The Story of How Home Town Became A Hit Show

This week Erin and Ben began filming season six of Home Town, and it's been bittersweet when we look back to where it all started six years ago.

In that time, families grew, siblings and cousins doubled, a small town strengthened, businesses flourished, hundreds of thousands of people witnessed it happen, 70+ old houses became homes. A little pilot-episode-that-could became a hit show on HGTV. The best writers couldn't have concocted this story, but it's one of those stories we'll be telling to our great-grandchildren one day.

This story begins in June of 2015.

Erin recalls the story on her blog in 2016, "Lindsey started following me after Southern Weddings posted images of our house on Instagram. Unbeknownst to me, she was an executive at HGTV, and I certainly didn't know she would be someone very special to us someday. Late at night on July 27, 2014, Lindsey emailed us and said, "Have you ever thought about doing anything on TV? Would you be interested in that?" to which we responded, we've absolutely never thought of that, but we are interested if you are interested. I mean, hello!

Lindsey is an executive in charge of original programming at HGTV in NYC and is the boss lady of some of America's favorite shows like Fixer Upper and Property Brothers. Since then, after daily texts and trips together in NYC, Waco, and Laurel, she's become a very dear friend."

"When she found my photos on Instagram, she felt like Laurel was special. Something about our little town gave her a gut feeling that she needed to reach out, that something was here for her, and something about our small town life could make people all across the country nostalgic for a place they’ve never even been. She’s been a cheerleader for us and our city in immeasurable ways because she saw what we see, and has the ability to share that with the world in ways we could only dream of. Isn’t that kind of a miracle? It’s like mama was trying to figure recently—what are the odds of Laurel being chosen for a television show, and furthermore, what are the odds of one of the hosts being her daughter? The odds are infinitely small. They’re odds only God could have created.

And so Lindsey set us up with our amazing production company, RTR Media from Canada, we did the sizzle in November 2014, and on December 17, 2014, on our way home from meeting her in New York with Jim and Mallorie, we got the phone call that the network loved our sizzle… They were ordering a pilot to begin filming in the spring! And we were stunned…We had fallen in the pudding and had no idea how it happened.

In January, per Lindsey’s urging, we threw a hail Mary in hopes of convincing the incredibly talented producers of Fixer Upper seasons 1 and 2 to come on board for our pilot even though they were planning to take a long break after the shoot schedule they’d been on for the last 2 years. Thanks to an amazing video and the heartfelt care package full of letters and gifts from everyone in Laurel we could think of, they said “Yes!” and put Laurel on their calendar for filming. We were over the moon." 

The RTR production company from Canada would soon travel to Laurel to film the pilot for Home Town during the hot summer.

Erin says, "It makes my heart feel happy, remembering that strange and magical season of our life that feels so long ago and like it just happened, and maybe like it never happened at all, too."

The six best friends with big dreams and a small town to save.

"For 8 weeks, Ben was busy building 3 custom pieces of furniture for the house from reclaimed wood that had very sentimental meaning to Ross, while I was getting inspired by Ross and Laura’s personal history and family story and designing a home that felt like their past and their future with plenty of Laurel history stirred into the mix."— Erin

Erin and Ben with the Tews on their reveal day.
Erin lastly wrote, "Finding the common thread of a family’s history and how to make that art is what I’ve been doing all along with invitations at Lucky-Luxe and it sure is fun to do that for a home. Especially when that home is in Laurel. I really think I would enjoy doing it for the long haul. You know me. I think home is the best place on earth." 
Little did she know, the story was just beginning.
You can read Erin and Ben's full journey in their memoir, Make Something Good Today. 
Long before their hugely popular TV show, an expanding family, or demolition day on their dream home, Erin began keeping a daily online journal to help her stay focused on the positive and count her blessings in life. She never expected that her depictions of small-town life in the tiny swath of Mississippi where she and Ben call home would catch the eye of a television producer and set them off on the journey of a lifetime.

Make Something Good Today offers a behind-the-scenes glimpse into the struggles and triumphs of a couple that America has come to know and love for their easy humor, adoring relationship, and ability to utterly transform a place into something beautiful and personal. This is the poignant story of how Erin and Ben took a small, tight-knit town into their own hands (literally) and used ingenuity, community, and authenticity to rebuild a once-thriving American Main Street. And how, by combining Ben’s carpentry skills with Erin’s design eye, Home Town is making it clear that small-town living can feel as big as you make it.

Complete with family photographs, Erin’s hand-painted sketches, and never-before-heard personal stories, this inspirational memoir reminds us not to give up hope that great love stories are possible, big things can bloom in small towns, and there is always magic in the ordinary if you know where to look for it.