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Austin's trusty General Contractor: Maria

Meet Maria Salmeron (@maria_salmeron), a member of Matriarchy Build's directory of female trades professionals. A full-time General Contractor based in Austin, Texas, Maria specialises in bringing together tradespeople to reach the goals of homeowners or designers. With ten years experience across different trades, from cabinetry to eco-friendly remodelling, Maria just tackled her own kitchen remodel 💪

Matriarchy Build

About Matriarchy Build

In a bid to create an open, friendly space to chat with a diverse group of women about renovation, design and DIY projects, Lacey & Gabriella created Matriarchy Build. It's a platform gathering a roster of female trades professionals, including everything from Carpenters to Handypersons. You can swiftly search through the directory and book 1:1 video consultations for support and guidance on your DIY or renovation projects.

We were lucky enough to sit down with Maria, one of Matriarchy Build's knowledgeable professionals, to learn about her background and how she tackled her own home's recent kitchen project 🔨

A family of industry pros 👨‍👨‍👧‍👧

“I grew up listening to my parents discuss their business constantly. They own their own landscape and design company in the hill country, just outside of Austin, TX. 

My father is an incredible landscape designer. I saw a lot of his visions come to life growing up. It was cool to spatially picture his designs, and then see how he installed them into reality. When I was in college, I applied for a purchasing job for a builder. Every day I got to see different house plans and had to specify every single product that went into each house. I loved it, and knew that I would be in the construction industry. 

I grew up listening to my parents discuss their business constantly, all about what worked and what didn’t work. I watched my dad manage the employees and projects. I especially picked up on their customer service notes. It was an interesting dichotomy to be able to see my father speak Spanish to his employees and outline the projects, and how differently he spoke to the homeowners so that they could understand the process. I loved the connection points one has to make.”


Life in Austin, TX 🏙

“My favorite thing about being based in Texas is the views! Everyone’s house is so unique here in Austin, and the views are spectacular. Every job feels like a field trip, I never know what I’m going to get but it never disappoints. I also enjoy a lot of the skilled trades here in Austin, they work incredibly hard but have laid back and relaxed personalities. I don’t know if that’s a Southern characteristic or an Austin characteristic, but it’s nice.”


Highs & lows of Project Management ⚖

“I definitely don’t have one aspect that I love most about project management. But I’d say working with really talented, skilled tradespeople is up there. It’s really cool being the connector for the homeowner or designer that has a dream, and setting up the tradesperson for success to execute whatever dream space we’re about to create. 

Problem solving is a constant challenge in building. You can’t always know the exact solution to executing a design element or detail beforehand. Most of the time you have to figure it out in real time, with a slew of tradespeople who all have different jobs to execute, but all build off each other.”

Advice for staying on budget 💰

“Staying on budget is sort of a funny thing in construction because you can’t predict every problem that may arise. My advice is to include a contingency fund within your budget. 

I would also ask your tradespersons what the most common issues that arise within their trade, and ask them to include a financial 'allowance' for it. Hopefully you won’t need to use it, but it’s good to plan for it regardless.”


The kitchen remodel 🛠

“Remodeling my kitchen has given me so much more use out of the space, I’m so glad I did it. I used Sketchup to design the kitchen.

The best way to remodel your space is to start from the ground up, meaning floors, cabinets, countertops, hardware. However, I was on a tight budget when I started the kitchen, so I put my money towards the cabinetry and countertop first to give myself more storage space and working/prep space. This gave me immediate use value that I don’t regret remodeling in this order. 

I chose the FRANKLIN Knurled Button Cabinet Knob based on its texture and how the knurling meets the button top. I knew it would have good grip and that I would notice the knurled finish every time I open a cabinet. Despite them being petite, they give off such a powerful stance. They’re quiet and quaint, but have a noticeable feel to them. I have mini shaker doors, so the FRANKLIN knob also allows for a minimalist look. I chose black to match my kitchen sink, and floors. 

For the pantry doors I purchased the KEPLER Heavyweight Knurled Pull and for the rest of the cabinetry I went for the matching KEPLER T-Bar Knurled Pull.”


Women in construction 👷‍♀️

“Being a woman in any male dominated industry is tough. I have had to set strict boundaries around the type of people I work with. For example, I won’t work with tradespeople or homeowners that portray toxic masculinity. It narrows the number of people I can work with, but it’s just so much safer this way. Now that Matriarchy Build is around, it’s made life a lot more enjoyable and easier. 

A network of supportive people is necessary for any underrepresented person who wants to enter the construction field. I have a group of women that I meet with once a month, I have friends that I can call and talk to that relate to my experiences, and therapy also helps to get through the traumatic encounters of being a woman in this field. I’d love to be more ‘glittery and rainbow-y’ about the topic, but this is the reality. But I love construction, and it’s worth doing what I love. It’s okay to take up space wherever you want to exist.”

Keeping inspired 💭

“Visiting a jobsite is one of my favorite parts about remodeling and really keeps me inspired. I also follow a lot of inspiring Instagram accounts."


"My favorite countertops are from @concretecollaborative. I hope to install them in our bathrooms. The amount of color and uniqueness makes the pieces really fun.”



“Their cabinetry is divine. One of my absolute favorite accounts to follow. Unfortunately, they don’t ship to the U.S. but let’s hope one day they will.”



“She's another favourite and makes really informative videos.”


That's a wrap on our tea break with Maria. If you're eager to keep up to date with Maria's projects, follow her at @riveterconstruction 🏡