By JIM PARKER The Post and Courier
You’re right to think that Tim Barkley had the idea of an outdoor home show on Daniel Island for some time.
But there were a lot of pieces to put into place. The Charleston Home + Design Show, which he helped launch, was ensconsed at the Gaillard Auditorium. The island was still relatively unsettled. Then there was the iffy weather for an open-air show.
This year, all the disparate parts came together for an event at Family Circle Cup Tennis Center. The Home + Design Show, sponsored by Charleston Home + Design magazine, is being held this weekend. The venue is the very spot where Serena Williams won the Family Circle Cup two weeks earlier.
If anyone had tried before now, it would have been premature, contends Barkley, publisher of the Charleston-based magazine. The first home wasn’t built on Daniel Island until 1997. But the island has grown steadily and this year is turning 15 years old.
“Twelve years is usually when people are looking to update their house,” he says.
Barkley had scouted the tennis center, visiting a Christmas festival in December three years ago. Last fall, he approached Family Circle Cup organizers about hosting a show the week after the tennis tournament. That was too close for the crew to turn around the stadium, but April 20-22 worked.
“We are very excited about the location, because it is very central,” Barkley says. The timing is great, too, he says, noting that April is the second driest month in the year in Charleston.
The Plattsburgh, N.Y., native long has had an interest in home remodeling and design. But the housing industry wasn’t his first calling.
Barkley, a communications major at State University of New York at Oswego, worked at a television station in his home town after graduation. The station, WPTZ, had a catchy geographical locale: “Plattsburgh-North Pole-Burlington.” Burlington is in neighboring Vermont and North Pole indeed is a small “themed” town in upstate New York.
On advice of a friend who moved south and raved about Charleston, Barkley in 1990 landed a television sales post at WCBD-TV Channel 2. He was there for six years before switching to radio sales at WAVF-FM, 96 Wave in Charleston. He said the position had a big influence on him. Radio ad sales always were tied to promotions. As a result, he had to be creative.
But by the 2000s, the radio station had been sold, and Barkley figured it was time for a change. He saw a need for a home and design promoter in the Charleston area and started a company that sold coupon books for home improvement goods. For there, he phased out the coupon books and kicked off Charleston Home + Design Magazine in 2001. The magazine today sells 30,000 copies four times a year.
A natural extension was a custom home show. The first Charleston Home + Design Show was at Gaillard Auditorium in 2004, and it has stayed there since -- until now. The last show was in January. The Gaillard is being closed for renovations and will not reopen for two years.
He says he faced a crossroads: whether to close down the home shows and wait until 2015 to pick them up again or find a new site.
Barkley is a family man. He lives with wife Jenny and daughters Cameron, 8; and Reece Ann, 4 in a house built in 1912 in Wagener Terrace.
One day he was driving by Johnson Hagood Stadium taking his kids to school when he noticed how it could be a possible home show venue.
As it turned out, The Citadel was exploring ways to host events in its newly renovated stadium. The parties agreed on a home show in late August -- not on the football field but in the covered areas on the fourth floor and the concession concourse.
“We’ve got some surprises planned for that,” he says.
Barkley hasn’t abandoned the Gaillard; just the opposite. He is already planning on the return of the 2015 show to Calhoun Street.
The Daniel Island event, meanwhile, is likely to continue as long as it proves successful this weekend. Barkley says the show wasn’t designed to replace the downtown event, but it did give him the impetus to move forward during the two-year hiatus from the Gaillard.
“Home shows are so much work, taking care of so many details,” Barkley says.
But he’s excited about the Family Circle Cup Tennis Center event. “It’s good timing for Daniel Island homeowners to have a home show.”
Reach Jim Parker at 937-5542 or email@example.com.