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13 Year Old Builds Tiny Cabin for $1500!

This is the story of a 13 year old who built his own tiny cabin for only $1500!

Meet Luke Thill, who at age twelve started working on his very own tiny house- one a mere 5′ by 10′, but with a sleep loft, transforming dining table, and even a small kitchenette. At age thirteen, using money from summer lawn-mowing jobs, and bartering (electrical wiring help in exchange for cleaning out a garage in one case), Iowa’s Thill completed his tiny house- one that he calls the practice precursor to a future “real” tiny house he plans on designing and eventually living in.2

Inspiring 13 Year Old Builds His Own Tiny Cabin for only $1500

Video: 13 Year Old Builds Tiny House (Tour)

Luke Is Inspiring Other Young People To Learn How To Build!

Wouldn’t it be cool if we could teach more young people how to build? It’s an amazing skill! How would your life be different if you already knew how to build by the time you were 13?


  1. Luke’s YouTube Channel
  2. Deek’s YouTube Video on Luke

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Alex is a contributor and editor for TinyHouseTalk.com and the always free Tiny House Newsletter. He has a passion for exploring and sharing tiny homes (from yurts and RVs to tiny cabins and cottages) and inspiring simple living stories. We invite you to send in your story and tiny home photos too so we can re-share and inspire others towards a simple life too. Thank you!

{ 20 comments… add one }
  • Lee Ann November 22, 2017, 2:42 pm

    This is really cool. Good job!

  • Sam Fishman November 22, 2017, 3:23 pm

    Don’t like your time-wasting “YouTube” format.
    A few “still” pics, maybe a little bit of writing, then….
    on to the next one. 8 minutes of this ca-ca is BORING!

    • Alex November 22, 2017, 5:25 pm

      Thanks for feedback Sam!

    • Steve Laurin November 22, 2017, 7:54 pm

      Really Sam? Why be a “hater”? Have a nice Thanksgiving.
      Luke, pay no attention to this guy! I thought your metal rod/desk/table idea is ingenious! What a great way to utilize your “space”. So resourceful! So inventive! Just awesome!

    • Michael L November 24, 2017, 1:46 am

      Geez Sam, give the kid a break!

  • Claude November 22, 2017, 3:33 pm

    Impressive, well done, you remind me at that age with tons of imagination.

  • David November 22, 2017, 3:44 pm

    This is fantastic!! This is how I envision the future of tiny homes. Affordable, efficient, and tasteful. I also love how you make use of the outdoors as part of the house!!!

  • Pat November 22, 2017, 4:59 pm

    Really a great way that you yourself created with your own wants and ideas.
    Good job makes me a proud person of the younger generation.

  • Irene November 22, 2017, 6:13 pm

    This young gentleman is working pretty well, good job! (I wish my own son could work like him…)

    Luke you did a really good job, I am really impressed

    Irène from Canada

  • Heather Hilley November 22, 2017, 6:23 pm

    Sam I’m not one to make a fuss but your comment is just RUDE! The boy is 13 and he is proud to show off his great accomplishments! Caca is so rude! He even got his friend to film it. More than you had built at 13.

  • Marsha Cowan November 23, 2017, 12:34 am

    So absolutely totally awesome!! Cute as can be, and very liveable. Pretty and functional. My man! You rock!

    • Marsha Cowan November 23, 2017, 12:44 am

      . . .one more thing. . .get yourself a queen sized downy comforter, cover it, fold it like a taco shell, and slide in it to sleep at night. In really cold weather, add a blanket or two on top, but try not to run any kind of heater while you are sleeping. The only safe heat for sleeping is duct heat. Any other kind, no matter how careful you try to be, is hazardous if left unattended. I use a tent propane heater during the evenings when the temps drop, but once I get ready to sleep, it gets turned off. I also have a tiny 250 watt electric heater to turn on for a few minutes first thing in the morning before I get up when I don’t yet need a lot of heat, but even that I would not run while I was sleeping. I have been sleeping in weather down to 9 degress at night with a wool quilt over my comforter, and slept like a warm bug in a rug. Just a thought. . .take care and be safe, fellow X-tra tiny house dweller.

  • Maria November 23, 2017, 7:33 am

    Great job! Beautifully Done!

  • Denise November 23, 2017, 8:17 am

    Good job Luke, what a clever tiny house. You have a bright future ahead of you!

  • Stefan November 23, 2017, 9:42 am

    Good Job! Did you get stuck on any of it as you went? Anyway I’m very proud of your work, I’m sure you you will continue to make more in the future, thank you for sharing 😃🔨🔨🔧🔩

  • Martha November 24, 2017, 2:42 pm

    Wow! So many cool details in such a small space. I loved the idea of the drop-down table/would need different dimensions for myself. Loved the easy design for a sink. Loved the explanation and use of the furnace filter. And I admire the heck out of you for diving in to a project like this. Well done.

  • Dan November 25, 2017, 10:48 am


    When you accomplish something as big as this you will be criticized by a few. Ignore ignorant people and continue to succeed! Fabulous project.

  • MareM November 25, 2017, 3:38 pm

    Wow! Impressively creative design and excellent workmanship! Your presentation was very well done, too.

  • Jaroslaw November 28, 2017, 8:18 am

    I know the article says he bartered for help with the electrical but I wonder what else he had help with. Personally, I think a video of him building this would have been equally if not more interesting. The headline implies he did it by himself and I’m rather skeptical. Ditto with the total price. The TV alone would be $100, his grandmother bought him that ottoman for the dining area, his dad gave him his mattress for the loft etc. However, if he really did think of this himself and built some of it, Kudos for that!

    • James D. November 28, 2017, 6:29 pm

      Jaroslaw, he has a youtube channel and you can see over the course of multiple videos how he built it and how much was all him and how much he had help with but he did do most of it… Including financing it as he actually works… Doing things like mowing, garden work, and other jobs around the neighborhood and got things either with reclaimed materials he gathered up or saved up for…

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