertop Cleaner With Only 4 Ingredients

You can use it to clean toilets and tubs, too!

8 Amazing Shopping Spots At Bonifacio Global City

There are must-visits for design enthusiasts, book lovers, and more
Load More Stories

Get inspiring design ideas and handy hints.
Subscribe to our newsletter now!