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When Luke Thill was 13 years old, he purchased a home.
The middle school boy in Dubuque, Iowa had finished constructing an 89-square-foot tiny house in the backyard of his parents’ house. When he was 11 years old, he started working on the project. He completed it a year and a half later with a budget of $1,500 that he had earned by performing domestic chores.
Luke’s trip had just gotten started, and that was only the beginning.
Luke Thill, now 17 years old, and his brother Cole have increased their collection of tiny homes by adding a teardrop camper. Luke told Insider that he intends to live a minimalist lifestyle.
Building the tiny house was “a huge experience,” said Luke. That unquestionably altered the way I lived.
Luke anticipated that his 2016 summer would be uneventful. The 11-year-old was looking for something to do because he had no immediate plans when he came across the small home movement on YouTube.
He was persuaded and made the decision to construct his own tiny cottage.
Luke and his father determined that it would cost $1,500 to build a basic, modest house before they got started.
Like many young individuals, Luke began saving by taking up odd jobs in his neighborhood.
Luke’s straightforward goal was to earn money by working one summer mowing lawns and performing odd jobs for his grandparents and neighbors.
He started constructing his future little abode not long after that.
Even though Luke asserted that he had little experience with home renovation tasks, this was by far his biggest undertaking to date.
Luke claims that most of the materials used to build the house were salvaged, and that windows and doors in particular were donated by friends, neighbors, and relatives in order to decrease costs.
With aid from his parents, Luke took around a year and a half to finish the project. His mother helped with the inside design while his father helped with the construction. Luke turned 13 and got a small house by the fall of 2017.
By claiming he never intended to live in the small house permanently, Luke was able to avoid installing plumbing, which would have been costly, time-consuming, and difficult to perform.
The house was intended to serve as a getaway and a gathering spot for friends.
The straightforward architecture of the house demonstrates this. It contains a living room space and a tiny kitchen with a countertop, a microwave, and a drop-down dining table. Luke also accommodates guests for movie evenings and occasionally sleeps in a lofted area that is accessed by a ladder.
Luke even prepared the feast for his family one Thanksgiving.
After finishing the little house, Luke was excited to begin a new project.
Cole, his twin brother, was constructing a teardrop camper from the ground up as part of his own project at the time.
Luke joined to assist about halfway through the task. Luke claims that the brothers paid about $2,500 for the 36-square-foot teardrop camper when they were both 14 years old.
Luke observed that this job was surprisingly more difficult and complicated than constructing a small dwelling.
You must make sure everything is perfect. You don’t want things to fall apart if you’re driving down the highway at 75 mph, according to Luke.
Luke and his brother were able to reunite thanks to the camper. According to Luke, the couple has gone on more than 50 camping trips around Iowa and its neighboring states since the construction was finished in 2018.
Luke made a lot of changes to the teardrop camper in 2020. He replaced the camper’s woodwork, repainted the interior woodwork, and installed new cabinets.
Luke discovered the importance of a strong sense of community.
Luke claimed that he learned many valuable life lessons from his early experience building a little house, including the importance of tenacity and financial responsibility.
But Luke argued that the significance of group identification was one of the most important lessons he had ever learned. Luke claimed that he required help from his neighbors while he was building. He would, for instance, swap things with a neighbor or provide electrical assistance in return for garage cleaning.
He remarked, “A small effort in my backyard brought the neighborhood and community together.”
Luke stated that he is prepared for the upcoming project now that the camper has been constructed. He claimed that as a junior in high school, he also values working, hanging out with friends, and completing his assignments.
Luke said that although he is presently concentrating on high school, he will continue to value small-space living in the future. He might even think about constructing a bigger version of his existing home after he starts college.