Snippets Issue 8 : The DIY Issue

Paige Hemmis

We talk carpentry, DIY and demolition with tuff chick and Extreme Makeover: Home Edition carpenter, Paige Hemmis.

Paige Hemmis

"I've always been a tomboy" explains carpenter, Paige Hemmis. "I grew up with my cousin, Chet, and hung out with all the kids in the neighborhood - which happened to all be boys. I never liked dolls. I loved the doll HOUSES, but not the dolls. So if I wasn't re-arranging the furniture in my doll houses, I was out rough-housing with the boys - playing football, jumping bikes, skateboarding, etc. Growing up, I was always interested in arts and crafts - and that's what I say that carpentry is today - just larger arts and crafts! Instead of building things out of popsicle sticks, now I'm using 2x4's!"

Paige Hemmis and her ladder

"But the truth be told, I didn't really become interested in carpentry; rather, I became interested in fixing up homes. In the year 2001, I started a rent-to-own company in which I bought homes, fixed them up and rented them out. Out of necessity (mainly, the need to save money), I fixed them up myself... I was doing all sorts of things including plumbing, drywall, roofing, siding, flooring, and even electrical. In fact, electrical is still one of my favorite projects to tackle. It's so easy! I especially love putting in dimmer switches. What a great way to create mood lighting for that special space, plus all your friends are very impressed that you did it yourself! "

"I get inspired by all the beauty around me"

"Most forms of carpentry have come pretty easy to me - I credit it to the fact that I did so many arts and crafts projects my entire life. What I realized is that the hard part is getting over my FEAR of something being difficult, not that the project itself was actually hard. The more I tried, however, the more I conquered and the more I was willing to take on... I love tools! I feel that tools really level the playing field for me out there in the man's world of home construction! I love that by using a tool, I can take on a job that typically can only be done by the strength of a man... I love my drill (which I have spray-painted pink), because of the versatility of it - changing out the bits to tackle projects. Coming in a close second would be my dual-arm compound miter saw. Third would have to be my jigsaw - it's great for creating fun things for kids rooms."

"My favorite projects now involve theming children's bedrooms. It is so exciting to talk to a kid and find out what their favorite thing in life is - then make that come to life in their bedroom! I love taking their ideas and making them EXTREME!" Paige is best known for her time on Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, a series dedicated to building families in need with amazing new homes. "Working on a show that gets to change people's lives is truly amazing and a blessing. I have always worked with Habitat for Humanity, and love the way it feels to be able to help people by doing work with your bare hands. This show is so much like that! We get to travel the United States, help families in need who most of the time are more worried about helping others than themselves, and we get paid!... Every time we move the bus I am in tears - watching the families as they see their new (or renewed) homes for the first time is so moving and so breathtaking. So many times the experiences I have on the show have taken my breath away... I love it! And there are two great compliments that I get from being a part of the show - 1. That we inspired someone to help in their own neighborhood, and 2. That I'm a role model to young women. What a blessing!"

"These families thank us, but I believe that we should be thanking them for they have truly changed our lives forever"

Extreme Makeover: Home Edition's Paige Hemmis

I have so many heroes in my life - mainly the strong women that have raised me! My mom is an amazing person who taught me to be strong, told me that anything was possible, and taught me how to be ethical and honest in all my dealings. My step-mom was equally as incredible! She taught me how to be a strong woman in business, and how to never let anything stop me from achieving my dreams. My grandmother, who continually inspires me today with her wisdom, laid the groundwork for strong, capable and loving women in my family. I was blessed to have these amazing role models throughout my childhood, and still even today.

Paige is viewed as a feminist icon for taking on the tough construction sites with her pink hard-hat and floral tools. "I am definitely hoping that I can encourage women! I feel that when you tackle a project, it gives you the confidence to go out and tackle more and more. It really empowers you! This reason is one of the main reasons that I wrote my book, The Tuff Chix Guide to Easy Home Improvement. I wanted women to know that it's not difficult to take on these projects themselves. Many times we just need that little vote of confidence to attempt something. When I started in this business almost eight years ago, I really felt like I was all alone, like I was the only woman in construction. And as for construction gear for women? No gloves fit me, no toolbelts fit, and definitely no steel-toed work boots fit me. So I went out and created a line of these items for women. I am hoping that if nothing else, I can inspire women and girls to follow their hearts and do whatever they want to do - even if it's typically thought of as a man's world."

"I want to show women that they are strong and capable and can do anything they set their minds to"

I have plans for twelve more books! With my varied background, there is so much that I have learned that I want to share with the world. For me, writing is an outlet and a passion. I loved writing my first book and look forward to the several that will follow... I am doing a daily video blog so that my fans can tune in everywhere and see where we are in the world and what we are up to! I'm also working on a huge charity campaign that will change the way America gives. I'm also working on developing my own shows. And who knows - you might just catch me out on a race track one day!

You can find more from Paige, pick up some pink work gear or order a copy of her home-improvement book from Tuff Chix.


About Snippets

Snippets is the free online magazine from Cut Out + Keep featuring the best in indie & DIY.

Exploring the worlds of music, fashion, art & craft, our writers cover the things they love and we're always on the hunt for new contributors.

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