Most 13-year-olds dream of building a tree-house. Not Luke. This young boy, from Iowa, USA, was inspired to build something far greater than that. After all, what teenager doesn’t dream of whisking himself away and living on his own?
Luke isn’t like most boys. He decided to build his own actual house! You might think this would cost him (or his parents) hundreds of thousands of dollars. The truth is that it actually cost him far less – try $1,500! But how? Let’s read about his amazing journey…
Let’s start at all good places – the beginning! Luke had always wanted his own home to enjoy. The idea of a ‘starter home’ came to him one night when he thought about his future and what it meant to be a responsible adult.
Why not start early? Luke decided to take up some odd jobs around the community. These jobs included mowing lawns or tutoring younger students. After a few months, he was collecting the funds he needed.
What causes a young man to decide to build his own house? It’s an interesting idea – not one that comes to every 13-year-old! Well, Luke was watching Youtube one day when he came across a video demonstrating a tiny house.
“What a great idea,” Luke thought to himself. Suddenly, he was impassioned to try this himself. Hye made a playlist on the video platform dedicated to DIY and construction. Before long, he had hours of footage to review.
Not Your Average Teenager
There was one more reason that Luke had to build his house. Aside from the excitement of the project and the possibility of having a home – what else was there to gain? Well, Luke is no ordinary child.
The truth is, he was bored during summer vacation! What are kids supposed to do all day for three months – play video games? Luke enjoyed being outside and wanted to spend as much of his summer in the sun as possible.
Of course, when you’re a 13-year-old student, you can’t just wake up one day and build and house! You need permission from your parents, of course. What did they say when he told them he planned to build his own home in the back yard?
Well, they thought it was a great idea! What other child shows such high levels of ambition and motivation? They granted him permission to build anywhere he wanted on the property. So, with the funds and planning permission granted – he was ready to go!
Setting The Rules
Even though this was Luke’s house, it was still Dad’s land – meaning Dad’s rules! Luke’s father, Greg, set three major rules that his son had to follow. First, Luke had to fund the entire project on his own. Second, he had to build it on his own. Finally, Luke would be the owner of the house.
These seemed to be the core values instilled into Luke as he started his project. Little did he know at the time, but these three rules would teach him integrity, personal and fiscal responsibility, and discipline.
The Proud Father
Greg went into a little more information about how and why he set these rules for Luke. After all, it’s not everyday that a teenager asks to build a house! How they responded to his request would set them apart from other teachers.
“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, and choose the materials and stay in the budget.” That’s some solid advice for a young child.
However, naturally things come up and plans change. Ultimately, Greg understood that Luke couldn’t build the entire house on his own. He didn’t have the strength or experience to build a whole house on his own. We’re hardly surprised by this news!
So, Greg decided to let Luke do as much as possible on his own, and would only help if absolutely necessary. Ultimately, this meant that Luke learnt most of the skills he needed as he went along.
Learning The Ropes
As the project evolved and changed, Luke adopted new skills. First, he learnt the importance of good budgeting. This was one of the first things he had to do when planning the project from start to finish. Thanks, Microsoft Excel!
As the project progressed, Luke’s skills improved. Soon enough, he learnt how to frame a structure, communicate with adults clearly, and even wire a house! Best of all, these skills were transferable to other aspects of his life. But how?
Greg was delighted to see his son adopt such great life skills outside of the classroom. What a fantastic way to spend a summer break! After all, what could video games possibly teach a child that’s more important than this?
We tend to agree with Greg on this one. Can you imagine getting back from a summer break and telling your friends that you built a whole house? This is definitely something he would take with him for life. Let’s take a look at how he did it…
First things first: Luke needed the money. He achieved this by mowing lawns in the WInter and Spring, as well as running online campaigns to help crowdfund his passion project. Here was his first lesson: raising money is hard!
As time went on, some projects would succeed and others would fail. This meant that he was already learning the difficulties of financing – something that would come in handy when he started working for a living. So, what worked? Let’s find out.
The Bartering System
Luke learned quickly that he didn’t have the skills some of the essential jobs needed. And since most of his money went towards the products, how could he afford the services? Well, this is when he learned one of his most important lessons: the power of trade.
Luke needed someone to help him wire the house. So, he asked his neighbor for assistance and in return he would clean his garage. When he needed the carpet installed, he invited a Scout leader to help in exchange for mowing his lawn!
A Proud Father
As time went on, Greg noticed a difference in Luke. Suddenly, his son was walking around with his shoulders back and head held high. He could see his 13-year-old negotiating deals, offering services in exchange for more services. Quickly, he was becoming a tradesman in front of his own eyes.
Even when Luke ran out of money, he worked hard to lift himself up and finish the project. Greg explains, “There were times when the project got stalled out and he had to earn more money for the next phase. He wouldn’t let it go and kept working at it.”
Less Is More
One of the ways that Luke managed to save money along the way was by sticking to a frugal design. He knew he didn’t want to go overboard with fancy products and snazzy features for his new home. Luke the Minimalist!
To be honest, if we were building our own home from scratch then we would also be fairly minimal with any additional features! “I didn’t want a house with a huge mortgage,” said Luke. Good thinking, buddy!
Gifts From The Community
After a while, people in the community started hearing about Luke and his project. They were so impressed by the young lad that they wanted to help any way they could. A friend of one of his uncles was so inspired by the young builder that he gifted him the front door!
That’s a massive gift when you consider that the door would have been a huge expense in the budget. After that, Luke also received items like windows, shelves, and frames from other generous people. We’re sure it was a massive help.
The best thing about this new project is how mindful it was of the environment. In fact, three quarters of the entire house was built with recycled materials. Due to its size and percentage of environmentally friendly qualities, this makes it one of the most sustainable houses in the world!
That’s quite an accomplishment for such a young child. Well, shall we say young man! After all, how many teenagers do you know who were achieving such impressive things at his age?
How Big Is The House?
Overall, the house was around 10 feet long and 5 ½ feet wide. Although it might be a tight squeeze for most, Luke thought it was absolutely perfect. It was exactly what he wanted both in terms of design and privacy.
For the first time in his life, Luke could design a home exactly how he wanted. So, what did he choose to do with the space? Well, let’s take a look inside and see what he did. You might be surprised with what was accomplished.
A Look Inside
As you can see, he spared no expense with the interior design! Judging by these snapshots, we can see that he decorated it just like a real house. It has paintings on the walls, marble walls, and even a TV plugged into the walls.
Can you imagine how much fun he must have had in building this? It truly is a testament to the fruits of his labor. Now, he can sit back and relax in his brand new home. What would you do with something like this?
Where Is The Bedroom?
You might not believe this, but Luke even planned to have a SECOND floor built at the top for his bedroom. Not only was this a cool room to hang out in and relax, but he could actually sleep in there. Suddenly, there was no reason to go to the main house anymore!
How did the council allow this new property? Well, planning permissions technically called it a ‘glorified shed’, which means they didn’t break any rules with its construction. He was safe to have it all for himself. However, the news would soon spread…
Making The News
When you live in a small town with 58,000 people, news is sure to spread quickly. Before long, the local news stations paid Luke a visit and he would spend the rest of his summer being interviewed by journalists about his project.
They all called him an inspiration for the time and effort he put into building his passion. From now on, he could be considered an example of hard work and motivation for all his peers. We’re proud of you, Luke!