Mom Uses YouTube to Build a House for Her Family of Four

Proving You Can Learn Anything From YouTube, a Mom and Her Four Kids Built Themselves a House

If you want an example of technology making possible something that was unthinkable only a few decades ago, look no further. A couple of weeks, word got out of a pretty triumphant story out of Arkansas — a mother and her four kids building their own home.

The house was more than just a passion project. In 2008, Cara Brookins found herself escaping an abusive marriage with her four children, and without enough money to purchase a new house outright. But, even in 2008 (just imagine what you can find now), there were enough YouTube tutorials guiding viewers through the process of building a home, and while Brookins didn’t have enough money to hire builders, she had her own homegrown construction team. Along with her kids and occasional paid help from a firefighter with experience in construction, Brookins bought land in Bryant, Arkansas, plus $130,000 worth of building supplies with money raised through selling another property she owned.

One year later, the result was a 3,500-square foot five bedroom house (a bedroom for each kid, not a bad exchange for helping out with the home building) dubbed Inkwell Manor, where the family lives today.

But 2009 was a while ago — why the news now? Well, if you’re going to do something rad like build a home using YouTube tutorials with your kids, and you’re an author, I guess there’s an obvious conclusion there. Brookins has written a book about her experience called Rise: How a House Built a Family. The book was published this week, so if you’re hurting for some inspirational reading, you might want to give it a look.