A Touch of Provence in Southern Mississippi

Home Town's Erin and Ben Napier welcome a new military family to town and help them transform a plain, drab box of a house into a home with loads of charm and a European soul.

Photo By: Todd Douglas/ Getty Images

Photo By: Todd Douglas/ Getty Images

Photo By: Todd Douglas/ Getty Images

Photo By: Todd Douglas/ Getty Images

Photo By: Todd Douglas/ Getty Images

Photo By: Todd Douglas/ Getty Images

Photo By: Todd Douglas/ Getty Images

Photo By: Todd Douglas/ Getty Images

Photo By: Todd Douglas/ Getty Images

Photo By: Todd Douglas/ Getty Images

Photo By: Todd Douglas/ Getty Images

Photo By: Todd Douglas/ Getty Images

Photo By: Todd Douglas/ Getty Images

Photo By: Todd Douglas/ Getty Images

Photo By: Todd Douglas/ Getty Images

Photo By: Todd Douglas/ Getty Images

Photo By: Todd Douglas/ Getty Images

Photo By: Todd Douglas/ Getty Images

Photo By: Todd Douglas/ Getty Images

Photo By: Todd Douglas/ Getty Images

Photo By: Todd Douglas/ Getty Images

Photo By: Todd Douglas/ Getty Images

Photo By: Todd Douglas/ Getty Images

Photo By: Todd Douglas/ Getty Images

Photo By: Todd Douglas/ Getty Images

Photo By: Todd Douglas/ Getty Images

Photo By: Todd Douglas/ Getty Images

Photo By: Todd Douglas/ Getty Images

Photo By: Todd Douglas/ Getty Images

Photo By: Todd Douglas/ Getty Images

Photo By: Todd Douglas/ Getty Images

Photo By: Todd Douglas/ Getty Images

Photo By: Todd Douglas/ Getty Images

Photo By: Todd Douglas/ Getty Images

Photo By: Todd Douglas/ Getty Images

Photo By: Todd Douglas/ Getty Images

Photo By: Todd Douglas/ Getty Images

Photo By: Todd Douglas/ Getty Images

Photo By: Todd Douglas/ Getty Images

Storybook Cottage Feel

With a few imaginative embellishments, and a hint of whimsy, Erin and Ben transformed a plain, boxy house that hardly warranted a second look into this eye-catching charmer, one of the most interesting houses on the street.
From: Erin Napier and Ben Napier

French Country Cozy

Without doubt the star of the renovation is this newly expanded kitchen with its coffered ceilings, reclaimed wood beams, limestone countertops and a warm, earthy feel.
From: Erin Napier and Ben Napier

Euro-Inspired Interiors

Reclaimed wood beams are used in the living room as well, helping give the space a warm and insular feel. 
From: Erin Napier and Ben Napier

Grounded in Gray

The dining room has a tranquil, soothing feel with its soft gray walls, white wainscoting and informal furnishings including linen slipcovered chairs.
From: Erin Napier and Ben Napier

Meet the Homeowners

New homeowners Scott and Linda Carson (R) pose for a pic with Ben and Erin outside the newly refurbished home. Scott and Linda are newcomers to town and have eclectic and discerning tastes. Scott is a retired Army chaplain, and the couple lived in cities all over the US as well as overseas — in Italy, France, Germany and Belgium. They're eager to settle into a quieter, small-town life. "We're looking to downsize," said Scott. "I just want a comfortable atmosphere, just something that fits our personality." Linda, who values dining and food preparation as an experience, is hoping for a chef's kitchen. "I would love a French country kitchen," she says, "that would give me the atmosphere of being in Europe again."
From: Erin Napier and Ben Napier

Before

The Cater House. Prior the renovation, this modest 1940s-era Cape Cod could practically have gone unnoticed with it's plain all-white palette and few distinguishing features. It came with three bedrooms, two baths and 2150 square feet. The asking price was $107,000, leaving a potential renovation budget of $63,000.
From: Erin Napier and Ben Napier

After

The feature that really transforms the look of the house is a new arched portico over the front door with rolled copper roof, bead board underside and side trellises. Other defining exterior features include a new front door in natural wood finish, pine window boxes and custom-made working shutters with black metal shutter-dogs to tie in with the iron railing.
From: Erin Napier and Ben Napier

Living Room, Before

The living room, like much of the house, had well preserved and beautiful hardwood floors but, aside from that, the room was plain and had little personality.
From: Erin Napier and Ben Napier

Living Room, After

Erin's designs drew on the Carson's preference for French Country style and create a warm, welcoming feel.
From: Erin Napier and Ben Napier

Living Room, Before

The plain white-on-white motif, with no contrasting elements, gave rise to a bland color palette for which Erin coined the name "Homemade Marshmallow." The fireplace, which could potentially be the focal point of the room, is visually lost against the wash of white. 

From: Erin Napier and Ben Napier

Living Room, After

The wood beams in natural finish, and the simple but elegant furnishings, provide contrast and give the room a whole new life. The beams are from reclaimed wood that came from Sweetwater Mill near Huntsville, Alabama. The lumber specialist estimates that the tree from which the lumber was milled was 250 to 300 years old when it was cut down.
From: Erin Napier and Ben Napier

Living Room, Before

From: Erin Napier and Ben Napier

Living Room, After

The real show piece in the new living room is the newly designed but old-world inspired fireplace. The surround was built out using vintage bricks and covered in white mortar for a whitewashed and textured finish that makes it look as if it had been there for generations.
From: Erin Napier and Ben Napier

Dining Room, Before

From: Erin Napier and Ben Napier

Dining Room, After

The walls are painted in soft gray with white trim. The original wainscoting is retained and given a fresh coat of paint, and a new light fixture is added along with new draperies.
From: Erin Napier and Ben Napier

Dining Room, After

From: Erin Napier and Ben Napier

Dining Room, After

The linen slipcovers for the dining room chairs were custom made by Erin.
From: Erin Napier and Ben Napier

Sitting Room, Before

This room off the main living room could serve as a home office or library. 
From: Erin Napier and Ben Napier

Sitting Room, After

Using two generously large leather chairs, side table and rustic console bookshelves, Erin staged the space as a reading room — the perfect spot to seek solitude and enjoy a quiet read.
From: Erin Napier and Ben Napier

Kitchen, Before

Prior to the renovation the kitchen was small and nondescript. The existing three-inch concrete countertops were deemed to be too high for the new kitchen design.
From: Erin Napier and Ben Napier

Kitchen, After

The old countertops were replaced with buttery smooth limestone. The original cabinets were retained but enhanced with new trim and white paint, and the doors given a slightly distressed finish to augment the French Country motif.
From: Erin Napier and Ben Napier

Kitchen, Before

From: Erin Napier and Ben Napier

Kitchen, After

The new kitchen has coffered ceiling with the same vintage reclaimed wood beams as seen in the living room, and a new floor in contrasting stone tile. The signature feature is the bakery table custom made by Ben from sturdy white oak. "White oak's really hard to work with," said Ben, "but it's going to be beautiful when we're finished, and the more they use it, the better it'll be...This will be one of those pieces of furniture that stays in a family forever, and that makes me so happy."
From: Erin Napier and Ben Napier

Kitchen, Before

From: Erin Napier and Ben Napier

Kitchen, After

In another signature touch, in addition to new recessed lighting, Erin added a single pendant basket-light that she custom made using an old basket found at a local salvage shop.
From: Erin Napier and Ben Napier

Kitchen, After

From: Erin Napier and Ben Napier

Kitchen, Detail

From: Erin Napier and Ben Napier

Kitchen, Detail

This kitchen has so much personality, and I think it's really the Carsons' personality.
—Erin Napier
From: Erin Napier and Ben Napier

Kitchen, Detail

Ben used a remnant from the white oak used for the bakery table to create a custom cutting board, bearing the trademark 'Scotsman' logo of Ben's woodshop.
From: Erin Napier and Ben Napier

Behind the Scenes: The Reveal

From: Erin Napier and Ben Napier

Behind the Scenes: The Reveal

From: Erin Napier and Ben Napier

Behind the Scenes: The Reveal

Ben and Erin present the Carsons with a framed copy of Erin's original artistic rendering of the house.
From: Erin Napier and Ben Napier

Behind the Scenes, The Reveal

From: Erin Napier and Ben Napier

Behind the Scenes

From: Erin Napier and Ben Napier

Behind the Scenes: Demo Day

From: Erin Napier and Ben Napier

Behind the Scenes: Demo Day

From: Erin Napier and Ben Napier

Behind the Scenes: Demo Day

Ben works on removal of the three-inch-thick concrete countertops in the old kitchen.
From: Erin Napier and Ben Napier

Behind the Scenes: Demo Day

From: Erin Napier and Ben Napier

Behind the Scenes: Demo Day

Behind the Scenes, Demo Day

From: Erin Napier and Ben Napier

Behind the Scenes

Erin works on carefully removing the existing wood mantel in the living room since the new design features a new and larger fireplace surround made from vintage brick for a more Old World look.
From: Erin Napier and Ben Napier

Behind the Scenes

Behind the Scenes

Erin carefully removes the old mantel, taking care to avoid damage so the piece can be salvaged and potentially repurposed elsewhere.

Behind the Scenes

From: Erin Napier and Ben Napier

Behind the Scenes

In order to expand the footprint of the kitchen by removing a wall, Ben inspects the condition and direction of the ceiling joists to make sure there will be adequate structural support once the wall is removed.
From: Erin Napier and Ben Napier

Behind the Scenes

During final staging before the reveal, Ben checks out the basket-light pendant custom made by Erin.
From: Erin Napier and Ben Napier

Before

From: Erin Napier and Ben Napier

After

It had no personality at all before; none at all. It was just a little white box, and now it is overflowing with personality. It's smiling, and it just looks so happy and inviting.
—Erin Napier

They put their heart and soul into it, and it shows. It shows in the soul of the house.
—homeowner Linda Carson

From: Erin Napier and Ben Napier

Y'all Please Come Back

If you enjoyed this Home Town renovation, we'll just bet you'd also like this one:
From Nashville to Mississippi: A 'Home Town' Homecoming
And keep checking back here for more new galleries, exclusive video, Home Town updates and more.

From: Erin Napier and Ben Napier

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'Home Town' Homeowner Profiles: Amanda Matthews

Find out more about Amanda Matthews, Erin and Ben's client featured in the Home Town episode titled "Porch Dreams".