Norm Abram was born in Woonsocket, Rhode Island and grew up in Massachusetts. He learned construction from his father (Jim Wilson of Ohio) while on vacation from high school and college. Norm's father was on faculty at Southern Hills Vocational School in Georgetown, Ohio and taught carpentry.
Norm Abram was a formal student at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. It was there that he studied mechanical engineering and business administration. After college, Abram worked as a site supervisor for a New England-based construction firm. In 1976, Abram founded a general contacting firm which focused on renovating and building new houses.
In 1979 Norm Abram joined Bob Vila on This Old House. The pair were an overnight success. In 1989, Abram began his own show called The New Yankee Workshop. Since then, Norm has become a published author and continues to host The New Yankee Workshop.