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Expert Interview Series: Jamin Mills of The Handmade Home on Personalizing Your Home

Personalizing your home

Jamin and Ashley Mills are the founders of the Handmade Home, nationally recognized home improvement and decor site. Their work has captured the attention of media outlets like Better Home and Gardens, House Beautiful, Cottages and Bungalows, Country Living, Redbook, The Washington Post, The New York Times, The Nate Berkus Show, Dr. Oz’s The Good Life, Good Housekeeping and the Today Show, to name a few.

We recently asked Jamin about his philosophy on creating a home that the whole family will feel comfortable in.

“We don’t believe in pining away for the perfect home, but to make the house you live in now, the one you love,” he said.

Here Jamin talks about breaking home design rules to personalize your home. Read on:

You talk about breaking home design rules? What are some rules that frustrate or annoy you the most?

People are often concerned about what others will think of their home, whether it is a mother, mother-in-law, sister or whoever. It’s your home, so their rules don’t apply. People also seem to freeze when it comes to color, normally under the scare of resale. But you should enjoy the home you have now, not worry about a perspective buyer four years down the road or what your mother-in-law thinks. In general though color scares a lot of homeowners, simply because they lack understanding on how to use it. But color can bring life to any space and simply transform the feel and look.

Why do you advocate breaking the rules?

We believe there are basic rules to follow, such as color flow, but that if you bound yourself to every rule then there will be no creativity or uniqueness in design. A home should reflect you, not a designer.

How can homeowners break out of a builder’s grade rut to put their own stamp on a home?

Make simple changes. Start with ditching the builder’s beige. Take some doors down and add something more custom. Open the kitchen by removing some cabinet doors. If you have an island or a bar look at removing the top and doing a custom top. Change fixtures, lighting, sink, etc.

What types of questions should how homeowners ask themselves when designing their home? What considerations should they make?

When making changes you should always consider function and beauty and how to make the two work. Yes we want a beautiful home, but a beautiful home that isn’t functional is simply a museum. You want to create a place your family and friends feel comfortable in.

What are the most common concerns/complaints/frustrations your clients come to you with? How do you help them?

Most people simply don’t know where to begin or are afraid to start. We suggest if you are doing it on your own, without the help of a designer start with something easy to change in case you don’t like it. Put some color on the walls, add some new pillows. And gauge how you feel. If it doesn’t excite you, then change directions. It is easier to make changes if you start with a $30 can of paint instead of a $3,000 sofa. But dive into the project, don’t be scared. Make a change. At the same time remember it’s a process and you can let some elements simmer for a bit if you need to.

What are some of your favorite ways to instantly transform bland spaces?

Paint, art and fabrics are the quickest and easiest ways to transform a space. These little changes can bring so much life to a space.

What home renovations have you been most proud of?

We love them all! Our current favorite is some charity work we did at the Ronald McDonald House in Nashville.

We also loved this space we did for a client.

Around our house two of our favorites have been our master bath and backyard.

What are the biggest renovation mistakes you’ve had to learn from?

Fortunately, we haven’t had any major mistakes. Probably the biggest mistake we made in our career was to not go for it on a certain design. That’s why we like to be big cheer leaders of people who want to make changes.

Where should homeowners go for inspiration when designing their home?

Everywhere. Inspiration can strike you at the oddest times and places. Keep a collection of things that inspire you. At the same time some people just don’t think that way, so it’s OK to reach out for help. Which is why we offer affordable design services to help people get started.

Want to create a backyard oasis? Learn more about patio awnings.

Follow the Handmade Home on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.

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