Swinging nail guns and using chop saws, father daughter build home together

McKenna Carlson,19, muscles a nail gun while building a house in Smithfield this summer with her father Brian.

SMITHFIELD – Building a home is labor-intensive task. Construction work is not for the faint of heart.

Brain and Mckenna Carlson mark a place to start the back steps of the home they built in Smithfield this summer.

McKenna Carlson, who just turned 19, found that out this summer while building a home with her father.

Brian Carlson asked his daughter if she wanted to help him built a house in Smithfield this summer. He needed the help and she needed a job to help pay for college, so she agreed.

Brian learned the trade from his father, D. Brent Carlson, who ran his own construction company for years. He lived in Richmond and worked all over the valley.

He still uses his father’s name for the business. It’s kind of a family thing. He’s worked other jobs, but construction keeps calling his name, so he recently returned to building.

McKenna Carlson, cleans cement forms after removing them from the walkway leading to the 1,000 square foot home she is building with her father.

McKenna is a Dixie State University student, headed for her sophomore year. She spent her days with a nail gun, chop saw and other tools building a 1,000 square foot home in Smithfield for a retired couple.

Her long-term goal is to be a Physician’s Assistant and she is a licensed Certified Nursing Assistant, but working construction with her father seemed like an opportunity she couldn’t pass up.

Besides working on the Smithfield home, the Carlsons had other projects in the valley, when they could work them in.

Brian Carlson removes cement forms with his daughter McKenna while building a home this summer.

A father and daughter team building a home attracted some attention.

A nearby neighbor, Valarie Harrington, was intrigued by the tiny young woman willing to climb a ladder, get on the roof, work out of a man basket nailing boards, cutting plywood and making sure her father had what he needed.

She watched the father daughter duo build most of the house and was amazed at what McKenna would do.

The thing that impressed me was she didn’t shy away from anything,” Harrington said. “She used big hammers, even a jack hammer.”

“Women aren’t supposed to be able to do those kinds of things,” she said. “She is not very big and she didn’t back down from anything. It was impressive and inspiring watching that young woman work,” Harrington said.

Brian Carlson and his daughter McKenna stand in front of the home they worked on this summer. Friday was her last day on the job she returned to Dixie state College Wednesday.

Harrington said if she hadn’t seen it with her own eyes, she wouldn’t have believed it.

The Carlsons started as soon as the weather improved in May, and they went right to work. The home should be finished in September.

McKenna just took off this week for St. George to return to school. She didn’t get to see the finished product. She said it was a good experience working with her father.

Things go pretty fast once the walls go up,” she said. “I found out I don’t want build houses for a living.”

Her father said it was good to work with her, and he hoped it was good for her too.

“It’s been fun,” Brian said. “It reminded me of working construction with my dad when I was growing up.”

He said she was probably feeling some of the same frustrations he felt when he was working with his father.

“It was good,”he said.

Building a house together this summer was as much about building a relationship as it was building a house.


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