Home & Garden My Four Kids And I Built Our Own House After Watching YouTube Tutorials

09:10  13 march  2017
09:10  13 march  2017 Source:   Country Living

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By Kate Storey. Jan 17, 2017. Cara Brookins had never built anything larger than a bookcase. She had no background in architecture, contracting, plumbing or electrical work. She didn't even watch HGTV or Bob Vila.

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But as she looked at her four children sleeping in their small rental cabin in the Ozark Mountains- their temporary sanctuary from an abusive relationship she'd just escaped - Brookins decided to take on the project of her life: They would build a 3,500-square-foot, two-story home with their very own hands.

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Home » My Four Kids And I Built Our Own House After Watching Youtube Tutorials .

After escaping two abusive marriages, this mother of four decided to build a house from scratch with the help of her kids . Having no previous knowledge of how to accomplish the task, she turned to YouTube … Credit: Cara Brookins.

"We needed a place to live. And with everything that happened with us, it was such a natural, obvious thing that this is what we do - and I know how crazy that sounds," Brookins tells CountryLiving.com. "There was that thing in my head that said, 'I'm going to lose these kids, emotionally - I'm going to lose my teenagers.'"

It was 2007, and then 37-year-old Brookins had just left her abusive relationship. Along with her children, she fled to a small cottage, careful not to write down the address anywhere, so that her ex couldn't follow them there. But every time her children heard the wheels of a car grinding past the windows, they held their breath for fear he'd found them.

While driving around the country to keep their minds busy one afternoon, she saw a two-story home that made her stop in her tracks. She pulled into the driveway and, without really knowing what drew her, peeked into the window and gasped at the perfect calm of the quaint, cozy home. It was big - much more than what she could afford on her programmer's salary. But it would fit her large family, and she could imagine them finally feeling comfortable and safe there. After spending the rest of the evening daydreaming about how she could make a new life for her family in a home like that, she made the rash decision to take things into her own hands and build the house herself. After years of feeling scared and uncertain, Brookins felt strong, confident, and invincible when armed with this new plan. So, she didn't let herself second guess it - or think about the overwhelming odds stacked against her.

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Believe it or not, YouTube can be used for more than just watching cat videos. In fact, a mother and her four kids , all whom escaped domestic violence and decided to ‘start over’, utilized the popular video platform to build a house from scratch.

But even more surprising? When she told her kids - ages 17, 15, 11, and 2 - about her wild idea the next morning, they were totally on board. The older two had been on a church trip to Mexico, where they helped build homes. But, of course, those were simple concrete buildings that they learned to erect with the help of professionals.

"The kids were like, of course, we're going to build a house. It was as natural and obvious to them as I was to me," she says. "We all knew it was going to be hard but had no idea what we were getting into. Sometimes ignorance takes the place of courage."

Brookins managed to haggle down the price on an acre of land in Arkansas. Then, she tried to convince a banker that - even though she wasn't a contractor and wouldn't be working with one - she deserved a construction loan.

After hearing, "Sorry, we only loan to licensed contractors" a few times, she finally found a loan officer willing to give her the money and nine months to complete the project.

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Tags: Mother And Four Kids Build Their Own House Using Youtube Tutorial Videos, Cara Brookins, Little Rock Arkansas, Inkwell Manor, Inspirational Story. Like this? Please share & join us. Related Neatorama Posts.

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As research, the family gathered around their computer to watch YouTube videos of people around the country building houses. When she felt like she had the hang of what materials would be required for the initial steps - like laying the foundation and constructing the framing - completed, she called in their first big order of supplies.

<span style=Brookins's 11-year-old daughter Jade helps lay the home's foundation." src="/upload/images/real/2017/03/13/span-style-color-999999-font-family-memphis-georgia-times-serif-font-size-14px-letter-spacing-0-42px_366226_.jpg" /> © Courtesy of Cara Brookins Brookins's 11-year-old daughter Jade helps lay the home's foundation. "Looking at that pile of supplies, I was like, What have I done?" she says. "There was no way out. I thought, There's all the stuff I have to build a house and if we can't do it, I can't pay anyone to do it for us. There's no money left. That was a really scary point."

Just before Christmas, with no way to back out, Brookins and the kids started their epic project, marking off the base of their future home with pink string. They'd head to the construction site from school and the office and work until after the sun set. This was more than 10 years ago, which means they didn't have smart phones to watch clips from the site. So they'd study videos at night and then talk through the process while they were building.

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Along the way, Brookins met kind people willing to lend a hand - like the guy with a backhoe who helped her dig the home's footer before they laid the foundation. And there was the electrician she found willing to put in the electricity pole on the cheap if Brookins had all of the parts ready and waiting for him (that was one task the city wasn't willing to let her do with no experience).

The Brookins tackled the framing all on their own. Sure, they ended up using twice as much lumber as they needed and it wasn't perfectly straight, but, today, Brookins breaks into a broad smile when remembering framing their home.

<span style=Brookins and her son, Drew, frame the house." src="/upload/images/real/2017/03/13/span-style-color-999999-font-family-memphis-georgia-times-serif-font-size-14px-letter-spacing-0-42px_55046_.jpg" /> © Courtesy of Cara Brookins Brookins and her son, Drew, frame the house. "Those were the best days," she says. "You're dealing with two-by-sixes and two-by-fours, which are lighter than big concrete blocks, and it turns three-dimensional very quickly. So, we'd be saying, I'm standing in my library or I'm standing in my bedroom. And suddenly, here are the walls."

Willing to accept any help she could get, Brookins took up the offer of a man she met in the hardware store who claimed to be an old pro at house-building. Although he'd pop over from time to time to give advice on things like how to fix the crooked framing, he quickly proved unreliable (and she later found out he was exaggerating his experience). They were on their own, again.

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Her four kids lent a helping hand on the project, which only took nine months. Single mum builds her own HOUSE after watching YouTube videos. Courageous Cara knew that while she couldn’t afford a new home, she did have enough money for building materials.

Instructions: Stand all four shutters up and form the table shape; The four shutters together will make a square base. Grab a friend to hold the shutters in place, then measure the width of one shutter. My Four Kids And I Built Our Own House After Watching YouTube Tutorials .

Brookins learned a sneaky trick to help ensure she was on the right track.

"The city inspector would come and he would inspect, and I'd ask, So, what are you inspecting next? And as he told me, I'd be thinking, Okay, so that's what I need to do next," Brookins laughs. "He became my how-to guide without even knowing it."

Any advice was helpful as the family entered the complicated steps of plumbing and gas.

"I assumed we'd hire someone to do the plumbing. But I talked to two different plumbers and it was just too expensive," she says. "The plumbing wasn't scary - the gas lines, I was really afraid to do. I thought we were all going to blow up! I tested them with air and it was okay."

<span style=Even little Roman gets involved in the family project." src="/upload/images/real/2017/03/13/span-style-color-999999-font-family-memphis-georgia-times-serif-font-size-14px-letter-spacing-0-42px_156297_.jpg" /> © Courtesy of Cara Brookins Even little Roman gets involved in the family project. The three older kids, Hope, Drew, and Jade, were invaluable helpers. Eleven-year-old Jade got her hands dirty laying mud for the foundation, while 15-year-old Drew was more than happy to show off his skills with the nail gun. The kids would come to the site straight from school - giving up the chance to hang out with friends or just relax in front of the TV - to hammer, drill, and dig. Then, when the sun set, they'd take Roman, the toddler, home to give him a bath and put him to bed.

<span style=Drew shows off his nail-gun skills." src="/upload/images/real/2017/03/13/span-style-color-999999-font-family-memphis-georgia-times-serif-font-size-14px-letter-spacing-0-42px_271876_.jpg" /> © Courtesy of Cara Brookins Drew shows off his nail-gun skills. "I would beat myself up, thinking, There is so much hard stuff left to come and they are trapped. They know there's no way out. What have I done?" she remembers. "Every parent knows their kids are going to go through hard things and will come out stronger. But it's tougher to put them in the place that breaks them. And I didn't know that it would be worth it. I didn't know that they would stick with it and that they would feel more powerful and not more broken."

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With no prior knowledge of building a house , they were able to build their own house just by watching YouTube tutorials . She details their struggles and triumphs in building their own house in her book, Rise: How A House Built A Family.

So, over the course of the next nine months, Brookins, a 110-pound computer analyst, and her four kids built their dream home from the ground up. Mom builds house for her family using YouTube tutorials .

<span style=Brookins says construction left her physically and mentally exhausted." src="/upload/images/real/2017/03/13/span-style-color-999999-font-face-memphis-georgia-times-serif-span-style-font-size-14px-letter-spaci_267621_.jpg" /> © Courtesy of Cara Brookins Brookins says construction left her physically and mentally exhausted. But they didn't complain - and the family forged ahead.

Nobody knew what Brookins and her children were up to.

"We didn't tell anyone we were building a house because it was shameful. It was embarrassing," she says. "Obviously you do this because you're poor. I had allowed us to be put in a financial situation where this was our best option. My colleagues knew I was 'building a house,' but they assumed I had a contractor and people doing the manual labor. I hid bruises and stained hands at work. The wardrobe definitely changed."

And things just got harder - not easier - as their nine-month window neared its end.

"The last few weeks were so hard - I slept eight hours a week," she says. "I will never know how we finished it."

<span style=Brookins tackles the finishing details: Tiling the floors." src="/upload/images/real/2017/03/13/span-style-color-999999-font-family-memphis-georgia-times-serif-font-size-14px-letter-spacing-0-42px_703891_.jpg" /> © Courtesy of Cara Brookins Brookins tackles the finishing details: Tiling the floors. While installing faucets may seem like a breeze compared to laying gas lines, the last-minute mistakes were daunting. After deciding from a YouTube video that laying concrete countertops would be a simple option, Brookins went to Lowe's to ask for concrete.

"Turns out, we were mixing Quickrete [the industrial material used to make sidewalks] to make our countertops - we pour it and try to make it smooth and come back the next day and it's rough like a sidewalk," she says. "You can't spread peanut butter on that and clean it off. And we didn't have time for mistakes!"

After tiling over the rocky countertops and checking off the list of final details, the last inspection day finally came. They passed - and got their certificate of occupancy. But crossing that monumental finish line didn't feel like an accomplishment for Brookins.

<span style=Inkwell Manor starts to take shape." src="/upload/images/real/2017/03/13/span-style-color-999999-font-family-memphis-georgia-times-serif-font-size-14px-letter-spacing-0-42px_74727_.jpg" /> © Courtesy of Cara Brookins Inkwell Manor starts to take shape. "I still wasn't sure it was worth it. It broke us. I was physically exhausted; we were mentally exhausted," she says. "My mom died the day we moved in, so it was like, this is when life is supposed to get easier."

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My Four Kids And I Built Our Own House After Watching YouTube Tutorials .

<span style=The dining room at Inkwell Manor today." src="/upload/images/real/2017/03/13/span-style-color-999999-font-family-memphis-georgia-times-serif-font-size-14px-letter-spacing-0-42px_631200_.jpg" /> © Gareth Patterson The dining room at Inkwell Manor today. But four months after the family moved in, Brookins overheard a conversation between her children, Jada and Drew.

"Jada was dealing with teenage mean-girl stuff and constant, I cant, I don't. I was in another room, and she and Drew were doing something together and Drew just said outright, You built your own damn house, you can do anything," she remembers. "At that moment, I knew it was worth it."

<span style=It tooks months before Brookins felt like the project was worthwhile." src="/upload/images/real/2017/03/13/span-style-color-999999-font-family-memphis-georgia-times-serif-font-size-14px-letter-spacing-0-42px_277319_.jpg" /> © Gareth Patterson It tooks months before Brookins felt like the project was worthwhile. Today, Brookins still lives in the home she and her family have dubbed InkWell Manor. Her favorite room in the house is her library, where she spent hours writing her memoir, Rise: How a House Built a Family, which details her family's story and mission to build their own home.

<span style=Brookins's favorite room in the house is her library, where she wrote her memoir, Rise: How a House Built a Family." src="/upload/images/real/2017/03/13/span-style-color-999999-font-family-memphis-georgia-times-serif-font-size-14px-letter-spacing-0-42px_724316_.jpg" /> © Gareth Patterson Brookins's favorite room in the house is her library, where she wrote her memoir, Rise: How a House Built a Family. All four children temporarily moved back home to prepare for the launch of the book. And while she's happy to have everyone together - "They built the house, so they are welcome to come back anytime they want" - she's most proud of the confidence the kids have had to break out on their own.

"Drew moved up to Alaska and Jade moved into the mountains in a tent in the ice and snow, and Hope moved to D.C. and Los Angeles," she says. "You see them making these fearless leaps into the world and I think, They would not have been those confident, brave people if we hadn't built our own home."

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Why advanced maternal age could make you a better mom .
Women who wait to get pregnant until later in life are likely to have kids with fewer emotional and behavioural problems, researchers found.Tired of hearing about the risks of having a baby when you’re past the age of 35? Us too. Luckily, the latest research on advanced maternal age gives you the ultimate comeback: Older moms are better moms.

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