Alison Michaels-Fandel isn’t likely to do what everyone else is doing, even if the rest of the world eventually catches up to her style. This creative spirit (a realtor, remodeler-designer, and founder of Shoppe Native, an invite-only shopping club) lacquered her kitchen black long before it became a trend and filled the house with modern furniture and sculptural plants. She and her husband, Derek, a fellow creative, bought the circa-1892 Queen Anne Victorian in 2017 and are only the second family to live in the home.
Alison calls herself a modern traditionalist because she has a deep love for old architecture and the patina that goes with it, but revels in a contemporary perspective. Working within guidelines for a historic tax credit (which means keeping walls intact), the couple removed some interior doors and raised entryways, bringing in more light and providing a better flow. They kept the original fretwork, doors, mantels, and transom windows and reused materials whenever possible. They gave the heart-pine floors a whitewashed stain to make the cozy floorplan feel more open and modern.
Furnishings and art are stylish and often unexpected. “I tend to enjoy things with a story, a meaning, and some rich history,” says Alison. “The cactus on my porch is 27 years old, and the jade is the first plant my mother gifted me 15 years ago when I built my first home.” Skateboards are hung on the wall like art but also used by Derek almost daily.
Alison gravitates toward a Scandinavian aesthetic in simple black and white, with plenty of texture. A macrame hanging and a marble coffee table that coexist with ornate fireplaces and 128-year-old heart pine—that’s the combo she adores. “I like a minimalistic palette, but I also love all those historic details,” she says.