There are few renovation shows as interesting as “Home Town” on today’s television screens. With a touch of modernity and good taste, Ben and Erin Napier have transformed many houses in their Mississippi hometown Laurel, becoming the perfect example of a TV marriage that can actually work well, without unnecessary drama or scandals.
Despite how well-loved the Napier marriage is by the show’s viewers, the authenticity of “Home Town” and their house flipping escapades are often questioned by the most skeptical part of their audience, but who continue to tune-in to the show, perhaps why they continue to watch. Some aspects of the show such as finances, the labor, design and even the Napiers’ marriage have become subjects of discussion.
So how real is “Home Town”? Is it scripted or fake? Are some scenes staged, and what about the real nature of the Napiers’ marriage? This and more we will tell you in this vid!
- 1 Is “Home Town” A Fake Show?
- 2 Where Does The Money Come From?
- 3 How Did Everything Start?
- 4 How Were They Discovered?
- 5 Their House’s Renovation
- 6 What Did They Do Before The Show?
- 7 What’s Their Show’s Mission
- 8 What’s Erin and Ben’s Love Story?
- 9 Children and Problems Conceiving
- 10 Their Business Now
- 11 Their Show Nowadays
Is “Home Town” A Fake Show?
Ben and Erin Napier have undoubtedly become one of our favorite TV hosts in the house-flipping genre. Starting from the fact that they’re an adorable couple, also committed to their work, and frequently delivering some of the most jaw-dropping home renovations on television, it’s easy to understand why “Home Town” is so successful.
That being said, no matter how much we love the Napier family and their show, it’s understandable that not everyone trusts the authenticity of the renovations featured in it.
To clear things up, Ben and Erin’s relationship is real, so are their careers as a woodworker – carpenter/joiner – and designer, respectively. The families and renovations are also real, but the furniture shown on screen isn’t always meant to remain in the houses, unless the homeowners originally owned them, or purchased items after filming is over.
The ‘on the spot’ interviews are as real as they come, as those are taken right away after filming every scene: ‘We were very lucky to have such smart producers who know the right way to ask a question to get a halfway interesting response’, Erin told Hooked On Houses in 2016. Nevertheless, it’s safe to say that editing and a bit of re-filming scenes often take place, to ensure interesting scenes, and in view of time restrictions of each episode..
Where Does The Money Come From?
Although keeping everything money-related in secrecy is unfortunately very common in the reality genre, Erin and Ben Napier are luckily very open about this subject. As Erin revealed on her Instagram account back in 2017, everything you see in the show – including the renovation, designs, supplies and furniture – are covered by the homeowners.
Initially, the families establish how much exactly they’re willing to pay to have their homes transformed. The Napiers then work with that budget and design a project based on it, trying to cover as much as they can with it.
Even so, saving money is always a possibility for them: ‘I like to use the homeowner’s own furnishings and objects as much as possible’, explained Erin, who also admitted that when the furniture isn’t covered by the budgets, a product catalog is offered to the owners so they are able to leave it or buy it.
Regarding the rooms unseen after renovations are done, Erin affirmed that she and Ben only renovate the spaces regarded as the most important by the owners, though again it also depends on factors such as money and TV time.
How Did Everything Start?
Erin and Ben Napier’s talent and hard work are definitely the reasons for their success, but we can say that a little bit of good luck also helped them on their way.
Long before being featured on TV, Erin and Ben Napier were already doing their own thing in the design field. Their first business, Lucky Luxe was established in the early 2010s, when Erin’s mission to choose her wedding’s theme opened a whole new career path for her.
As she explained on the shop’s now-inactive website, her desire to make ‘aesthetic connections for other couples, to tell their story, to express their style’ through their weddings, ultimately turned into a fully-fledged business.
Lucky Luxe’s popularity as a ‘wedding stationery boutique’ soon surpassed the limits of their hometown Laurel, attracting high profile customers to their shop, and gaining them features in big name magazines such as Martha Stewart Weddings. However, it wasn’t until 2014 that the Napiers caught the attention of a writer from the popular website Southern Weddings, whose interest in them grew to the point that she interviewed the couple about their house’s renovation, unknowingly changing their life forever.
How Were They Discovered?
Erin and Ben’s interview in Southern Weddings was just the start of the biggest and most exciting adventure of their lives.
Said article caught the attention of an HGTV producer who, enamored with Erin’s work and love story, offered a show to the Napiers right away: ‘We thought we were just documenting our newlywed life, but they saw the story of young people going home and doing their best to make a difference’, said Erin to Hooked On Houses.
Despite the producer’s insistence, there was still a long way to go before Napiers’ TV debut. Several months passed between exchanging video calls, creating a concept, and filming a five-minute-long pilot episode, until their show was ordered by HGTV. After two months of hard work, the “Home Town” show was finally ready. It turned out to be so successful, that to date five seasons have been aired, and its popularity only keeps growing.
However, the Napiers’ knowledge at keeping their show afloat didn’t come out of nowhere.
They were mentored by Chip and Joanna Gaines, from the also highly successful show “Fixer Upper”, though certain details such as learning what wardrobe choices were fit for TV, getting used to microphones, and becoming comfortable enough in front of a camera, are things Erin and Ben had to learn by themselves.
Their House’s Renovation
Looking at everything Erin and Ben Napier have achieved so far in their careers on and off TV, it’s surprising to know that their first renovation project was their own home.
This story takes us back to Erin’s teenage years, where her love for art and design attracted her to Laurel, looking for inspiration. Her favorite activity was to imagine herself living in one of the old, typically-Southern downtown houses, especially one she baptized as the ‘yellow cottage’.
— HGTV (@hgtv) February 7, 2022
Erin moved to Jackson, Mississippi for college, but still went back to Laurel to relive her dream of a house there, even showing the yellow cottage to her then-boyfriend Ben. After graduation, the couple moved to a small loft in the center of Laurel, and lived there comfortably for a couple of years.
By coincidence, Erin and Ben met the yellow cottage’s owner, who didn’t have the house up for sale, but miraculously contacted them just a week later. In September 2011 the Napiers became the yellow cottage’s owners, taking their new place as an empty canvas to picture their dreams. They carefully designed and remodeled the house to fit their individual taste, keeping it modern enough for a growing family, but without losing its Southern spark.
What Did They Do Before The Show?
Besides being owners of Lucky Luxe, Erin and Ben Napier had been involved with other interesting creative projects. As Erin affirmed in 2016, their ‘downtown revitalization and historic preservation efforts’ had started after they moved to Laurel in 2008.
Their passion to preserve the past aesthetically-wise, led their careers from then on, motivating Ben to leave his 10-year ministry career to establish his woodwork shop Scotsman Co. For Erin, it was time to take independent creative projects sometimes indirectly related to her business: ‘I’m an artist who’s happy to do pro-bono design work for the city, with vintage-inspired murals and banners’, as she described herself to Hooked On Houses.
Regarding their education background, both are graduates of the University of Mississippi, Jackson. While Ben studied history, he affirms to have wanted to enroll in creative writing or Southern studies instead. For her part, Erin seems much more pleased with her Bachelor of Fine Arts, knowledge which has served her more than well business-wise, but also turned making her long-time dream of becoming an artist into reality.
What’s Their Show’s Mission
A huge part of the efforts of Erin and Ben Napier goes into preserving the historical value of Laurel’s buildings, not only houses. Though of course a lot of detail is paid to the aesthetic side of those structures, their mission goes well beyond that.
As Erin wrote on her blog back in 2016, making people ‘all across the country nostalgic for a place they’ve never even been to’ in regards to Laurel, was one of the first feelings she conveyed through her work, and made evident thanks to Lindsey, the HGTV producer who discovered her and Ben: ‘Something about our little town gave her the gut feeling that she needed to reach out’.
For his part, Ben considers that focus on their small town Laurel is the right way to go, in order to inspire people to achieve biggest changes: ‘You can travel if you want to see the world, but the small towns are important. That’s where most people’s lives begin’.
While Ben and Erin’s goals might sound different, “Home Town” clearly proves that the best things are often found in the most surprising places.
What’s Erin and Ben’s Love Story?
Just like everything else in their lives, Erin and Ben’s love story is quite dreamy. They met on 7 December 2004, when Erin was assigned to interview Ben for the college’s newspaper.
To say they instantly clicked is an understatement, as only six days after exchanging names for the first time, Ben confessed to her: ‘We were sitting in my car. Damien Rice’s Cheers Darling was playing. He said ‘I want to tell you something. I think I’ve fallen in love with you’’, as Erin wrote on her online journal. Though she confessed to loving him too, their newly discovered feelings left them with a bittersweet taste, when they had to separate to go on their Christmas’ break.
When they met, Erin was 19 years old and Ben two years older, but the immaturity proper at their young age didn’t impede them from building a stable relationship together. They tied the knot in November 2008, immediately moving to Laurel, regardless of having other options available: ‘as we were getting closer to graduation, and we knew we were getting married and starting our lives, it just felt right’, Ben told People. Just like that, an unexpected but long-lasting relationship started.
Children and Problems Conceiving
Despite the seemingly perfect life that they show on screen, behind the scenes Erin and Ben Napier also face their fair share of difficulties. In 2014, Erin was diagnosed with a perforated appendix, which had actually partially ruptured for the first time when she was 19 years old. The condition meant her appendix healed itself, but spread scar tissue onto her other organs.
Erin underwent surgery, and was finally freed from that strange health condition, but doctors warned her that becoming pregnant was an unlikely possibility for her: ‘not knowing is always the biggest hurdle for me to overcome. I like to have proof. And we had no proof that I would be able to have kids,’ Erin told People in 2018.
Having resigned to not having biological kids, in mid-2017 the Napiers were astounded to find out Erin pregnant with their first daughter Helen, who was born the following January.
Their second daughter Mae was born in May 2021, starting another happy chapter in this family’s story.
Their Business Now
Erin and Ben’s first business Lucky Luxe started the most amazing adventure of their lives, but at some point it was left behind. Now the Napiers are focused on Laurel Mercantile Co, a retailer of a wide variety of Southern-styled articles, including pottery, books, wares, home decor and self-care items.
The new Laurel Mercantile honors the antique retailer of the same name which opened in 1901, but which closed its doors three decades later, after the commercialization of its products was no longer in demand. In association with their friends Jim and Mallorie Rasberry, in addition to Josh and Emily Nowell, Erin and Ben brought the true Southern spirit of Laurel Mercantile back to life.
Besides their shop, Ben’s woodworking business Scotsman Co. is doing well nowadays too. Though his shop is not as big as that of Laurel Mercantile, Ben’s carpentry skills are a sight to behold.
Their Show Nowadays
Just in case you’re missing seeing Ben and Erin Napier on TV, we have good news for you. Though for now it’s unclear when exactly “Home Town” is returning, in late 2021 Erin revealed on her social media that the new season had already started filming.
While we wait for that, it’s always nice to look back and reflect on how much “Home Town” has grown since its premiere in 2016, undoubtedly securing a spot for the Napier family in the entertainment world for years to come.