On Sunday, January 24 on HGTV, a pilot for a new series was debuted. The name of the show is Home Town. I am excited about Home Town because it takes place in Laurel, Mississippi, which is 2 ½ hours from where I live.
The show aired at 11:00 am on Sunday, which meant that the majority of the population in Mississippi was in church. I set my DVR and started watching the minute I was home from attending the University Baptist Church in Starkville, Mississippi.
In this article, I share general information about Home Town, what I liked about the show and what I questioned about the show. (Note that I am not saying I didn’t like certain aspects of the show. Rather, I’m questioning why something was done a certain way.)
About the Show (from HGTV website)
Erin and Ben Napier love their small hometown of Laurel, Mississippi, especially the old historical houses. Using found materials and old textiles; they’re keeping the character of these classic homes, but giving them modern and affordable updates. From Erin’s imaginative hand sketches to Ben’s custom handiwork, this couple is bringing Laurel’s homes back to life and making sure their small town’s future is as bright as its past.
HGTV Home Town: A Mississippi Review
7 things I liked most about the show Home Town.
The Napiers are a friendly couple who are doing good in small town Mississippi. Erin grew up in Laurel and met Ben at college. Erin and Ben have a great on-camera presence and clearly care about their town. They are cute together and work well in front of the cameras.
1- Hand Drawings
During real estate day, Erin showed hand drawings of potential renovations for the house. I really liked this because the buying couple didn’t have to envision the renovations, they could actually see it! The audience could see her drawings on the screen too with pastel coloring. Very cool.
2- Murals on the Side of Buildings
The murals that Erin designed for the city of Laurel were outstanding. It was fun seeing a time lapse of the mural painted on the building that is next to the Amtrak train tracks. Erin is very talented, and the designs truly enhanced the buildings.
3- Memorable Quotes
“Welcome to Laurel, y’all,” said Erin when referencing her murals.
“Safety 1st America,” said, Ben, when he was removing the brick from the front porch.
“Good taste doesn’t have to cost a lot of money” when talking about the pine flooring on the 2nd floor.
4- Blue Chevy Truck
Instead of the typical SUV that is seen on several home shows, the Napiers drove an old blue Chevy truck. It was charming and wouldn’t be a far stretch to see on the road in small town Mississippi. My only concern is that most people don’t drive trucks without air conditioning!
5- Keeping it Local
During the show, the Napiers talked about helping the community one house and one couple at a time. Plus, they also used local workers for the home renovations and even shopped locally for the interior decorating.
“I want to build something that tells a story,” said Ben as he was building the table. The wood is from the buyers great grandfather’s (I think) home and made a table and kitchen island from the wood. Ben’s goal was for the buyer to cry because of what the table meant- and he succeeded! It was so sweet.
Absolutely LOVED that the Napiers walked on the sidewalks in the historic part of town. The visual of small-town Mississippi with the magnolia trees was perfect. Instead of the hustle and bustle of a large metropolis, I am glad that Home Town is about a different side of Americana – the small town.
Things I Question
I LOVED the show and wanted more!The 3 things that I question are not derogatory or negative. Rather, I’m questioning why something happened. Here goes –
1- Sewing on the Porch
It’s hot in Mississippi, especially in May and June. The humidity alone would keep you indoors when sewing. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen anyone sew on a porch. If a large space were needed, we would bring out the pads for the large formal dining table and sew there. My grandmother who lived in a 3 room house would clear out 1 room and hang a quilting frame in that 1 room to quilt. The quilting frame took up the entire room. That was 35 years ago, and I think she had a window air condition unit at the time.
2- Entertaining on the Porch
Full disclosure – I don’t understand outdoor summer weddings in Mississippi. Therefore, the idea of having a party outside on a porch is not a personally appealing option to me. Do people really entertain on the front porch? Maybe if I had a historic house, I might do that. But, I’ve never been to a gathering on the porch, except 35- 40 years ago. At my grandmother’s (35 – 40 years ago), we did sit on the porch and under the tree because her 3 room house was too small to fit the entire family. Today, we would probably gather in one of our larger homes.
Because I live in Mississippi, I feel comfortable speaking about this issue. The only African-American that I remember seeing in the show was the Mayor. Anyone who has grown up in Mississippi will have friends of other races, will employ people of other races and will see other races when shopping locally. I would have thought that the producers would have at least had a few African American friends on the porch at the end of the renovation.
Overall, I thought Home Town was a hit! Congratulations to Erin and Ben Napier in Laurel, Mississippi for an excellent pilot show. I hope that HGTV picks up the show, and we will see lots more of Erin and Ben.