‘I want people to be less concerned with the way their space looks’: Erin Napier tells us what really matters instead

 Erin Napier
Erin Napier

We would be forgiven for believing that nothing is as important as aesthetics for any interior designer. However, for Erin Napier, this isn't the case.

The HGTV Home Town co-host is encouraging us to care less about looks and more about the history of what happens in our homes: an ideology best celebrated in her new book, Heirloom Rooms.

'With this book, 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 says. '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.'

But where exactly did the idea for Heirloom Rooms come from? And how do essays composed from Erin's countryside-inspired home translate to spaces worldwide? In an exclusive conversation with H&G, Erin looks back at the spaces that influenced her – and how we, too, can create a house with a meaning beyond its aesthetic.

Erin Napier

'In 1955, my grandparents built the home where my parents lived when I was born, and it wasn't a house you would see on Pinterest. It was a regular house with linoleum flooring and laminate countertops. I would give anything to have photos of it now because I can never go back there. I can never be a toddler in that house again,' Erin says.

'There's so much I can't remember about the home, and it feels like a piece of my life story is missing because I don't know exactly how every room looked. I wonder if other people feel that way and if others grieve their houses after leaving them.'

This feeling, Erin explains, is, in many ways, the catalyst behind her book and the idea of creating spaces where good looks are less of a priority.

'I hope it helps people like me who are probably overly sentimental about their houses to connect on that. I want people to enjoy their homes not for their beauty but for what happens there.'

So, how does her belief impact Erin's role in Home Town? Naturally, creating beautiful spaces is still important to the designer; however, she encourages us to see them only as a starting point.

'Many people come to us with a very plain house and ask for advice on finding a starting point for their family. However, the way our homes look is just a small part of the story. What happens after designing is the most interesting to me,' she says.

'HomeTown covers only the first part of that puzzle and creates a beautiful starting point, and Heirloom Rooms tells the rest of the story about what happens afterward.' We're picking up our copy via Amazon below.

Heirloom Rooms: Soulful Stories of Home by Erin Napier – $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.View Deal