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Erin and Ben Napier | Source: Getty Images
Erin and Ben Napier | Source: Getty Images

Erin Napier Dreamed about Owning Her House in Laurel as a Teen — Inside Her 98-Year-Old Family Home

Titi Dokubo
Apr 26, 2022
08:39 A.M.

Ben and Erin Napier met in college. He always paid attention to detail and made sure his proposal to his wife was memorable. After marriage, the couple began looking for their dream home.

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Coincidentally, the house they chose was Erin's dream home — one she had dreamed of since she was a teenager. They decorated their home themselves and renovated the kitchen. All rooms are decorated in light colors and with great attention to detail.

Erin Napier thought of a unique design for her older daughter's room, with Ben Napier designing something special. The happy parents of two charming girls raise their kids with love in their family home in Laurel, Mississippi.

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Ben and Erin Napier met in college in their yearbook room and fell in love long before fame came knocking. Six days after they started dating in 2004, they knew they were perfect for each other.

Three years later, on September 21, 2007, Ben decided to take their relationship to the next level with a surprise and thoughtful proposal.

As Erin was preparing for her family to attend Florida vs. Ole Miss game, Ben asked her to follow him to Square Books because he wanted to get a book for a class.

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Also, being his birthday weekend, her roommates said they wanted to tag along because they needed a book. While Ben went upstairs pretending to 'look for his book,' her friends, Mallorie, Jennifer, Rebecca, and Josh, browsed the books downstairs.

Shortly after, Jennifer handed Erin a little handmade leather-bound book and told her to read it. When she started reading it, she had no idea it was about herself and Ben.

As soon as she noticed she was reading their love story, Erin started shaking while anticipating more to come. When she got to the last page, the instructions were for her to go upstairs.

The HGTV "Home Town" stars Ben Napier and Erin Napier pay a visit to People Now on January 8, 2020, in New York | Source: Getty Images

The HGTV "Home Town" stars Ben Napier and Erin Napier pay a visit to People Now on January 8, 2020, in New York | Source: Getty Images

Looking at the stairs, Erin realized Jennifer's boyfriend was filming her. She had no idea what would happen as she walked up to the balcony where she saw Ben.

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He took her hands, told her how much he loved her, and would always take care of her. Ben said,

"I talked to mammaw (my grandmother)… and in the words of James Rasberry, 'I've got something for you.'"

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Ben then got down on one knee and asked Erin to marry him. Erin recalled that she could not say yes enough or cry enough as it was the most beautiful and shocking moment of her life.

For the proposal, Ben gave Erin the white and rose gold ring with antique filigree she always wanted. For the antique beauty, he found an equally beautiful antique ring box.

On November 22, 2008, the couple tied the knot at the University of Mississippi's Paris Yates Chapel. After their wedding, they set out for New York for a romantic Thanksgiving trip.

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THE DREAM HOUSE ERIN ALWAYS WANTED

When Erin was in junior high school, she fell in love with the yellow craftsman cottage in Laurel's historical district, just across from Mississippi's first art museum.

She would daydream about making that yellow cottage her home one day. Little did she know that her dreams would one day become a reality.

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After marriage, she and Ben started thinking of having a place of their own, and for fun, they decided to knock on the door of the yellow cottage, which belonged to one of their favorite parishioners.

"Our walls are covered with the people we love."

She asked them in and told them to look around. Before leaving, they jokingly told her they would buy the house if she ever wanted to sell it. A week later, she called them with a price they could not refuse.

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In September 2011, the couple bought their house. The house was built in 1925 and boasted of vibrant history. In the renovation and design of the house, the couple also decided to let history inspire them rather than follow trends.

For their living room, a contractor built simple bookcases the entire wall length, they made a coffee table out of a factory cart, used an old chopping block for the end of the table, and never lost their love for quirky aesthetics.

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They made sure to have a comfortable place with cozy couches and enough space for their kids to play. They have a fireplace with their television above the mantle, which also houses several vases.

The couple did most of their kitchen renovation themselves and opted for a simple, basic timeless style that would last forever. Ben and Erin confessed that they are very thrifty, so they did everything for as little money as possible.

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They either found free decor or purchased from a flea market to achieve this. Ben custom-built a cabinet around their new refrigerator; they bought butcher block countertops at a bargain from IKEA, received the vintage cast iron enamel sink from Ben's mom, etc.

The mismatched knobs they bought from an architectural salvage shop came from pharmacies and schoolhouses around New England.

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Ben built their eight-foot dining room table from old deck boards and her parents' old front porch columns with the chairs collected at flea markets.

For artwork, there is an oil portrait of Erin's dad's dove hunting dog from the 1970s, a World War II Red Cross poster, and a watercolor drawing of their house that she made.

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The couple chose sepia images of their ancestors to remind them of who they come from for photos. Rather than hang pictures of themselves, they surrounded themselves with their loved ones. Erin said,

"Our walls are covered with the people we love, our grandparents and parents. [...] they shaped who we are [...] and their presence everywhere we turn makes home feel the way it should."

They have a collection of vintage mirrors in their bedroom, an armoire built by Erin's dad and Ben from a door they found in her grandfather's barn, and an old painted cedar chest at a flea market.

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Their bed housed in a black, wrought iron bed frame boasts of linens with mismatched textures in shades of cream and white. The intentional couple chose decorative elements with a story that was personal to them.

Their home office hosts a collection of vintage maps, IKEA's slipcovered Ektorp sofas, and an old oak teacher's desk they found on Craigslist. Ben made a bench with space for shoes beneath and built-ins for storage for their laundry room.

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The couple opted for a collected and layered look for their oldest daughter's room with moody grey-green walls, a Reid Classics bed, and warm antique wood, among other antique pieces.

Ben added a unique project he built. The couple believed they would have fun creating her perfect room when their daughter was old enough to decide.

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ERIN NAPIER'S DAUGHTERS

Initially, the couple kept Erin's pregnancies secret, and Erin, a working mom during her pregnancies, was glad that both her daughters were tiny, making it easier to have kept her pregnancy out of the public.

Erin was more prepared for her second pregnancy as she was already used to the sleepless nights and uncertainties of having a newborn despite having to work.

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For Erin, raising her kids in Laurel is crucial to her because she grew up there. The people, places, and traditions became a part of her DNA, and Ben did not mind because he did not have a hometown growing up.

Ben and Erin welcomed their first daughter, Helen, two weeks early, on January 3, 2018. Erin has called Helen the little artist because she loves to paint.

Besides painting like a total pro at her age, Helen also loves having dance parties with her family. Their second daughter arrived on May 28, 2021.

The couple named their daughter Mae after Erin's beloved Aunt Mae. On Mae's arrival, Helen was so thrilled to have a baby sister that she got her nails done for the occasion.

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