Meet the Woman Who Built a Five-Bedroom House by Watching YouTube Tutorials
Setting an unbelievable precedent of perseverance, Cara Brookins and her family built a house with five bedrooms, at a cost of ₹88.36 lakh, by simply drawing information and instructions from YouTube tutorials.
A single mother to four young children, Cara Brookins' life had never been easy. Her first husband suffered from extreme paranoid schizophrenia. After ending a tumultuous marriage, she got married again, to a man who seemed strong and protective. Recovering from a volatile situation, her second husband looked like everything Brookins and her family needed at the time. However, things took an ugly turn when he physically and mentally abused her.
Yet again, Brookins was left alone. And with four young children, aged 17, 15, 11 and 18 months, the situation seemed strenuous. With limited resources, she could only manage a place big enough for all her children to share a room.
While driving past a tornado-ravaged house, Brookins saw the bare structure needed to build a house. “There’s not much in there, it doesn’t look that complicated,” she remembered thinking to herself. While speaking to The Blaze, Brookins said that the desolate house, waiting to be rebuilt from scratch, reminded her of her life.
She took a bank loan to cover the cost of raw material, and bought an acre of land. Her children too shared her enthusiasm, and seemed happy at the prospect of not having to share a room.
She was helped by her 15-year-old son, who drew the house plans on paper. The young boy was also in charge of the nail gun at the construction site. Her daughters, while looking after their younger brother, took turns to complete tasks at the construction site.
Every night, Brookins would go home and search on Google and YouTube for instructions on how to go about completing the task she had set for herself. It was from the internet that she learnt how to frame a window. Possessing a flip phone with no camera, Brookins would watch the videos on her home computer in the evening, and relied on her memory to build the same in the morning.
“It was a lot of asking questions, being humble, and being willing to look like an idiot,” Brookins said. “But when you’re that low, how much further can you really fall? Being that low really makes you more fearless — what else have you got to lose...You become so defensive in that place of low self-esteem, and you have to learn how to laugh and work together again.”
On her website, she revealed that she was not proud of building the house. “Building our own house wasn’t something we were proud of at the time...Looking back, I can talk about how we were empowered, but for us at the time, it was a project of shame...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.”
If it was difficult for her family, it was worse for Brookins. She had to complete the uphill task, and maintain a brave face in front of her children. “All of these kids are looking up at me with these big eyes and broken hearts and I just thought to myself, ‘I’ve got to pull this together,’” she said.
As they were building the house within city limits, city inspectors would frequently drop by to ensure everything was according to code.
Apart from the electricity and plumbing, the 3,500 square-foot house, which has five bedrooms and a three-car garage, was built entirely by Brookins and her children.
Later, she wrote a book to share her experience with others. Titled Rise, How A House Built A Family, the book releases on January 24. Brookins, who spent six years writing the book, hopes the book will inspire others stranded in similar situations.
“It became a way for me to own my history,” Brookins said. “Make a crazy big goal, do something that seems impossible and it will change how you see yourself. For us, it was building a house.”