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Cara Brookins was looking for a change. She had gone through two nasty divorces, had considerable debt, and four children who were looking to her to care for them.

The problem was, Brookins knew that she needed a home for her family but she didn’t have the money to get builders to do it. That is when she turned to YouTube and used some DIY tutorials to get started. In the end, she built a home.

Photo: YouTube / Inside Edition

At first, Brookins thought that she would buy a home, but she couldn’t find one that was suitable for her family. She began researching after finding an acre of land in Arkansas, just outside of Little Rock. In the evenings, she would watch videos and started gathering the materials and tools she needed to complete the task.

Photo: YouTube / Inside Edition

This all took place starting in 2008 and the home she wanted to build was estimated to cost about $130,000 in supplies. In order to get started, she sold a small piece of property and got her children involved. Hope, Drew and Jada, and Roman ranged in age from two years old up to 17, and they helped in their own way.

For example, Drew is her oldest son and she was able to get blueprints approved by the city after he helped her draw them. It took nine months for her and her children to work on the home and they did everything as a family. They also grew closer together in the process and in her words, they “found new hope.”

Photo: YouTube / Inside Edition

If you’ve ever used YouTube to accomplish a DIY project, you realize that it isn’t a perfect system. There were plenty of gaps that needed to be filled in, and a local firefighter was able to help provide some building experience. When she was able to afford his assistance, she would pay him $25 an hour and he would chip in.

It took a while, but the home was finally completed on March 31, 2009. Brookins and her family moved into the 3,500 square-foot house, which they affectionately named “Inkwell Manner”.

Photo: YouTube / Inside Edition

Brandi also put her writing experience to work, producing a book: “Rise: How a House Built a Family”. Even though she didn’t start out writing a book, she did her best to turn something negative into something positive.

In the end, perhaps she sums it up best when she says: “Never think of your situation as a solo journey. You can heal and grow together with your family.”

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