It was the schools that originally drew the Kriebels to Williamson County, but a walk around the historic square and a meal at Choice’s Restaurant (now closed) was all it took for them to contact a realtor and start looking for a home in Franklin.
“I grew up in a small Tennessee town and my parents had renovated homes over the years,” says Patricia Kriebel. “My husband and I both have a love for historic properties and there were so many beautiful homes within walking distance of the shops and restaurants on the square.”
In 1997, they found a quaint, three-bedroom, 1920s bungalow with warm chestnut wood floors and window frames. They hired Lee Restoration Company and embarked on an 18th-month renovation project before moving in.
The bungalow features warm chestnut woodwork throughout.
Kriebel’s father was a furniture manufacturer, so she understood a lot about wood, immediately recognizing the beauty of the chestnut throughout the home.
American chestnut trees, which had thrived for more than 40 million years, died off right before the turn of the century, when an airborne fungus wiped them out.
“It was a challenge to find wood with a similar grain for the addition,” Kriebel says. “But sassafras has a similar grain, so we were able to continue the same style of the floors and window frames throughout the addition.”
The chestnut woodwork continues in the kitchen. (Photo: Submitted)
While they made several functional updates throughout the original footprint, the only major design change was to open up a previously closed-off staircase that showcases the beauty of the wood.
They also discovered even more chestnut — beneath a thick coat of white paint — in the original kitchen.
“They were ready to tear out the kitchen’s built-ins,” Kriebel says, “but instead I had them strip off the paint and it was beautiful.”
The wine cellar. (Photo: Submitted)
In the kitchen, a custom island was designed after an antique Irish bar. Decorative tiles collected from travels in Niger punctuate the mantel and wet bar in the adjoining family room, and are also found in the master bath.
“I feel like it’s a really special home,” Kriebel adds. “I was very hands-on throughout the whole renovation process, even if that meant standing in a lumberyard to make sure we got the right wood.”
The home was designed with entertaining in mind, and includes ample porch space, multiple decks and a screened-in porch.
The home was designed with entertaining in mind, and includes ample porch space, multiple decks and a screened-in porch. A dumbwaiter services all three floors, simplifying the path from car to pantry, kitchen to wine cellar.
A small cottage in the backyard has been a favorite place for kids to hang out over the years — first their own son and nephew, later the eight foreign exchange students they hosted in the home.
Kriebel says one of her favorite things about living so close to the square is opening their home to friends and neighbors during holidays, especially when the parades come past, and they “turn it into a party.”
“It’s a really livable home that’s perfect for entertaining,” she says. “And being able to walk to church, shops and restaurant — it’s just hard to beat.”
About the home
List price: $1,150,000
Neighborhood: Historic Franklin
Square footage: 4,776
Year built: 1920
Listing agent: Danny Anderson /PARKS Realty