Making my way through South Bexley, I couldn’t help but think that nearly every home on this quiet street could be featured in our monthly series. But since it’s our first, we wanted not only a special house but a special family. I’ve had the pleasure of knowing Courtney Hamilton for nearly 25 years. From Barbie dream houses to summer camp to actual dream houses, we’ve done it all. And Courtney’s dream house is why I was headed to Bexley on a cold winter morning.
Courtney met her husband, Justin Hamilton back in the early 2000’s. “Justin and I met in high school- we started dating when I was a freshman and he was a sophomore. We’ve never been apart and are going on 15 years together, and 8 years married,” Courtney said. Their first home, a fixer-upper in Vassar Village, was their first taste of flipping a home. After that, they were hooked. When they outgrew that house, they started the search for a new place to call home. “We grew up in Merion village, so we always liked the thought of living close to downtown, but thought about moving to the suburbs (Dublin area) because that’s what we thought we were supposed to do… we looked at multiple homes in the suburbs, but it didn’t feel quite right,“ Hamilton explained.
“We got a lead on our home from our neighbor… Never considered Bexley because we didn’t think we would be able to find a house that met our standards within our price range… We went to the estate sale and got a sneak peak of the house. I was disappointed because the house needed so much work. A 90 something-year-old lived here and did not do many updates… But Justin saw the potential and assured me that we would have this house! We wrote the owners a letter and ended up in a bidding war with someone else, but ultimately got the house!”
But the Hamiltons weren’t always our very own “Chip and Joanna Gaines”. Courtney is a compassionate and dedicated nurse and Justin got his first taste of home-related business through a successful job with Bath Fitter. But they both knew their hobby was growing to be something more. “Real estate seemed like a natural path considering my home improvement background and eagerness to own and flip properties,” Justin said. He currently works as a realtor for Plowman Properties. The design side fascinated Courtney, “I just have a passion for making a home look pretty. It’s nice to come home after working all day, to a place that is comfortable, beautiful and makes you feel calm. I like doing that for people as well as myself,” she explained.
And it’s not just their own home anymore. Through their business, Hamilton Homes, they help their client’s to decorate and design their own dream homes. “I always advise people to trend towards neutrals for the wall color and furniture, and add texture and color in ways that can be changed as your tastes change; through pillows, throws, pictures, plants, etc. My style changes little by little, but I always find myself drawn to neutrals- they never go out of style,” Courtney said. When advising client’s on their own remodels, Justin says, “…start with projects that you are comfortable with tackling, build your confidence then expand from there. Start with your bathroom and kitchen. Where do you start every morning and finish every night? Bathroom. A fresh new bathroom always makes a house feel updated. Along with that, the kitchen. A majority of holidays or get-togethers are spent in the kitchen. It truly is the heart of the home and people value an updated kitchen. Again, going back to what Courtney preaches- I recommend a neutral, common themed kitchen that appeals to many different people.”
Although their home is ripped straight from the magazine pages now, it wasn’t always so glamorous. When they first started this process, Courtney found it hard to fall in love. “The funny thing is, that we hated everything about it at first,” Courtney said. “I remember sitting in piles of sawdust and drywall dust, just thinking that the house would never feel complete or clean, but we’ve literally put our touch on every inch of the house so it feels special and custom to us.” The things she couldn’t stand became some of the parts of her house she loves the most. “We definitely did not love the knotty pine wood paneling in the basement but I had my Grandpa repurpose it, cut it down, and custom measure it as a backsplash that mimics “ship lap” behind our bar, in our powder room and the fireplace in the basement sports room.”
All of their hard work, from the remodel to the design, has paid off. Last year they were honored to participate in the Bexley Home & Garden Tour. “We were nominated by neighbors and chosen by the Bexley Women’s Club! It was quite the honor. Apparently, they drove around Bexley looking at curb appeal and asked permission to tour certain homes to be considered for the BH>. They were impressed with the progress that we made on our house and how we did most of the work ourselves.” But the Hamiltons weren’t completely on their own. They had a very special helper. “We couldn’t have done it without my grandfather who is a carpenter and was the brains behind the renovation,” Courtney said lovingly, “He didn’t approve of painting woodwork white, but he still loves us!”
Although Courtney and Justin don’t have any current plans to change their home, they’re always open to purchasing more properties to flip and remodel. Before I let them go, I just had to ask Courtney where she finds the unique items for her home and her clients. “I pride myself on bargain shopping! I get the majority of my home décor from Homegoods and Tjmaxx, but I also like to repurpose older furniture. My favorite piece in my home is my dining room table in which Justin found at a thrift store; we sanded it stained it and painted the pedestals and it looks like something out of Pottery barn or Restoration Hardware. I also frequent antique markets and flea markets- I like mixing old with new. I really like Elm & Iron to find niche home goods that have an authentic antique feel.”
To view more photos of the Hamilton’s home, view our gallery below or follow @hamilton_homes_ on Instagram.
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