AD It Yourself

Here’s What Darius Rucker Learned From His Historic Home Reno

The Grammy-winning musician is transforming an old home in Charleston, South Carolina, for his new show on The Design Network
Darius Rucker's new show Ruckers Reno is available to watch on Samsung TV Plus now and premieres on The Design Network...
Darius Rucker's new show Rucker’s Reno is available to watch on Samsung TV Plus now, and premieres on The Design Network on May 30.Courtesy of The Design Network

Darius Rucker, the Hootie & the Blowfish lead singer, says he has long been intrigued with the historic Charleston, South Carolina, mansion he’s reviving in Rucker’s Reno, a new show from The Design Network. “It’s such a visual landmark, and I was always drawn to the house when I was driving by,” says Rucker, who was born in Charleston. However, his project represents something deeper than just a pretty house.

Architecture in the American South has a complicated history. “This is an antebellum property that was totally reimagined for the 21st century—and it’s now a place of comfort, community, and healing for my family, friends, and me,” the three-time Grammy winner says of the dwelling, which was originally built in 1803. “To take something that was once a painful reminder of that history and then turn it into someplace that people who look like me can be really proud of—that’s what this project was all about.”

Rucker worked with Charleston-based interior designer Betsy Berry, of B. Berry Interiors, on the renovation. The pair share six things they learned in the process of modernizing a historic home.

Rucker and Berry admire the polished nickel fixtures in the kitchen—a timeless staple.

Courtesy of The Design Network

Bring in the experts

As a musician, Rucker, is used to being creative, so when it came to the renovation he started dreaming big. He also realized that his ideas needed guidance from someone who understood if the preservation and modernization was logistically possible. “It was crucial that I had the input of a truly incredible team all the way through this process,” Rucker says.

The aged finish of the wallpaper balances the modern geometry of the furniture in the music room.

Courtesy of The Design Network

Employ original details as a blueprint

The moldings, doors, and hardware tell the narrative of a space, subtly suggesting what you can do with the decor. “Try not to think that you’re confined by the age of the architecture and, instead, implement how you want to live [with it],” Berry says. To prove her point, Berry replaced an overly ornate mantel that went all the way up to the ceiling molding with an antique mirror. “It looks like it was always there,” she says.

Rucker in front of the antique mirror and the updated mantel.

Courtesy of The Design Network

Aim for a timeless look

“When I renovate bathrooms in a historic home, I like using a classic marble mosaic for the floor and really clean lines for the hardware and the plumbing. I love to use polished nickel. It’s not dated. I want the rooms to feel clean and light but without a time stamp on them,” Berry says.

Update but stick to historic regulations

Historic districts usually follow strict city codes when it comes to renovations. For example, in Charleston, you can’t replace the windows—they have to be single pane and original to the house. Even if the windows are well-made, they don’t have the energy standards that we have in today’s manufactured windows.  Berry recommends applying a solar film to the windows. “The technology has come so far that you can’t even tell it’s there,” she says.

Factor in (and hide) HVAC systems

Get creative when you integrate HVAC systems into a historic home. “You may need to create false pockets or fronts in the millwork, and hide HVAC within those panels,” Berry says.

The exterior of Rucker’s home in Charleston.

Courtesy of The Design Network

Patience is key

The historic renovation process isn’t quick! Seeing before and after images on the show makes it seem that transforming a space is easy. “We tried to show how long it took to make those afters happen,” Rucker says. “It really is a lengthy process, but the end result is well worth it.” 

Rucker’s Reno is available to watch on Samsung TV Plus now, and premieres on The Design Network on May 30.