Erin Napier's Visionary Tip To Make The Most Of A Past Homeowner's Quirky Addition

Erin Napier of HGTV's hit show "Home Town" is known for using creativity to maintain the historical charm and uniqueness of each of her projects. Restoring primarily old homes in Laurel, Mississippi, with her husband, Ben, Erin Napier takes each home's story (and that of its previous homeowners as well) to heart when remodeling the space. Utilizing and refreshing a home's or prior homeowner's original elements for a new use or look in the modernized renovation creates a space and home story with depth and interest. One such space was the Napier's Henderson project in Season 8, Episode 12 of "Home Town," in which Erin Napier was faced with a quirky in-ground fountain in the middle of what the previous owners called their garden room. Rather than rip it out, Napier's sage advice was to embrace and reface the fountain with a modernized personal touch for the new homeowners, making it the star of their pottery studio by maintaining the uniqueness of the space.

A fan of this one-of-a-kind property for a long time, Erin Napier had shown this home to a couple of families before the Hendersons planned for a renovation, including one storyteller who lived there briefly, Adam Trest. She and Adam developed a children's book together in this home during his stay. Therefore, this property had a particularly special place in Napier's heart, and it became even more of a priority for her to keep the home's unique and storied past as a part of the update.

Giving a vintage fountain a new life with a personalized touch

Of the many vintage home features that are too charming to get rid of, this indoor fountain was one Erin Napier could not part with. "Absolutely the most interesting home in Laurel," says Napier (via Instagram) about the Henderson home project in Season 8, Episode 12 of "Home Town." The fountain was inside what was originally the front door, but when Napier moved the entry to a location that made more sense, this prior garden room became the perfect location for the new homeowner's pottery studio. In a visionary decision to showcase the home's quirky original feature with a new personalized spin rather than discard it, Napier reworked and restored the fountain to feel perfectly at home in the earthy pottery studio.

In order to modernize the original charm of the fountain but give it new life with a new family, Napier had the fountain cleaned and restored the plaster on the interior. Once the plaster was refreshed, she had it painted with a beautiful new design that included swallows, a bird that the homeowners fell in love with on their honeymoon, to give the previously nondescript fountain an extremely personal and meaningful new presence. Erin Napier transformed this quirky original feature of the home into the homeowner's favorite part of her new pottery studio, all thanks to the thoughtful personalized touches Napier incorporated in the restoration.

Napier's tips for maintaining character and unique elements in your renovation

While you may not have an in-ground fountain in your home, properties being renovated always have a story, as well as unique elements original to the home or added by previous homeowners. Following the lead of HGTV's "Home Town" star Erin Napier, ensure your renovation doesn't lack character by highlighting its charms with a bright color palette appropriate for the style of your home rather than disguise the one-of-a-kind features with the same neutral paint throughout, which makes the house feel like a flip rather than a restoration. She also recommends maintaining and showcasing original vintage elements like hardwood floors, one-of-a-kind ceiling treatments, exposed beams, and beautiful tile or brick. Embracing and putting an updated, personalized spin on these charming elements will make them feel integrated with the modern update of the home.

In creating homes that feel layered and storied, yet modernized, another one of Erin Napier's best tips is to keep a home historically accurate during a reno by researching the internet, books, and historical catalogs for old images of similar properties to get an idea of the original character and style of the home. She then uses this historical information to inform and inspire her contemporary upgrades for the space. This allows her to preserve what is unique about the original elements and add new design details with the same vintage spirit to accentuate that aesthetic.