Nashville Flipped: Creating New Historic Homes

There's more to Nashville than just country music – and more, sometimes, than meets the eye. DIY Network's latest home restoration series, Nashville Flipped, offers some tangible evidence.

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Of course, restoring old homes is by no means a new concept, but lately it appears to be approaching something like zeitgeist. So if you're a fan of HGTV's renovation series like Fixer Upper and Rehab Addict, and new additions Good Bones and Listed Sisters (the latter, by the way, also set in Nashville), then take note. You'll probably also want to check out Nashville Flipped on our sister network DIY Network, and get to know its principal players, Troy Shafer and Julie Couch.

Home restoration expert Troy Dean Shafer

Nashville Flipped (HNAFP)
Tacklebox Films

Nashville designer Julie Couch

Nashville Flipped (HNAFP)
Tacklebox Films

Nashville Flipped (HNAFP)

Exterior of host Troy Shafer as seen on HGTV's Nashville Flipped.

Photo By: Tacklebox Films

Nashville Flipped (HNAFP)

Exterior of Julie Couch in her car at Granada House as seen on HGTV's Nashville Flipped.

Photo By: Tacklebox Films

Quintessentially Nashville

Assuming you're not from there, what do you think of when the name "Nashville" is mentioned? The Grand Ole Opry and Ryman Auditorium? Music Row? Ernest Tubb? Loretta Lynn? Vanderbilt University? Hot chicken?

Skyline Night Nashville

Skyline Night Nashville

The John Seigenthaler Pedestrian Bridge (previously called the Shelby Street Bridge) spans the Cumberland River and connects downtown to East Nashville.

The John Seigenthaler Pedestrian Bridge (previously called the Shelby Street Bridge) spans the Cumberland River and connects downtown to East Nashville.

All valid associations. But insiders know that Music City — and environs like Franklin and Springfield, Tenn. — are also notably the setting to some beautiful historic neighborhoods and vintage homes. In Nashville proper there are neighborhoods with names like 12 South, The Gulch, Belmont and Hillsboro Village that offer a rich and vital cultural tapestry and vibrant new creative scenes — tinged with a discernible commitment to country pride and Southern hospitality. (May I offer you some biscuits and redeye gravy? Perhaps you'd care for a mint julep?) Add to that an interesting architectural mix and streets lined with older homes practically crying out to be rehabilitated. Now you've got an incubator for something interesting.

The Family Wash, an East Nashville venue offering coffee, eats and live music

The Family Wash in Nashville
Nashville Convention & Visitors Corp.

"East Nasty" biscuits with spicy chicken, cheese and sausage gravy

Biscuit Love's 'The East Nasty' Biscuit Recipe
Biscuit Love

The Family Wash in Nashville

Tucked away in East Nashville, The Family Wash is off the usual tourist track. Though they’re open Tuesdays to Saturdays with good, live music every night, Tuesday is pint and pie night: a pint of beer and the best shepherd’s pie around for only $10.

Photo By: Nashville Convention & Visitors Corp.

Biscuit Love's 'The East Nasty' Biscuit Recipe

Up the breakfast ante with this mouth-watering fried chicken biscuit recipe from one of Nashville's favorite eateries.

Photo By: Biscuit Love

Meanwhile, just across the Cumberland River, a conglomeration of smaller neighborhoods known collectively as East Nashville has, in recent years, become something of a phenomenon of its own. With its parks and other historic city features coupled with a progressive and bohemian local vibe (think Austin and its unofficial motto "Keep Austin Weird"), this fascinating area has attracted a mix of urban pioneers, indie musicians, artists and other creative types bringing a revival of sorts to what was once a somewhat distressed part of the city.

In addition to parks and other distinctive features, architecturally East Nashville boasts a mix of Queen Anne Victorians, vintage foursquares, bungalows, craftsman style and midcentury homes. And like other smart cities, Nashville has begun to wake up to the elevated notion of preserving and restoring in lieu of simply tearing down what's old and building from scratch. Enter Dean Shafer and his accomplice/designer Julie Couch.

Meet Troy and Julie

Troy Dean Shafer is the owner of a business named Nashville Flipped, and his company's tagline essentially tells you what he's all about: "Creating New Historic Homes." Troy came to Nashville to pursue a career in country music but ultimately found his calling in real estate and, more specifically, in saving and restoring, then re-selling, beautiful old homes.

Nashville Flipped (HNAFP)

Nashville Flipped (HNAFP)

Troy Dean Shafer

Photo by: Tacklebox Films

Tacklebox Films

Troy Dean Shafer

He seeks out houses with potential in growing neighborhoods — hidden gems even if in rough condition — and meticulously updates them to contemporary standards. In fact, some people might find the "flipped" in his company moniker a bit misleading. A flipper simply buys and sells multiple properties, often with little or no substantive improvements, solely to realize a quick (and sometimes meager) profit. In that scenario, volume and expediency are the driving factors.

Nashville Flipped (HNAFP)

Nashville Flipped (HNAFP)

Troy preps for the roof repair on a 1939 home in East Nashville. 

Photo by: Tacklebox Films

Tacklebox Films

Troy preps for the roof repair on a 1939 home in East Nashville. 

Troy, by contrast, is about taking the time restore homes to their former charm or grandeur in a thoughtful way — preserving their distinctive historic attributes while updating them to make them safe and attractive to today's buyers.

"Everybody knows Nashville has a rich music history but, just like a great song, every historical house in the city has a story to tell." 
—Troy Shafer

And while Troy is the expert when it comes to the physical repairs and restorations in old homes, for the fine-tuned aesthetic he leans on interior designer Julie Couch.

Nashville Flipped (HNAFP)

Nashville Flipped (HNAFP)

Julie scouts out vintage hardware and architectural accents at Nashville specialty salvage store Preservation Station.

Photo by: Tacklebox Films

Tacklebox Films

Julie scouts out vintage hardware and architectural accents at Nashville specialty salvage store Preservation Station.

While Troy is busy tearing out old plaster, upgrading electrical and moving walls, Julie formulates a cohesive design plan that draws on the period of the home and its defining original features as she selects materials and color palettes. Then she scours Nashville area salvage stores, antique shops and specialty suppliers to find just the right additions when it comes to things like light fixtures, door hardware and vintage accents.

"I love working with Troy because we both love architecture and historic homes."                                  — Julie Couch

Nashville Flipped (HNAFP) HNAFP103H

Nashville Flipped (HNAFP) HNAFP103H

Troy's personalized tags and company motto

Troy's personalized tags and company motto

The Springfield Project

One of Troy's first projects featured in DIY's series is this 1904 Folk Victorian-style home located in Springfield, Tennessee, a rural community just outside Nashville. He bought the distressed property for just $50,000 with a plan to put an additional $60,000 into renovations and complete the flip in a five-week timeframe. Once fully renovated and restored, he anticipated he could put the house back on the market for $140,000, resulting in a profit of around $30,000.

 Nashville Flipped (HNAFP) HNAFP102H

Nashville Flipped (HNAFP) HNAFP102H

BEFORE

BEFORE

Exterior repairs, new paint, a metal roof and fresh landscaping helped restore some of this home's former elegance. The landscaping is in keeping with 1920s-era conventions focusing on green foliage and a naturalistic look. The home's front exterior features one of two period-authentic stained glass windows that Troy installed. Even more dramatic changes took place inside, with a reconfigured foyer, living space with vaulted ceilings and a unique feature with antique windows opening to a lighted loft space with exposed brick chimney and raw wood ceilings.

 Nashville Flipped (HNAFP) HNAFP102H

Nashville Flipped (HNAFP) HNAFP102H

AFTER

AFTER

Julie was able to find an antique oak mantel surround and added a tile hearth to help bring some of the room's original charm back. The mantel helps transform the space and forms a focal point around which much of the room's overall design is based.

 Nashville Flipped (HNAFP) HNAFP102H

Nashville Flipped (HNAFP) HNAFP102H

The newly renovated living room with newly standed hardwood floors and antique mantel

The newly renovated living room with newly standed hardwood floors and antique mantel

In addition, much of Julie's interior design keyed off of a single sample of the home's original wallpaper that Troy and his crew found during wall demolition. The patterned wallpaper had neutral background with blues, grays and greens. Julie incorporated those hues in the new color palettes of the living room, bathroom and master bedroom.

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DIY First Look: Nashville Flipped and the Revival of a 1904 Folk-Victorian

Meet Troy and Julie

Home restoration pro and house-flipper Troy Shafer and designer Julie Couch are doing some amazing things with old and run-down houses in the Nashville area. Troy takes on the heavy lifting with demolition, repairs and managing the reno. Julie brings the design vision and scours Nashville salvage and antique shops looking for the perfect architectural elements to suit the historic character of the homes.

Troy Dean Shafer

"Everybody knows Nashville has a rich music history. But just like a great song, every historical house in the city has a story to tell, as well." 

Troy Shafer

Photo By: Tacklebox Films

Julie Couch

"I love working with Troy because we both love architecture and historic homes."

— Julie Couch

Photo By: Tacklebox Films

A Succinct Message

Host Troy Shafer's personalized auto tags may pique some interest on the streets of Nashville. Do they refer to Troy's state of mind or the success of his business model? You be the judge.

Troy at Work

Troy uses a tile saw to cut stone for the stone wall accent during the renovation of a 1923 Craftsman-style bungalow in historic East Nashville.

Photo By: Tacklebox Films

Troy at Work

Troy preps for the roof repair on a traditional 1939 home that has fallen into disrepair. This home is also located in East Nashville, a vibrant and creative neighborhood that is undergoing a revival of sorts and, in recent years, has become home to some of the city's best indie musicians and artists.

Photo By: Tacklebox Films

Troy at Work

An authentic southern home deserves a front-porch swing.

Photo By: Tacklebox Films

Julie on a Mission

Julie searches at a Nashville antique mall for the perfect chandelier and foyer light for a home being restored in Springfield, Tennessee.

Historic Aesthetic

Julie seeks out architectural pieces at Preservation Station, a Nashville store specializing in authentic period home accents.

Photo By: Tacklebox Films

Formulating a Design Plan

Julie expands her search online for just the right fixtures, materials and accent furnishings.

Detail Work

Once renovations are complete, Julie helps stage the home to create a favorable impression and hopefully entice potential buyers.

The Springfield Project, BEFORE

One of Troy's pet projects is this 1904 Folk Victorian-style home located in Springfield, Tennessee, a rural community just outside Nashville. He bought the distressed property for just $50,000 with a plan to put an additional $60,000 into renovations and complete the flip in a five-week timeframe. Once fully renovated and restored, he hoped to put the house back on the market for $140,000, resulting in a profit of around $30,000.

The Springfield Project, AFTER

Exterior repairs, new paint, a metal roof and fresh lanscaping helped restore this home to its former elegance. The landscaping is in keeping with 1920s-era conventions focusing on green border shrubs and a naturalistic look. The home's front exterior features one of two period-authentic stained glass windows that Troy had installed. Some of the changes inside were even more dramatic.

Living Room, BEFORE

Folk Victorian style homes are often L-shaped and feature a main parlor just inside the front door and this one also featured an adjacent living room. The working fireplace is a plus, but Troy was disappointed that this one was unspectacular and not original.

Living Room, AFTER

Julie was able to find an antique oak mantel surround and added a tile hearth to help bring some of the room's original charm back. The mantel helps transform the space and forms a focal point around which much of the room's overall design is based. The living room ceiling was raised, exposing a new vaulted ceiling. Troy lined the ceiling with rough dark-stained fence boards for a rustic feel. "The color of the fireplace is what we based our color of our hardwood off of," says Julie, "and our color of the exposed wood on the ceilings."

Living Room, AFTER

Much of Julie's interior design keyed off of a single sample of the home's original wallpaper that Troy and his crew found during wall demolition. The patterned wallpaper had neutral background with blues, grays and greens. Julie ncorporated those hues in the new color palettes of the living room, bathroom and master bedroom.

Kitchen, AFTER

The kitchen was already fairly large, which is a bonus in terms of resale. But Troy and Julie dressed it up with new cabinets, gray subway-tile backsplash, a farmhouse sink, new kitchen island and updated lighting.

Kitchen, AFTER

Julie fashioned custom built-in seating in the kitchen using two vintage church pews that she had modified to create the L-shaped bench seat.

Master Bathroom, AFTER

Unlike the kitchen, the bathroom was tiny. Troy modified the home's floor plan, stealing some square footage from the adjacent parlor, to expand the bathroom and create the kind of master bath that modern buyers expect.

Master Bath, AFTER

The modern design of the bathroom may seem unexpected in a Victorian style home, but it was handled in such a way that complements the opened up spaces that Troy created throughout the home's new floor plan. Julie used pennyround floor tile, which is in keeping stylistically with the period of the home. A band of mosaic tile in soft gray offsets the white subway tile in the new walk-in shower and blends with the pastels of the overall color palette. A stained glass window in the bathroom came from a Chicago bungalow built in 1919.

Smiles All Around

Troy and Julie are justifiably pleased with how the Springfield house turned out – both aesthetically and financially. Creative design ideas and inventive options with interior spaces created a home that is both visually impressive and true to its historic roots. Troy was able to complete the renovation in just five-weeks, and the house ultimately sold for $149,000 – which was above the initial list price and, after renovation costs, generated a profit of around $27,000.

New episodes of Nashville Flipped are premiering Wednesdays in April and through May 4 at 10:00 and 10:30 pm on DIY Network.

And for Nashville aficionados, don't forget about Listed Sisters on HGTV, Mondays at 8pm.

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