Jasmine Roth has a confession: "I first got into home building kind of on accident," she laughs. The HGTV star may be known for developing and designing houses with her California-based company, Built Custom Homes — and for her HGTV show, Hidden Potential, but eight years ago, the show's name could just as accurately describe her.
Jasmine had worked in real estate to pay for college, but beyond that, she'd never had anything to do with the construction world. After graduating with a degree in entrepreneurship at Northeastern University, she took a job in corporate giving, and on the side, she dreamed of doing something more. She loved reupholstering furniture and helping friends redo their patios and living rooms. Building a house may seem like a few leaps and bounds from restoring a chair, but the couple felt up to the challenge. How hard could it be?
Try brutal. "Two years in, I realized we really knew nothing," she says. "I was spending all of my free time trying to get our house finished."
They weren't just building one house; they'd decided to build two — one that'd be their own place, and another they could sell for a profit, to help fund their home. Soon, Jasmine realized that if she ever wanted to get it done, she'd have to focus on the projects full-time. The thought of ditching her 9-to-5 sounded exciting — and terrifying.
She Was At A Crossroads.
"It was definitely a lot of pressure," Jasmine said. "This was 2010, so we're right in the middle of the recession, and there hadn't been a new construction project in Huntington Beach in years. That took a lot of guts to pursue, but I crunched the numbers, and the numbers made sense."
Jasmine took the leap, quitting her job to get hands-on with a construction team they'd hired. She loved working on the houses, and she wasn't shy about asking the guys around her to talk her through everything they did.
"I had to humble myself to say, 'look, I know nothing about this,' and show them I'm genuinely interested in what they do," she says. "At first, I think they were like, 'why is this girl on this job site? And why does she not know anything?'"
Jasmine showed up, day after day, learning as much as she could about building and designing homes from scratch. She loved the process so much that when the homes were finished, she didn't go back to the corporate world — she decided to put that degree to use, launching Built Custom Homes. Jasmine used social media to spread the word, posting frequently throughout the day, which eventually caught the eye of TV producers.
Her HGTV Fame Started With A Single Hashtag.
"I'd been posting pictures of one of my projects using #beachbuilds, and that's how they found me," Jasmine says.
The production company was interested in doing a show on building beach houses, but when they learned how long it actually took to make one, they decided to pivot.
"'What do you do that doesn't take two years?' they asked me, so I told them about how I'd been working on my mother-in-law's cottage, this boring, brown-beige stucco cottage, and we made it into a custom house," she says. From there, an idea was born: What if Jasmine took all those cookie-cutter houses that dot every cul-de-sac in suburbia and started customizing them for people?
She's Real About What Filming Is Really Like.
After sending a two-minute sizzle reel to executives, they eventually got the greenlight to film a pilot — and entire season — of Hidden Potential. Which suddenly meant balancing two lives: Running Built Custom Homes and filming the show. Thankfully, the two overlapped well, considering Jasmine films for six months out of the year, six days a week, for 12 hours a day.
"It's reality TV to the max," Jasmine says. "There are cameras in my car, cameras in my house, drones above me, cameras following me around. I love it though, because it's just me living my life, and they're capturing it."
They filmed all 13 episodes of season one in the Huntington Beach area, which meant some mornings, Jasmine could walk to work. Just like Built Custom Homes, she tried to be as hands-on as possible.
"I try to get to know the families as much as I possibly can," she explains. Each project would last between six and eight weeks, and during that time, she'd scout out the house, assess the family's needs, work with the construction team, and handle the design of the finished room, down to which bedding they'd use in the big reveal at the end.
Eight years in and a TV show under her (tool) belt, Jasmine still doesn't feel like a total pro. "I don't know that in design you ever really make it," she says. "There's always somebody who knows so much more than me and does it so much better. Every single day, I try to ask questions and learn as much as I can. I was at the city planning office yesterday, and I started asking about building codes. What about an earthquake? What about this? Or that? I'm a lifetime learner."
Figuring things out as she goes has worked pretty well for her so far. To see Jasmine's work firsthand, check out Hidden Potential on HGTV Tuesdays at 10 p.m. EST.
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