Building Confidence: Amber Wiggett Encourages Women to Build and Remodel Homes

Sustainable house builder Amber Wiggett encourages women to wield carpenter’s tools.

| March/April 2006

  • Sustainable house builder Amber Wiggett encourages women to wield carpenter’s tools.
    Photo By Jordan Silverman

“One of my missions is to help women learn to build houses and prove they’re capable of providing for their basic housing needs.”
—Amber Wiggett

We can do it!

As a petite, young woman—she’s 27 years old and 5 feet 4 inches tall—Amber Wiggett says she has found it challenging to be accepted as a house builder. Like her hero Rosie the Riveter, she flexed her socially active biceps and founded Homemakers Ecological Construction in Plainfield, Vermont, in 2003. The business trains and employs women and transgendered people (of both sexes) to build and remodel houses.

Demystifying construction

“We create a safe bubble for people who aren’t usually welcomed in this business,” says Wiggett, who teaches workshops in timberframe, cob (a combination of sand, straw and clay) and straw bale building techniques. The Homemakers Ecological Construction crew uses recycled, eco-friendly and nontoxic materials.

Raising roofs

One of Wiggett’s prides is a 1,200-square-foot straw bale/timberframe house that Homemakers Ecological Construction built based on her architectural design using locally sourced materials.

Next step

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