You've read their novels, heard the ballads, watched them on TV or in the movies. But is that enough - with a few hints - to imagine what's behind celebrities' houses?
Such is the detective-like task awaiting willing patrons at the 10th annual Custom Home + Remodel Show and Hurricane Expo Aug. 8-10 at The Citadel's Johnson Hagood Stadium.
"We've always had a special exhibit that focuses on outdoor living in the Lowcountry," says Tim Barkley, publisher of Charleston Home + Design Magazine. The publication sponsors the three-day event Friday-Sunday on the stadium's covered concourse.
"This year it has a twist," he says. "We are building a 1,600-square-foot backyard at the stadium that was inspired by one of five 'mystery celebrities.'"
The famous people with Charleston ties are writers Pat Conroy and Dorothea Benton Frank, actor-comedian Bill Murray, politician and reality TV star Thomas Ravenel and singer Darius Rucker.
There will be clues to identify the celebrity, he says, and show guests are asked to try and come up with the name. "Guess the correct celebrity and you go into a drawing to win a $22,000 backyard makeover" to include pavers, plants, lighting, outdoor furniture, grill and a water feature, he says.
The exhibit's called the Mystery Celebrity Backyard Challenge.
"We never saw ourselves as a typical home show," Barkley says. Organizers try to roll out fresh, snappy ideas that appeal to the public. "We always try to change things up," he says.
This year's celebrity whodunit isn't the first event from Barkley that's involved well known Charlestonians. A few years ago, "We did some celebrity designer rooms at the Charleston Home + Design Show (in January)," he says.
That "rooms of the famous" effort transitioned into the "White Room Challenge" where remodelers turn empty space into plush living places. "This is our first foray to the backyard."
Barkley emphasized that the celebrities aren't involved directly with the exhibit.
DIG Landscape, one of the participating home and remodeling companies, conducted research to whittle down a list of 15 celebrities while poring over Architectural Digest and other sources to review home and remodeling articles on the five stars selected.
The landscaping company will set up the display, while offering clues to assist the sleuthing show-goers.
"It's a great outdoor living experience," he says.
Barkley expects the mystery celebrity challenge to be a fixture in future shows, which will return to Gaillard Auditorium beginning next August. "When you use the word 'mystery' and couple it with 'celebrity,' you have everybody's attention," he says.
While the star-studded backyard puzzler may be the most drama-filled exhibit, the show's fixtures should draw sizable crowds. They include:
- Charleston Hurricane Expo on Friday. It urges "the public to have a plan and to take steps now to prepare for a hurricane." More than 50 emergency agencies and groups have been invited. Kevin Shealy Allstate Insurance has arranged for the Allstate National Catastrophe Team to be on hand. Organizers will give away 500 "hurricane kits," to include safety lights, first aid, gloves and waterproof matches.
- Live grilling demonstrations daily by Jack Waiboer of North Charleston. He was featured Wednesday on The Travel Channel's new reality show American Grilled! Waiboer will conduct three grilling demonstrations a day on grills furnished by Palmetto Outdoor Kitchens.
- Charleston Architect Symposium on Friday. Architects earn continuing education credits and enjoy a free catered lunch.
Another adjustment for the 2014 Custom Home + Remodel Show will be a reshuffled exhibits layout that helps direct patrons through the event and be able to see as many businesses as they want without struggling to find them all.
"It's a nice easy flow," says Barkley, noting that he tested the layout at the Home + Design Show in January. Barkley, who has two daughters, says he based the paths on the layouts at theme parks, which effectively guide people toward their destinations.
This year's show should attract close to 100 vendors. Barkley says he's pleased the home and remodeling companies will be busy this year, noting that times were tough in the housing industry just a few years ago.
"I'll tell you, you never let up," he says. "It's nice to see where we've come from in 2008. It was pretty scary for the vendors. We made it through together."
Barkley says this is a good time for customers to pull the trigger on any major home design or remodeling plans. "I think if anybody's thinking about a project for 2015 or the fall, they (need to) start the process early," he says.
Reach Jim Parker at 937-5542 or email@example.com.
CHARLESTON HOME + REMODEL SHOW AT A GLANCE
Event: Annual show to assist people with home and remodeling projects. Also includes Hurricane Expo.
Location: Johnson Hagood Stadium concourse, 68 Hagood Ave. in Charleston.
Dates: Aug. 8-10
Hours: Friday, 11 a.m.-8 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m.-5 p.m.
Admission: Free on Friday, $7 on Saturday and on Sunday. Youngsters under 13 get in free.
Vendors: Close to 100.
Estimated attendance: Up to 1,500 on Friday, a few thousand on the weekend.
CarsonHomes drew up this home on the water in Mount Pleasant to include a large living room with fireplace and flat screen TV (Provided).×
Grillmaster Jack Waiboer of North Charleston will be conducting cooking demonstrations daily at the Custom Home + Remodel Show. He appears on the new Travel Channel reality series American Grilled! (Provided).×
DIG Landscape, which showed off its yard care techniques at a home show a couple of years ago, is sponsoring the Mystery Celebrity Backyard Challenge at the Aug. 8-10 Custom Home + Remodel Show (Photo by Laura Olsen/Olsen Imagery).×
This trellis-like walkway entrance flanked by manicured shrubs was crafted by Stacks Nursery at The Ponds neighborhood in Summerville (Provided).×
An immaculate kitchen with stainless steel appliances and base for the island came from Melcer Tile in North Charleston (Provided).×
Palmetto Mosquito Patrol was one of the exhibitors at the Charleston Home + Design Show last year at Johnson Hagood Stadium (Photo by Laura Olsen/Olsen Imagery).×
Real Deal designed this bathroom with marble countertops (Provided).×
A night scene accentuates the look of the brick fire pit and patio at a dwelling built by Lowcountry Premier Homes (Provided).×
Countertop materials were present with an exhibit at a Home + Design Show last year at Johnson Hagood Stadium (Photo by Laura Olsen/Olsen Imagery).×
A line of people wait to enter the Johnson Hagood Stadium concourse for a home show in 2012 (Provided).×
This room was decked out with classy furniture and bright blue walls. It was part of the Charleston Home + Design Show White Room Challenge, which is being replaced with the mystery challenge at this yearís Custom Home + Remodel show (Photo by Laura Olsen/Olsen Imagery).×
Jack Waiboer attracts a sizable crowd for his grilling demonstrations (Provided).×
Tom Martin crafted this high-end kitchen for a home on Johns Island (Provided).×
This backyard swimming pool and surrounding foliage were carefully set out by DIG Landscape (Provided).×
Liberty Cedar exterior wood products were on display at this exhibit (Photo by Laura Olsen/Olsen Imagery).×
Express Sunrooms designed this elegant outsdoor kitchen and sunroom (Provided).×
This open, sea island living room is in a Sullivanís Island home. Styles such as these will be on display at the Custom Home + Remodel Show (Provided).×