If you haven’t already heard, Ben and Erin Napier, the hosts of HGTV’s newest show Home Town, are a sweet Southern couple devoted to their small hometown of Laurel, Mississippi. Ben is an experienced woodworker, and Erin has a background in art and graphic design; together, they’ve set out to revitalize their town by welcoming newcomers to Laurel and helping them find a permanent home. You can get a sense of their taste by checking out the general store they recently opened, Laurel Mercantile Co., which sells unique, Southern-made goods, including Ben’s wood pieces.
The first season of Home Town won’t premiere until March 21st, but luckily we have a sneak peek at the type of home renovations the Napiers are capable of, from the home they worked on for the show’s pilot episode. Ben and Erin helped a couple new to the area renovate a 1940s Craftsman-style house from drab and dated to a fresh, more traditional-looking bungalow. Take a look at some of the best before-and-afters from this Mississippi remodel:
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The Napiers completely reworked the home’s exterior, removing the glass and brick enclosed porch in favor of a more traditional, open wraparound porch that’s covered from the elements but still open and welcoming. "The porch is the star of this house; it's the reason [our clients] bought the house," Erin says. "In this small town, the porch is just as important as the living room or kitchen. It's where you gather. It's where you hang out. So [we treated] this porch like a living space." The open porch also gives the house more depth, allowing you to see through the columns and railing to the front door, and those great big windows.
In addition to totally updating the cabinets, appliances, and overall appearance of the kitchen, the room was opened up to the surrounding spaces by knocking out a few walls and creating a new opening between the dining room and kitchen, which makes the whole space feel larger and more cohesive.
Plus, how could you ignore those beautiful wood floors? The previous owners did, apparently. The Napiers reported six layers of flooring lay between them and the original hardwoods, and they were so glad they worked to reveal and then restore them.
The Napiers took the totally unfinished upstairs and turned it into a relaxing, cozy retreat by lightening up the existing wood paneling, bringing in some color and texture, and even working around an inconvenient design hiccup (the exposed HVAC ductwork near the window) to create a charming sleeping nook that looks like it was always meant to be there.
If you’re loving this house remodel so far, check out the full before-and-after tour, over on HGTV. And mark your calendars for the premier of Home Town, on March 21st.