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Carmeon Hamilton | HGTV Design Star & Interior Design Tips & Tricks | Wine Down the Week Ep 9

Carmeon Hamilton | HGTV Design Star & Interior Design Tips & Tricks | Wine Down the Week Ep 9

Carmeon is a Memphis-based interior designer and lifestyle blogger behind the brand, Nubi Interiors, winner of HGTV’s Design Star: Next Gen and star of HGTV’s Reno My Rental. Her work, story and content around design, branding and elevating the everyday are featured and referenced in Architectural Digest, Southern Living, Essence, Domino and more. Carmeon utilizes her design education and vast experience to discover the beauty in all things and help others find beauty in what surrounds them every day.

Where you can find Carmeon:

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Angie 0:10 Hey plant fam welcome to Wine Down the Week with Angie, I'm your host Angie and also owner of Steel City Plant Company here in Bethlehem Pennsylvania. This podcast is brought to you by solid tech solutions. Happy Black Friday everyone. I hope you had a beautiful holiday with your loved ones. So it's also my birthday so cheers to that. We'll be celebrating a little bit later with some wine. But we're so excited to kick off the shopping season here in Downtown Bethlehem which is also Christmas City USA. So this is the official start to our season here as you can tell by the setup behind me. So today we chat with Carmeon Hamilton so excited to chat with her. She is incredible and just killing it So Carmeon is a Memphis based interior designer and lifestyle blogger behind the brand newbie interiors winner of HGTV design star next gen and star of HGTV Reno My Rental. Her work story and content around designing branding and elevating the everyday our featured in reference in Architectural Digest, Southern Living, Essence Domino and more Carmeon on utilizes her design education and vast experience to discover the beauty in all things and help others find beauty in what surrounds them every day. Welcome, Carmeon.
Carmeon 1:25 Hi,
Angie 1:27 Thank you so much for being here with us today.
Carmeon 1:30 I'm so excited.
Angie 1:33 So we're gonna kick it off with an icebreaker called pedal and bud so pedal is something that happened recently and bud is something that is coming up that you're excited about. So I'll kick it off while you think so my pedal something that happened recently that was exciting. Is that today's my birthday. So entering the last year of my 20s Thank you so much. I don't know I'm excited about this one. We're like inching closer to a milestone next year. But something coming up. That's exciting is that I'm going to Jackson Hole Wyoming to celebrate so I've never been there taking a nice wintery vacation next weekend.
Carmeon 2:12 Oh fun. How about you? Well, my petal is. Well, we just spent, I guess holidays with family and really excited about that had a great time. Bud, Bud is my son's birthday is in a few days he turns 13 And we're doing it up at a jump zone. And I'm celebrating.
Angie 2:47 Sagittarius gotta love it.
Carmeon 2:49 Yeah, indeed.
Angie 2:51 Oh, that'll be so fun. 13 Wow, teenager. That's a big deal.
Carmeon 2:57 I know. I'm kind of freaking out about it. Yeah.
Angie 3:03 Oh, wait, God. Well, we are going to cheers to that. We've got a lot of exciting things going on. It sounds like so I am drinking wine from Blue Ridge. This is called the underground wine. It's uniquely aged in 15 gallon bourbon barrels bury seven feet beneath the earth for a year. It's unfiltered world class dry rat exhibits aromas of dark cherries, tobacco and right blueberries. So very interesting. They bury this wine underground for at least a year in bourbon barrels before you can drink it. It's amazing. Yeah. Big thanks to Blue Ridge for being our sponsor today. What do you got going on over there?
Carmeon 3:44 I am drinking a green I had a little bit too much of the fun stuff last night so I'm hydrating and getting right. Yes. My Oh, it's so good. Oh, I bet it is. Oh,
Angie 4:06 all right. So we're gonna play a drinking game. It's gonna be worse for me apparently because you're out. Let's do any time that someone says shopper shopping, as we're talking about Black Friday, Black Friday, you have to drink.
Carmeon 4:25 Okay. Okay.
Angie 4:29 All right. So do you have anything on your Black Friday shopping list?
Carmeon 4:39 I do not. I am one of those people that are like diehard. I am not shopping on Black Friday, but there's always something that happens. So right now. I don't but I have to stay off of social media if I'm going to maintain that because lots of my Friends will go oh my god so once I was having a sale and yeah I cave but as of right now I do not
Angie 5:07 so I'm more about Small Business Saturday I don't know about that clear city yet that's a big thing here it is so Small Business Saturday is where it's at. I know we're doing really fun discounts and doorbusters for those that shop with us. Oh my god, this is gonna be hard.
Carmeon 5:24 I will drink with you.
Angie 5:27 For those that spend money with us and our for the first time the door, we have really fun little goodie bag. So really excited for tomorrow for Small Business Saturday, what goes on in your city for Small Business Saturday.
Carmeon 5:40 Basically the same thing, we have a few special pockets in different neighborhoods in the city that have small shops, Saturday events. And usually there's music involved in someone with a like hot chocolate stand or something. But it's really fun. I usually get to make it to like two areas the city is so spread out but I try to make it to at least two because gotta support support the small, small businesses that are here.
Angie 6:12 Santa shops small, that's our motto in this town. Drink I should have brought a green juice. I'm gonna need one tomorrow. Okay, anyway, any must have items that you would recommend for plant parents or beginner plant parents. So something that you might already have that you'd be like this is the best.
Carmeon 6:40 Yes. So first and foremost, if you are going to be if you're going to be if you're going to be serious about your plant parenting care responsibilities, I highly recommend some type of growing light fixture either up or an actual pendant. And tada, mine is like right now and see how high my rubber tree is growing, it's actually time to raise the light but a grow light for a struggling plant or for propagation station. Like it's one of the most satisfying investments that you can make
Angie 7:31 100% I have that same light from Soltec. And I have it on my cacti. So I have it on the highest setting and they're so happy. They're growing these little buds that are about to bloom. I'm so I can't wait. But the most satisfying thing for me is when I cacti blooms, so, yes, super excited about that. So yeah, we obviously know where you can get your grow lights this year. So check out Soltech's website. I'm sure they got some great deals going on right now for the holidays. Alright, let's get into this design because I need to know everything about you. I'm so excited to be talking with you big fan. So fill in our listeners on how did you get started with interior design.
Carmeon 8:16 So my background actually started in college, I actually chose the school that I went to and started out in physical therapy that did not pan out. I realized I've hated science my whole entire life. I don't know why I decided to go into the field. But I mean, it's one of those things where, Okay, it's time to go to college and get a good job so you can make good money and physical therapy was a very sought after field even now. So that's why I chose the school. And that's why I chose a school can you hear that? It sounds like a horror movie. Is someone in your walls or something? Plumber, but he's in my attic because we're prepping for a skylight and you got to move stuff around. It's weird. But yes, um, so I chose this particular school for their physical therapy program thinking I just wanted to get a really good job that made a lot of money. But coming to find out I hate science and everything about it. It was one of the first times I didn't make straight A's. And so I lost my academic scholarship and so to supplement I became an RA. And of course when you become an RA or resident assistant, you get your own dorm room. So I got to decorate it the way that I wanted to. And my fellow RAS came in one specifically who's still my best friend to this day she came in and she was Like, Oh my God, what are you doing with your life? You should totally check out the design program. And I was like our school has a design program. I didn't even know. Yeah. But I checked it out, changed my major the next day. Wow.
Angie 10:14 It's so crazy to think about what our lives would look like, if we ended up doing the same thing we went to college
Carmeon 10:20 to do, oh, my gosh, I can't there be a lot of unhappy citizens of the world.
Angie 10:27 I wanted to be like a magazine journalist editor for and I was, I didn't really think at the time that print was not going to be what it is now. Like, no idea. We didn't see that coming. Like, Well, I gotta do that. Such a business. So how do you think about plants when it comes to interior design?
Carmeon 10:50 Oh, they are 100% effective in bringing a space to life. It's one of those things where I tell my clients and especially working with other designers, like a beautiful space is wonderful once you do wallpaper and paint and get furniture in it and all that good stuff. But that space doesn't feel alive until you put living things in it, you have to have some kind of real life connection to something that's living and breathing. And the first time you put a plant in an image of a space, that image is completely more attainable and approachable because people can understand that somebody is there, like it takes a human element to for there to be a plant element, like someone had to put it there someone is taking care of this thing. And so people just connect more with a space if they're living things in it. And so no space of mine is complete without several, it's my house, but at least a planner too. Because they're integral to not only how the space looks and feels, but also to the health and well being of the people that are going to be in those spaces.
Angie 12:09 So what's your favorite thing about the design process? Is it seeing the blank space? Is it seeing the finished product? Is it the in between what's your favorite?
Carmeon 12:19 My favorite is definitely putting the finishing touches on a space, it's those little the little details that actually bring a space to life, you know, every space has, you know, a wall color or a sofa or a rug, or whatever it is they every space has these, you know, given elements, but you bring in these tiny details or maybe not so tiny that really speak to the people that are using it something sentimental, something that reads a to their culture, or whatever it is, and you bring those pieces in, and the space literally comes to life and connects to the people that are going to use it. And that's my favorite part.
Angie 13:03 Yeah. Tell us about the whole design star process. So how did you get there? What was that? Like? What was it like being there? The whole thing, we need to hear it all?
Carmeon 13:13 Well, um, I was found, I don't know how it was found. But I was approached via DM on Instagram, as the producer going, Hey, I got a fun project we'd love for you to interview for or we're going through casting and blah, blah, blah. And originally, I was like, No thanks, like, whatever. But I had gone through lots of casting beforehand. So it's just not a very fun process when it leads to nothing. But he came back around, he was like, no, please, we really think you'd be great for this project. Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. So ultimately, I get on a Skype call. That turns into another Skype call that turns into me recording videos of myself in my living room, and then another Skype call, and then I get a phone call. Later that's like okay, we love you. We really want you to be a part of this show. Thank you. And I get a final call that is like we love you and we really want you to be a part of this show. And then the pandemic happens. And they're like, Hold on. Let's see what happens. We don't know the project can move forward now. So this I got the DM probably February of last year. It was right at the beginning of March like first of March when I got the yes we want you to be a part of The show kind of thing, you're a part of the final group that we're considering. And then a couple weeks later, the world shuts down. And they're like, we'll get back to you. And it was May when they said, we're still trying to figure it out. And so the whole summer went by July, late July, early August, is when I got the call that said, Okay, you have been cast. Here's the actual project, that's when I found out it was actually design star, I had no idea what the project was prior to, which is also weird. Um, but they were like, yeah, it's a competition show. And you'll have to come to LA and blah, blah, blah. And I was like, a competition show. Oh, do a competition show. I don't know. He show, right. But also, at the time, my business had taken off, like tremendously, I had just left my corporate job less than a year before. And my own business, I already had a waiting list, like things were amazing. And I'm like, No, I'm not leaving my business to compete for a chance to win a show. Like, it just wasn't, it didn't sound worth it. But my husband and one of my best friends, were both like, When are you ever going to get a chance to be on TV again, also, you have a design business that you can have, as long as you want, like, you have clients now you'll have clients later, it's going to be okay, it's going to be fine. And so I went, my husband was amazing. I was like, I'll take care of the house, I got the kid, don't worry about anything, just go be great. And I got there, you don't know who else is on the show, you're basically check into a hotel, and you hear nothing. At the time, we heard nothing for three days, because we have to quarantine and pass COVID tests and everything. But we ultimately did not meet each other until we walked on the set. They kept us all separated and on ice as they call it. And that was when I realized who my competition was and seeing how vastly different backgrounds everyone had and approaches to design. I was like, Okay, I don't know what I'm getting into, like I have someone with 35 years of experience over here. I just turned 35 Like, yeah, my goodness, and then a industrial engineer. And then, like she's designed for The Chainsmokers. Like they like all of these people here with these amazing backgrounds and like, what am I doing here. But I only promised myself to not be the first one to go. Like, no matter what happens, just don't be the first one eliminated, just try really hard this this first time and don't get eliminated first. And thankfully, I didn't. And that was basically the approach I had for the rest of the competition. Just don't be the worst room. And it's kind of hard, because you can't really see what everybody else is doing unless you're stopping what you're doing and walking completely. This. But it made it that much more fun. And it was easier to focus on your own stuff and not worry about sabotage and competing in the negative sense. So the entire process was actually incredible. But also the hardest thing I have ever done in my entire life. Like I left that campus like with anxiety and high blood pressure and not being able to sleep and like all these things, because it's just so intense. It's so intense. But of course, in the end, it was all worth it because I won. I won to show and $50,000 so oh great.
Angie 19:15 Incredible. So congratulations, officially.
Carmeon 19:18 Thank you.
Angie 19:19 Are you okay? What did you do next? Well, like you came out of that you're like, Alright, I got $50,000 I have this very public platform now more so than I already did. What do I do with it?
Carmeon 19:33 So well, the day after I won. Well, I got on a plane and came home and pretended like nothing had happened because I couldn't tell anybody. Early now. My husband knew my dad knew and my best friend knew. Oh my god. So yeah, that was it. Like I basically told everyone like I have to go to California for work. I'm working on a project. It's a big project coming Construction Project blah, blah, blah, whatever. So yeah, keep it a secret, which also led to more anxiety and high blood pressure, things like that. But soon, it was time to promote the show, I had to put all of my client work on hold. So the clients, I finished before I left and everybody else was like, You guys are on a waiting list, I'll get you. When I opened back up, I didn't make any promises to anybody, thank God. But soon after, it was time to promote the show, because it ended up airing at the end of February. Originally, it was going to be six months later in May. But they moved it up. And they were also promoting discovery plus, which was a whole new streaming platform. So there was all of this hoopla around it. And then there's all this press and PR and interviews and all of this stuff. So it was a huge world overnight. Yes. Cute, whirlwind. So yeah, after that, it's literally just hey, you're the girl that won design star. Let's talk to you about design and the competition. And can you design this thing? And that's, that's what life became.
Angie 21:18 And did most of your clients stick it out with you that were on the waitlist?
Carmeon 21:22 Like they're still waiting? That's waiting? Yeah.
Angie 21:26 I mean, yeah, I would imagine that it's probably even growing more now. And they're willing to wait
Carmeon 21:31 for you this still growing, they are willing to wait. There's just no way to do everything that I'm doing right now and focus on individuals specific needs of people and their spaces. It's just so hard to do. So I'm like, until I hit a low. Yep. That's on hold.
Angie 21:52 I think that's a really important message, though. Because I think, especially in today's culture, so many people say yes, to everything, and don't give it 100. Like, I try so hard, and I can be that person too. I say yes to everything. And then I'm like, but am I giving this my 100%. So I think it's really important to know that that's okay. And as long as you're being transparent and honest with the people that you have to say hold on a minute, too. So just wanted to point that out for our listeners, if you're in one of those moments right now. It's okay to say no,
Carmeon 22:22 it's okay to say no. Yes.
Angie 22:25 Okay, so are you still friends with any of the people that you competed with? Are you in touch like anything? From there?
Carmeon 22:33 Absolutely. Very close friends. With everybody on the cast. I'm actually going to Atlanta in a couple days. And we'll see just in while I'm there. So yeah, it's just, they're incredible human beings. We got to eat dinner together. Every night, we were basically the only people we could hang out with because of the bubble of production. So we just clung to each other, which is another reason why it was such a great experience. We walked away with, you know, seven new friends. And so yeah, they they are all incredible. And they're super supportive, especially of me now. They've helped promote my show and everything. So great. Yeah, let's
Angie 23:19 dive into that. Tell us about Reno My Rental.
Carmeon 23:21 Yeah. So two weeks after winning design star, I came home, and I got a call and they're like, you ready to talk about your show? I was like, oh, it's time to do this, like now. Right now. So we went through a full line development process, like what do you want to do? What do you envision your show being like, and of course, the network has their own ideas for what they want. So by the time we got to the end, rent, oh, my rental was the baby. But production. For rental, my rental was so completely different from design star, like, design fires nonstop. It's intense. It's competing, it's you by yourself in a bubble. Creating something for people to judge and weigh against other people and rent on my rental was like a cakewalk compared to you, I can do what you have. And I walk on the set the first day and I have a production assistant, go. We're ordering coffee. What kind of coffee would you like and what's your coffee order? And I'm like, what, like, get me coffee? Like yeah, we'd like to get your coffee like, are you Hi, we can get you a fan like, oh, it was amazing. So there's pre production and there's a whole casting process that I have nothing to do with like the network and casting people and producers they decide who the clients are going to be. So that's I know for me, I was wondering Sending me DMS, like I want to be on your show, like, I'm sorry, I have nothing to do with it, I don't make those decisions. She cannot, I cannot help you. But once you're selected, I dig into every crevice of your public information to figure out who you are, what you like, what you love. And there's a really intense process that I don't even get to talk to them beforehand. But of course, they send pictures of their spaces and give as much information as they can during the casting process. And that's what I have to go off of, to create spaces for these people. But I have a tremendous team that helps like a design producer, and all the design assistance, people that execute all of my vision. So instead of me doing everything I get to go, I want to cabinets with brass hardware and white hats and a white backsplash. And we want checkerboard floors and a farmhouse, I just get to spill my guts and they take the notes and they put a mood board together and go, is this what you're talking about? So it's amazing. It's amazing. I literally just focus on being in front of the camera and being happy and making sure my
Angie 26:19 party really love to do. Oh, yeah, creative process absolute. So I've always wondered, okay, so what is how much prep time you have, before a project like from you get the information in the pictures to when you need to have your completed vision?
Carmeon 26:34 Oh, we have days to when we have to have a completed vision because we have to place orders. And the things have to come in on time for production. And also there are things that you can't do beforehand, like we can't go ahead and demo, and prep and all these other things because they have to capture everything on camera. So it's very, it's a very narrow window for when we can do things. And it's crazy. It's
Angie 27:06 how long then is the start to the finish of one project.
Carmeon 27:12 Outside of pre production start to finish up one project is two weeks, we we did two projects per two weeks, we shot over six weeks, shot six projects, and it was two projects, two projects. So
Angie 27:26 two at a time you were working on. I've just always wondered the logistics behind all of that. Yeah, it because you see it all I'm rambling, you know, an hour or
Carmeon 27:36 whatever. 23 minutes for me. Right?
Angie 27:39 Yeah. 23 minutes, and you're like, Okay, how long does this actually take? But it's still super quick. It's quicker than I thought
Carmeon 27:45 oh, absolute than it would have been? Yeah, that's that's two weeks of me standing there talking to the clients as going shopping as to like, it's of everything that you see on the show. And the project.
Angie 28:02 Alright, so how can people watch? Let's hear all the clubs, where can we find you on social media? What should we keep an eye out for? Hit us with all
Carmeon 28:10 of it? Yes. So you can find me on a daily basis on Instagram. And my handle is at karmi on Hamilton. And you can find everything about the show information about me other things about design and anything else I'm talking about because I talk about everything. I'm a lifestyle content creators slash blogger. You can find it on my website at Carmi on Hamilton calm. You'll also see lots of behind the scenes from rental, my rental and design star. There are recaps on my blog there. But you can watch both design star nitrogen and rental my rental right now on Discovery. Plus, they are all six episodes each are streaming, and you can binge them both in a couple of days and fall in love with me all over again about my love of plants and argue with Jonathan Adler, about plant placement. So that's what
Angie 29:12 I'm about to do when I go home. I'm gonna take this I'm back to my couch and just stream it.
Carmeon 29:17 Go for it. Yes.
Angie 29:19 Thank you again for being with us. We're gonna roll into our riddle. So each week we do trivia or riddle to close out the show. So last week's trivia question was what is a cluster of bananas called? You want to take a stab at it before I give the the answer? A cluster of bananas I thought it was a bunch. It's not i
Carmeon 29:42 i was thinking bunch, but I'm like that too. That's not it.
Angie 29:47 Sometimes they're that obvious, but it's called a hand. A single banana is called a finger and a grouping of attached fingers make up a hand of bananas, multiple hands growing a cluster those are called a bunch 
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