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Talking custom builds with Carpenter, D'ondra

D'ondra Howard (@workbootsandglasses) is a Carpenter featured in Matriarchy Build's roster of female trades professionals. Based in Sacramento, California, D'ondra specialises in DIY and woodworking. Having started out with small furniture upcycles, she now tackles her own custom wooden pieces, including tables, desks and charcuterie boards.


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 D'ondra, one of Matriarchy Build's knowledgeable professionals, to hear more about her background, sources of inspiration and advice for those approaching woodwork 🪓

Starting out 🥽  

“For as long as I can remember, I’ve wanted to learn how to build furniture but was afraid of the power tools.  It wasn’t until I saw someone on Instagram (@ournestonpowell) that shared she was self taught, that I thought ‘I have to try this’.  After watching all her highlighted videos, I woke up the next morning, went to Home Depot and bought a miter saw and some wood. I followed a plan to build a sofa table by @shanty2chic and had so much fun that I kept building from there.  Eventually people started asking me to make something for them, or they asked how much I’d sell my builds for.”

Sticking to Sacramento 📍

“I was born and raised in Sacramento, so this is all I know.  I enjoy being here, but I’m also not opposed to moving somewhere else.  The weather is pretty great and I can find pretty much anything I need here woodworking wise.  I have traveled to other places looking for cool pieces of wood, until I discovered what I had in my own backyard was pretty dope.”


A real rollercoaster 🎢

“I really enjoy the whole process of my job, yes some more than others, like getting started with sanding – we have a love / hate relationship but once I get started, it gets better.  I also enjoy picking out the wood, but not so much unloading it into my shop.  That’s a whole job in itself.  Other than that, seeing it all come together is exciting.”  

How to choose the right furniture 📺

“Choosing custom furniture comes down to your needs.  We all would like a dining table, but don’t always have space for it.  I feel like a TV console is great for storage, but nowadays people are hanging them on the wall.  I also feel like some sort of buffet or sofa table is great for storage for some, but again, I get space also plays a factor.  It really is up to you what you have the space and need for.”

Words of wisdom 🦉

“My advice if you’re planning your first, basic woodworking project? Just start.  Try a lot of things you’re interested in learning and keep going until you find the one that lights a fire in you.  You’ll know because it’ll be something you want to keep doing.  You’ll also find that you’ll want to learn more and take classes, and to ask others in the field for advice.  People in the community are also willing to help.”

For women in the industry 👩

“Again, just start! Doesn’t matter who’s there already.  We all have something we bring to the table and I feel there's room for all of us.”

Must-have tools 🧰

“For my projects, I need my drill, my tape measure and my miter saw. But if you're not ready for a miter saw, a jigsaw works well.”

Heaps of inspo 🗻

“There are too many inspiring Instagram accounts out there to name, but here’s a few I love."

“I really enjoy, their home transformations are hecka dope.”


“She has some of the coolest accent wall designs.” 


“She also has some really cool home transformations that are pretty dope.”


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