Erin Napier Shares How She Made Her Formal Staircase More Casual and Personal

published Dec 14, 2022
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headshot of erin and ben napier
Credit: Photo: Getty Images; Design: Apartment Therapy

Through paint colors, tile, wallpapers, and furnishings, Erin Napier has really leaned into the English Tudor style of her new home with her husband Ben. But she admits in a recent Instagram post that some aspects of her home are just too formal for her family — for example, the staircase leading to the second floor. But rather than change the original bones of the house, Erin simply tweaked her design to tone down the fancy and make the space feel more family-friendly. 

“Stairway to girl world!” Napier captioned her December 13 Instagram photo. “We’ve been told the wife of the man who built our house played the lyre so he made a stencil and hand-carved each banister rail for her.”

She continued, “It’s very formal and quirky, to be sure, but I don’t have the heart to change what Mrs. Moore must have loved so much. Instead, we used the girls’ art and had it framed professionally by @napierframeslaurel so it feels like an art gallery and makes the very formal stairwell feel more like us: casual and unexpected.”

And that casual unexpectedness is the perfect precursor to the colorful and whimsical wallpaper from Rifle Paper Co. and York Wallcoverings in the upstairs bedrooms paired with traditional spindle beds and lots of patterned textiles.

“The whole house looks like it’s been that way for years…warm, inviting and loved,” one commenter wrote. Another added, “I wholeheartedly agree with your ode to Mrs. Moore by adding the girls’ artwork. It’s a beautiful balance!”

And who knows? An untrained (or over-trained!) eye may mistake those kid sketches for high-priced modern art rather than priceless time capsules from Helen and Mae’s childhood. Because the home is so family-focused, these artworks blend in seamlessly and make the house a home once more.