Skip to main content
College of Environment and Design

MHP student appears on HGTV’s Life Under Renovation

Life Under Renovation

Master of Historic Preservation student Ross Sheppard and partners Will Walker (BBA ’15) and Jacob Hawkins have spent the last two years renovating the c. 1838 Samuel Rockwell House in Milledgeville, GA.  The story of this massive undertaking premieres Saturday, May 1, 2021, on HGTV’s Life Under Renovation, which follows five families through a home building project using self-shot footage. 
Originally built for Col. Samuel Rockwell, the house was later owned by Governor Herschel Johnson, the leader of the Georgia anti-secession movement, and then by only two families for the next 100 years until purchased by Sheppard and partners.  With combined expertise in historic preservation, real estate, marketing, communication and sales, the team combined their skillsets and know-how to preserve historic fabric and breathe new life into the building.   

Life Under Renovation

Friendships with the founder of the American College of Building Arts in Charleston SC brought opportunities for those students to receive hands-on restoration training, including the replication of the original millwork and plaster cornices.  Students in CED Professor Mark Reinberger’s Building Materials Conservation course have gotten to tour the house while work was ongoing. CED alum Kyle Campbell (MHP ‘12) was recruited early on to do a paint analysis that is reflected in the current color scheme, and he is leading the Historic Tax Credits application process. 

Life Under Renovation

While the team initially intended to rent the house to Georgia College & State University students and renovate the house more slowly, plans changed when the Covid-19 pandemic sent most students home to live with their families and attend college virtually.  This change, combined with the closing of the long-standing Antebellum Inn in downtown Milledgeville, presented an opportunity to renovate the house and fill a void in the community for high-end lodging. 

Life Under Renovation

Rockwell House opened for guests in December 2020 and is a showpiece for how to accommodate modern conveniences in a historic home.  Be sure to tune in to Life Under Renovation on HGTV to see how this story unfolded. Learn more about Rockwell House – including photos of its progress! – via the links below. 

Life Under Renovation


Premier date and where to watch: 
Life Under Renovation premiered April 28 on Discovery+ with additional episodes available each Wednesday. The first episode is also available on HGTV at 9pm Saturday, May 1, 2021.  
About The Show 
Five extraordinary families across the country take on the ambitious task of building their dream homes. Using self-shot footage, they capture the real-life experience of renovating with all the struggles and successes that lead to breathtaking reveals. 




Massive renovation brings new life to Rockwell House
The Union-Recorder, March 15, 2021



All photos courtesy of The Rockwell House

© University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602