I am really excited to share this weeks, My Trade Story, as Alix is also a builder’s wife. Not only is Alix a builder’s wife, she is an architect, and blogger at The Builderette. I love to here about how builder’s partners have come to play an active part in the business. I hope you enjoy Alix’s story.
My Trade Story
Ever since I was a little girl I wanted to be an architect. I’d spend hours in my bedroom with sheets of paper, drawing up plans for dream houses and then creating moodboards for the interiors and furnishings as well. As I went through high school and my friends were trying to decide what they wanted to do at uni, I was secure in the knowledge that architecture was it for me.
Off I went to uni and about halfway through my first degree (it’s a double degree of a Bachelor of Science (Architecture) followed by a professional year and then a 2-year Bachelor of Architecture) I realised that, while I love beautifully designed spaces, I really didn’t want to be an architect. I was disillusioned by the big egos I encountered in the industry as well as realising that while I was OK at it, I wasn’t great. And I truly believe that if you’re going to make a permanent mark on the built environment, you should be really good at it – not just average.
I limped through my last year of study – 35 contact hours a week plus at least the same again in at-home work made it a tough course to get through. But I did it and promptly signed myself up for secretarial school so I could get a non-architecture job as soon as possible.
My first job was literally herding cats – I worked as a production secretary for Andrew Lloyd Webber’s company on the revival season of CATS and was responsible for making sure Grizabella got paid and Mr Mistopheles knew where to buy cold and flu medication. It was quite an introduction to the working world! That was great fun but I soon found myself working for a weekly magazine – as a fact checker at first and then working my way up to a writer. This included an 18-month stint in Los Angeles where I interviewed everyone from David Duchovny to Kermit the Frog (career highlight!) and spent my weekends rollerblading on Santa Monica Beach.
Working in magazines was great – I was always meeting fascinating people and had the chance to travel to some incredible places and have some truly amazing experiences. My journey back to architecture and building came when I met my now-husband, JD. During our first phone call he told me that he was a builder and that he wasn’t a fan of architects. I told him we had plenty in common as I wasn’t much of a fan of architects either.
My husband has a small residential building company and, although I’ve always worked full time in magazines, I have become involved in the business and am always interested to see what he’s working on. Jobs have ranged from multi-million dollar waterfront homes to smaller jobs that have made a big difference to a customer.
I’ve recently become more involved in the business and created this blog about building and renovating as most of JD’s customers are women and we felt there was more to building than glossy magazines and interiors blogs. Both of which are great but we wanted to give women information and skills to be actively involved in renovations that can run to the hundreds of thousands of dollars. I also look after our marketing and social media and, since pulling back from full-time work I’m looking forward to going out on site as well.
Our team of carpenters has been with us for a long time and are all great guys – our customers love dealing with them and I feel lucky to have such a great crew to work with. It’s not exactly herding cats but some days it’s not far off!
Thank you for sharing Alix. The reason you started your blog, is the exact reason I started mine. 80% of our clients are women and giving them and others the opportunity to be inform during their building experience is a big part of my motivation.
Are you interested in a career in the construction industry? What is your dream job?