What Happened When A 13-Year-Old Boy Spent Just 1,500?


Everyone dreams of having their own house, but it can be expensive. Most people save for years to make it happen. But not 13-year-old Luke Thill. He proved that you can build your own home even with limited resources. What he accomplished is truly incredible. Join us on the journey of how Luke built his tiny home all by himself, and guess what? He did it for just $1,500! It’s as unbelievable as it sounds, and it’s sure to inspire and motivate you.

Small Hands, Heavy Work

You might wonder, how did a young boy come up with the idea to build his own 89-square-foot home? Believe it or not, he calls it his “starter home.” This young guy is definitely destined for big things!

Luke’s Inspiration

What inspired Luke to do something different? Well, he decided that he wasn’t going to spend his summer break feeling bored and sitting around doing nothing in the house for hours.

Not Just An Ordinary Kid By Any Means

As a kid always looking for ways to stay busy, Luke wasn’t about to spend his summer break complaining like many other kids or just playing PlayStation.

Getting Permission Was The Easy Part

Before Luke could embark on the monumental task of building his home, he needed his parents’ permission. Fortunately, it wasn’t a big hurdle. Greg and Angie Thill, Luke’s parents, quickly recognized their son’s potential and gave him the green light. They allowed him to build his home on the family’s four-acre property.

Not Forgetting Dad Rules

Luke’s dad fully supported his project but set a few simple rules. Luke had to raise the money on his own and build the home entirely by himself. Greg Thill explained to ABC News, “We said, ‘If you’re that serious, we have to set some ground rules. We told him he had to have the financial responsibility of it, raise the money, choose the materials, and stay in the budget.”

Learning On His Own

Greg Thill’s excitement didn’t lead him to do a lot for his son. He wanted Luke to learn on his own. This meant everything from framing a structure, dealing with adults, wiring the home, and making financial decisions—all to ensure everything stayed within the budget.

Important Life Lessons

Luke’s father understood that the experience of building a home with minimal help would be a valuable learning curve for his son.

First Thing First: Earn Money

Luke and his father had to set a budget of $1,500 for the house, and the first task was to gather that amount. While it might sound like a small sum to some, it was still a significant amount for young Luke.

Work Hard Dream Big

Even though Luke could have easily given up on his plan to build a home, he stayed persistent. He rolled up his sleeves and tackled whatever tasks came his way.

Adapting Minimalism

Building his home for just $1,500 would have been nearly impossible for Luke without embracing a minimalist approach.

Generous Help

Luke didn’t need to buy a new door, and then his uncle’s friend provided him with old windows. Why? Because nobody wants a house without windows. His uncle’s friend wanted to ensure Luke didn’t end up with a home lacking windows. After all, nobody likes nosy neighbors, right?

Recycled and Reused

The philosophy of tiny house living advocates for a simple lifestyle and the use of recycled items. It’s surprising how many useful items we discard as junk every day.


Luke’s home features a small deck outside and has a pretty stable floor plan. The sliding is a mix of half vinyl and half cedar shakes, adding to the unique character of his tiny abode.

Welcome In My Humble Abode

When Luke finally completed his project, he welcomed everyone to take a look inside his newly built house. Inside, there’s a small kitchen area with a counter and a sitting area featuring a large ottoman, a mounted TV, and a flip-down table.

Technically, It’s A Shed

While it’s a small home for Luke, complete with a ladder leading to an upstairs loft, technically, it’s not classified as a home. Luke’s father mentioned to reporters that, according to city codes, it’s considered a “glorified shed.”

Getting Viral

Once Luke completed the home, he made a video tour of the house and uploaded it to his YouTube channel.As expected, the video went viral and got millions of views. There are hundreds of comments on the video of people praising his efforts.

Hard Work Always Pays Off

Despite facing negative feedback from some people at school, Luke didn’t let it bother him too much. He stayed focused and continued working hard to make his dream home a reality. The final result astounded everyone, including those who had initially criticized him.

Media Attention

In a town with a population of about 58,000 people, news about the incredible young boy spread like wildfire. Everyone was eager to see the project of a 13-year-old boy. Luke decided to create a YouTube channel to showcase the progress of his project, and it didn’t take long for his channel to attract media attention.

An Exceptional Case

When Luke began watching videos of people constructing tiny homes, he noticed that everyone featured was older than him. He said, “I couldn’t find anyone younger than 14. I thought if no one is out there, I might as well do it, so I started documenting the whole process and putting it on YouTube.”

Inspiration for Others

Luke created a YouTube channel to document and share the process of building his tiny house. Little did he know that his project would inspire many young children. He mentioned, “Now lots of kids have messaged me and showed pictures of their tiny houses that they’re building, and they’re even younger than me.”

Getting Nervous for Another Reason

In one of the videos on Luke’s YouTube channel, he shares the story of being called down to the principal’s office. As a student with good grades, he became nervous because he couldn’t think of any reason for the summons.

He Had To Take Care of A Lot of Mess

One of the valuable lessons Luke learned from his experience was how to overcome disappointment. He recalls a countertop mishap when he used broken colored glass and poured lacquer on it, only to have it run all over everything.

“Small” Home But “Big” Lessons

Luke had to overcome a lot of failures that could’ve easily shattered the confidence of even an adult, let alone a young boy.He did not give up and learned from his mistakes. Just like Alfred said in Batman that “Why do we fall? So we can learn to pick ourselves up.”

Is The House Livable?

Just one look at the house might make you shout, “I wanna live in it!” It’s equipped with electricity, running water, and even a bathroom. However, it lacks air conditioning and plumbing. The absence of plumbing is because the house is built in Luke’s parents’ backyard. Nonetheless, it’s a truly livable space.

A Multitalented Boy

Luke is not just a talented builder; he’s also a good chef. While you might not call him a gourmet cook just because he knows how to make an egg, it’s still pretty impressive. That’s why he proudly posted a video of his “first meal” in his new house on his YouTube page.


As Luke’s home gained popularity, thanks to his YouTube page, he was contacted by a representative from TinyFest Midwest – a festival that promotes and celebrates tiny houses.

A Perfect Home

After completing his work on the home, Luke’s tiny abode measured a total of 89 square feet. It comes equipped with an electric stovetop, a small fridge, and even a separate bedroom.

Comfortable Setup

It took about a year for Luke to complete his tiny home, and it wasn’t just a project for him—it was also intended as his own living space. He not only sleeps a few nights a week in his new home but also does his homework there. It’s like a little “man cave” for young Luke.

A Great Hanging Out Place

Despite the small size of the house, it boasts a massive backyard, making it perfect for parties. Luke’s friends gather there for fun parties, and the backyard is capable of hosting great cookouts as well.

Worthy Front Page News

Luke garnered significant attention not just because he built a tiny home, but because of his age and the remarkable initiative he took. Being only 13 years old, he stood out in the growing Tiny House Movement, showcasing that age is not a barrier to pursuing unconventional dreams. His determination, creativity, and the way he documented his journey on YouTube captured the imagination of many, inspiring not just those interested in tiny homes, but people of all ages.

Good Morning America Interview

With news spreading across the country about a young boy building his tiny home, it didn’t take long before Good Morning America approached Luke’s parents for an interview.

Meeting Your Idol

Luke felt like he was dreaming when he was contacted by Derek Diedricksen, an author, designer, and builder of tiny homes.

It Runs in The Family

Just like Luke, his brother Cole built his own teardrop camper using tons of reclaimed and recycled materials.

That’s Not It

As of December 2019, the YouTube channel of Luke and Cole has garnered thousands of subscribers and continues to grow. The channel boasts over 65,000 followers, showcasing the widespread interest in their projects and adventures.

His Own Space

Luke always desired to have his own space where he could spend some time alone. “I have a twin brother, so it gives me the chance to have my own space,” said the impressive young builder.

Total Expenses

So, when Luke gave a complete tour of his little home, he also mentioned the total expenses on building the house.

An Inspiration for Others

When Luke began working on his tiny home, he likely didn’t anticipate the level of attention it would receive. Once the project was completed, he had a message to share: “I want to show kids it’s possible to build at this age.”

No One Can Doubt Him

When Luke shared with ABC News that he has plans to build a bigger house and live in it full-time, everyone had confidence in his capabilities. Luke’s determination and skills make such aspirations seem very achievable.

Tiny T-Shirts

Luke is not just a builder; he’s also an inventive entrepreneur. He launched his own line of merchandise, including T-shirts and sweatshirts that he designed himself. This seems like a great way for him to gather funds for his upcoming projects.

Special Bonding

Luke truly enjoyed the entire experience of building his home, but another aspect that brought him immense happiness was the bonding with his dad. The project became not just a construction endeavor but a special connection between father and son.

Smart Boy

The intelligent Luke is on his way to becoming an advocate of small homes and a minimalist lifestyle. “Everyone had to have a big house, and now people have changed and realized it’s not practical,” said Luke Thill. “You can save money, travel the world, and do what you want instead.” His perspective reflects a growing awareness of the benefits of a simpler and more intentional way of living.

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leo writes


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