Ben and Erin Napier Share Their Most Personal Project Yet: 'It Was Just the Joy of Our Lives'

See how the HGTV stars transformed the outdated abode into a forever home for their store manager

01 of 09

Ben and Erin Napier's Most Personal Project Yet


Ben and Erin Napier have risen to HGTV stardom restoring historic houses in Laurel, Mississippi. The new parents — who welcomed their first daughter, Helen, in January — are known for adding personal touches into each of their projects, but there was one property on season two of Home Town that stuck out as particularly sentimental.

“Aly Smith is actually our store manager, and her husband went to Ole Miss with us,” Erin tells PEOPLE of her friend who runs the Napier's store, Laurel Mercantile Co., and her husband, pictured here. “It was a real delight to get to design this for them. It was just the joy of our lives."

02 of 09

BEFORE: Unwelcome Abode


The exterior started as a bland, blank canvas that Erin describes as “so 90s suburbanized” with peeling paint and mismatched brick. “All the best things about the architecture were being totally missed because of the trim color,” she says.

03 of 09

AFTER: Warm and Inviting


Although the Smiths wanted to limewash the abode, Erin was convinced that swapping the white paint for a moodier shade would make just the right difference to the curb appeal. “The brick wasn’t a uniform color, it had this dark green-blue mixture, so that’s the color I pulled from," she says.

04 of 09

BEFORE: Seeing Red


The previous kitchen included “a lot of jewel tones, and was not very Jordan and Aly at all,” Erin explains.

05 of 09

AFTER: Italian Comfort


“They were living in a camper for six months, so their only request was a kitchen they could use,” Erin adds. The Napiers drew from the original architecture for the design, incorporating natural colors like cream and wheat, and installing an Italian tile on the backsplash. “We let the house dictate a lot of the kitchen,” Ben says.

06 of 09

BEFORE: Wallpaper Nightmare


The design leaned “very Christmas” throughout the 3-bedroom, 2.5-bathroom home. But Erin had a clever idea in mind for how she could update this staircase.

07 of 09

AFTER: Crafty Details


She fashioned a custom runner from three inexpensive hand-knotted rugs to create a statement-making element that inspired the color palette for the rest of the home. “It was one of my favorite DIY projects we’ve ever done,” Erin says. “You just need a staple gun, a straightedge and a friend to pull it tight. It took us 30 minutes, it was really, really simple.”

08 of 09

BEFORE: Unseen Issues

The living room in the Smith house needs complete renovation on Home Town.

Ben wanted to install crown molding in the living room, but came across an unpleasant surprise behind the sheet rock around the windows. “Termites had eaten the wall,” he says. “There was about an 8-foot section where the studs were just sawdust.”

09 of 09

AFTER: Modern Touches


After replacing the damaged area, the Napiers were able to move forward with creating a cozy living space that highlights its original 1940s details with a modern spin. “I love painting all the trim dark and the walls white,” Erin says. “Which is unexpected but makes sense in the historic homes.”

For more tips from Erin and Ben, pick up this week’s issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands now. Home Town airs Mondays at 9:00 p.m. EST on HGTV.

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