It’s hard to believe that a family with no construction experience could build a two-storey, five-bedroom house all by themselves, by watching tutorials on YouTube, but Cara Brookins and her four kids are living proof that it can be done. Their amazing story is now the subject of a book – ‘Rise, How a House Built a Family’.
In 2008, Cara Brookins took her four children (ages 7, 15, 11 and 2) and left her abusive husband in search of a better life. They moved into a tiny home outside of Little Rock, Arkansas, for a while, while they looked for place that could comfortably house her four kids. Her initial plan was to buy a house, but she quickly realized that they were either too expensive or too small for their needs. One day, they passed by a house ravaged by a tornado that had all of its inner workings exposed. It was this sight that inspired them to undertake a challenge that would change their lives.
“I had rented this cabin for a Thanksgiving getaway,” Cara told CBS News. “And driving there, we passed this house that had been ravaged by a tornado. It was this beautiful dream house and it was sort of wide open. You don’t often get the opportunity to see the interior workings of a house, but looking at these 2x4s and these nails, it just looked so simple. I thought, ‘I could put this wall back up if I really tried. Maybe I should just start from scratch.’”
Surprisingly, despite their lack of knowledge or experience, the house still managed to pass every city building code inspection. They did such a good job on everything, from hand-mixing the mortar for the foundation to running gas lines and framing walls, that the inspectors were surprised to learn that Cara and her kids had done it all themselves. “I think they thought I was crazy,” Brookins joked. “There wasn’t a single person that thought this was a good idea aside from my kids. But to me, at the time, it felt like the only answer.