Where did you go to school?
I have a Bachelor’s Degree of Fine Art from the University of the Arts in Philadelphia. As I became more interested in working on (and building) houses, I took classes at our local tech school, Wake Tech. Otherwise, I’m mostly self-taught.
How did you get into the trade?
I’ve always loved designing and renovating my own spaces. After we bought our first house, I repainted every room and figured out ways to DIY anything I wanted to change. In our second house, I started renovating the spaces one by one. Unfortunately, a kitchen renovation happened by accident after a polybutylene plumbing leak. I never thought about becoming a general contractor until the building inspector (who was inspecting our kitchen renovation) planted the seed by asking if I ever thought about becoming a GC. Three years later, I earned my license!
What advice do you have for those who may be considering pursuing skilled trades?
Don’t let anyone hold you back if this is your goal. There’s no reason you can’t earn a great living in the trades. And, there’s no reason a woman can’t be as successful a tradesperson as any man.
“Don’t let anyone hold you back if this is your goal.”
What do you know now that you wish you knew when you were looking into career opportunities?
When I was in high school, my parents wanted to make sure I could earn a living and support myself. They were nervous about me working as an artist. Starting out, I worked as an illustrator and a graphic designer, which paid the bills. It wasn’t until my boys were in school that I began to follow my heart into the building trades. Looking back, I wish I had started out working as a carpenter or other tradesperson when I was younger. But, I don’t regret having a design background, because it has helped to carry out my own interior design planning and photography.
What’s your biggest career accomplishment to date?
In 2018, I saved a historic house from being bulldozed. Although most of my subcontractors thought I was crazy, we were able to save the original 1900 portion of the house and build an addition onto the back. In the end, each and every subcontractor appreciated that I had a vision and was able to see it through to completion.
What are your future aspirations?
It’s hard to say because right now I’m living my dreams. I do hope to purchase an old run-down beach house one day and renovate it for my family to enjoy for generations to come.
“Right now I’m living my dreams.”
Why are you #MakerProud?
I’m #MakerProud because I’ve never let anyone stop me from achieving my goals and dreams, even if people thought I was crazy for diving into a male-dominated field.
Find Brittany on Instagram at @prettyhandgirl.