'Home Town': A Cottage Charmer for Empty-Nesters

Ben and Erin create a quaint and colorful home for a couple returning to small-town life.

Ben and Erin Napier

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Coy and Kenya are moving to town to be closer to their children and grandchildren, and looking to downsize into a comfortably manageable home that has some Southern charm. Coy is a minister and needs a home office where he can meet with parishioners. Kenya basically wants a nice kitchen and likes bright, vibrant colors. Both like a cozy, cottage vibe but want space that's adequate for entertaining family.

Ben and Erin with homeowners Coy and Kenya Rice

Ben and Erin with homeowners Coy and Kenya Rice

The search leads to two homes that might, with some modifications, fit the bill. "The Hill House" was built in 1910 and is located on an attractive street that's seen something of a rebirth in recent years. In its unadorned state, it's simple and plain, but it offers some of the inherent historic charm that the homeowners are seeking.

"The Sumrall House" is a small post-war house built in 1955, and it's even more plain and simple. But it does come with an attractively low asking price and could be just the place as either a starter home for newlyweds or for empty-nesters looking to simplify.

It's less about a house and more about a life. It's where a life will be lived.
Erin Napier

As expected in a renovation like this, the challenge is how to fashion a home that's inviting, attractive and functional in under 1500 square feet. What's less expected in this case are the 600 bats that are discovered residing in the attic after renovation is underway. (Fear not, bat-o-philes. The winged occupants — which are ecologically important as insect predators and are now protected by law — get skillfully and safely relocated by a bat specialist.)

Bats notwithstanding, in this project, a front porch gets a thorough and colorful makeover and outfitted with functioning shutters and, in proper small-town fashion, a porch swing.

A living room gets returned to its past glory, with a fireplace makeover and original hardwoods brought back to prominence. And Kenya gets her wish in a contemporary kitchen with an open feel — as well as some special customization courtesy of Mr. Napier and his woodworking skills.

Watch a video extra from this episode with Erin's tip for creating a classic chalkboard look on the back of a door using chalkboard paint.

Classic School Chalkboard 00:29

Erin paints a vintage classroom-style chalkboard on the back of a door.

The Home Town episode titled "Cottage Charm" premieres April 18 at 10p|9c. Be sure to check back here to take the complete photo tour and see more web-exclusive videos.

Next Up

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Find out about Home Town homeowners Dawn and Michael Trest, long-time friends of Erin and Ben who decided to transition from downtown loft living to a homey home in the suburbs. . 

Bringing 'Home Town' Elegance to a House With History

Erin and Ben Napier revitalize the classic charm in a historic home in need of some TLC.

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Heads up, Home Town fans! The much-anticipated second season kicks off Monday, January 8. Also, if you haven’t heard, Ben and Erin have a bombshell of an announcement that just happens to coincide.

Ben and Erin Napier Are Back in HGTV's 'Home Town' Season Five

The hit series Home Town returns to HGTV with new episodes starting January 3. And we've got more Home Town news too!

Ben and Erin Napier Take 'Home Town' on the Road In a New HGTV Series

HGTV is launching a nationwide call to find towns that could use some of the 'Home Town' touch. It's all part of an ambitious new series — 'Home Town Takeover'. In this exciting new project, Erin and Ben lead a team of renovation pros as they takeover and makeover an entire small town. Could your town be the next 'Home Town'?

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Erin and Ben renovate a special vintage home for discerning clients.

HGTV's Erin Napier Reveals Her Interior Design Process in the New Digital Series, 'Erin'spired'

Erin introduces us to her design team and design process for each home featured in season three of 'Home Town.

'Home Town' Season Five Is Headed Your Way in 2021

Just announced! Home Town heroes Ben and Erin Napier will be back in 2021 for a fifth season of HGTV's hit series Home Town with 16 all-new episodes. And that's just for starters.

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