Nashville Moment: Troy Dean Schafer
The host of DIY Network’s Nashville Flipped is renewing his focus on the area’s irreplaceable houses and preserving each one’s unique character.
Written By: Peter Chawaga
Photographers: Shannon Fontaine
Troy Dean Shafer, Renovation Expert
Dreams of country music stardom brought Troy Dean Shafer to Nashville, but a love of saving historic homes is what put him in the spotlight. Now, entering his second season as the host of DIY Network’s Nashville Flipped, which airs in April, Shafer is renewing his focus on the area’s irreplaceable houses and preserving each one’s unique character.
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Country singer turned house flipper: In 2005, Shafer left his native Erie, Pennsylvania, for Music City to pursue a career as a country star. He found some success, even a stint opening for Bon Jovi, but came to realize that it wasn’t his calling. “I still love music to this day, but I realized after a few years in Nashville that I wasn’t as passionate about it as someone would really need to be to make songwriting or singing their career,” he says.
He turned in his guitar for a toolbelt and opened a small business renovating historic houses. Finding a niche, his fledgling business grew into Nashville Flipped, a booming remodeling company.
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“New construction is a lot easier, but I hate that attitude, because you’re destroying a piece of history when you tear down an old house to build new construction,” he says. “I don’t renovate as many as some house flippers, just because I am finding houses that are condemned, or falling down, or dilapidated. You’ve got to be really passionate about it.”
The right spotlight: Recognizing his passion, several production companies called Shafer to offer him the chance at a TV show. He turned them down, worried that they were after a host who spent as much time causing drama as they did making renovations. But then, a happenstance meeting changed everything.
“Just by chance, I met Mike Wolfe of American Pickers at a Wal-Mart,” Shafer recalls. “He sent my name off to people at HGTV and DIY Network. It took all of the fears away I had about being portrayed as over the top, because I knew anything that those networks did, they wanted true value and somebody who loved what they did and wasn’t just doing it for money.”
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Renovating history: After a successful first season, Shafer teases more astounding historic renovations for the return of Nashville Flipped. “One house, for instance, was built in the 1850s,” he says. “Another was built in 1865, and another in 1899. It’s incredible, the houses that we’re in this year.”
Shafer is quick to credit the area and its rich history as a major reason for the show’s success. “No matter what decade you look at, Nashville has some pretty incredible history,” he says. “These houses are one of a kind, and they have stories to tell.”