Ben and Erin Napier of HGTV’s new series “Home Town” are a bit more old-fashioned than their contemporaries in the design world. That’s not to say they they shun any kind of modern design element-- The duo is just more interested in preserving the fantastic old houses in their hometown of Laurel, Miss.
Oh, and they’re also really keen on preserving the wood, so don’t even think about asking them to rip out or replace any original wood flooring.
“The great thing about old houses is, they’re like time machines,” Erin explains to Fox News. “There’s nothing else that you can be a part of, that you can live in, that makes you feel as though you’re part of a different era.”
“And the craftsmanship,” adds Ben. “As we renovate these houses, we peel back the layers of renovations over the years, and we get to see the way they did things a hundred years ago, or 75 years ago. To get to see the quality of the craftsmanship … it’s unbelievable.”
Viewers really get a sense of the couple’s respect for Laurel’s most humble abodes, too. Each week on “Home Town,” Ben and Erin help Laurel’s newest residents find a beautiful old home to renovate, remodel and redesign, all while staying true to each house’s unique history.
“I mean, we’re very old-fashioned kind of people,” says Erin. “We love the design and the art of those eras.”
Hooked yet? Check out more of Ben and Erin's best advice — and biggest no-nos — for bringing small-town charm to your soon-to-be dream home.
Fox News: What is it about old, small-town homes that you find so appealing?
Erin: Every small town has a ton of ‘em, usually. And they’re often neglected, and they’re often affordable.
Ben: And for some reason, we went through a spell where we forgot these small towns. But you can have your dream home, and your dream life, for a very reasonable price. Especially with the internet, you can have that, your career.
Where do you find all the reclaimed materials you use in your design?
Erin: Necessity is usually the mother of design. And if you have a modest budget, then reclaiming your materials is the best way to make a budget stretch, but also to give a home warmth and personality and history that it doesn’t have otherwise. The soul comes from those reclaimed materials.
Ben: Anytime we can use something that was already there, then it’s including a piece of the original story into the new story.
What are some design elements that most people want to get rid of, but you’d advise they keep?
Erin: Everyone wants to paint woodwork, and we love wood. The grain, the color, the richness of it. You cannot get it back once you paint over it. It has been deleted. We’re super passionate about that.
Ben: We’re actually pretty passionate about walls.
Erin: We love walls. People always want open-concept houses, but we like rooms. Rooms give you privacy or intimacy in a way that open-concept houses can’t always achieve. If we have a homeowner that wants open-concept, and it makes sense for their life, we’re happy to do that. It’s just personally, our personal style, we like rooms.
What are a few quick upgrades that can make a home more inviting?
Erin: Wood floors and antique rugs. The floors are — it’s stupid — but I think of warmth coming from the floor up. The floors, if they’re rich, warm tones of wood, and you’ve got old vintage rugs in shades of red and green, then the rest of the house can be a little more neutral, because all that warmth and energy is coming from the floors. That’s a little silly sounding, probably, but it’s true.
What else can viewers take away from "Home Town"?
Erin: We just want to show America how there’s a kind of community in a small town that you just don’t find in the big cities.
Ben: Or maybe you do.
Erin: Or maybe you do, but it’s very different. You know everyone’s story and they know yours. You move in, and they bring you a warm pound cake. People really care for each other in a small town like ours.
Erin: We have to. It's how we support each other.
Catch new episodes of HGTV's "Home Town" on Tuesdays at 10 p.m. ET.