There’s something special about someone who can envision beauty where it has yet to exist. It’s a skill that Carmeon Hamilton prides herself on. The Memphis-based entrepreneur, interior designer and star of Reno My Renal (which premieres on HGTV this Friday, January 14) stumbled upon interior design after giving her college dorm room a makeover. Her friend then suggested that Hamilton check out the interior design department at her school, and Hamilton changed her major the next day.
“There was something that my mom instilled about making the most of what you have in spaces that you’re in,” Hamilton says, “because you just feel better in those spaces.”
With her spirit of creativity and critical thinking, Hamilton is now transforming residential spaces of all sizes and empowering her clients to see the beauty in all things and in every day.
HUSTLE HARD, STAND OUT
As a contestant on the HGTV show Design Star: Next Gen, which premiered back in February 2021, Hamilton was one of eight designers who competed for a chance to win $50,000 and their own show. The opportunity not only challenged her professionally, but it put her work on a national stage during a time in which the spotlight on Black people across all industries and sectors was brighter than usual. Hamilton was no stranger to conversations about diversity and inclusion within the interior design space, and she was determined to debunk the notion that there was a monolith of designers and design styles that is often seen on different networks.
“In the midst of everything that happened in the summer of 2020 for the Black community, particularly around race and social justice, my business (Nubi Interiors) took off and Design Star came right after that,” Hamilton recalls.
She almost didn’t accept the opportunity, but thanks to her husband and best friend, she became less hesitant about leaving behind the booming success of her interior design business.
“They both reminded me that my business would still be there once I returned, but it’s not every day that I’ll get the chance to be on TV,” she says. “Once I won the opportunity, I took it upon myself to not only represent Black women but also Black designers that decide to find their own lane and not subscribe to trends. I wanted to be more than just diversity of person, but also of thought and style.”
The Design Star win is what led Hamilton to become the star and host of Reno My Rental, in which Hamilton gives renters across the city of Memphis major style upgrades that turn their bland backdrops into unforgettable homes with magical statement pieces.
Her favorite part of the design process? Putting those final styling touches on the space right before it is photographed. “It’s those final details that tell the story of who lives in that space or who’s going to use that space,” she says. “I’m so grateful to work for a network and production company that champions me being me and is just incredibly supportive of my growth and creativity.”
ON GRIEVING, GRATITUDE AND GROWTH
About a month before the premiere of her show, Hamilton experienced the tragic loss of her husband, Marcus, in a motorcycle accident. While his loss was incredibly sudden, she decided to push forward with the show’s release because it’s what he would’ve wanted her to do. In an Instagram post, Hamilton shared her candid experience with grief, calling it “messy AF.” But even in the darkest of moments, she still manages to find an ounce of gratitude to keep moving forward.
“The caveat of losing him was also remembering all of the lessons that I learned from him,” she says. “From parenting our son to becoming this “celebrity,” to showing me how to deal with others, he prepared me to be a strong person and withstand living this life without him.”
She continues to live by the belief that “grief is just the love that was shared with the person you lost and finding a new way to experience that love.” As she continues to cope, Hamilton maintains a spirit of gratitude. It’s how she finds beauty in each day.
And she invites others to do the same. “Consider the tiny, everyday experiences you have like making coffee or eating breakfast,” she says. “Maybe you put cardamom in your coffee for an elevated experience or use nice bowls and silverware to eat on. Whatever it is, make those moments a little bit more special. I try to find that in every moment that I’m awake…just letting the light in.”