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Home Town: Laurel, Mississippi by Way of LA

A Hollywood TV actor and his wife purchase a run-down Craftsman home in Laurel and lovingly restore it with help from Erin and Ben. Their objective: to rescue a deserving property while at the same time investing in a community and helping to anchor the revitalization of a neighborhood.

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Photo: Laura Good

Branching Out

In a special new project, Ben and Erin restored this century-old Craftsman in a section of Laurel that was once home primarily to millworkers and other laborers in Laurel's timber industry. It’s a neighborhood with lots of promise but one that hasn't yet seen much renovation or renewal, and many of the old homes have fallen into disrepair. The Napier's clients Richard and Nancy have fallen in love with Laurel and want to invest in a historic property here, but also to see the kinds of improvements that Erin and Ben have been doing continue to grow and expand.

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Photo: Laura Good. From: Home Town and From Los Angeles to Laurel.

Investing in a Community

Actor Richard T. Jones and his wife Nancy are looking to buy a house in Laurel — specifically in an area that has been underappreciated and has yet to revitalized. They are looking for a historic home with good bones, and their desire is to fix it up and find a family that wants to lease to own. "What brings us to Laurel," says Nancy, "is a desire really to be part of the restoration that Ben and Erin have started here. The goal is to focus on empowering people through home ownership."

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From: Home Town and From Los Angeles to Laurel

The Martin House, Before

This cottage in the Laurel neighborhood known as Ward 5 has an interesting history but. like many of the homes in the area, is in need of some TLC. The house was built around 1910 and purchased by Minnie and A.L. Martin around 1920. They later passed it on to their daughter who lived in it in recent years — so the house was owned by the same family for around a century. It has 1400 square feet, three bedrooms, two baths and was listed for only $15,000. "It's Craftsman style," said Ben, "and the brick column work, and the fact that they've never been painted, is really cool and a nice feature."

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Erin's Vision

Erin's renovation plan includes new landscaping to reveal the home's profile, and removing the screens to re-create an open front porch that suits the home's Craftsman architecture. The peeling exterior paint would need to be scraped, and Erin envisions repainting in a pale yellow accented by a front door in rust-red. "I think all these colors could work together," she said, "and be really beautiful and cottagey. And this block could use some sunshine."

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