Saving to buy your first home is a formidable task for anyone. Not only does it take several years of disciplined saving to even begin to afford the down payment on your dream home, but you can often end up in a bidding war with other potential buyers. So why not take matters into your own hands and build a home yourself?
It might sound like a daunting and expensive task, but a 13-year-old boy named Luke Thill didn’t let that stop him. With a budget of just $1,500, Luke managed to turn his aspirations into reality. How? Well, when you peek inside his house, you’ll find out… and you’re going to wish you had one just like it.
Luke Thill, a 13-year-old boy from Dubuque, Iowa, wasn’t like most kids his age. At least, his hobbies weren’t. While most teens spent their summer vacations swimming or going to the movies with friends, Luke decided he wanted to take on an unusual DIY project.
As he scrolled through various videos on YouTube, Luke stumbled upon several tiny home-building projects. The tiny house movement has become popular in recent years for those who want to drastically downsize their living spaces, and it piqued his interest.
After immersing himself in various instructional videos, Luke decided what his summer vacation project would be: he was going to build a tiny house of his own in his parents’ backyard! Even tinier than the house, though, was Luke’s budget. Could it make it happen?
With no money to his name, Luke approached his parents to ask for help in completing his tiny house project. While they supported his creative decision, they wanted to instill the value of a dollar in him. They told him he’d have to work for his budget.
To help save for his project, Luke cleaned neighbors’ garages, mowed lawns, and performed just about any other chore he could think of. He also accepted donated materials from people. Even an air filter was a big help to Luke!
Of course, the tiny house movement encourages builders to utilize recycled materials as much as possible, so Luke got to work finding whatever he could. In his garage, he discovered several usable objects, and a nearby neighbor even donated a front door!
Then, Luke had a bright idea. Like the videos that inspired him to start his project in the first place, he, too, would start a YouTube channel. Here, he’d be able to document the process for his family and friends, as well as anyone else interested in the project.
It wasn’t long after that Luke’s DIY project garnered the media’s attention. In fact, a local reporter showed up to his school to interview him about it. Of course, he was happy to share his progress with others…
Luke informed the reporter that he’d finally gathered enough materials to set the project in motion. In total, he’d saved $1,50o. It wasn’t a huge budget, but with the materials he’d saved, it was more than enough!
Even with all his planning, Luke was in for some minor difficulties. For instance, he wanted to use broken pieces of stained glass to create a countertop. But it didn’t work out and he had to settle for a different material. Anyone who’s ever built a home could relate!
Before long, Luke’s tiny dream home began to take shape. All those weeks of planning and hard work were finally starting to pay off. Raising the frame of the home was itself an impressive feat. But that didn’t mean he didn’t hit some snags along the way…
As his project moved forward, Luke realized he’d need some help with certain aspects of his dream home—specifically, for the wiring and plumbing, which were better left to professionals and experts. He volunteered to perform chores for neighbors in exchange for their assistance.
Despite a valiant effort, Luke wasn’t able to create the necessary infrastructure for running water and a working toilet. Rather than give up, he decided it’d be fine to use his parents’ bathroom when he needed to. After all, he was only in their back yard!
Just as quickly as he’d begun his project, it was complete—and it was all thanks to his hard work and resourcefulness. Though he’d made a few sacrifices along the way, he was more than happy with the spectacular results!
Even though Luke’s home looked tiny from the outside, it was holding a surprise. When he opened the doors to give a tour to his friends and family, they couldn’t believe how much he’d actually done with such little space. Ready to take a peek?
Luke thought of everything for his tiny home, which featured a living area, dining area, a bedroom, and even a kitchen! While it closely resembled a playhouse from outside, he’d clearly taken the time to make it a real livable space inside…
How was Luke able to fit a bedroom into such a tiny home? Well, he got innovative by creating a loft. There wasn’t enough room to stand on his bed, but there was certainly plenty of space for him to catch some Zs after a long day!
Luke learned to make the best use of the available space, and he had to come up with some workarounds, too. Since he didn’t have running water, he kept lots of bottled water handy for when he became thirsty or he wanted to cook his own meals.
In total, Luke’s tiny home was made of about 75 percent reclaimed materials and it measured just 89 square feet. That was just a fraction of the size of a typical home! Luckily for him, it was also a fraction of the cost. And from the looks of it, he didn’t have to give up many modern conveniences to achieve it, either.
Most importantly, Luke learned the value of a dollar from the whole experience. Through hard work and planning—and a little help from his community—he was able to make his DIY dream home a reality!
Instead of saving for your dream home, perhaps you should be building it yourself instead. Luke is seriously an inspiration to homeowners everywhere!
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