House Tour: A Whimsical 18th-Century Colonial in Salem
The hauntingly-chic home lies across from a graveyard where its former residents rest.
Name: Stacey Norkun
Type of home: Colonial Gambrel
Size: 2,800 square feet
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When Stacey Norkun, a brand director for Hilton, and her husband Chris started looking for a home in Salem, they “knew they were looking for a unicorn,” she says. They searched for more than two years until they stumbled upon a fixer-upper built in 1756, located across from a graveyard (where its former residents lie.) Every window needed to be replaced and the entire exterior and interior needed to be restored, but its wide-plank wood floors, hand-forged iron door hinges, and original molding won Stacey over. “I walked in the front door of the home and it has this beautiful center staircase,” she says. “The architecture and the details were just so charming.”
The renovations started almost immediately, with Stacey and Chris spending nearly every weekend for the next three and a half years working on the home until they completed the first and second floors (the third floor is still in progress). They focused on preserving the historical character of the home, while also giving it 21st-century touches that were authentically “them.” “We’d seen the insides of a lot of neighboring historic[al] homes, and many of those homes either look very antique-y and of the period or were completely gutted and really modern. I was like, ‘I don’t want either of those things,'” Stacy explains.
After the structural changes were complete, Stacey reached out to the online interior-design startup Havenly for help bringing her ideas to life. She worked with several Havenly designers and came up with a plan to design each room around a different era in history, from a playful, Victorian-inspired study with Zenina Anastasia skull wallpaper from WallsNeedLove, to what Stacey calls a “glam-gothic” master bedroom with black interiors and jewel-toned accents. The result? A home that blends historical details with contemporary design, where whimsy is in no short supply.
Ahead, hear from Stacey about her hauntingly-chic Colonial home.
Describe your style in three words.
Hmm. I’ll give you two: cheeky historic.
What’s your favorite part of your home?
Our wall of lights surrounding the Bill Murray portrait in the dining room, which we call our “captain’s parlor,” because you won’t see that in any other home. There’s no way to hang a ceiling fixture in that room because of the plaster and the trim work, so lighting was an issue. I already had the artwork, and then one night we went to Yvonne’s in Downtown Crossing for dinner, and they had a portrait surrounded by a series of sconces on one wall. As soon as I saw it, I said to my husband, “That’s going in the ‘captain’s parlor.'” He looked at me like I was off my rocker, but now it adds so much character to the space and the lights are just stunning.
Probably the kitchen because it’s so small, and there’s a gigantic eight-foot fireplace that takes up an entire wall. It’s tough to work in at the moment because the flow isn’t so good, so we’re really excited to start racking our brains. We would never cover up that fireplace; when we do rework the kitchen, it is still going to be small, but I’ve been sketching out some ideas and rethinking the space a bit.
Where do you find your design inspiration?
I find a lot from just walking around Salem. It has so much character and eye-candy everywhere. There’s a little chunk of history peeking out from every corner.
Name your top three favorite places to shop.
Flea markets, absolutely. Another one is Emporium 32: a really cool store in downtown Salem. Much like our house, they carry such an eclectic mix of things. We go in there all the time because you never know what you’ll find on their shelves. I’m also a really big fan of Society6. They offer prints by many creative artists, and I love that you can just go right online and invite those artists into your home.
A sentence of advice, please.
Purchase what you love, regardless of whether you think it will all go together, because the things you collect over time make up the story of you. Your home should be a reflection of that.