We’re so excited to introduce you to an expert in the home improvement industry, Barbara K, founder and force behind the “Barbara K brand of tools designed for women and most recently  “DIYVA by Barbara K.” She is best known for her published line of how-to books “Room For Improvement” and “Invest In Your Nest” (full of fashionable home improvement tips and easy step-by-step instructions), her expert video tips, and specialized line of how-to products.  As a female working in a predominantly male world of construction, she provides a unique point of view and proves that anyone can take on home improvement tasks if they have the right knowledge and a dose of inspiration.

Her fabulous line of fashionable DIYVA  and leopard-inspired tool kits will be launching later this year at a major retailer and Barbara will be appearing at Macy’s on April 2, 2014, in New York City at Herald Square with a demonstration for their annual Flower Show. Be sure to follow her Facebook page for tips and updates.

Barbara K

Thank you Barbara for sharing your story with us! Tell us how you were introduced to the world of construction and home improvement. How did you get your start?

There wasn’t just one thing in particular but rather a series of evolutions and milestones along the way that brought me to where I am today. Fresh out of college I overhead a conversation my mom and her girlfriends were having; complaining about how they couldn’t get their husbands to do basic things around the home– like hanging a shelf, fixing a leaky faucet and so on. Hearing this and knowing that I was a motivated, modern-day woman, I started a home improvement company, “Stand-Ins.”  After a few years it grew into one of the largest, female-owned general contracting companies, Anchor Construction. When I got divorced, my ex husband took the toolkit out of the pantry and left me feeling like a damsel in distress. Around that same time I saw an episode of Sex And The City where the character, “Samantha,” couldn’t hang curtains in her apartment and made an ill-fated attempt to coerce a boyfriend to do it for her. That’s when I had my eureka moment. That’s when the Barbara K brand and line of female-friendly tools, guide books, and home solutions for women was created.


Do you think women have a different approach to home improvement?

Studies show that each year, single women purchase between 18-21% of all homes so obviously women are motivated and eager to learn about our homes. Women are great at using their imagination. We are so creative that it would make perfect sense that we would want to have basic home improvement knowledge to enhance and repair our homes. The Internet gives us easy access to home improvement tips and how-to projects  empowers us to complete tasks, be independent and self-sufficient.  Whether you decide to “Do It Yourself” or hire a professional it is important to have the basic knowledge to not get screwed!  Women can do anything and it’s a powerful feeling of self- esteem that transcends to all aspects of a woman’s life. With this all said, women are very goal oriented when it comes to beautifying their home and tend to seek out experts to give them concise and easy-to-follow instructions that lays out the exact tools and time required to perform a specific home repair or enhancement.

Your business is empowering women to take on seemingly difficult (and sometimes intimidating) home improvement tasks. Tell us how you enable women to make good decisions and feel knowledgeable?

It’s all about demystifying home improvement! Women tend to be naturally comfortable in the kitchen—baking the perfect cake, making the perfect doily for the dining room table and they encourage their daughters to follow suit. The ability to perform these very domestic tasks is in our gene pool and has been handed down from generation to generation. However, the sooner we realize that we can change the “gene pool” by taking the daughter out of the kitchen by asking Dad to teach his daughter how to use a hammer and screwdriver. The ability to use tools will get handed down from generation to generation and change the gene pool. I like teaching these building blocks at a very young age—it’s so important for building independence and self esteem!

Barbara K

Tell us about your DIYVA line of tools. What makes them unique?

My current brand, “DIYVA by Barbara K,” which I launched at Macy’s last year, is all about being a “Do It Yourself DIVA!” As an entrepreneur, home improvement expert, and product inventor, it’s important to push the envelope and create utilitarian fashion with a meaningful message all in one. DIYVA (pronounced “diva”) is modern, fresh and screams “independence for women” which can transcend to any product I create that helps a woman in the home or with her busy life.

Talk to us about your upcoming event with Macy’s on April 2.

I’m super excited for my second appearance at Macy’s with a DIY demonstration! Macy’s has supported my line of products throughout the years and this demonstration will take place during their yearly Flower Show. Think whimsical and “how to” for creating a romantic environment in your home for “date night” or a lush brunch to invite girlfriends to. It sends such a powerful message , when one of the largest fashion retailers in the world recognizes that it’s a big idea not only to dress a woman but empower them from the inside out. This includes adding style and comfortable to a woman’s home. The event will take place on April 2nd NYC at their flagship Herald Square store.


In your professional experience, what are is the number one mistake women make when taking on a DIY project at home? What about mistakes made when they hire a home improvement professional?

Sometimes a woman can take on too much initially, be too ambitious and underestimate the amount of work it may take to complete a project. You have to ask yourself how far do you want to go and how much time can you commit? It’s best to start small—get some achievements under your belt. Buy a toolkit and use your tools to hang a curtain rod, hang a picture, or install a doorknob. It’s empowering when you complete a task and realize that your effort has just added value to your home and a sense of accomplishment to your life. When speaking to home improvement professionals it’s important to have a basic understanding of what your renovation will entail, both the time and cost. Most importantly, just because they give you their license or insurance certificates it’s not a mark of quality workmanship. It just means they may have fulfilled the basic minimum requirements and as a homeowner, it’s important for you to do your own due diligence.

What’s the “biggest bang for the buck” home improvement project a person can make to their home?

When you decide your bathroom isn’t you or the avocado-and-gold color palette from the 1970’s starts to fade from the wall, the biggest bang for the buck will be painting surface alteration. Think cover, not replacement, and focus on refinishing with a focal point to draw the eye to.

What do you find to be the toughest home improvement project in your own home? Do you ever need to call a professional?

The toughest home improvement project, even for me, would be to change the layout of my kitchen or bathroom. You’re not just dealing with the visible elements; you’re dealing with the underlying structure of the plumbing and electrical systems. So this project has to be carefully considered before you start anything.

Want more Barbara K tips? Check out this easy step-by-step video “How To Hang A Curtain Rod.”

Thank you, Barbara!

Barbara K

About Barbara K

Barbara Kavovit, aka, Barbara K, construction trail blazer, founded one of the first New York City construction management and general contracting firms. She became known as Barbara K, the woman and pioneer behind the line of “Barbara K” tools and do-it-yourself products specifically designed for women. Barbara takes pride in knowing that the tools she originated not only completed projects, but also helped women develop skills, and by that process created confidence for them to participate in anything regarding their home life. Barbara firmly believes that information combined with fashionable utilitarian products and useful tips will empower women to resolve problems in their home and live comfortably thus being a vehicle for women’s self empowerment, self esteem and confidence. Find Barbara K on Porch!

Barbara Kavovit is the founder and chief executive of one of the largest female-owned construction companies specializing in interior renovations in New York City. “When I was younger, it never occurred to me that construction was a career path for women,” says Barbara, realizing a void in the market. Most recently, Barbara created and trademarked the work “DIYVA” continuing her passion for DIY (being capable, independent and strong) combined with DIVA (feminine and fabulous). “Do It Yourself DIVA! I’ve always felt I was the right person to deliver that message,” says Barbara.

And here’s a quick how-to tip from Barbara to you:

Barbara K