A Mom Built an 3,500 Square Foot Home Watching YouTube Videos

posted: 01/26/17
by: Amanda Mushro

If you've ever wanted to tackle a DIY project in your home after watching a YouTube video, let a single mom of four inspire you. Cara Brookins, along with her children, built a 3,500 square-foot home by using skills they learned from watching YouTube videos.

In 2007, Brookins, who had recently ended an abusive marriage, drove past a cabin in the Ozark Mountains with her four kids. The home had been destroyed by a tornado, but Brookins was immediately inspired.

In an interview with NBC she said "I stopped and got out to look at it and could see inside the walls. I thought, 'I bet I could put this back up if I really tried.'" So she did what we all do when we need a quick tutorial, she watched YouTube videos.

It didn't take long for her kids to feel just as excited and inspired. "The kids joined in and started drawing floor plans on little notepads," she said. She applied and was approved for a construction loan and got to work.

While we are familiar with the current search options of YouTube, this was 2008 and things were quite different. "YouTube in 2008 was unorganized," she said. "They were mostly amateur videos." Remember this was also pre-smartphone days so no googling on the job site. They'd watch the videos at night and then apply what they learned the next day. "There was a lot of 'Do you remember how to...?'" she said.

Since the terms of the construction loan said the project needed to be completed in nine months, only covered supplies, and Brookins was working a full time job, that meant the whole family had to roll up their sleeves and help.

According to Brookins, the hardest part of the construction was the foundation. However, it wasn't long before they not only saw their house coming together but they felt like they were beginning to heal. "We gained muscle. We gained confidence. We learned how to laugh. We learned how to communicate."

While some of the tasks like the brick on the outside of the home and the electrical system, was done by professionals, it was the Brookins family that built the house from the ground up. When completed, they named their new home Inkwell Manor, which boasts five bedrooms, two-and-a-half bathrooms, and a three-car garage.

While the experience was challenging, Brookins always kept perspective saying "I kept hearing advice, like 'just get out of bed, just make pot of coffee.' If my goal is only to get out of bed, I'd never accomplish anything,"