HardHat Diplomat


Create your ideal home with our Workshops for Womxn! Next up: Essential Home Maintenance, 7pm EST  Tuesday 9/22.

Home Renovation for Women National Tour Kickoff

Consulting renovation service
Lee Pera of Kotierra & Erin Helland of HardHat Diplomat

If women are purchasing homes at twice the rate of men why are we so hesitant to take on home improvement and maintenance projects?

To answer this question we’ve built out a campervan for a 16 city tour across the Southeast and Midwest teaching our home renovation workshops for women.

Most people might give you a funny look when you tell them you’re leaving your jobs to make a little box on wheels your living room, bedroom, office and vehicle for four weeks with another person and a dog. Six months ago when we started flirting with this idea, there was nothing but enthusiasm and raw support from our community. It wasn’t surprising to them that two women who have taken on construction projects and solo travel would want to help other women do it too.

So this evening as we sit here in our sponsored AirBnB in Richmond, VA, preparing to teach our first workshop on the tour, and live in the van for the next month, we’re excited to share our adventure with you and how it all began.

34 days after Erin bought her home in Washington DC an amateur handyman accidentally dislodged the water shut off valve under the second floor kitchen while trying to remove the base cabinet. Massive amounts of water gushed through the house causing it to be stripped to the bones. Erin spent the next 18 months repairing and rebuilding her sanctuary. 

In Summer 2012 Lee started building a tiny house and created a tiny house community in Washington DC. Not having operated a power tool since 7th-grade shop class, she hired a builder. However, through a series of events, she ended up building much of the house herself and acquiring a whole shop worth of tools.

Each of us experienced successes and failures through trial by fire. We had help from family and friends. We figured out the process of working with multiple contractors. We magic’d finances when things didn’t go according to plan. We got resourceful and learned how to build things ourselves. Most of all we learned that we have to be our own advocates and project managers.

We know that making it to the finish line is overwhelming. In sharing our experiences many women asked how we did it and solicited our help. We saw an opportunity to help others – especially women – approach the process with confidence as their own project managers.

Since February we’ve taught 14 workshops in the DC metro area. Our participants told their friends and we started receiving inquiries, “When are you coming to my city?”  In response, we built out a campervan to travel and teach more women. With the help of our sponsors, we are taking our workshop national. Follow our journey on this blog and on our Instagram accounts @kotierra and @hardhatdiplomat.