The Gothic Design Trend HGTV's Ben And Erin Napier Are Absolutely Loving

Erin Napier and her husband Ben continuously captivate fans with the reno projects featured on their HGTV hit series "Home Town." In one edition titled "New-Stalgic Restoration," they tackle a Victorian-style house renovation in Laurel, Mississippi that takes tons of work inside and out to get it into shape. On the show, Ben Napier frankly remarked that since it's in such bad shape, he's surprised someone hasn't purchased the property and demolished the house. Instead, the Napiers were able to help the new homeowners, a trio of adult siblings raised in Laurel, transform it into a spot for family rest and relaxation when they're in town visiting. What's one of their favorite parts of this reno? Adding Carpenter Gothic gingerbread trim to the front of the home.

"I've never done any kind of gingerbread work, but it was amazing how simple it was and what a huge impact it has," Ben Napier said. The addition of traditional Victorian accents was one of the elements requested by the homeowners, and the Napiers love the way gingerbread trim transformed the rebuilt front porch and the overall look of the home's façade.

Defining gingerbread trim on a home

"There's a difference between renovating a house and trying to restore a house and make it feel appropriate for the historic era when the house was built," Erin Napier remarked about this project. Making this Victorian home look period-appropriate while upping its curb appeal was accomplished by adding gingerbread trim. That is, decorative wooden trim cut with a scroll saw to pierce the wood and create scrollwork. The most common uses are to decorate gables or form cornices, but porches can also be framed with it. This type of ornamental embellishment first appeared in the mid-1840s as the Carpenter Gothic trend swept across North America and gingerbread-style homes have been widely associated with Victorian architecture since then. However, gingerbread trim can be added to a variety of home styles. If your skill with power tools is lacking but you like the look, you can even buy premade gingerbread trim in a variety of styles. 

"As a woodworker, I don't want to just build something because it's beautiful," Ben Napier added. "I want there to be a story there." The way the Napiers used painted gingerbread trim to accent the rebuilt wraparound porch in "New-Stalgic Restoration" truly does reflect the history of a home constructed at the turn of the 20th century. It also makes the home a lovely place for the new owners to reside once again.