There was much to love in the historic Craftsman-style home when John Shafer toured it.

Dark woodwork outlined the edges of the rooms, windows and doorways. Two massive wooden pillars marked the entrance to one of the front rooms. A wide front porch provided an inviting outdoor lounge for warmer months.

But it was the spacious backyard that solidified his passion. Shaded by trees and extending for almost a full acre, it provided space for his two boxers to run around, for him to entertain guests and to simply relax in a natural setting.

“I liked the woodwork, I liked the feeling of history, and I loved the porch,” Shafer said. “But one of the reasons I bought the house was the backyard.”

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His new home blends old and new features, indoor comforts and outdoor beauty. He has named his home Ravenwood, stemming from the family of ravens he encountered in the backyard the first day he toured the house.

Shafer, who moved from his home on Park Avenue, has lived in Ravenwood for three months. Much of the renovation work on the circa-1924 house had been completed by previous owners. They had redone the wood floors, the columns in the main entryway and wooden trim around the rooms. Historically accurate windows were installed throughout the house.

“They had really brought this Craftsman back to its original glory,” Shafer said.

Shafer has been drawn to historic homes throughout Franklin. This will be the fourth house he has moved into in the city.

“I have always loved bungalows. The first house I bought was a 1939 Arts and Crafts bungalow on King Street,” he said. “That got in my blood.”

He turned one of the front rooms into his music center, setting up a baby grand piano, a decorative music stand, stained glass window and his guitar to create a creative atmosphere.

When he moved in, Shafer painted the rooms and outfitted them with unique decor such as a mirror-fronted bar, antique barber’s chair and vintage typewriter.

Much of his work was done on the exterior, landscaping the front of the house as well as many gardens dotting the back. Cedar Creek Fencing installed a wooden privacy fence, and Shafer has spent hours planting perennials and setting up statues in the garden areas.

The kitchen had been updated with tile, an island and light fixtures, but the effect blends seamlessly in with the historic nature of the home. New plumbing, electrical, and heating and air conditioning systems provide the comforts of modern living within the structure of a historical home.

“In some ways, it’s living in a historic old home that is new as well,” Shafer said.

At a glance

664 Walnut St.

Owner: John Shafer

Style: Craftsman

Built: 1924

Author photo
Ryan Trares is a reporter for the Daily Journal. He can be reached at or 317-736-2727.