Mother Of Four Builds Family House Using YouTube Tutorials


Building a house without prior construction experience seems like a piece of cake for this family as Cara Brookins and her four kids have built a double-story, five bedroom house by just watching tutorials on YouTube.

Photo: Cara Brookins / Facebook

Cara Brookins wrote her story in the book ‘Rise, How a House Built a Family’, where she narrates how she and her four kids (ages 7, 15, 11 and 2) ran away from her abusive husband to look for a better life. Initially, she moved into a small home outside of Little Rock, Arkansas. Although she did try to buy a house at first, yet, owing to the high costs of the available houses, she couldn’t afford to buy any.

One day, she passed by a house that had been ravaged by a tornado. All of its inner workings were exposed, which motivated Cara to undertake the life-altering challenge.

Photo: Cara Brookins / Facebook

Cara told CBS News,

“I had rented this cabin for a Thanksgiving getaway. And driving there, we passed this house that had been ravaged by a tornado. It was this beautiful dream house and it was sort of wide open. You don’t often get the opportunity to see the interior workings of a house, but looking at these 2x4s and these nails, it just looked so simple. I thought, ‘I could put this wall back up if I really tried. Maybe I should just start from scratch.’”

Photo: Cara Brookins / Facebook

Cara sold her small property to buy an acre of land and supplies to start building the dream home. Obviously, she had no experience in construction, so she began by watching YouTube videos and listing all the tools and techniques needed to pull this project off.

“Once I had bought all these supplies and they were all piled up, there was no way out,” she recalls. “There wasn’t enough money to pay anyone to put them together. There was no plan B.”

Photo: Cara Brookins / Facebook

It turned out that YouTube was a sufficient source of information on building the house.

“This was 2008, so YouTube was not then what it is now. There weren’t really comprehensive videos or channels devoted to this sort of thing,” Brookins recalls.” “But there’s a lot of ways to frame a window or to put a foundation together. So, we would watch three or four videos for each stage of construction and then think, ‘Which one of these is going to work the best for us?’”

Photo: Cara Brookins / Facebook

Cara took nine months to build the beautiful house. She mentioned that she couldn’t have done it without her kids.

“They were all in,” the woman said proudly. “My biggest fear was that my teenagers would wake up and say, ‘No, I’m not doing this.’ And it never happened. It was the first time they had felt any sort of power, any sort of control over their lives. And they knew how much they needed it. The entire process brought our family closer together and we learned that nothing is impossible. We found new hope,”

Photo: Cara Brookins / Facebook

Surprisingly enough, the building passed every city code inspection. Even the inspectors were astonished to find out that complex processes like hand-mixing the mortar for the foundation, running gas lines and framing walls were completed by Cara and her kids.

“I think they thought I was crazy,” Brookins joked. “There wasn’t a single person that thought this was a good idea aside from my kids. But to me, at the time, it felt like the only answer.”

Photo: Cara Brookins/Facebook

In March 2009, Cara and her children finally moved into their brand new five-bedroom home. They named  it“Inkwell Manor.” The house also features a library, three-car garage, a car workshop and even a two-storey tree house, which consumed about $130,000 in total. Currently, the house is valued at $500,000.

Cara narrates all these adventures in her book

“I never intended to write a book, it was very private because we were very ashamed that we had got to this place. I didn’t even tell my coworkers,” she said. “But eventually it became something I had to do to let go of this shame.”

Do you also appreciate this family’s efforts in building the house? Comment below!

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