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

This TV Show Does Home Makeovers In 15 Hours

And some of the decorators (and one judge!) are Pinoy. Check out this amazing makeover show.

This Museum In a Bahay Na Bato Is a Lesson In Pinoy History

In photos: The Destileria Limtuaco Museum in Intramuros will delight your mind and eye, not only your tastebuds

This Elevated Walkway In Ortigas Makes Pasig A More Walkable City

The walkway is one of a series of new pedestrian areas rising in Ortigas Center

How Do You Divide Conjugal Property When You Get Annulled?

It's not as simple as 50/50.

4 Questions To Ask Your Interior Designer

Develop a healthy relationship with your design professional for a beautiful home

Designer Pieces We Love in Derek Ramsay’s House in Alabang

The actor doesn’t shy away from investing in pieces that make his home distinct and personal

6 Ways To Increase Storage At Home

From custom-designed pieces to minimalist shelves, explore clever ideas to amp up your storage potential

Here's How To Keep Your Clothes Wrinkle-Free When Traveling

Get perfect OOTD's with this handy (and travel-friendly) gadget!

Neutral Colors Make This 50sqm Condo Unit Extra Homey

Taking inspiration from an accent wall, interior designers Honey Mutia Cervantes and Rosa Manduriao were able to achieve a modern yet comfy look for a one-bedroom vacation home in the city

5 Plants That Can Repel Mosquitoes

Keep your home safe and these pesky pests away with these natural solutions

This One Home Appliance Can Cause A Fire

Hint: Did you straighten your hair this morning?

Would You Live Inside This 9sqm Water Pipe?

This modern designer studio unit (inside a water pipe!) in Hong Kong may be the home of the future
Load More Stories

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