Skip to main content

Using nothing but YouTube tutorials, woman built house from the ground up

Mother Of 4 Builds House From Scratch By Watching YouTube Videos
In this generation of self-starters and self-made women and men, do-it-yourself isn’t just an option, it’s a way of life. And if there’s not an app for that, chances are there’s a YouTube video for it. That was certainly the case for a woman named Cara Brookins, who is living proof that if you’re willing to learn, you absolutely can.

Yes we built our house by watching YouTube and working looooong hrs. @redneek24 @DailyMirror #RiseAndBuild pic.twitter.com/VD4aiqqnHR

— Cara Brookins (@cmbrookins) January 16, 2017

In 2008, Brookins was in the midst of a family struggle, having left a husband she called “violent and abusive.” Looking to make a fresh start for herself, she took the idea of rebuilding quite literally, perhaps using the physical experience of constructing a house as an extension of her emotional and mental journey. Though she had no previous experience in construction or architecture, Brookins found a series of YouTube tutorials on building a home and got to work.

Over the course of nine months, Brookins worked tirelessly with the help of her four children to build a new home for themselves. “I had rented this cabin for a Thanksgiving getaway,” the mother of four 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.'”

And while money was certainly an issue, resourcefulness was not. So with the help of internet videos, she began the long process. “Once I had bought all these supplies and they were all piled up, there was no way out,” she said. “There wasn’t enough money to pay anyone to put them together. There was no plan B.”

The whole house building process is made even more impressive when we consider what YouTube was nine years ago. “There weren’t really comprehensive videos or channels devoted to this sort of thing. But there’s a lot of ways to frame a window or to put a foundation together,” Brookins noted, “So, we would watch three or four videos for each stage of construction and then think, ‘Which one of these is going to work the best for us?’”

A true team effort, Brookins relied on her 17, 15, 11, and 2-year-old children for support. “Her daughter Hope did the marking. Her son Drew ran the nail gun. And someone was always assigned to watching her youngest, Roman, as the 2-year-old toddler gleefully stomped around in mud on the job site,” CBS News reported.

And while the nine month process wasn’t easy, it was also a cathartic experience for the family. “It was the first time [my kids] had felt any sort of power, any sort of control over their lives,” Brookins said, “And they knew how much they needed it.”

Her success story has since manifested itself in an autobiographical book entitled Rise, How A House Built A Family, released last week.

“Forget everything you’ve been told about taking baby steps. Everybody says, ‘If you just take a small step every day, it will get better.’ In my experience, though, it doesn’t. You have to make a big leap,” she said. “It has to be this huge, enormous act.  For us, it was building a house. For somebody else, it could be something totally different. But you need to do something big that changes your perception of yourself.”

Editors' Recommendations

Lulu Chang
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Fascinated by the effects of technology on human interaction, Lulu believes that if her parents can use your new app…
YouTube hides dislike button count, drawing criticism from users and creators
Youtube video on mobile. Credits: YouTube official.

YouTube is currently the second-most-used platform in the world, and it has introduced a number of beneficial updates recently, such as offering translation options in the comments section of a YouTube video and introducing a "Media Literacy" campaign that empowers users to prevent misinformation. However, a recent update that hides the dislike button count has not gone down well with the creative community.

An announcement on the official YouTube blog has revealed the company would be making dislike counts private across its platform. While the creators will be able to see dislike counts, users will not. YouTube's justification for this is that it's seeking to reduce harassment of content creators, irrespective of their reach. YouTube revealed that it conducted an experiment earlier this year where the dislike button was available to viewers, but the dislike count was hidden. Because the count was hidden, it found that viewers or commenters were less likely to leave a dislike and engage in targeted harassment, which tends to occur at a higher proportion on smaller channels.

Read more
YouTube TV now works in Safari on Mac
YouTube TV on Safari web browser on Mac.

One of the biggest live TV streaming services in the United States finally works on one of the three major browsers in the world. YouTube TV -- before today had been unavailable in Safari on MacOS — now works on Apple's default browser. (As spotted by 9to5 Google.)

Previously, going to tv.youtube.com would kick you to a support page on all the other ways to watch YouTube TV if you were trying to do so from Safari. There's no word on what changed in Safari (or MacOS) to allow YouTube TV to finally be supported, but we're also not going to look gift horse in the mouth.

Read more
The Roku-YouTube-YouTube TV impasse isn’t over yet
YouTube TV on Roku.

It's been several months since Roku and YouTube TV reached a cease-fire in their dispute over ... well, over a few things. But it now looks like the war is heating back up.

To recap, Roku in April 2021 first announced that negotiations that would extend YouTube TV's availability on the Roku platform had broken down. In doing so, it said that "Roku cannot accept Google’s unfair terms as we believe they could harm our users." Exactly what those disputed terms are has been a little ambiguous. Roku has said it has to do with search results. Google calls any allegations baseless.

Read more