Alex “Mr. Build It” Mazhukhin’s Home Is a Stunning Reflection of Personal Labor—and Love for Family

Updated: Jun. 04, 2024

The editors at Family Handyman were lucky enough to get a tour of Mr. Build It’s newly rehabbed home on the outskirts of Boise, Idaho.

A small golden retriever races out of the den and into the kitchen, leaving a little girl squealing with delight. “We just got a puppy,” says her father, padding barefoot after the dog. “It’s been … exciting.”

It’s moments like these that make this dad, Alex Mazhukhin, stop and appreciate the life he has built, literally and figuratively. Alex’s new home in a quiet suburb of Boise, Idaho, is the sixth that he has completely renovated. And he’s invited America to watch along the way.

Moving On Up

For those uninitiated with Alex’s special brand of relatable DIY savvy, know this: He’s a true self-made success story. Under the name Mr. Build It, Alex creates YouTube videos of him working on projects throughout the home, much to the delight of his nearly 900,000 followers. It’s easy to see how he got so big. With a relaxed demeanor and zero ego (“I’m all about showing my mistakes to give people a realistic expectation,” he says), Alex has learned everything he knows about building on his own and isn’t afraid to admit it.

It’s the kind of tenacity you might expect from this Russian immigrant who came to Idaho in his early 20s for medical school. The path he forged first took him to a career as a respiratory therapist at St. Luke’s hospital in Boise. It also led him to his interior-designer wife, Irina, herself a Ukrainian emigre, in 2016. “When we bought our first home, we were broke kids living off pennies and had no money for remodeling,” says Alex.

His first project was building a simple industrial pipe-and-wood coffee table, a job he executed with “sweat equity.” From there, the thirst for bigger projects began as Alex binged YouTube how-to’s and realized that he too could show others how hard work and shedding fear of failure are the key ingredients to getting any job done.

“I had this false sense of confidence … it made me keep trying,” he says. “My strongest suit isn’t building or designing, but having a high comfort level with failure.”

Starting Fresh

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A decade of skill-building has culminated in his latest achievement: rehabbing his current 3,000-sq.-ft. home where he, Irina and their three children (Jack, 11, Beckham, 10, and Harper, 4) have lived since last spring. Here, the intent was to create calming spaces that are refined and modern, yet still welcome the lively dashes of spontaneity that go hand in
hand with parenting.

It’s with family life—and a love of entertaining—in mind that the Mazhukhins worked together to create their space. Alex did the gutting and building. Irina oversaw the interior-design aesthetic, from paint colors to furniture and fixture choices. “She pushes the design further with tones, textures and shapes,” says Alex. The result of their collaboration isn’t just easy on the eyes; it’s incredibly personal.

“This house has my favorite build I’ve ever done,” says Alex. He’s referring to a wooden structure in Harper’s room; it’s a playhouse-meets-bed that’s fit for a princess. It’s designed so Harper can walk up a small staircase to reach a tower that’s lit from above by LED lights that resemble twinkling stars.

Other projects in his new home that Alex tackled included gutting the kitchen to install a marble island and new counters and cupboards, in addition to shiplapping walls for visual appeal. Add to that a new fireplace, wooden bunk beds for his boys, a striking rafter ceiling in the primary bedroom and a refashioned laundry room, and you’ll think there’s nothing Alex couldn’t tackle.

These new builds are harbored in an unassuming yet relaxed sea of neutral tones—the kitchen alone features three shades of Benjamin Moore white—that were chosen by Irina for their ability to go with anything yet create subtle impact.

There is an outlier in the wash of neutrals, and that’s the den. It’s sheltered behind huge doors that were salvaged from a family barn. Saturated in deep green, this hideaway is a “man-cave gentlemen’s hang,” complete with a pool table, a TV for the
big games and a bearskin rug.

Unconventional Approach

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To create the dozen YouTube videos that Alex publishes each month, he allocates an hour each morning to combing Pinterest. But by and large, when it comes to getting his hands dirty, Alex likes to “shoot from the hip.”

He doesn’t create blueprints and rarely measures, opting to trust his eye. “Still, there are certain things you have to know when you start a project,” he cautions. “Be aware of a home’s structure, or which walls can be load-bearing.”

Alex will soon apply his singular intuition to their latest labor of love: flipping a home into a stylish Airbnb in the Boise mountains. They’ve purchased the land but have no plans to uproot from their current home any time soon. Says Alex: “This is the first home we’ve lived in where we truly have peace of mind.”

Mr. Build It can be found on the At Home With Family Handyman streaming channel. At Home is streaming now on Samsung TV PlusXUMOThe Roku ChannelLG ChannelsPlexfuboTVSling Free, and the Family Handyman app. It’s also available on iOS, Apple TV, Android, AndroidTV, FireTV and Roku devices.