Scott Porter’s Chadds Ford Estate Reflects Equestrian Tradition

As founder of Porter Construction, Porter’s marriage of thoroughbred racing and home design is as seamless as it is gorgeous.


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The country home Scott Porter built for his wife and young twins is only a year old, yet it is steeped in history.

His architectural inspiration was the stately homes of Britain, which artfully combine soaring expanses with cozy niches. The estate, on a sylvan swath in Chadds Ford, is sited on property once owned by his brother, Cory. It is across the road from the home of their father, ardent thoroughbred owner Rick Porter.

“We are crazy about horses and racing and that shows in our home,” he says.

Indeed. Vintage renderings of the Sport of Kings hang in the clubby, paneled first-floor study. Above the built-in bar in the expansive foyer is a portrait of jockey Ramon Dominguez, wearing the red-and-white silks of Rick Porter’s Fox Hill Farm, which has raced such stellar steeds as Hard Spun and Eight Belles, both Kentucky Derby runners-up, and Havre de Grace, 2011 Horse of the Year.

Scott is the founder of Porter Construction, a custom home building and renovation firm. He has an innate talent for design, for creating houses that are both lovely and livable.

“When I was a boy, I would draw little houses,” he recalls. “I would doodle rooflines.”

The house where his brother once lived was heavily damaged by fire years ago. But the eight-acre parcel surrounding it offered such impressive infrastructure as a bridge over a rushing stream. A spring house provides irrigation for the grounds, including a three-hole golf course. A second spring house is sited beside a swimming pool with a rock waterfall. A large reflecting pond in front of the house mirrors trees and skies.

So when Scott was looking for a place for his own growing family, the location was a natural fit.

The original house had to be razed. The new owner retained what he could, maintaining the foundation and its footprint. Kitchen cabinets that had been spared from the flames were repainted and repurposed in the laundry room, which also features reclaimed Chicago bricks set in a herringbone pattern. Stone from the facade was salvaged and integrated into chimneys and exterior walls.

“We chisled the mortar out of it and put it back up,” he says. “We didn’t want to waste anything.”

Workers started building on Sept. 9, 2011, and completed the job on June 2, 2012, in a nine-month whirlwind. “From soup to nuts, done,” he says. “It shouldn’t take years to build a custom home. If you have your plans and materials in place, the work moves quickly.”

 

Details and Design

The result is an elegant, two-story stone house, trimmed with antique brick and timber beams. A cedar shake roof is punctuated by a series of smaller rooflines. An arched eyebrow roof over the front door is a tribute to craftsmanship, pieced together from mahogany planks banded with copper. 

The house is large, 5,600 square feet, not counting the finished lower level. Ceiling heights are 10 feet on the first floor and nine feet on the second floor. Scott drew the plans, then took his ideas to architect Richard Buchanan of Archer & Buchanan in West Chester.

Even with room to spare, he was intent on achieving a layout in which each square foot is put to its highest and best use. Witness the foyer, which provides a grand entrance, as well as space for entertaining. Passageways on either side are outfitted for storage. Cupboards for china and glassware serve both the foyer and the adjacent dining room. On the opposite side, between the foyer and the family room, there is built-in, climate-controlled wine storage.

In every space, Scott sweated the details. He chose white oak, quarter sawn in planks 11 inches wide, for the flooring. He turned to Michael Saienni of Newark to build a staircase with a gracefully arched gooseneck bannister—“very tricky to make but I had to have it,” he says. The size and scope of the dining room was dictated by a round, flame mahogany table that seats 10 guests.

For casual meals, the family gathers around a rustic wood table in the sun room. The rattan settee and chairs were made in the 1950s and are outfitted with such retro features as drink holders and cubbies for magazines. The vintage pieces and an antique marble-top French butcher’s table were gifts from Betsy Porter, Scott’s mom.

“She has great taste and is a wonderful decorator,” he says.

The Italian limestone tiles on the floor are antiqued and pillowed, a technique in which the pavers are slightly raised in the center, rather than flat. A water heating system ensures the tiles are warm and toasty underfoot.

 

Family Friendly

Scott’s plan called for other niceties and conveniences that make life pleasant for a family with two small children and two large dogs. A home theater is furnished with an oversized sectional sofa that can accommodate a crowd on race day. An open pet shower in the mudroom makes it easy to hose down the pooches after a romp outdoors. Woodburning fireplaces are equipped with gas lines that make lighting a blaze a simple task.

“Hit the button. The gas ignites the wood and you have a fire going,” Scott says. 

In decorating the house, he and his wife, Inci, took a fresh, hip approach to tradition, mixing such elements as formal, five-piece crown moldings and tufted leather seating with contemporary grasscloth wall coverings. The effect is relaxed and welcoming.

“Inci and I have very similar tastes,” he says. “We love to drive around and look at houses.” 

Her favorite spot is the kitchen. A massive island combines natural walnut cabinetry topped with creamy Calcutta gold marble. Zinc-and-glass lanterns provide task lighting. Upper and lower cupboards are painted white and accented with solid brass handles and drawer pulls.

Upholstered counter stools at the island are accented in nailhead trim. That classic motif is repeated in the adjacent family room, where a pair of tailored sofas flank the fireplace.

The Porters loved the look of an Italian fireplace mantel carved from limestone, but not its $35,000 price tag. So, they emailed an image of the mantel to a fabricator in the United States, who crafted a piece from Indiana limestone for a fraction of the price.

 

A Country House

On the second floor, hip roofs are reflected in clipped, angular ceiling lines that evoke the feeling of a centuries-oldcountry house. “Those rooflines make it feel more cottagy,” he says.

The Porter twins, Jack and Ainsley, share a nursery for now. Their father built a wing of bedrooms and baths that brother and sister will move into, designed to take them from toddlers to teens. 

All the second-floor baths are done in a timeless palette, with Calcutta marble floors, countertops and shower surrounds, gray walls and polished nickle fixtures andlighting sconces.

“It’s a combination you never get tired of looking at,” Scott says.

Yet each space is unique, displaying a variation on the theme. In one bath, floors are finished in square matte tiles, while the next is paved in small, hexagonal tiles. Sconces range from trim torches with crisp white shades to exuberant sunbursts mounted directly on the mirror over the sink. Walls are in varying shades, from pewter to charcoal.

In the master bath, polished mosaic marble is set in a rectangle on the floor, surrounded with large tiles of honed stone to create the effect of a sparkling carpet.

Throughout the house, there are one-of-a-kind touches. Scott found the weathered wood he integrated into a powder room vanity when he was working on a barn for his father. The antique, leaded glass doors on the bar came from his parents’ summer home in Maine. The posts and beam that define an archway in the lower-level gathering space came from the set of “The Village,” the 2004 thriller by M. Night Shyamalan filmed in Chadds Ford.

“It’s fun and interesting to take things from different times and places and come up with ways to bring them together,” he says. “That is what gives a house a sense of history.”

 

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2301 Kentmere Parkway
Wilmington, DE  19806
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Website »

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Directly inspired by the Delaware Art Museum’s Pre-Raphaelite and American illustration collections, this commission from Angela Fraleigh presents a contemporary look at gender and identity...

Cost: Free with Museum admission.

Where:
Delaware Art Museum
2301 Kentmere Parkway
Wilmington, DE  19806
View map »


Website »

More information

LOOK TO THE LAND A Mary Putman Retrospective November 16, 2019 - April 6, 2020 Opening Reception: Friday, December 6 5 - 9 PM during Art Loop Long-time Delawarean artist...

Cost: FREE

Where:
The Delaware Contemporary
200 South Madison Street
Wilmington, DE  19801
View map »


Sponsor: The Delaware Contemporary
Telephone: 302-656-6466
Contact Name: Tatiana Michels
Website »

More information

RECONSTITUTE Draper Experiment by Jacintha Clark December 6, 2019 – February 23, 2020  Opening Reception: Friday, December 6 5 - 9 PM during Art Loop Jacintha...

Cost: FREE

Where:
The Delaware Contemporary
200 South Madison Street
Wilmington, DE  19801
View map »

More information

Mitch Lyons is a well-known and important part of the local art community, who over the past five decades developed a truly innovative form of print-making. Lyons received his undergraduate degree...

Cost: Free with Museum admission.

Where:
Delaware Art Museum
2301 Kentmere Parkway
Wilmington, DE  19806
View map »


Website »

More information

The Lighthouse Inc. Church presenta el servicio de la iglesia en espanol.  El servicio de la iglesia en espanol comenzia 14 de merzo de 2019.  Hables espanol?  Entonces este es el...

Cost: free

Where:
The Lighthouse Inc., Church
6 S Railroad Ave
Wyoming, DE  19934-1026
View map »


Sponsor: The Lighthouse Inc.Church
Telephone: 302-697-1472
Contact Name: Christopher Gore

More information

By Michael Gotch Directed by Mark Lamos Thompson Theatre JAN. 16 – FEB. 2 ​After last season’s wildly successful Minor Fantastical Kingdoms, Michael Gotch returns with a darker...

Cost: $20 - $37, with discounts for Seniors, Students, and UD Faculty/Staff

Where:
Thompson Theatre
Center for the Arts
110 Orchard
Newark, DE  19716
View map »


Sponsor: Resident Ensemble Players
Telephone: 302-831-2204
Contact Name: REP Box Office
Website »

More information

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A rotating group show featuring an eclectic mix of artwork including paintings, drawings, ceramics, art glass and jewelry. Custom Framing and Gift Certificates are always available. Gallery...

Cost: free

Where:
The Station Gallery
3922 Kennett Pike
Greenville, DE  19807
View map »


Telephone: 302-654-8638
Website »

More information

65 million years ago, dinosaurs roamed the earth. Travel back in time to see their world as they knew it, and be the dinosaur. Drawing on today’s modern technology and tested and...

Cost: $9 ages 3-59, $8 seniors, $3 ages 1-2, free for under 12 months and DMNH members

Where:
Delaware Museum of Natural History
4840 Kennett Pike
Wilmington, DE  19807
View map »


Telephone: 302-384-3694
Website »

More information

RECONSTITUTE Draper Experiment by Jacintha Clark December 6, 2019 – February 23, 2020  Opening Reception: Friday, December 6 5 - 9 PM during Art Loop Jacintha...

Cost: FREE

Where:
The Delaware Contemporary
200 South Madison Street
Wilmington, DE  19801
View map »

More information

Mitch Lyons is a well-known and important part of the local art community, who over the past five decades developed a truly innovative form of print-making. Lyons received his undergraduate degree...

Cost: Free with Museum admission.

Where:
Delaware Art Museum
2301 Kentmere Parkway
Wilmington, DE  19806
View map »


Website »

More information

GESTURE OF MOTION Haeley Kyong January 10 - April 23, 2020 Opening Reception: Friday, February 7 5 - 9 PM during first Friday Art Loop The idea of relativity is pronounced in color...

Cost: FREE

Where:
The Delaware Contemporary
200 South Madison Street
Wilmington, DE  19801
View map »

More information

A HISTORY OF THE WORLD - SORT OF Hugh Atkins and Jenna Lucente January 3 - January 27, 2020 Opening Reception: Friday, January 10, 2020 5 - 9 PM during Art Loop “Let there be...

Cost: FREE

Where:
The Delaware Contemporary
200 South Madison Street
Wilmington, DE  19801
View map »

More information

MALICE’S RESTAURANT Hennessy Experiment by Natalie Hutchings January 10 - April 15, 2020 OPENING RECEPTION: Friday, February 7, 2020 | 5 - 9 PM during Art Loop The Hennessy...

Cost: FREE

Where:
The Delaware Contemporary
200 South Madison Street
Wilmington, DE  19801
View map »

More information

Directly inspired by the Delaware Art Museum’s Pre-Raphaelite and American illustration collections, this commission from Angela Fraleigh presents a contemporary look at gender and identity...

Cost: Free with Museum admission.

Where:
Delaware Art Museum
2301 Kentmere Parkway
Wilmington, DE  19806
View map »


Website »

More information

BEIJING BOOSTER PAINTINGS Peter Wayne Lewis October 4, 2019 to February 26, 2020 VIP Preview Reception:  October 3, 2019 | 5 - 7 PM Public Reception:  October 4,...

Cost: FREE

Where:
The Delaware Contemporary
200 South Madison Street
Wilmington, DE  19801
View map »


Sponsor: The Delaware Contemporary
Telephone: 302-656-6466
Contact Name: Tatiana Michels
Website »

More information

LOOK TO THE LAND A Mary Putman Retrospective November 16, 2019 - April 6, 2020 Opening Reception: Friday, December 6 5 - 9 PM during Art Loop Long-time Delawarean artist...

Cost: FREE

Where:
The Delaware Contemporary
200 South Madison Street
Wilmington, DE  19801
View map »


Sponsor: The Delaware Contemporary
Telephone: 302-656-6466
Contact Name: Tatiana Michels
Website »

More information

Curated by Deborah Willis, Ph.D., “Posing Beauty in African American Culture explores the contested ways in which African and African American beauty have been represented in historical and...

Cost: Free with Museum admission.

Where:
Delaware Art Museum
2301 Kentmere Parkway
Wilmington, DE  19806
View map »


Website »

More information

On a bitter cold night in London's East End, a baffling murder occurs. Has Jack the Ripper returned or has another chap taken his place? London needs your help! Polish up your looking glass...

Cost: Admission is free. All wine and food purchases are pay-as-you-go.

Where:
Chaddsford Winery
632 Baltimore Pike
Chadds Ford, PA  19317
View map »

More information

The Lighthouse Inc. Church presenta el servicio de la iglesia en espanol.  El servicio de la iglesia en espanol comenzia 14 de merzo de 2019.  Hables espanol?  Entonces este es el...

Cost: free

Where:
The Lighthouse Inc., Church
6 S Railroad Ave
Wyoming, DE  19934-1026
View map »


Sponsor: The Lighthouse Inc.Church
Telephone: 302-697-1472
Contact Name: Christopher Gore

More information

By Michael Gotch Directed by Mark Lamos Thompson Theatre JAN. 16 – FEB. 2 ​After last season’s wildly successful Minor Fantastical Kingdoms, Michael Gotch returns with a darker...

Cost: $20 - $37, with discounts for Seniors, Students, and UD Faculty/Staff

Where:
Thompson Theatre
Center for the Arts
110 Orchard
Newark, DE  19716
View map »


Sponsor: Resident Ensemble Players
Telephone: 302-831-2204
Contact Name: REP Box Office
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

The Delaware Beekeepers Association will be holding two beekeeping workshops at Wesley College in Dover on January 18th 2020.  Beekeeping 101 is an all day workshop for those interested in...

Cost: 50.00

Where:
Wesley College
120 N. State Street
Dover, DE  19901
View map »


Sponsor: Delaware Beekeepers Association and Wesley College
Telephone: 302-242-7859
Contact Name: Kathleen Curran
Website »

More information

A rotating group show featuring an eclectic mix of artwork including paintings, drawings, ceramics, art glass and jewelry. Custom Framing and Gift Certificates are always available. Gallery...

Cost: free

Where:
The Station Gallery
3922 Kennett Pike
Greenville, DE  19807
View map »


Telephone: 302-654-8638
Website »

More information

Instructor: Roe Murray   

Cost: $55 Members, $70 Non-Members

Where:
Delaware Art Museum
2301 Ketnmere Parkway
Wilmington, DE  19806
View map »


Website »

More information

65 million years ago, dinosaurs roamed the earth. Travel back in time to see their world as they knew it, and be the dinosaur. Drawing on today’s modern technology and tested and...

Cost: $9 ages 3-59, $8 seniors, $3 ages 1-2, free for under 12 months and DMNH members

Where:
Delaware Museum of Natural History
4840 Kennett Pike
Wilmington, DE  19807
View map »


Telephone: 302-384-3694
Website »

More information

A HISTORY OF THE WORLD - SORT OF Hugh Atkins and Jenna Lucente January 3 - January 27, 2020 Opening Reception: Friday, January 10, 2020 5 - 9 PM during Art Loop “Let there be...

Cost: FREE

Where:
The Delaware Contemporary
200 South Madison Street
Wilmington, DE  19801
View map »

More information

GESTURE OF MOTION Haeley Kyong January 10 - April 23, 2020 Opening Reception: Friday, February 7 5 - 9 PM during first Friday Art Loop The idea of relativity is pronounced in color...

Cost: FREE

Where:
The Delaware Contemporary
200 South Madison Street
Wilmington, DE  19801
View map »

More information

BEIJING BOOSTER PAINTINGS Peter Wayne Lewis October 4, 2019 to February 26, 2020 VIP Preview Reception:  October 3, 2019 | 5 - 7 PM Public Reception:  October 4,...

Cost: FREE

Where:
The Delaware Contemporary
200 South Madison Street
Wilmington, DE  19801
View map »


Sponsor: The Delaware Contemporary
Telephone: 302-656-6466
Contact Name: Tatiana Michels
Website »

More information

MALICE’S RESTAURANT Hennessy Experiment by Natalie Hutchings January 10 - April 15, 2020 OPENING RECEPTION: Friday, February 7, 2020 | 5 - 9 PM during Art Loop The Hennessy...

Cost: FREE

Where:
The Delaware Contemporary
200 South Madison Street
Wilmington, DE  19801
View map »

More information

Directly inspired by the Delaware Art Museum’s Pre-Raphaelite and American illustration collections, this commission from Angela Fraleigh presents a contemporary look at gender and identity...

Cost: Free with Museum admission.

Where:
Delaware Art Museum
2301 Kentmere Parkway
Wilmington, DE  19806
View map »


Website »

More information

Curated by Deborah Willis, Ph.D., “Posing Beauty in African American Culture explores the contested ways in which African and African American beauty have been represented in historical and...

Cost: Free with Museum admission.

Where:
Delaware Art Museum
2301 Kentmere Parkway
Wilmington, DE  19806
View map »


Website »

More information

Mitch Lyons is a well-known and important part of the local art community, who over the past five decades developed a truly innovative form of print-making. Lyons received his undergraduate degree...

Cost: Free with Museum admission.

Where:
Delaware Art Museum
2301 Kentmere Parkway
Wilmington, DE  19806
View map »


Website »

More information

LOOK TO THE LAND A Mary Putman Retrospective November 16, 2019 - April 6, 2020 Opening Reception: Friday, December 6 5 - 9 PM during Art Loop Long-time Delawarean artist...

Cost: FREE

Where:
The Delaware Contemporary
200 South Madison Street
Wilmington, DE  19801
View map »


Sponsor: The Delaware Contemporary
Telephone: 302-656-6466
Contact Name: Tatiana Michels
Website »

More information

RECONSTITUTE Draper Experiment by Jacintha Clark December 6, 2019 – February 23, 2020  Opening Reception: Friday, December 6 5 - 9 PM during Art Loop Jacintha...

Cost: FREE

Where:
The Delaware Contemporary
200 South Madison Street
Wilmington, DE  19801
View map »

More information

Thanks to books like Doug Tallamy’s Bringing Nature Home, there’s an increasing interest among homeowners, property managers, and municipal governments to include more native plants in...

Cost: $20

Where:
Mt. Cuba Center
3120 Barley Mill Rd
Hockessin, DE  19707
View map »


Website »

More information

Shake off the winter blues at the Brandywine River Museum of Art's Arctic BBQ! Roast marshmallows by the fire and have a “snowball fight” in the Museum Courtyard. Explore the River...

Cost: Free with museum admission

Where:
Brandywine River Museum of Art
1 Hoffman's Mill Road
Chadds Ford, PA  19317
View map »


Sponsor: Brandywine River Museum of Art
Telephone: 610-388-2700
Website »

More information

.Enjoy a Guide-led tour of the special exhibition Posing Beauty in African American Culture.  Image: Susan Taylor, as Model,c. 1970s. Ken Ramsay (1935–2008). Gelatin...

Cost: Free for Members, Free with admission for Non-Members.

Where:
Delaware Art Museum
2301 Kentmere Parkway
Wilmington, DE  19806
View map »


Website »

More information

On a bitter cold night in London's East End, a baffling murder occurs. Has Jack the Ripper returned or has another chap taken his place? London needs your help! Polish up your looking glass...

Cost: Admission is free. All wine and food purchases are pay-as-you-go.

Where:
Chaddsford Winery
632 Baltimore Pike
Chadds Ford, PA  19317
View map »

More information

The Lighthouse Inc. Church presenta el servicio de la iglesia en espanol.  El servicio de la iglesia en espanol comenzia 14 de merzo de 2019.  Hables espanol?  Entonces este es el...

Cost: free

Where:
The Lighthouse Inc., Church
6 S Railroad Ave
Wyoming, DE  19934-1026
View map »


Sponsor: The Lighthouse Inc.Church
Telephone: 302-697-1472
Contact Name: Christopher Gore

More information

By Michael Gotch Directed by Mark Lamos Thompson Theatre JAN. 16 – FEB. 2 ​After last season’s wildly successful Minor Fantastical Kingdoms, Michael Gotch returns with a darker...

Cost: $20 - $37, with discounts for Seniors, Students, and UD Faculty/Staff

Where:
Thompson Theatre
Center for the Arts
110 Orchard
Newark, DE  19716
View map »


Sponsor: Resident Ensemble Players
Telephone: 302-831-2204
Contact Name: REP Box Office
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...
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