Whatever Happened To HGTV Star Carmeon Hamilton?

There's no question that Carmeon Hamilton is a rising star in the design world, creating elegant interiors for clients and establishing herself as a vivacious and prolific content creator on social media. Her skills as a social media maven are evident in her Instagram account, which has attracted more than 184,000 followers and counting. The Memphis-based designer is also no stranger to viewers of HGTV, having starred in the network's series "Reno My Rental," which initially streamed on Discovery+ before making its way to HGTV.

After "Reno My Rental" completed its HGTV run, Hamilton has been more or less absent in the years since. One reason for that is a tragic loss she experienced in her personal life, which took place shortly after filming the series made its television debut.

Fans of the show may be wondering what she's been up to since. While her presence on television may have been limited since "Reno My Rental," she's maintained an active presence online — and will be back on television sooner than fans realize.

Architectural Digest named her a rising star in design

Carmeon Hamilton's journey to HGTV began when she was working as a designer and buyer for a furniture company. During this time, she began focusing on social media to build up the client base for her design firm, Nubi Interiors. Her boss, however, told her to cut it out and stop posting so much. "He felt like I should be devoting more of that time to my job," she told Business Insider, explaining she felt as if she was already overworked and underpaid. So she quit and, in 2020, began focusing full-time on her design firm.

"It was terrifying," she said of stepping out on her own without the security of a salary to fall back on. She needn't have worried; she experienced immediate success — largely thanks to the following she'd built up on social media. "I had thousands of people that wanted to work with me," she said. "I tripled my corporate salary in the first six months of being an entrepreneur."

It wasn't long before she gained national attention when Architectural Digest ranked her among its nine "rising stars taking the design world by storm." In her interview with the magazine, she described herself as an "environmental curator," for whom plants were an essential component of any design. "Plants are a super-identifiable part of my aesthetic," she explained, "but the foundation is always modern and clean-lined."

Winning HGTV's Design Star: Next Gen led to her own show

It wasn't long after being celebrated by Architectural Digest that Carmeon Hamilton applied to compete in HGTV's "Design Star: Next Gen," a 2021 reboot of the series "HGTV Design Star," which was responsible for introducing the likes of David Bromstad and Tiffany Brooks. She was selected as one of the eight designers to compete on the show. At the finish line: a $50,000 prize and the opportunity to star in an HGTV show.

Hamilton's telegenic on-camera presence and her sleek designs quickly caught the eyes of the show's viewers. As "Design Star: Next Gen" progressed, Hamilton continued to excel, ultimately making it into the final three. When the dust settled, she was declared the winner. As she explained during the season finale, her strategy had been to rely on authenticity, creating designs that pleased her in the hope that the judges would find them as attractive as she did. "Throughout this competition, I created spaces that were more and more 'me.' I laid it all out on the table here," she said (via HGTV).

Later that year, HGTV announced that Hamilton would be starring in her own series for the network, "Reno My Rental." The premise was somewhat unique for HGTV, with Hamilton offering her skills and singular design esthetic to help renters elevate the style of their respective abodes.

The future of Reno My Rental is apparently up in the air

The first "Reno My Rental" season debuted in fall 2021 on the Discovery+ streaming service. The season — consisting of just six episodes — then aired on HGTV in early 2022. "My mission is to help renters in my hometown of Memphis make big changes without breaking the bank or tearing down walls," said Carmeon Hamilton in a statement to The Commercial Appeal. "I've got the hacks, the tricks, and the creative solutions to prove that you don't have to own a house to make it feel like home."

As she told House Beautiful, the show's premise allowed her to educate viewers, particularly those renting their homes, that even minor touches — such as changing the color of a wall with a fresh coat of paint — can make big impacts. "All you need to do is get past the fear of messing up and remember that paint can always be changed back to the original color the landlord wanted it if necessary," she said.

The renters who appeared on the show were reportedly thrilled with the end results. Alicia George, one of the Memphis residents to experience one of Hamilton's redesigns, loved what she did for her home and appreciated her personal warmth. "She's very magnetic yet humble and a lot of fun to be around," George told The Commercial Appeal. After the episodes aired, HGTV didn't offer any news about the show's potential return.

She was widowed when her husband was killed in a tragic car accident

During the period between filming "Reno My Rental" and its premiere on Discovery+, tragedy struck Carmeon Hamilton. "I was recently widowed after the passing of my incredible husband, Marcus, who was tragically killed by an intoxicated driver while riding his motorcycle in August 2021," she wrote on her website.

Hamilton was understandably devastated, and her shock was apparent in an Instagram post immediately after the accident to inform her social media followers — who'd come to know Marcus and the couple's son, Davin — of the sad news. "I'm no stranger to loss, but this loss brings something beyond pain. Something I can't describe," she wrote. "I'm now missing a major part of myself, and that void seems to grow more and more every second."

Given that her husband's death occurred weeks before the premiere of "Reno My Rental," the excitement she should have been feeling about the launch of her first television show was instead engulfed in the grief she was experiencing. While a burgeoning HGTV star would typically be doing interviews and press junkets ahead of the premiere, she understandably bowed out of those promotional duties; given the circumstances, HGTV executives were certainly not going to force her to undertake a press tour. "Carmeon is not quite ready to do interviews again," an HGTV spokesperson told The Commercial Appeal. A memorial service was held days before the show's Discovery+ premiere.

She decided to remain in her family home with her son

The death of her husband, Nike executive Marcus Hamilton, left Carmeon Hamilton reeling. They'd met in college while both attended the University of Arkansas. Their marriage was a true partnership, with the couple often discussing their relationship via social media. Marcus, in fact, would often look after the couple's 12-year-old son, Davin, while his wife attended to her suddenly white-hot career as a rookie HGTV star.

Suddenly, it all came to a grinding halt. "In my husband's tragedy, I was able to just stop and live," she told Business Insider of the period following her loss. "I wasn't pulled in multiple directions trying to be a mom and also grieve as a wife and be a businessperson. I was able to just be for as long as I needed to." Hamilton opened up about how she'd been coping in an essay she wrote for Drew + Jonathan Reveal Magazine. "Davin and I survived with the incredible support of our family, friends, and loving community. But even with that support, counseling, and positive affirmations, grief is a difficult journey, and it's messy AF," she mused.

In that essay, she also revealed that she and her son had decided to remain in their home. "What I will not do: make it a shrine," she added, noting that she intended to honor her late husband within the space they created together.

She's kept fans up to date in her eclectic blog

In addition to her frequent social media posts, Carmeon Hamilton regularly writes a blog on her website. Described as "a little blog about everything and nothing," the topics she chooses to write about are all over the map. Blog posts range from how she made a holiday-themed chandelier out of Christmas tree ornaments to sneak peeks at some of the spaces she's designed for clients, favorite fragrances, and tips on how to make some fave cocktails.

In a particular blog post from the summer of 2023, she detailed how every step along her career path — which began by designing spaces in healthcare facilities — had taught her something new. Where she is now, she explained, is the result of the combined and somewhat eclectic knowledge she's accumulated along the way. "Combining design principles (balance, scale, symmetry, contrast, etc.) with the analytics of merchandising (dollars per square foot) and psychology of sales (who, what, when, where, how, and why of the buy) is truly an art and one that I love so much," she said.

Another blog post celebrated her 2023 Ted Talk, which she delivered at TedXMemphis. As she wrote, her son Davin was in the audience, the first time he'd ever seen her speak in public. "He walked out of the theater and [came] up to me, and the first thing he said was 'Perfection,'" she recalled.

She's continued to maintain live-work balance

Quitting her job and going into business for herself via Nubi Interiors was game-changing for Carmeon Hamilton on several levels. One was achieving the right balance between her personal and professional lives. Becoming an entrepreneur allowed her to set a work schedule that suited her lifestyle instead of adjusting her life to accommodate work.

"I care more about living than succeeding," Hamilton told Business Insider. "I want to live and cherish the moments that I have rather than chase down success. If success comes, that's amazing, but I'm not a hustler. I'm going to do what I have to do in the moment when it's time to work, but I'm going to live when it's time for me to live."

She's continued to abide by that philosophy. Understandably, that's not always easy given the hot demand for her services, which have expanded from designing for clients to shooting television shows, taking on speaking engagements, and other opportunities that have come part and parcel with her expanding success. "If the foundation that you're trying to work from isn't solid, you can't move and be all things to all people for everything to your business if you don't have a healthy sense of self," she explained. "You have to make sure you're taking care of yourself because if you're successful at that, you can be successful at anything else."

She loves to show off her exquisitely designed home

Carmeon Hamilton's decision to continue living in the home she shared with her husband following his death reflects how much of a labor of love designing the home was for her. She's clearly proud of the spaces she's created, judging by how frequently she's shown it off in magazine spreads and video features. "I get asked the question often, what is my own personal style, and I would describe it as modern bohemian," she said while giving viewers a tour of her home for Blavity TV.

In another house tour — this one appearing in Schoolhouse — she declared herself a firm believer in form following function. "Functionality is the key to a successful space no matter who it's designed for," she said, explaining that she typically doesn't contemplate design options until she's wrapped her head around how a specific room is meant to function. "Once you determine what needs to happen, you can determine the look," she added.

She's also not afraid to deviate from what some would consider her signature style, which she discussed while showcasing her white-walled bedroom for House & Home. "I'm known for very moody spaces," she said, "and I knew that having a white room would be something that would completely blow people away."

She combined crafts with cocktails for a web series

Carmeon Hamilton's love of cocktails can be traced all the way back to 2013 when she launched her very first Crafts and Cocktails event. She took her passion for mixology to even further heights in 2021 when she teamed up with HGTV for a special online series with the same name, in which each episode featured her presenting viewers with step-by-step instructions for both a DIY craft project and a fave cocktail; the debut, for example, included gilding a planter in gold leaf while mixing up a batch of garden mojitos.

In 2023, she revived the concept on her blog with a new series titled "Crafts, Cocktails and Conversations," following the template established in the previous series. In addition to that online series, Hamilton served up blog posts featuring how-to cocktail recipes for the drinks she whipped up during those episodes.

There were a few differences between the earlier series and this new one. As Hamilton explained in one episode, her latest offering featured both crafts and cocktails that boasted a Yuletide spin in honor of the holiday season — at least initially. Another change was that she was now joined by special guests, an eclectic group including friends from Memphis, local artist Frances Berry Moreno, producer and recording artist Hitkidd, and even her dad.

She's entered partnership deals with suppliers

Before striking out as a full-time interior designer, Carmeon Hamilton's job as a stylist with a furniture manufacturer placed her in contact with numerous suppliers within the design industry. At the time, she told Business Insider, she couldn't enter into any partnerships or collaborations with brands, as it would have placed her in a conflict of interest. Once she exited the corporate gig and went to work for herself, that conflict vanished, opening the door for lucrative deals that benefited both her and the companies she worked with.

That was evident in a post about her kitchen remodel that appeared on Fireclay Tile. As Hamilton explained, she came into contact with the company's tiles through a friend and fellow designer and was impressed by what she saw. "She sourced Fireclay for her bathroom renovation, and I loved the look of the handmade tiles!" she gushed.

Another collaboration came with wallpaper manufacturer Hygge & West, with Hamilton using the brand's wallpaper in her home and discussing the stylish new look on the company's website. She explained that she chose the brand's Serengeti pattern for the hallway she was redesigning. The pattern featured gold cheetahs on a dark background with an African motif, which was precisely what she'd envisioned for that space. "The Serengeti scene was indicative of the landscapes of our African ancestors and just felt like home," she explained.

She's learned to infuse her grief with gratitude

In her interview with Hygge & West, Carmeon Hamilton shared her views on both design and life, which included an explanation of why she prefers to use actual plates and glassware, even when having a simple dinner of pizza, over paper plates and disposable plastic cups. "Swapping out mundane everyday items for beautiful ones can really create a feeling of gratitude, which can immediately lift your mood, elevating those previously 'mundane' moments to ones you now appreciate," she said.

Remaining in a place of gratitude was no doubt challenging after the death of her husband, but Hamilton has embraced a philosophy of being thankful for what she has while grieving over what she's lost. Her gratitude, in fact, is what helped her get through that difficult time; as she told Sweet July, "Grief is just the love that was shared with the person you lost and finding a new way to experience that love."

Offering advice to anyone experiencing a similar situation, she recommended taking stock of even the smallest, most insignificant moments in a day and figuring out a way to make them exceptional. "Maybe you put cardamom in your coffee for an elevated experience or use nice bowls and silverware to eat on," she said. "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."

Carmeon Hamilton is returning to HGTV with Turn Your House Around

While the future of "Reno My Rental" is uncertain, Carmeon Hamilton's future at HGTV certainly is — cemented by the network's announcement that she was returning to host a whole new show. Tentatively titled "Turn Your House Around," Hamilton's second HGTV series is slated to premiere in 2024. 

"Fans of Carmeon's HGTV series and her popular social media platforms love to watch her step into any space and immediately come up with a myriad of easy and inexpensive ways to max out its style and function," said Loren Ruch, HGTV's head of content, in a press release. "She will do even more for her clients in 'Turn Your House Around,' bringing her creative ingenuity and clever solutions to families' homes in every episode."

The show's premise is right within Hamilton's wheelhouse. According to that release, Hamilton will meet with homeowners in the Memphis area whose current abodes no longer fit their needs. Joined by local craftspeople, she'll zero in on the key issues and create custom-designed spaces that are as functional as they are fabulous — all tailored to each family's unique needs, style, aesthetic, and budget.