When I was growing up, I thought it was a typical part of every twelve year olds summer to get up at the crack of dawn and ride shotgun in Dad’s truck to the job site to check on things. I would jump out of the truck and land without looking into the mushy red clay that would cover my canvas shoes and forever stain my white socks. I was happiest right there with my dad, walking the job, checking the concrete forms to be poured later that morning, listening to the men as they laughed and talked over cups of coffee and cigarettes before putting on their tool belts. This was my youth. Today, many years later, I’ve discovered just how unusual my childhood was, but also how fortunate I was in having a dad whose life and livelihood was construction. In fact, my father worked for his father’s construction company in California and would have continued to do so had he not met my mom and moved to her home state of Georgia. Four daughters later, Dad, knowingly or unknowingly, instilled in us the value of hard work and pride in creating with hands and tools things that could last a lifetime. I think back now, amazed, of him building every home we lived in. After graduating the University of South Carolina, I returned home to Atlanta and jumped at the chance to work in my Dad’s construction company. Once again I was able to “walk the job”, smell the turned up earth, and relive the memories of my youth.
I always assumed that I would take the reins of the family business one day. Never would I have predicted in 1997 that HGTV would hire me as their new co-host for Fix It Up!, a weekly do-it-yourself show highlighting small, weekend projects. Working with Pat Simpson, we shot the series for five years and went into rerun until late 2006. Also during that time, Turner South contracted me to co-host Southern Home by Design, which shot for two years and created over 100 episodes in that time. Shortly thereafter, Turner Broadcast, Inc. asked me to join the cast of The Man Made Movie as their on-screen construction expert. Shot in Seattle, host Chad Taylor and I built and laughed our way through two seasons of the show. It's hard to believe but it has been 13 years since Danny Lipford of Today’s Homeowner asked me to join him and his cast as host of the Best New Product segments. Going down to Mobile, Alabama to shoot the show is such a treat and I love hanging out with the crew and highlighting cool stuff you can find at the local Home Depot. While I still enjoy working in front of the camera, I have to say, my focus has returned to my roots. The family commercial construction company is still thriving. Dad and I have just completed the shell of our latest 30,000 square foot building and have started on the tenant buildouts. With my real estate license I'm also staying busy in the booming Atlanta housing market. It's houses. It's construction. It’s in my blood. It's my passion.