HGTV Stars Erin & Ben Napier's Height Difference Causes Filming Challenges On Home Town

After more than 100 episodes, "Home Town" has come a long way since Erin and Ben Napier shot the series' pilot in 2016. Back in the beginning, the Napiers didn't have intentions of becoming TV stars. Instead, they were invited by HGTV to develop a show. Once the cameras were rolling, it took Erin and Ben some time to adjust to the production procedures. For instance, the couple had to become accustomed to feeling comfortable in front of the camera and being aware that everything they said was being recorded throughout the day. 

On the other hand, since Ben is 13 inches taller than Erin, the production team asked the Napiers to make some accommodations for them so that they could get a well-composed shot. Otherwise, the camera operator would have had to zoom out more on Ben, and there would have been a lot of empty space above Erin's head. "I had to stand on a crate called a 'half apple' so we would fit in the frame together nicely in every OTF," Erin informed Hooked on Houses. As Erin explained, "OTFs" stands for "on-the-fly interviews," quick on-camera soundbites that give viewers any needed backstory.

Apple boxes used in filming come in different sizes, with a "full apple" providing an 8-inch boost. As expected, the "half apple" is 4 inches high.  So, even with a bit of lift, there's still a modest difference of 9 inches between the Napiers in their close-ups.

Ben and Erin's height disparity isn't always an issue on camera

After many years of "Home Town," Erin Napier has had plenty of practice standing on a box to gain a few extra inches. In fact, Erin sometimes feels at odds with the seeming perfections of life on camera, so when promoting "Home Town" in 2024, she shared a behind-the-scenes photo of her standing next to Ben on Instagram. Besides a black stand that appears to be there to bounce and reflect the light, Erin is perched on an apple box.

Some fans of the show were surprised by this prop reveal. One jokingly commented, "Wanna be closer to your man's heart . . . get you a nice box to stand on!" Another user wondered why the crew didn't decide to boost Erin four more inches with a bigger apple box to help close the gap between their heights even further.

While Erin sometimes needs a boost on-camera, other times it's unnecessary. In wider shots, Erin and her husband can be seen together, with no height-adjusting props required, as well as in scenes where they are on the move.  In addition, for some interview segments, the couple is seated, which negates the need for a box. Since their show is all about home renovation, sometimes the location can be used to creatively adjust the shot, like when Erin and Ben stand on the front steps of a home, with Ben on a lower step to make him appear shorter. 

The Napiers have a tight bond

Height disparities aside, Erin and Ben Napier are a strong team both on and off camera. Erin fell in love with Ben's kind personality when she saw him on their college campus. Once they started dating, their relationship progressed quickly. After knowing each other less than a week, the couple was ready for a lifetime commitment. 

After almost 20 years together, the Napiers continue to share an incredibly close bond. "We can read each other's thoughts," Erin informed Entertainment Tonight. For this reason, they often finish each other's sentences, they told the outlet. Although this behavior might seem disruptive to some, Ben and Erin relish their symbiotic connection. "We totally get that not everybody functions that way, but we do, and it's the only way we can," Ben explained.

In addition to working together, Ben and Erin also take time to pay homage to their love story. They began dating the first week of December 2004, and Erin now refers to this time as "Love Week." As part of the celebration, Ben gives Erin heartfelt messages that reminisce about life then and compare how things have changed in the decades since.  Ben also recounted his own memories of his early days with Erin on his Instagram account. "I don't have a picture of her sitting in the passenger seat of our friend's Honda Accord, but I can still see her," Ben wrote as he recalled their first kiss. "Since then, we've kissed nearly every day."