This Mom and Her Four Children Built The House of Their Dreams Using YouTube Tutorials
Lifestyle| | By Margo Gothelf
Meet Cara Brookins, a single mother from Bryant, Arkansas who took a DIY project to the next level.
After spending the majority of her 20s and 30s in abusive relationships, Brookins and her family needed a fresh start. Brookins, who is an author, didn’t have the funds to purchase her dream home, so she decided to build it herself with the help of YouTube.
“Things can get a little expensive when you are escaping an abusive relationship and have four children,” Brookins told Indianapolis television station WXIN.
Brookins got her initial inspiration after she saw a house that had been hit by a tornado. The foundation of the house remained, but the rest of the home had been destroyed.
“It made me think, ‘what if we bought some 2’x4’s and sheetrock and put that together? What would our dream house be? Would we want to build it?’” Brookins told BuzzFeed.
With the help of a bank loan of $150,000, Brookins and her kids went to work building the house of their dreams.
“We were exceptionally naive, but sometimes ignorance takes the place of courage,” Brookins told BuzzFeed.
The whole project took the family about nine months to complete. Brookins oldest son, Drew, helped compile the blueprints for approval, while her other children helped move lumber and mix supplies for the foundation.
“The entire process brought our family closer together and we learned that nothing is impossible. We found new hope,” Brookins said to Fox 59.
“Slowly and painfully we learned how to take direction from one another, how to laugh, how to be funny,” she told ABC News. “We learned how to communicate.”
While YouTube was a major help, it didn’t have all of the answers Brookins needed. The single mother ended up hiring a worker she met from Home Depot and paid him $25 per hour. She also got help installing the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning.
While the house ended up being a success, the process wasn’t something Brookins was initially proud of.
“Building our own house wasn’t something we were proud of at the time,” she wrote on her website. “We kept it largely secret even from my coworkers and the kids’ friends. The shame surrounding domestic violence takes a lot of work to sweat away. Little by little, we found our strength and our family bonds.”
“I felt so much shame that I had allowed my life to fall so low, and that my kids had witnessed so many terrible things,” Brookins told Your Daily Dish via Facebook. “To be so far down that your most sane option is to build your own house feels pretty bad. But by the time we finished I was feeling pretty fearless. I started to believe that other people who had been through tough things should know that if they set a big goal to accomplish something seemingly impossible, it would forever change how they saw themselves.”
— Cara Brookins (@cmbrookins) January 16, 2017
On March 31, 2009, the Brookins family was able to move into their finished project, Inkwell Manor. The 3,500-square-foot DIY house has five bedrooms and a personal library.
Brookins even wrote a book about the whole experience, which she hopes will inspire other “to never think small.”
“I never intended to write a book. I was ashamed. But I think it is important to shift your perspective on any negative situation and do something big,” Brookins told Indianapolis television station WXIN. “Never think of your situation as a solo journey. You can heal and grow together with your family.”
Brookins never expected her story to impact so many people.
“The response has completely blown me away. Here I am telling everyone to dream impossibly big and I never dreamed this big!” Brookins told Your Daily Dish. “I worried so much that people would focus on a different aspect of the story than I intended. Now I see comments to news stories and it’s women tagging each other saying, ‘We could totally do this!’ or ‘I can see you doing this!'”
She continued, “And it isn’t just women. So many men and women of all ages from all over the world are reaching out and believing they can do anything they set their mind too. This story isn’t about me building a house, it’s believing that if a 110 pound computer programmer can build a house with her kids then anyone can build a bigger life.”
A post shared by Cara Brookins (@carabrookins) on
Cara Brookins book, “Rise: How a House Built a Family,” comes out on January 24. Find out more on her website here.