Using 'Hundreds Of YouTube' Tutorials, This Single Mom Built A Huge House With Her Four Kids

"Quit waiting for good things to find you. Go build them."

In 2007, Cara Brookins was a single mom with four kids, struggling to find a safe space for her family after a turbulent marriage. The mom from Arkansas figured out an idea for that safe space when she and her kids, Roman, Jada, Hope, and Drew, were returning home from a weekend away and came across a house that had been hit by a tornado.


The house only had the foundation left, but Brookins thought the location would be perfect for a new home.

She explained to BuzzFeed, "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?' "

The family decided they did, despite none of them having any previous building experience and the kids being just 2, 11, 15, and 17 at the time. But with the help of a $150,000 bank loan to fund the house, and hundreds of YouTube construction tutorials, the family was able to get started and build a house from scratch.  

"My kids were so weak and small when we started this project," Brookins told A Plus via email. "All our energy went toward survival with nothing left for setting goals or dreaming of a big future. Then I realized that I'd been trapped by the idea of just taking baby steps." 

"I decided to set an impossibly big goal in order to change the way we saw ourselves," Brookins told A Plus.

Courtesy of Cara Brookins

The family often worked 20 hour days, but were fortunate enough to get help with the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning according to ABC News.

Courtesy of Cara Brookins

Nine months of hard work resulted in Inkwell Manor, a 3,500 square foot house with five bedrooms.

Courtesy of Cara Brookins

Brookins also writes on her website that the house boasts a three-car garage, a huge shop, and a two-story tree house. 

While the house is impressive, the experience of building it together also had a profound impact on the family as Brookins said in a video that the family has learned to better communicate with each other, and their levels of self-confidence have gone up. 

Courtesy of Cara Brookins

"After we built the house we each came away with the sense that absolutely anything was possible," she told A Plus. "Today our dreams are ridiculous, crazy things and we don’t doubt for one second that we’ll achieve them."

Courtesy of Cara Brookins

It also taught Brookins a valuable life lesson: "Quit waiting for good things to find you. Go build them." As she says in her video, "If you want to achieve great things, start with a step so big, so impossible, that it forever changes who you are."

Brookins is even tracing her family's story in a memoir called Rise that will be released Jan. 24. 

Courtesy of Cara Brookins

Check out the video of Brookins to find out more:

CORRECTION: This story originally reported that Brookins and her family built on top of an already existing foundation. The family, in fact, built the house from scratch. 


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