Thanks to their hit HGTV show, Ben and Erin Napier have become known worldwide for renovating charming old homes in their small town of Laurel, Mississippi. But in their most important project yet, the couple has been busy renovating a new place for their family to call home. Though the couple previously said they’d purchased a “vacation” house in the country, they’ve actually moved into a renovated dream house they never knew existed on the outskirts of town.
Erin Napier Says She Was ‘Scared to Death’ When She First Saw the House
The Napiers’ big move and renovation of their historic home will be chronicled in a new episode of “Home Town” in early December, but Southern Living is giving fans an exclusive first look at the family’s home in its November issue, due on newsstands October 21.
In the cover story, Erin revealed that their quaint 1925 Craftsman cottage, which was the house she dreamed of living in when she was a little girl, began to feel a bit cramped once she and Ben welcomed their first daughter Helen in early January 2018 — especially when they’d have overnight guests.
By the time they were expecting daughter Mae, who’s now one and a half, it was clear they needed more space not only inside, but outside. Since their longtime house was located in downtown Laurel, the couple often talked about getting a weekend place in the country.
In fact, in March 2022, the couple exclusively told Heavy that they were “right in the middle” of fixing up their “little getaway house out in the country.”
“We call it a vacation house because we never leave Laurel, and so it’s our, this is our vacation house,” Ben said at the time.
Erin shared multiple Instagram posts in early 2022 of the renovation in progress, also calling it the family’s “country house.” But it seems the couple has decided to turn the Tudor into their family’s primary home, in part because of all the outdoor space it offers.
“I grew up on a 40-acre chicken farm and would pick out a baby chick to be my pet every time a new load would come,” Erin told Southern Living. “My playtime consisted of climbing a lot of trees and digging for arrowheads in the woods. That’s not something our girls can do in town. I want their bathwater to be dirty at the end of the day, so it means they weren’t just playing on screens.”
The couple stumbled upon the home in the spring of 2021, when Erin was nine months pregnant with Mae. Ben showed her a real estate listing for a house she’d never seen: an old brick Tudor tucked behind rolling hills and pine trees, located on a two-lane highway just outside of town.
“I was in love immediately—and that scared me to death,” she said. “I thought, ‘We don’t need another house…but maybe we do.’”
Erin Napier’s New Kitchen Was Inspired By Her Love of ‘Downton Abbey’
One of the things Ben loved most about the old Tudor was all the original woodwork, including huge heart-pine beams, wide plank floors, tongue-and-groove paneling, and custom millwork.
“It’s unbelievably well built,” Ben told Southern Living. “Supposedly, all the wood in the whole house—the floors, the trim, the beams—was cut and milled on the property. And that’s pretty cool for me as a woodworker.”
But the old house needed plenty of updating. In an Instagram post on October 11, 2022, Erin said they’ve spent the last year renovating the property. Changes include a new laundry room, work on the outdoor spaces, updating the porch connected to their primary bedroom, and a more functional kitchen — which was inspired by her love of the British show “Downton Abbey.”
“This is the only room we use constantly,” Erin said of the kitchen, which is the family’s favorite room in the house. “It’s all new, but I wanted it to feel like it could be from ‘Downton Abbey’ — a classic and casual English style that’s utilitarian but kind of elegant.”
That British influence can be seen throughout the home, with hints of Southern charm seamlessly blended in, like Erin’s favorite item in the kitchen: the biscuit painting above the kitchen door, which came from her grandmother Ouida’s house.
“One reason we had to get this house was its very British look,” Erin explained. “It feels as though you’ve crossed the ocean and you’re not in Mississippi anymore. It’s like a vacation for us. All the cozy rooms with dark wood make it seem as if you’re sitting beside a fire—that is the dream
for me. I love this style so, so much.”
New Season of HGTV’s ‘Home Town’ to Feature the Napiers’ Renovations
The Napiers finished filming season 6 of their hit show, “Home Town,” in mid-September. The first batch of episodes aired through April 2022, but a new batch will air later this year. Though HGTV has not yet released the premiere date, Erin has hinted on social media that new episodes will appear around the holidays.
The couple told Southern Living that the episode dedicated to their new home will air in early December. Since there’s no client to impress, Ben and Erin will do a big reveal for their moms, who weren’t allowed to see any of the progress during renovations.
“My mom is a Realtor, and it really killed her that we wouldn’t let her come visit,” Erin said. “The day she came, she just cried through the whole thing.”
And her mom recognized the cream sofa in the front living room, too.
“My mom bought a couch in 1999, and it was the world’s greatest,” Erin explained. “Then she wanted something different and gave it to us. We used it for years. I got it re-covered, and Ben made new feet for it. Every time she comes over, she says, ‘I can’t believe I gave that to y’all. I want it back.’”
Despite the Southern Living cover story and the upcoming episode of “Home Town,” the Napiers may not be done refurbishing the house.
“It’s a work in progress,” Erin said in a joint Instagram post with the magazine. “But like a lot of historic homes it was incredibly well built, and the families that lived here before us took great care and were talented designers in their own right.”