From Nashville to Mississippi: A 'Home Town' Homecoming

Ben and Erin Napier help a couple of newlyweds, returning home after living in Nashville, bring charm and sparkle back to a 1913 Craftsman.

Meet the Homeowners

Newlyweds Kyle and Brooke (seated) have decided to give up the big city lights of Nashville in favor of the small-town streetlamps of the Mississippi town they both grew up in. They both love vintage homes with charm and character, and hope to find something in or near the city's historic downtown area. Their wish list includes a large, open kitchen for hosting family and friends and — true to good Southern form — a really nice front porch.  Their all-in budget, including renovations, is $200,000.


The Chancellor House. Kyle and Brooke settle on this five-bedroom Craftsman built in 1913. It's in a beautiful, walkable neighborhood and comes with nearly 3000 square feet and a number of appealing features, including the aforementioned front porch. It also comes with some challenges — including peeling exterior paint, roof issues and water leaks — but none sufficient to scare away Kyle, Brooke, Erin or Ben. The list price was $140,000.


The exterior is freshly painted in a new color palette of gray-green with white trim and brick red accents for doors and windows.


The house did come with large front porch but, at some point, it had been screened in, giving it a less-than-classic look. 


With the screens removed, and accents like twin sconces added, the porch takes on a whole different and more inviting character.

Living Room, Before

Prior to the renovation, the color choices in the interior spaces were a bit unusual, including this split-pea green in the main living room. The fireplace and mantel were plain and ordinary, but Erin had some ideas for transforming it.

Living Room, After

The fireplace becomes a new focal point with boldly patterned tile and coordinates with carefully selected and colorful framed art by famed Mississippi artist Walter Inglis Anderson. The fireplace tile would actually become Erin's touchstone for the color palette used throughout the renovation.


Though the wall paint would need some toning down, the home did offer some desirable attributes like the large living room, hardwood floors, high ceilings and one very unusual feature upstairs. (More on that later.) 

After: Living Room With Patterned Tile Fireplace and Cozy Sofa

Though the wall paint would need some toning down, the home did offer some desirable attributes like the large living room, hardwood floors, high ceilings and one very unusual feature upstairs.

Dining Room, Before

The dining room, painted in a nondescript brown, was separated from the kitchen, and the awkwardly placed adjacent laundry room was visually intrusive.

Dining Room, After

A wall was removed, and replaced with header beam and decorative columns, creating an open flow between the kitchen and dining room. Frosted glass was used to conceal the view into the adjacent laundry room.

Dining Room, Before

Dining Room, After

Salmon wall paint, updated lighting, tastefully selected antiques and a rustic dining table give the room new character that feels suitably Southern.

Kitchen, Before

The galley kitchen was tight, cramped and badly dated with faded wallpaper and gray laminate flooring.

Kitchen, After

Removing a wall and storage closet opened up the space providing a clear view to the dining room and leaving space for the addition of a large kitchen peninsula and plenty of lower-cabinet storage. A small pass-through window opens onto a newly updated breakfast nook.

Kitchen, Before

Kitchen, After

Dark stained hardwood replaces the old vinyl flooring. Other highlights in the new kitchen include recessed lighting, ceiling height upper cabinets and gray subway tile backsplash.

Breakfast Nook, Before

Prior to the renovation, the breakfast nook suffered from the same dingy and dated look as the kitchen.

Breakfast Nook, After

Simple updates to the built-in cabinetry including new hardware and copper countertop, along with fresh white paint, inset paneling and twin sconces, give the breakfast nook a warmer and inviting feel.

Breakfast Nook, Before

Breakfast Nook, After

The built-in seating in the breakfast nook is actually a vintage church pew, salvaged from an abandoned school building, that Ben cut in half and modified in his woodshop to fit perfectly into the space.

Upstairs Landing, Before

The landing had partially removed wallpaper, popcorn ceiling and what appeared to be a concealed chimney. Erin envisioned this space with seating and bookshelves to create an ideal reading nook.

Upstairs Landing, After

Exposing the brick chimney helped completely change the aesthetic of this space and exposed one of the home's key architectural features. A vintage rug, simple rustic bookshelves and comfy chairs complete the change, turning an underutilized space into a welcoming retreat.

Master Bedroom, Before

The bedroom had issues with antiquated heating and popcorn ceiling, but offered a large space that could fairly easily be updated.

Master Bedroom, After

The size and layout of the bedroom and adjacent room provided the opportunity to slightly reconfigure the space to add large his and hers closets.

Master Bedroom, Before

Master Bedroom, After

The size and layout of the bedroom and adjacent room provided the oportunity to slightly reconfigure the space to add large his and hers closets.

The Tiny Door

Ben's favorite detail by far was this oddly skinny door that opened onto an adjacent sunroom that could easily be converted into a home office or sitting room. There was another set of double doors that offered entry to the space from a separate room, but Ben could not let go of this charmingly idiosyncratic feature. It actually became one of the home's more notable selling features for Kyle and Brooke.

The (Secret) Tiny Door

To retain — and disguise — the tiny door, Ben devised a way to integrate it into newly installed wainscoting, cut to the same height, and outfit it with a push-latch, creating a hidden panel that offers the perfect secret advantage in a game of hide and seek.

Behind the Scenes

Erin displays some regional pride in his vintage Chevy pickup.

Behind the Scenes

Behind the Scenes

Erin arrives ready for demo day at the Chancellor House.

Y'all Come Back

If you enjoyed this Home Town renovation, find out more about Ben and Erin in this gallery from the project featured in the pilot episode: "Thoughtful Renovations in a Small Southern City". And be sure to check back at Home Town central for more new galleries, exclusive video, updates and more. 

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