How Erin and Ben Napier transformed their barn into a cozy country retreat –rooted in nostalgia

The Napiers spent the past year designing an arty sanctuary –complete with treasured heirlooms and a wood-burning stove

Erin Napier
(Image credit: GettyImages)

Few possess the ability to master sweet, Southern country style quite like the Napiers – and of course, there's no canvas quite like their own home. However, Ben Napier has taken things beyond their main four walls and into the most unexpected of places: their barn. 

Situated amid their family estate in Laurel, Mississippi (the backdrop to HGTV's Home Town), the Napier's barn underwent a year-long renovation – resulting in one of the favorite spaces we've seen the couple create (and there's stiff competition).

'[Ben has] been sneaking out to the barn for a year slowly insulating, replacing structural beams, adding lights, cleaning out the cobwebs and piles of dirt, running down salvaged porcelain sinks, adding AC for the summer and a wood burning stove for the winter,' Erin says. 

When the structural work was complete, Ben then brought in remnants of their 'past lives' that were stored in their loft. 

Decorating with antiques is a way to add instant character to a space, but, as Erin reminds us, the most impactful of these pieces are those that have shaped our lives.

'My first business. My easel. The letter files. The desk built from the pieces of my mother's family homestead. The glass from my studio door, Lucky Luxe,' she says, in discussion of the pieces that adorn the barn. 

These pieces are visible on the second, third, and fourth slide of the photo carousel – along with an easel and canvas that encourages Erin to paint as she often did before motherhood. 'I didn't ask for this. But it's something I desperately want to get back to,' she says. 

'I wish every one of you a Ben Napier in your life who really, completely knows you.'

Erin Napier

(Image credit: GettyImages)
Interior Designer
Erin Napier
Interior Designer
Erin Napier

Erin Napier is a designer and entrepreneur with a fine arts degree who started her career in corporate graphic design before founding her own international stationery company, Lucky Luxe. She co-stars alongside her husband, Ben Napier, in HTGV's Home Town and authored three books, including Heirloom Rooms, (published by Gallery books; 10/3/23). 

As Erin explains, these pieces make the barn so unique – and her message is unsurprising, considering the teaching in her new title, Heirloom Rooms

The book teaches us to focus less on curating a perfectly aesthetic home and more on the history of the space. And, of course, this includes incorporating family heirlooms and other meaningful pieces that bring joy to our family. 

'I want people to be less concerned with the way their room looks and be more concerned about the history that happens with their family in their home,' Erin shared in a recent interview with H&G. 'I want people to feel like they can photograph their rooms and their houses for posterity, not show off and get likes on social media.' We're picking up our copy via Amazon below.

Heirloom Rooms: Soulful Stories of Home by Erin Napier – $23.18 on Amazon

Heirloom Rooms: Soulful Stories of Home by Erin Napier – <a href="" data-link-merchant="Amazon US"" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">$23.18 on Amazon
This collection of personal essays and photos reflects on what home means to Erin as her family has evolved over the years. It includes interviews with influential friends on what makes a house a home. The photos and stories throughout feature well-loved and lived-in homes that are aspirational, relatable, and imperfect.

Megan Slack
Head of Celebrity Style News

Megan is the Head of Celebrity Style News at Homes & Gardens. She first joined Future Plc as a News Writer across their interiors titles, including Livingetc and Real Homes, before becoming H&G's News Editor in April 2022. She now leads the Celebrity/ News team. Before joining Future, Megan worked as a News Explainer at The Telegraph, following her MA in International Journalism at the University of Leeds. During her BA in English Literature and Creative Writing, she gained writing experience in the US while studying in New York. Megan also focused on travel writing during her time living in Paris, where she produced content for a French travel site. She currently lives in London with her antique typewriter and an expansive collection of houseplants.