Erin Napier on the Best Advice She Ever Got From Her Mom
The Home Town host and designer shared the most important lessons she got from her mom, and how that influenced her approach to life—and designing homes.
If you've become a loyal fan of HGTV's hit new reno show Home Town after watching the first season, then you know the care and attention host Erin Napier gives to her clients' home design, and that no two homes look alike. The Mississippi native works diligently to come up with a design plan that not only appeals to the homeowners' tastes, but also functionally works for their real lives. As it turns out, this concept of staying true to oneself—whether it's your appearance or your home—is one she grew up with.
Erin shared with Southern Living some of the most important lessons she's learned from her mom, Karen Rasberry, who's a seasoned realtor in Laurel, Mississippi, the town featured on the HGTV hit show. The influential advice Erin recalls didn't necessarily come in the form of quotable one-liners or sayings we Southerners tend to love—Erin picked up a lot of these lessons from watching and processing how her mom parented and raised her.
"We butted heads when I was in high school over a lot, but she gave me the freedom to make my own decisions on so much," Erin says. Her mom, Karen, was a cheerleading captain when she was in high school, and encouraged Erin to try it out in junior high, but it wasn't exactly the same good fit for her.
"I hated it," Erin says. "[My mom] said ‘Don't do it if you don't want to,' and she truly meant it. She never forced me to keep doing it, but she always made sure we tried everything once."
Erin eventually did find the thing that spoke to her—music, and other artistic outlets—and her mom was there, supporting her 100 percent. "She didn't like the music I liked sometimes, but she was so proud to see me playing guitar and piano at coffee shops and talent shows," Erin says. "She never missed a show. She encouraged me to be independent, to think for myself, to be unconcerned with the opinions of my peers."
Karen gave her daughter similar advice more recently when Erin and her husband Ben were challenged with a new career opportunity—on TV. "TV is such a weird and surreal occupation to find ourselves in," Erin says of the couple's new hosting gig. When it came to establishing a persona and tone for the show, Erin says her mom encouraged her and Ben "to be our 100 percent authentic selves, making an effort not to repeat those cliché things we've all heard on home renovation shows, because that's not who we are. And I never forget that."
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Being urged to "march to the beat of her own drum," as Erin calls it, greatly influenced how she approaches designing homes now. "Don't do something to your home because you saw it on Pinterest," Erin advises. "Your home should tell your story and be a soft landing at the end of the day. There's only one you, and you should celebrate that." A home that's filled with items that don't actually speak to you or work for the way you live your life will never be the sanctuary it's meant to be, even if it's attractive by someone else's standards. That's certainly the kind of recommendation we'd want someone designing our home to make. "Make your home as personal and unique to your family as you can, and it will be beautiful.