Interiorssneak peeks

A Cottage with Plenty of Southern Charm

by Amy Azzarito

Growing up just outside the town of Laurel, Mississippi, Erin Napier, owner and creative director of Lucky Luxe, relished the opportunity to come into town and gawk at the beautiful homes on the avenues. In junior high school, she would come downtown to take photos and draw her favorite houses, and her most favorite of them all was the yellow cottage near the art museum. When she and her husband Ben were dating in college, Erin brought him home to meet her family and took long walks around the neighborhood. She pointed out her favorite homes and they imagined living in the historic neighborhood. Three years after their wedding, they realized that the sweet little yellow cottage belonged to one of the parishioners from their church (Ben is a Methodist student ministry director). They were taking a walk one afternoon and Erin saw her on the porch and said, “Oh Mrs. Mary Lynn! I LOVE your house! I’ve always loved it!” She invited the couple in for a tour and as they were leaving Erin made the offhand remark, “If you ever decide to sell it, please call us. We would love to buy your house one day.” She thought nothing of it, but a couple days later Mrs. Mary Lynn called. She decided living alone was too much work and she wanted to get a condo. She wanted a young family to have her house. And so Erin and Ben bought the yellow craftsman cottage a month later. Erin says that “Some little girls start planning their weddings as children, but I had been planning my dream house.” Growing up, she would tear pages from her mom’s magazines and save them in a plastic accordion folder. She found it when they bought the house and discovered that her taste hasn’t changed at all since 1999. There were white interiors and dark, weathered wood pieces and found art. She had done all the legwork in 9th grade.  –Amy

Photography by Jean Allsopp

Image above: “Ben built our dinner table to fit the dimensions of our dining room from sentimental wood, if such a thing can exist,” Erin says. “He hand-planed my parents’ old deck boards to make the tabletop, and used their former front porch columns for legs. The chairs came from different flea markets all over Mississippi. We decided up front we wouldn’t spend more than $10 per chair, and they would have to be sturdy and wooden.”

Image above: “The kitchen was the only room besides the half bath that we renovated. While almost the entire house received a complete renovation after hurricane Katrina in 2005, the tree didn’t land on the kitchen so it went unchanged. When we bought it, this room was baby blue and 1960s dollhouse cutesy with formica countertops and an awkward appliance layout. We gutted the room, found stainless appliances on sale and on Craigslist, inexpensive butcher block countertops, white subway tile at 75% markdown, and all of the drawer and cabinet hardware came from an architectural salvage shop in Boston. We found boxes upon boxes of pulls and knobs from pharmacies, schoolhouses and factories across New England and bought them all for a song. Some are copper, some are brass, some are painted or oiled, and each one is my favorite one. The lights above the windows were originally wired from the wall, so to make things easy we just bought factory pulleys to suspend them from the ceiling without changing their electrical hookup point. Ben built a refrigerator cabinet with shelving, cookie sheet cabinets, and a chalkboard grocery list that I invented from my imagination. It totally solved the awkward layout problem.”


See more of this Mississippi home after the jump!

Image above: “We found the old centennial American flag wadded up on a shelf at an estate sale and brought it home for $3. I couldn’t live without the grain sack chair. Andrea, who owns our amazing local home goods store (Southern Antiques), found the tired old wingback chair and had it recovered in a nubby, authentic French grain sack. It’s my favorite piece of furniture.”

Image above: “There were no bookshelves when we bought our house, and building those was our first priority when we moved in. We don’t do iBooks or Kindle—it’s real books only around here. They’re part of our decor just as much as they’re literature because as a designer, I’ve always judged a book by its cover and bought one if it was beautiful. We keep all of our white, ivory and grey books in the living room and any time I find something interesting at an estate sale—if the spine is white, I’m getting it. It’s nice to finish a good book and then walk to the living room to find the next one. I’m obsessive about white, simply because you know when it’s clean and can wash it when a stain or smudge appears. Keeping our house clean and bright makes my heart feel the same way. We don’t have children yet, so I’m enjoying that while I can. “

Image above: “My favorite piece of furniture in the living room is the hulking, warped and worn butcher’s chopping block we found at our favorite flea market/architectural salvage warehouse in Jackson, Mississippi. The Glens Falls sign was a Christmas gift from my parents.”

Image above: “We went to all the dollar stores around town buying cheap wooden frames in all sizes and shades of brown. Most were around $5. We added miniature brass label holders to each frame  so we could put that photo’s family name on the card. It makes it easy for folks to tell our mothers’ people from our fathers’ people. It starts conversations like “You look just like __________!”

Image above: “We’re big fans of The Sopranos. When we stumbled upon an online auction for the famous oil painting of Tony Soprano and his race horse, Pie-O-My, used in season 4, we had to have it. Any fan of the show recognizes it immediately when they walk in the room, but to the average dinner guest, it’s just a stately portrait of a guy and a horse. A guy who looks an awful lot like James Gandolfini. The unfinished oak buffet was a $300 steal from a flea market. I had big plans to refinish it, but the raw look of it grew on me so I left it alone.”

Image above: “In the office is a collection of maps from our favorite cities we’ve visited in old windows and salvaged wood that Ben turned to frames. We could never afford to professionally frame everything in our house.”

Image above: “The butler’s pantry that connects the dining room and kitchen is one of my favorite rooms in the house. The old wavy glass-front cabinets house the dinnerware I made in my last semester of pottery at Ole Miss. The little table and chairs came with the house, thankfully. It would’ve been hard to find another set to fit in that space.”

Image above: “The doors in the stairway with wavy glass are original to the house and point to the functionality designers favored in the 1920s. They keep the cooling and heating regulated between the downstairs and the two bedrooms and bath upstairs.

Image above: “Vintage iron beds are beautiful, but not large enough for Ben’s 6’6″ 300 lb. frame, so we had to find an alternative. Wesley Allen makes iron beds that look like they were unearthed from your grandmother’s attic, and they’re not expensive. We splurged on the linen bedding, but great sleep isn’t negotiable and this keeps us cool in the summer and warm in the winter. It’s perfect for the bipolar Mississippi weather.”

Image above: “The awkwardly long, narrow closet space under the stairs wasn’t as useful we thought it would be, and we were in need of an extra downstairs bathroom for guests. Over a few weekends, Ben covered the walls and ceilings in pine planks, and we turned it into a half bath that feels like the inside of a ship. Civil War portraits, a painting of an old sea captain, an amazing woodcut of William Faulkner by Frank Estrada, and Ernest Hemingway books live in there. It feels kind of like a marriage of New England and the South.”

Image above: “My family history covers the walls of our entryway, and Ben’s family covers the bookshelves in our living room. You won’t find photos of he and I in our house because we can see each other anytime, but these are photos of the grandparents we loved and lost from when they were young mothers, swimmers, hunters, bike riders, sailors and soldiers, and our parents before they were parents, caught in happy and beautiful moments in their lives before we even existed. For us, family is home. So that’s who we surround ourselves with.”

Image above: “I always dreamt of having a bed on the porch where I could spend lazy Sunday afternoons reading, and Ben surprised me by building one for my 27th birthday. We really live on the porch in spring and fall when the weather is nice. We have most meals at the dinner table out there, where we can see our neighbors coming and going with dogs and babies and bicycles. We can hear the church bells ringing every hour. The porch takes the sharp edges off of life. “

Entryway sources:
Jute runner: Annandale Jute Runner
Boots: Hunter
Leather bag: Fossil
Pillow covers: Pottery Barn
Coffee sack pillow: Southern Antiques, Laurel Miss.
Mini brass label holders: Anima Designs
wire crates: The Flea Market
Light fixture: Allen + Roth Bristow Mission Pendant (Lowe’s)
Wall paint: Java (satin) by Eddie Bauer from Lowe’s
Trim paint: Dover White (semi-gloss) from Sherwin Williams

Living room sources:
Rug: Staffordshire by Dash and Albert
Factory cart: The Flea Market
Chopping block end table + neon letters + Wakulla Springs pennant: The Flea Market
Mercury glass lamp: Southern Antiques, Laurel Miss.
Vintage trophies: Southern Antiques, Laurel Miss.
Sofa against windows: Ektorp w/ chaise from IKEA in Blekinge white
Sofa near entryway: Norwalk w/ custom white denim slipcover by Needle & Shears
Striped pillows: Southern Antiques, Laurel Miss.
Square linen pillow covers: Ursula cushion covers by IKEA in white and beige
Cable knit blankets: Ursula by IKEA in white
White ceramic glove mold: Fishs Eddy
Living room curtains: drop cloths from Lowe’s
Wall paint: Dover White (satin) from Sherwin Williams
Trim paint: Dover White (semi-gloss) from Sherwin Williams

Dining room sources:
Jute rug: Countryside rug from Home Decorators
French grain sack chair: Southern Antiques, Laurel Miss.
Crate + woven jug beside chair: Southern Antiques, Laurel Miss.
World War I original Red Cross poster: Marketplace Antiques, Hattiesburg, Miss.
Light fixture: Allen + Roth Bristow 3-light mission pendant (Lowe’s)
Craftsman buffet: 45 Flea Market & Antiques, Meridian, Miss.
Oversized white pitcher: IKEA
Wall paint: Dover White (satin) from Sherwin Williams
Trim paint: Dover White (semi-gloss) from Sherwin Williams

Bedroom sources:
Iron bed: Hillsboro in natural rust by Wesley Allen
Bedding: Belgian linen by Restoration Hardware
Quilt over foot of bed: Target
Nightstands: Big Lots
Sconce lights: Allen + Roth from Lowe’s
Silhouettes: Southern Antiques, Laurel Miss.
Antique Audubon bird print: Southern Antiques, Laurel Miss.
Wall paint: Dover White (satin) from Sherwin Williams
Trim paint: Dover White (semi-gloss) from Sherwin Williams

Half bath sources:
Schoolhouse light fixture: Destination Lighting
William Faulkner woodcut print: Frank Estrada
Walls + trim: Dover White (gloss) from Sherwin Williams
Ceiling: Nantucket Gray (gloss) by Benjamin Moore

Butler’s pantry:
Light fixture: Allen + Roth Bristow mission mini pendant
Pottery: Erin Napier
Wall paint: Dover White (satin) from Sherwin Williams
Cabinet/trim paint: Dover White (semi-gloss) from Sherwin Williams

Aluminum pendant lights: Foto from IKEA
Mercury glass pendant lights: At West End, Jackson, Miss.
Cotton factory pulleys: eBay
Butcher block countertops: Numermar from IKEA
Island: The Flea Market
Bowls, platters, dinnerware: Fishs Eddy and Big Lots
Bubble glassware: Tag
Artwork: Walter Anderson
Sink faucet: MainFaucet.com
Cabinet/drawer hardware: Restoration Resources, Boston, Mass.
Wall paint: Dover White (satin) from Sherwin Williams
Trim paint: Dover White (semi-gloss) from Sherwin Williams

Desk + chair: Craigslist
Loveseat: Ektorp from IKEA in Blekinge white
Quilt: Pine Cone Hill
Rug: TJ Maxx

Lanterns: Southern Antiques, Laurel Miss.
Vintage cicada pillow: The Rusty Chandelier, Laurel, Miss.
Pillows: IKEA and Southern Antiques, Laurel Miss.
Teak folding chair: Target

Walls: Blonde (satin) from Sherwin Williams
Trim: plain old white (satin) from Sherwin Williams
Porch floor: Roycroft Brass (oil gloss) from Sherwin Williams



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  • Fantastic! I appreciate how personal your home feels–everything was chosen with such care. But it’s not too much–the white palette is fresh and unifying and you’ve demonstrated restraint in your choices. I love the doors on the staircase. And I want one of those beds. Thank you for sharing your beautiful home.

  • This is such a beautiful house and Erin and her husband did an amazing job. I love the story as well and remember having favorite houses in town that I loved too as a child.

  • Stunning details in every room, truly beautiful!
    And a great reminder of what else is out there, for all the artists living in the NYC area, who cannot possibly afford their own dream home.
    The French door staircase is so architecturally unique!

  • Love this place: the colors, the family photos, the story behind the pieces. The home looks lovely but best of all it seems very comfortable.

  • Beautiful home and narrative. Thank you for sharing. I’m a southern gal from a small town, and appreciate the history and community that exude from your story. -A neighbor in Alabama

  • Scrolling through the photos I immediately stopped at the one featuring the horse painting and thought, “Wow, that has a crazy resemblance to the painting of Tony with Pie-oh-my from The Sopranos.” Then I read the description beneath. Ha! Amazing!

  • The natural light and approachable design of this dream home is a gorgeous yet simple palate of inspiration. The details are quaint with modern juxtapositions while the open-concept layout and rustic accents offer timeless appeal.

  • My husband and I had the pleasure of visiting Erin & Ben’s beautiful home during our honeymoon road trip across the Southern US and I have to say that the house is even more beautiful in real life. It feels warm and inviting, with little pieces of history everywhere you look.

  • I love everything about this home…and I don’t think I’ve ever said that about any home I’ve seen on D*S! You two have done a fantastic job. I was floored when I saw the quilt in the office … It is just what I am looking for. Thanks so much for leading me to the Pine Cone Hill website…what great stuff. The house is genius; may you enjoy it for many years to come. Will be Pinning all the photos!

  • I grew up in Glens Falls and lived across the street from the Barber’s insurance in one of it’s iterations. I was stymied to see your sign. I love it. And your house is beautiful.

  • A lovely home visually, made lovelier by being so very personal. May you have a happy life together in this space you’ve created.

  • My FAVORITE house on the world wide web! Stunning and yet so cozy and welcoming. Perfection!

  • History, family, and beauty all coexist in this home like old friends. I often skim though the photos and skip the descriptions, but each one of these rooms held my attention, and I pleasurably looked at every detail and read every word. Love the idea of adding brass plaques to family photos—brilliant.

  • I want to retire in this house! I loved the personal narrative with the house, and your choices have made this place a home. Just lovely.

  • love, love the art everywhere. i sometimes feel like i shouldn’t put art on every wall…these photos have me thinking the exact opposite! i love the coziness it creates.

  • the nicest, most thoughtful, romantic, amazing, beautiful, awe-inspiring home i’ve ever seen! i wish i lived somewhere where i could do what you’ve done!

  • I love this house. After devouring all the photos I headed over to Erin’s blog (Make Something Good Today) and then devoured all of it as well. What an inspiring couple and family. They exude true and genuine southern charm and faith. Each day she inspires those who follow her to recognize and acknowledge the good in each day. She has a beautiful business as well. A wonderful example of a talented artist inside and out. Great post!!

  • Y’all are all the sweetest. So grateful to have been featured here, and happy you got to visit our little house.

  • Hi Erin,

    What was the finish you chose on your bed it’s what I would pick out for myself? From my local dealer the prices they gave me (king size) for the standard was $651 and custom $753. Do these prices sound comparable? I live in an expensive area where everything is OVERPRICED and I wanted to make sure I wasn’t being jipped and dipped! It sounds like a great price to me but I don’t want to be fooled. Thanks for sharing your beautiful home it gives me hope of getting out of our tiny city apartment and into a dream home of our own one day :). Much love from sunny Californ-I-A!

  • So many beautiful things to look at!! I just dropped by because I fell in love with your centennial flag. . . . glad I did!!! :-D hehehe thanks for the eye candy!!

  • beautiful and thoughtful. I can relate so much to Erin’s love of houses and her dream of her own. Also, THANK YOU so much for reminding everyone of the beauty to be found outside of SF, Brooklyn, LA, Portland.

  • In 1976 my husband just graduated from Bible College and we moved to Ellisville, Mississippi to begin our ministry at Pleasant Ridge Baptist Church so this article was especially special to me. I felt a kinship with Erin. I loved going to Laurel while we lived in the area. Thank you for sharing your lovely home. Isn’t God good to give us the desires of our hearts. God bless.

  • We just bought a craftsmen in Laurel, Mississippi. Right now, I am just simply tired and overwhelmed with the work that needs to be done. We have made great progress. I honestly adore this house. Where are you? Our house is on 7th Avenue North! We (I) need help to make our house this beautiful and charming! Laurel is a beautiful town with amazing houses!!!

  • Love your home, I am actually searching for the literary map of Mississippi that you have in the office and I was wondering where you found it!

  • Erin I am so in love with your program and your decorating talent. Can hardly wait for the nest season to begin

  • If you are ever looking to sell the Glens Falls sign, please contact me, thank you!

  • Erin, I am looking forward to the new season. Love, love your decorating style. Can’t wait to see the next show!
    from Orange, Texas.

  • LOVE the Tony Soprano Painting with Pie O My…. If you are ever willing to sell I would be very interested :)