Erin and Ben Napier’s New Mississippi Home Feels Like It Could Be in England

published Oct 11, 2022
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They may be in the heart of Mississippi, but Erin and Ben Napier’s new home is straight outta England.

The “Home Town” and “Home Town Takeover” stars opened up their new home for Southern Living’s November issue, for which they grace the cover. Inside, the couple share the tale of finding and transforming the historic brick Tudor, which Erin said she “loved immediately.”

“One reason we had to get this house was its very British look,” Erin told SL. “It feels as though you’ve crossed the ocean and you’re not in Mississippi anymore. It’s like a vacation for us.” 

Completed in 1930, the home is filled with unique period charms, like custom millwork, tongue-and-groove paneling, and wide plank floors. (Ben mentioned the wood the home is built with is rumored to have been cut and milled on the property.) Erin also loved the dark wood, as well as the story behind the home: It was built by a chicken farmer who fell in love with the architecture of England while fighting there during WWI. He also had a side hustle as a successful moonshiner, which is why you’ll find secret compartments throughout the house to hide booze, and would pull vehicles into the basement on a concrete ramp.

While Erin loved the home from the start, she was initially skeptical that a historic house could fit all the criteria she wanted in a weekend house. However, she was pleasantly surprised. Of course, the renovation-loving couple made several changes, including adding a porch off the primary bedroom under an awning. A coat of dark green on the home’s exterior completed the exterior.

Inside, the kitchen, the room that’s most often used, needed to be both functional but cohesive with the rest of the house. “It’s all new, but I wanted it to feel like it could be from ‘Downton Abbey’ — a classic and casual English style that’s utilitarian but kind of elegant,” said Erin, who added a biscuit painting from her grandmother’s house over the door.

Another special space is Ben’s study, where he hangs out with his typewriter, record player, transistor radio, and books. On the wall, there’s a framed Duke University jersey and a vintage egg scale, which serves a nod to the original owner. The wood-paneled room is the perfect spot to drink his coffee in the mornings.

The couple also picked the home to create the type of environment they want their daughters, Helen and Mae, to grow up in. A lot of that was inspired by Erin’s own upbringing on a 40-acre chicken farm. 

“My playtime consisted of climbing a lot of trees and digging for arrowheads in the woods. That’s not something our girls can do in town,” explained Erin. “I want their bathwater to be dirty at the end of the day, so it means they weren’t just playing on screens.”

As you’d expect, the home will be featured on a December episode of “Home Town.”

The November issue of Southern Living is on newsstands Friday, October 21.