Say hello to Cara Brookins and her kids Roman, Jada, Hope, and Drew.
Cara spent much of her 20s and 30s in abusive relationships. After two marriages filled with violence, "my kids and i needed something," she told BuzzFeed. "I felt ashamed and I was worried that they had no self-esteem and no confidence."
To escape the violence and build a safe sanctuary, Cara and her kids did an unorthodox thing: They built a house. This house.
It all started in 2007, she and her kids were driving back from a weekend away, and she spotted a house that had been hit by a tornado, with only the foundation left. "It made me think, 'what if we bought some 2'x4's and sheetrock and put that together? What would our dream house be? Would we want to build it?'"
Her kids, who were 17, 15, 11, and 2 at the time, were all in. "They had been powerless," Cara told BuzzFeed. "This was the first thing they could do to improve their lives."
So using a bank loan, Cara bought $150,000 in materials, and she and the kids went to work building their own dream house. They had NO experience, but watched YouTube tutorials to figure out what to do.
The family learned how to frame a house.
And pour a foundation.
The Brookins' also learned how to be a better family. "As we were trying to do this, we were also learning how to communicate," said Cara.
The finished product? Inkwell Manor, where Cara and her family have been living for the past eight years.
The house boasts five bedrooms and built-in bookshelves.
Now three of her four kids are in their 20s, and the experience of building their own home has had a profound impact.
You can read more about Cara and her family's journey in her new book Rise, out January 24.