Meet Laurel Winkel of SheBuilds Kitchens
Updated: Sep 12
Professional Women in Building Profile: SheBuilds, Kitchen Design & Remodeling
At the Portland Home & Garden Show in January, we had the privilege of meeting the team from SheBuilds, Kitchen Design & Remodeling, a local remodeling company, while we worked the Professional Women in Building booth. Surrounded by swag from The House That She Built book, meeting the team that installed some of the cabinets for the first home in Utah felt like a celebrity moment.
It should not be surprising that we took that chance encounter to mean we had new lifelong friends. After a few months of following each other on social media, we decided to sit down and learn more about the origin of this phenomenal team.
In addition to learning about Laurel, this blog post features tips for women looking to start a career in the building industry.
Building the Dream & Making It a Reality
SheBuilds, Kitchen Design & Remodeling started, like many dreams, in response to the question, “If you could do anything, what would you do?” Staring at the ceiling from her comfortable position on the floor, Laurel Winkel, owner of SheBuilds, Kitchen Design & Remodeling, told her sister that she would love to build kitchens.
While for many of us, uttering the dream is where it dies, especially if we still have kids in elementary school. And yet, Laurel, an entrepreneur, and mom of three, put a plan in place to chase her dream. She enrolled in the Design-Build-Remodel program at Portland Community College. From there, she worked for a local company designing new kitchens every week and taking on the occasional renovation project for friends.
With her history as an entrepreneur, construction management degree, and experience designing kitchens, her biggest struggle as she launched SheBuilds, Kitchen Design & Remodeling, was how quickly the company grew. Isn’t that a problem all new business owners would love to have?
SheBuilds, Kitchen Design & Remodeling grew from the occasional side project for friends to a team of ten talented people in a few short years. Laurel credits her rapid growth to the pandemic, interest rates, and, most importantly, her partners. Laurel believes that if you find good people and treat them well, you will create a relationship of trust, which will help you through the most challenging times.
Transforming Kitchens & the Building Industry
“If you don’t love your kitchen, you won’t love your home,” Laurel explained. As an experienced kitchen designer and general contractor, she and the team at SheBuilds, Kitchen Design & Remodeling help create beautiful and functional spaces ideal for families.
The construction industry is all about transformation, which is something that inspires and excites Laurel. She loves seeing the dramatic changes possible within the home, especially in the kitchen, which she says is the heart of the home. We agree that transformations are exciting and inspiring and are thrilled to share a few photos from SheBuilds, Kitchen Design & Remodeling.
SheBuilds, Kitchen Design & Remodeling doesn’t just love kitchen transformations; they are passionate about creating better communities as well. That passion inspired them to participate in the Utah PWB The House That She Built project. Not only was it an amazing opportunity to raise awareness for women in the building industry, but the project was located near the home of Laurel's professional partner and kitchen designer, Susan.
Working with SheBuilds, Kitchen Design & Remodeling
SheBuilds, Kitchen Design & Remodeling is proud to be a woman-owned company serving homeowners throughout Portland, OR, the metro area, and parts of Utah. They approach each project with a unique perspective, with each family's lifestyle and budget in mind. Whether investing $50,000 or $150,000, the team strives to improve functionality and beauty in each space.
Starting Her Career in Construction
Laurel opened up to us, sharing that it was a little intimidating at first to enter an industry dominated by men, but she was pleasantly surprised by how welcoming everyone was as she got started. Laurel recommended that anyone considering a career in construction should jump in and not let fear limit their potential. You don’t need to know what you want to do, immediately explained Laurel, “Internships are a great way to find what part of the industry inspires you most. I am passionate about kitchens, so I knew that working as a tile installer or designing and building kitchens would be the most rewarding opportunity.”
In addition to leading her building and remodeling business, Laurel is now an instructor at Portland Community College, teaching courses in the Design-Build-Remodel program she took just a few years back. We love seeing female instructors for careers in the construction industry and think this creates an amazing learning opportunity for students.
Professional Women in Building Champions
DO&Be is a full-service marketing agency passionate about the building industry. We consider it our privilege to celebrate and support women working in the industry we love.
If you are dreaming of a career in the building industry, please consider our top recommendations.
Learn the language: The building industry uses a lot of acronyms and unique terms that can be a roadblock for the unprepared. Communicating correctly will ensure professional growth while saving time and money.
Don't stand on the sidelines: Each build creates new learning experiences, and no one has all the answers. You may not always get it right the first time, but jumping in and solving problems as they arise is necessary for construction success.
Become part of the community: Joining industry groups such as your local branch of the National Association of Homebuilding can be an excellent resource for those just starting out. We also highly recommend becoming a member of the PWB!
Ask for support: From scholarship funds and mentorship programs to various programs that support women making the leap into careers in construction, including our free and discounted marketing services for new women-owned construction businesses.
Professional Women In Building Retreat in McMinnville
Laurel has been chosen as a keynote speaker by the Home Building Association of Portland's Professional Women in Building Council for their upcoming PWB Retreat. The retreat is an annual event that offers opportunities for professional development and inspiration to individuals in the local area. The retreat will take place from September 22nd to 24th in McMinnville, Oregon. Although members of the PWB Councils in Portland, Salem, and Vancouver were invited, the event is open to any woman in the building industry, regardless of PWB membership.