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Why This 13-Year-Old Built His Own Tiny House in His Parents' Backyard

Country Living logo Country Living 10/2/2017 Courtney Campbell
This 13-Year-Old Owns His Own House—All 89 Square Feet Of It © Twitter This 13-Year-Old Owns His Own House—All 89 Square Feet Of It

Most teenagers dream of the day they can move out of their parents' home and finally have their own space. But that came sooner rather than later for one Iowan, who lives within the confines of an 89-square-foot tiny home-right in his parents' backyard.

At 13 years old, Luke Thill from Dubuque, Iowa, built the small structure from scratch for only $1,500, which he paid for doing odd jobs including cutting lawns and cleaning out garages, the Miami Heraldreports. Like other teeny-tiny homes we've seen, the compact dwelling manages to squeeze in a kitchen, lounge area, and a loft.

Despite being so young, Luke's consideration for a building the tiny home was mostly financial. "I liked the minimalism," he told the Des Moines Register. "And I wanted to have a house without a huge mortgage." Luke was able to keep prices down by using 75 percent reclaimed materials like the leftover sliding from his grandma's house, and several windows and a front door gifted by his uncle's friend.

Related: 16 Ways to Live Like a Minimalist (Provided by: Cheapism)

Even though his father, Greg Thill, helped guide him along the way, Luke did most of the work himself. Luke learned how to frame and wire the home, make big financial decisions, and bargain for labor and other assistance. In return for household chores, an electrician neighbor helped him wire the home and a local Scout leader helped Luke lay carpet in the bedroom.

However, the miniature pad isn't fully livable-it has electric wiring but no plumbing, so Luke only sleeps there a few nights a week and uses the "glorified shed" to entertain friends. But this isn't the end of his tiny life: He hopes to one day build a larger tiny home on a trailer, so he can hit the road with it for college. "The main purpose is to be my starter home," Luke told the Des Moines Register. "I'm going to save money and expand."

Luke's small abode has been gaining traction, and he was recently asked to speak at TinyFest Midwest, a tiny home festival. He also runs a YouTube channel where he chronicles living tiny and shows how he built the home to almost 1,000 subscribers.

Luke hopes his project will inspire others to live a more minimalistic life. "Everyone had to have a big house, and now people have changed and realized it's not practical," he told the Des Moines Register. "You can save money, travel the world, and do what you want instead."

Related: 6 Things No One Tells You About Living in a Tiney House (Provided by: Southern Living)

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