'It seriously adds so much square footage': Erin Napier's space-enhancing solution for a tiny home

Erin and Ben's smallest-ever project is a masterclass in maximizing space – that we can replicate far beyond Laurel, Mississippi

Erin Napier
(Image credit: York Wallcoverings)

In their career, Home Town hosts Ben, and Erin Napier have renovated homes of all shapes and sizes (most of which are located in their hometown of Laurel, Mississippi) – but this recent project is their tiniest to date. 

'This wins the award for the smallest house we have ever worked on,' Erin says in season 7 episode Second Chances. 'I can't imagine we'll ever work on anything smaller.' The designer is not only tasked with a small room – but a small home – coming in at only 250 square feet. 

In the episode first shown on HGTV, Erin and Ben play with several ideas to accentuate the size of the small living room and kitchenette. However, their biggest space-enhancing solution begins outside

The exterior (as seen below) receives several cosmetic changes (including new shutters and columns), but her most impactful change is a screen that she installs around the existing front porch.

'The screen porch will give it a little bit more square footage of living space,' Ben says when telling the homeowners their plan. Realtor reports that they 'love the idea, knowing that it'll make the guesthouse feel twice as big.'

Alongside the screens, the team creates a sitting area – complete with a table, chairs, houseplant, and rug (as seen in the second and third images on the photo carousel). This transforms the barely-used porch into a key part of the living space – almost doubling the size instantly. 

'It seriously adds so much square footage that the house didn't have before. It's becoming something really special,' Erin says.  

Alongside the new screens, the couple experimented with space-saving tricks in the small bedroom, too.

Erin and Ben Napier

(Image credit: GettyImages)

Above all, this tiny home is a guesthouse, so it is vital that it comes with a comfortable bed for those visiting Laurel. Ben designs (what he labels) 'my version of a pull-out sofa' – a sleeper sofa with a bespoke frame and mattress that folds into a couch. He also creates some space for bedroom storage behind the headboard.

'We've figured out a very unique design. It is the only one of these beds in existence,' Ben adds.

For more design inspiration (in homes of all sizes), we're turning to Erin's new book,  Heirloom Rooms, available on Amazon now.

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

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

This beautifully-illustrated book (featuring the Heirloom Floral print) is a unique celebration of the homes we live in and love. Erin tells the story of her modern family life – and the days that made her home the place she longs for when she’s away.

Erin and Ben have reminded us of the beauty (and practicality) of outdoor living, just in time for the brighter seasons ahead.

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.