Legendary contractor, construction queen and television host Kayleen McCabe is a woman renowned globally for her brilliant work on the DIY Network’s Renovation Rescue.
Besides being a talented industry ambassador, she’s also a sought-after speaker on trade education, career choices, America’s labour shortage, and women as skilled labourers. Oh and did we mention the woman knows how to handle a drill?
When she’s not knocking down walls and stereotypes, Kayleen caters to a wide array of clients on custom construction projects ranging from pergolas and decks to furniture and custom storage. She runs her own non-profit company, The McCabe Foundation, which tightens America’s skills gap by encouraging young men and women to consider careers in construction.
She is also committed to soliciting respect and visibility for trade vocations and workmanship. Recently attending “PowerUp”—an expo in Birmingham (USA)—as a special guest to encourage mothers and daughters to get into the industry, Kayleen regularly shares her message around the country in person as well as through various media.
The DIY Network’s Renovation Rescue show continues to be a major focus for her; with Kayleen now into her ninth year with the TV phenomenon that continues to transform failed or unfinished DIY home ventures. Each week Kay and her talented team of designers tackle a different challenge and can do anything from installing fixtures, designing cabinets and creating furniture to remodelling kitchens, bathrooms, living rooms, and building backyards for home owners.
Many of the home owners have attempted to do repairs themselves (often without any professional skill set in the industry) with many failing to finish the job properly… if at all. Besides the emotional turmoil owners have to go through, the costs of the repairs often go into tens of thousands of dollars with many not realising how much their budgets will blow out.
So, can you do renovations on the cheap and if so, is it worth it? Kayleen says:
“Cheap is never worth it. Inexpensive can be, you can find some inexpensive things, but cheap, never.”
A firm advocate of the saying, “you get what you pay for,” Kayleen has had many cringe-worthy experiences with homeowners’ DIY disasters because they’ve tried doing the work of professional tradespeople themselves.
“A majority of the time the reason I’m there is because homeowners want to save money by not hiring the trades, the plumber or electrician. They think I Googled it, I’ve seen it on TV and I can do it myself. Then I come in 2 months later and pick up all the pieces because they’re not skilled tradespeople.”
When discussing whether she believes doing renovations on the cheap is viable, Kayleen also highlights that homeowners often don’t take into consideration how much of their own time they’re devoting to their DIY project, while missing out on enjoying their lives.
“Homeowners consistently don’t stop to figure that their time is worth something too. So you might save a lot of time remodelling a kitchen over 10 months but that is your life.”
While Kayleen believes doing renovations on the cheap can often become an expensive venture if not planned correctly, she highlights that money can be saved when buying fittings and appliances.
“Go inexpensive on the fittings and appliances, not on the trades.”
If you’re considering doing renovations in the near future, follow this top tip the construction queen repeatedly nails home:
“Word of mouth is always the best with tradespeople!”