This season of Home Town was different for many reasons. For starters, Home Town was filmed during a worldwide pandemic, and the Napiers were secretly expecting a new baby girl, but that's not all.
While each season has stories that touch our hearts, these particular homeowners felt like our very own neighbors and friends. Perhaps it was due to our collective experience during the wildest year in history? There are a lot of contributing factors that come into play.
All we know is that TV became real life for most of us during the hard months of those "unprecedented" times. It became a respite from the world's craziness and a way to unite. We watched a home owner's excitement on reveal day, and it became our own. Even the stories about heartbreaking loss and grief affected us far more deeply than we expected. Especially when we watched the Davis-Jefcoat family become one; Angela Tarrant, the Home Town producer, finally getting her dream house after the loss of her mother and the unforgettable story of Kendall Simoneau.
Kendall's episode was one of the most-watched episodes in Home Town history. If you missed it, she shared how her late husband, Kurt, passed away unexpectedly in an accident only two years after their wedding. She decided to move back to Laurel to heal and be close to a supportive community of friends.
We've had the joy of knowing Kendall for a few years, as she is a dear friend and employee at Laurel Mercantile Co. We can attest that she's just as genuine and kind in real life, and it's a joy to walk with her through the highs and the lows.
Kendall's life has changed and progressed in many ways since her reveal. Today, she's opening her home and heart to share her experience on the show, how she's adjusting to her new home, and how Laurel has become the best place to heal and move forward.
"Honestly, being on the show was easy because it's Ben and Erin. Having that relationship with them already made our conversations during filming flow smoothly. It didn't feel like I was on a show; it just felt like I was with friends."
"One of the reasons I chose this house was for the location. I have several of my Mercantile family on all sides of me. It is not uncommon for them to come over for dinner or to go shopping. It is also great having Brooke down the street from me because she has been so supportive. She is the only person in my life that truly gets what I am going through, and she encourages me to trust in God and His plan for me if even in my dark moments."
"One thing that I love about my home is that a lot of pieces have a story. I remember these tables and chairs vividly from our summer trips to California. They lived in the apartment above Grandma's garage. It was our spot to play cards, which we still do today."
"The green couch is the one piece of furniture from the shows that everyone always raves about. It is beautiful and a stand-out piece. However, it is not Hans-friendly. So I decided to turn the office into my TV room with a large sectional big enough for Hans. His favorite spot is by the window so we can look out and see everyone going by."
"My home is mostly filled with gifts, souvenirs, and things that help me remember, including this rocking chair. It was my mom's first birthday gift from her parents. It's has been passed down for years, and we usually put it in front of the Christmas tree every year."
"When I bought this house, the new dining room was originally the living room. I knew from the beginning I wanted to swap it around and make the fireplace the focal point of the dining. I also knew that I wanted the table Kurt and I bought together to live there. It was the first piece of furniture that we bought together as a married couple that we picked up at Peddler's Junktion. It is nothing fancy, just a simple table that someone refurbished that we loved."
"The dining room also holds my most treasured possessions. Sitting on what was once our dresser, is a basket of letters. Letters from my grandparents and parent over the years. As well as the letters from Kurt that Erin used to make the quilt. The love he put into those letters is something that I will cherish forever."
"The kitchen is the room I gravitate to most and love to look at, mainly because of the butler's pantry. Everyone who knows me knows that I am not much of a cook, but the butler's pantry was one of the first things that made me fall in love with the house. It's a focal point in that space, and I can't get enough of it."
"Kurt and I loved shopping for antiques together. The wooden piece that lives in the kitchen will always be our favorite find. We picked it up the weekend before he passed. We saw it and immediately fell in love. As soon as I put it in the kitchen, I knew it had found its home."
"At the end of the hallway, you will find a custom piece that an artist painted in Starkville for our wedding. This piece is special because she incorporated some special things such as the date and location of our wedding, our song, favorite verse on love, and the song I walked down the aisle. It was on the mantle above the altar, and after our wedding, we hung it in our bedroom."
"I knew Erin was going to do something with Kurt's letters, but the quilt was truly unexpected. I was immediately emotional once I realized what she had done for me. The quilt is something that I will cherish forever. The thoughtfulness she put into this project is something that I will never forget."
"I've learned that sharing my story can help people going through similar things. I have been pretty open about my grief, and people from all over the nation have written me letters and emails that have thanked me for opening up and normalizing grief. It is something I never expected would come out of being on Home Town, but I think it's helped all of us in some ways."
"I know I said I loved the kitchen, but adding the on-suite bathroom was the best change to the house. I love having my own space to get ready."
"The most challenging thing is the upkeep of an older home. I love the details and charm, but there are things about older homes that you only learn with time and experience."
"I have big plans to renovate the guest room and bathroom that Home Town did not feature on the show. The wallpaper is going to be fun to get down. Eventually, I want to convert the attic to an upstairs living area/ guest suite."
"Home Town was an amazing experience and something I will cherish. Sharing my story turned into a blessing because it allowed me to see that I am not alone.
I want to say thank you to anyone who has ever reached out to me with words of encouragement or condolences. I am forever grateful for your support and prayers. I'm excited for the next chapter of my life in my forever home in Laurel."