HardHat Diplomat


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My Story

Home Renovation Consulting - It Started With Disaster

Water damage to my home was the catalyst to becoming a home renovation coach

Just 34 days after buying my house, an accident by a guest led to catastrophic flooding. In under 30 minutes my home was saturated from the second floor to the crawlspace. Firefighters shut off the water from the street, thus marking the beginning of a long and unexpected journey through a total gut job.

For nearly a year, I lived in a construction zone

Living in a construction zone was challenging. I had no cooking options, no flooring, and limited electricity. Despite the shock and hardship, the experience activated my inner home improvement manager, a role I was prepared for thanks to my upbringing in a construction family. 

Crews swiftly addressed the damage – ripping down ceilings, pulling up floors, and hauling out remnants of furniture and appliances. I called the insurance company, the lender, and contractors. I studied my financial options to plan the rebuild and engaged in a renovation crash course under the most stressful conditions.

The process to restore my house was grueling and I overcame many attempts to take advantage of me and my situation. Ultimately, my home was transformed into a sanctuary better than I had imagined, proving that even the most daunting projects can lead to beautiful outcomes.


Erin Helland founder of HardHat Diplomat stands in wooden framework of a new addition being built. She is wearing a yellow midweight jacket

My home renovation disaster inspired the start of a business to help others - especially women - navigate their major home improvement projects.

Requests For Remodeling Advice

My story became a beacon for others nervous about home improvement projects

Friends and acquaintances reached out to “pick my brain,” seeking remodeling advice and reassurance for their projects. They valued my perspective and craved guidance from someone they trust. Eventually, I hosted group workshops to alleviate anxieties and empower more women homeowners. This, in turn, created further professional opportunities as a renovation consultant and coach.

Making a Career As A Renovation Consultant

The destruction of my home was a setback. But, it was also the catalyst that propelled the creation of HardHat Diplomat and our educational initiatives to demystify the home renovation process. Our online courses and in-person workshops are the pillars of this mission, providing informative and actionable advice, and enabling homeowners to navigate their renovation journeys with confidence.

Becoming the HardHat Diplomat

HardHat Diplomat’s foundation is also deeply influenced by my endeavors as an entrepreneur and cultural enthusiast – from owning an indie coffeehouse to a decade working in public diplomacy. Time spent in 40+ countries enriched my appreciation of diverse cultures and civic engagement. At a local level, I actively support economic revitalization in Washington, DC, stewarding HUD-funded Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) projects to implement facade improvements for small businesses. 

This blended career path informs the unique perspective of HardHat Diplomat –  merging experiences in construction and intercultural understanding to offer empathetic, accessible guidance in home renovation.

Call It What You will - Counselor. Coach. Sherpa.

" you're a Renovation Doula!"

Erin Helland grew up in a construction family. Everyone took part in some way when her father was building additions, running historical rehabs, and conducting flips. Now, Erin is using her experience in commercial and residential renovation to guide others through the home improvement process.