An emerging star in the world of Do-It-Yourself building is cranking out projects from her Norman home, and she is bringing a different look to the male-dominated industry.
A floating deck is coming together in Ashley Basnight’s backyard right now. She is building it all by herself, and her newfound hobby is turning into a whole new career. It is safe to say that Ashley has caught the bug for building. “I always knew I had a creative side, but I just never really found that thing,” she says.
At just 26 years old, being a software engineer on Boeing's B-52 Bomber has been rewarding, but last year Ashley discovered her true calling. She needed a new table for her home, but could not find anyone to build it for a reasonable price. She says, “It took me weeks to be like, man, can I actually do this? And then one day I just tried it and I did it.”
Ideas have been coming out of the woodwork ever since. She has built more than 20 pieces, including a coffee bar and a faux fireplace. Some of the items are for herself and some are for sale.
Most of the time, you can find Ashley wearing sparkly boots and makeup while she works. “You’ve got to keep it fab!” she says.
Her computer science degree came in handy building her Handmade Haven website, and marketing her skills on her Smashing DIY Instagram page has attracted loads of attention. She now has more than 11,000 followers. “I think engaging with a lot of people, that’s I think when people start to take notice, like hey, she can build and she’s friendly, so after that it kind of naturally took off,” she says.
Her work even caught the eye of the Home Depot. The hardware giant now sends Ashley products to test and review on social media, and sponsored her biggest project yet, a floating deck in her back yard.
As Ashley continues to build up walls, she is breaking down barriers for women everywhere with the message: don't be afraid to do it yourself. She is inspired by her favorite scripture from the Book of Isaiah, saying, “Just bringing beauty from ashes. You can use your hands with a little motivation, hard work, and you can make a business.”
To learn more about Ashley’s story, click here.