What It’s Like to Be a Woman In a Man’s World

What It’s Like to Be a Woman in a Field That’s Still 99 Percent Male Nina MacLaughlin. (Photo: Beowulf Sheehan)

In 2008, journalist Nina MacLaughlin quits her desk job of seven years with no plan for what to do next. Though she had no experience to speak of she jumped at the chance to apply to a Craigslist job posting for a carpenter’s assistant. She was especially heartened by the tagline “Women strongly encouraged to apply,” and sent off her application right away.

She got the job, and has been a carpenter in Cambridge, Massachusetts, ever since.

In her new memoir, ‘Hammer Head: The Making of a Carpenter’, MacLaughlin tells us her experience of abandoning her desk job and the satisfaction and joy of learning to work with her hands. She spoke with the Cut about what her career switch taught her about ambition, how working as a carpenter changed her own femininity, and what it’s like to be a woman in a field that’s still 99 percent male.

To read the full interview click the photo or click here.

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Vacationing family decides to restore abandoned French chateau


They’ve unearthed mysterious medieval tunnels, uncovered ancient artifacts that hint to what daily life was like , and uncovered a beautiful fresco in a salon on the first floor. (Click here or on a photo for a slideshow.) It sounds romantic, but the process of buying and restoring a property of such size and significance has been an arduous labor of love.

Join this Australian family who had been on the hunt for a vacation home in France and then stumbled on a property in need of some major TLC that captured their hearts.

“We had never planned on a chateau. Our French friends warned us about those,” says Karina Waters,  “But after driving down the snow-capped mountains and seeing the chateau’s grounds from the village, we were sold.”

Click here to visit their website and see how things are going.

Île Saint-Louis – Complete Paris Apartment Renovation

Once in a life time you have a client that you just don’t get along with. At first you think things are manageable but things go sour and no matter how hard you try it never gets better.  It’s not the fault of either. It’s just one of those things.

Then once in a life time you have a client that changes everything. Once in a life time you meet someone that is so dynamic, so artistic, so engaging, so maniacal, so passionate yet at the same time so ‘normal’, who can put on a face that is congruent to what people think he should be, he challenges the boundaries of your own perceptions about what is available in for use as an individual in the world.

We are going to call him the Maverick.

On and off, for circumstances we could not control, the better part of three years we were isle-in, like a villain, on penicillin with the Maverick.

It was  a glorious time.

When we met Mavs, we had no idea that he was ‘renting a womb’ as he put it, to have children with his partner.

We eventually met his partner, his wonderful children and enjoyed the company of his warm loving family.

He would bring us simple yet thoughtful and caring gifts from America.

Once he said, ‘Guys, don’t listen to me. There’s a saying ‘Get your hands off my ears. I know what I’m doing.’

How do yo not love a guy like that?

If you are reading this, Maverick we miss this time we had together.  So here is a video in honor of and that begs the inside joke from.

It’s the Isle. Do you know what time it is? 😀

Steel Studliness

Superman: The Man of SteelEspecially in Paris where wood is so expensive, steel studs are a great way to frame out walls.  Fire resistant, easy to use, light weight; the list goes on and on. Although the Grindcore music track is somewhat annoying, this video is a good short and sweet intro into the world of steel studs. It answers the question, ‘Why just be a woodworker when you can be a Man of Steel?’ 🙂

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The Art Of Screwing – Rock It Fast

In French it’s called BA 10 or BA 13. In America it’s known as drywall. But in the trades it has a nickname: ‘Rock’. So when it comes to common phrases like: ‘ready to rock’, ‘let’s rock’, etc… in Carpentry they have their own special meaning.

So let’s say you’ve framed out a space and you are in fact, ready to rock. SOP’s (Standard Operating Procedures) dictate you always rock the ceiling first. This is the least glorious of all the rocking maneuvers. The reason is you have to get up on a ladder, lift the drywall over your head, position it properly on the ceiling joists or rafters, then you have to load your screw gun with a screw and then screw it to the rough framing. This move you rinse and repeat until the drywall is attached to the point it won’t fall down.  If there are only two guys rockin’ this is preformed while the one with the gun holds the drywall in place with his head as he reaches into his pouch to grab a handful of screws.

Now in in the good ol’ USA, we usually make a few T braces out of wood that we use to hold the drywall in place. But this is Paris. France was deforested hundreds of years ago. When it comes many building situations here, using wood just ain’t no good.

Harry Callahan, played by Clint EastwoodSo there you are huffing, puffing and juggling your way toward your rockdom. Like we said, not very glorious…until now! Enter the Auto Feed Screw Gun. Now, the video below features Bosch which is somewhat of a Pro-sumer quality brand, nothing special. But the video is out standing. Check it out!

No more fumbling around for screws, no more holding the rock up with your head. You just point and shoot like Clint Eastwood. With your auto feed screw gun in one hand and drywall in the other, you get to look up at the ceiling and say ‘Go ahead, Make my day!…’

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Renovation sites in paris

This is a video of just a handful of jobsites and renovation projects we have been on over the past few years in and around Paris.