Back home in Atlanta, I was carefully brought up to be a lady. The woodworking class I had my heart set on would have to wait. Instead of learning how to make a step stool, I learned how to sew a pleat and bake brownies in Home Ec. After school, I would hang out with my best friend and immitate the characters that surrounded me. Later I found out they call that "acting," and the place to do it in is New York City. Once transplanted to the Big Apple, I quickly learned two things: an actor is a hopeful person with a day job, usually in a restaurant, and I'm the world's worst waitress! Shortly after my arrival in Manhattan, I went over to a friend's house who had a new kitchen installed with beautiful maple wood cabinetry and a countertop. Something magical happened. When I touched the countertop this feeling came over me that told me that I needed to learn how to work with wood. Swinging a hammer would become my passion, my trade, and eventually my nationwide celebrity. I would become a master carpenter.

I learned my trade the right way, though for a woman it was definitely the hard way. Against all odds I joined the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America in New York City, winning a Golden Hammer Award in my fourth year of apprenticeship, the first woman ever to do so at that school. I was also the first woman to teach carpentry to their union apprentices--burly young men twice my size-- teaching at night and working as a carpenter by day. I was now a, journeywoman.

Meanwhile, my love of acting continued to call me from the wings. I began writing and performing my own comedy material, happily appearing in theaters and cabarets at night after a long day at my carpentry job. It was worth it: the all-woman comedy group, "Four On The Floor," was so successful that it was nominated for a MAC cabaret award. Heidi Oringer and I put together a comedy duo, "Lyday and Oringer," working with Thommie Walsh and improvisational genius John Monteith of Broadway's Monteith and Rand.

In 1993 I became a licensed contractor and launched my own Manhattan construction company. The company was a success, specializing in apartment renovations. One of my favorite clients was fashion designer, Betsey Johnson, whose home was featured in Metropolitan Home and Harper's Bazaar.

In 1997 both of my talents met and married at the Discovery Channel, when I was invited to become the on-camera Interior Finish Carpenter for the popular series "Gimme Shelter." I was soon spotted by Home and Garden Television (HGTV), and was chosen as host of their hit series, "The Fix." "The Fix" won a Telly Award for the best "How-To" program of 2000. I was delighted to meet another noted Southern carpenter, President Jimmy Carter, when I was asked to co-host one of the biggest building projects in the history of Habitat for Humanity, "Blitz Build 2000." When HGTV's sister company, the DIY (Do It Yourself) Network, started up in response to popular demand, I was asked to co-host "Talk2DIY-Home Improvement."

My experience as a contractor/teacher and my love of educating and empowering people to tackle projects themselves has kept me on the road with appearances on CNN, CNNfn, The Today Show, CBS MarketWatch, ABC, CBS, and NBC local news stations, as well as, radio and major print media. I wrote two books: Lynda Lyday's Do It Yourself and The Homeowner's Manual which were released in 2005. I have recently designed a tool line: Lyday Tool Line®: tools for the smaller grip ( A clothing line is next, Lyday WorkWear, specially designed for my rapidly growing audience of home-improving women.