Every building that Erin and Ben Napier take under their wing on Home Town ends up being meaningful to them in some way — but Erin says one home they worked on recently may be the most special one yet.
On Monday night’s episode of HGTV’s Home Town — which airs at 9pm ET/PT — the mother-of-one, 34, finds out that she has an unexpected personal connection to the historic apartment she and her husband have begun renovating in downtown Laurel. After speaking to her father’s cousin Kent, Erin learns that her grandmother and her grandmother’s sister (Kent’s mother, Bert), used to live in the home together — and it was where her grandmother resided when she began dating Erin's grandfather in the 1950’s.
“I had never heard this is my life,” Erin says of the surprising connection. “My grandmother isn’t able to talk anymore, she’s lost her speech.”
She invited Bert and Kent over to the home to hear a little more about the sisters’ time in the home, and learned that the apartment was owned by the Stassi family, who owned a popular restaurant in Laurel, and that it was inhabited by a bunch of single ladies who were living together and dating their soon-to-be husbands.
“My grandparents met when she lived here. My story began here,” Erin says in the clip. “I’ve had so much fun renovating this house, but I had no idea I had a personal connection to it.”
At the end of the clip, the home-flipping expert can’t help but break down in tears, explaining, “My grandmother and I were really, really close. And I wish that she could see this.” Ben hugs her as she gets emotional.
In early May, Erin shared with fans on Instagram that her grandmother had passed away.
"My sweet grandmother went to heaven today,” she captioned a heartfelt tribute. Sharing two vintage photos of her grandparents, Napier continued, "My grandfather passed in 2001, and for 19 years she lived without him. I’m so happy that he’s shouting 'here she comes!' today, even if my heart is broken for us without her. My Mother Goose ❤️."
Though the episode was filmed before she passed away, Erin says that her grandmother was unable to understand the significance of the home.
“In the last year or so we aren't even sure if she knew us when we came to visit,” she tells PEOPLE. “So I would tell her things and she didn't really respond.”
Erin reveals that her grandmother had a stroke in 2008 and lost most of her ability to speak, which was heartbreaking for her and her family.
“I love getting to learn more about my grandmother's story because there's so much that I never got to ask her,” Erin says. “I just assumed she was healthy and vibrant and I would have her for a long time.”
She continues: “So this is one of my favorite episodes we've ever done. It's special to me now for a reason I didn't expect to be so special.”
Erin says she’s happy that she’s been able to spend valuable time at home with her family during the coronavirus pandemic as they continue to mourn the loss of her grandmother.
“It's been a rough month, honestly,” she says of the emotional effects of both her grandmother's passing and the coronavirus crisis. “We’re doing okay and things are starting to get back to normal, but we miss her so much.”
Watch Season 4 of Home Town Mondays at 9 pm ET/PT on HGTV.
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