Patti Hurd’s Home in Northern New Castle County, Delaware

Feeling Right at Home: The Hurds had lived in nearly a dozen different homes before they found the perfect fit.



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The homeowners are natives of Canada and collect paintings by artist Heather Horton, who hails from Ontario.  Photograph by Thom ThompsonThe Livable Living Room

Like many traditional homes, the house has an expansive formal living room. The Hurds appreciated the room’s crown moldings, built-in cupboard and elegant fireplace. Plus, it was the ideal setting for the grand piano they bought from the previous owner, who used the home as a weekend get-away.

But it was the one room in the house that didn’t have a clear function.

“I have no idea why people have living rooms,” she says. “They just sit there and look pretty.”

The solution was to designate the space for specific activities, such as Hurd’s regular mahjong game with friends.

It’s also a striking setting for art. The Hurds, natives of Canada, collect paintings by the contemporary artist Heather Horton, who hails from Ontario. A painting of a hiker in a woodland setting hangs over a sofa flanked by chairs. A fresh, modern portrait of a woman at rest on a wood floor is juxtaposed with a classical mantel with reeds and carvings.

“Contemporary art is even more dramatic in a traditional space,” she says.

 

The homeowners have an obvious passion for bright colors. Photograph by Thom ThompsonFun and Fanciful

Hurd always has had an eye for whimsical accents. When she was a teenager, promoters put up a poster for an ascendant troupe of performers called Circ du Soleil in her father’s feed store in Ottawa.

“After the show, they were going to tear it down,” she says. “I said I’d keep it because it’s colorful and cute, never dreaming that Circ du Soleil would become world famous.”

The poster is now part of the eclectic art mix in the kitchen. It’s a fanciful, ever-evolving blend that might include a stately crystal vase teamed with a pink sock monkey. There’s a grouping of bird cages in the sunroom and a carved, wooden Thai spirit house in the family room. A colorfully painted elephant is positioned on a table behind the sectional sofa.

As the couple relocated from various homes in the United States, Canada and Europe, Hurd developed a decorating drill, of sorts.

“Colors have to be neutral,” she says. “Furniture has to be able to go anywhere because you don’t know what the configuration of your next house will be.”

In this house, Hurd has indulged her passion for color.

There are no white ceilings, either. In the kitchen, the ceiling and walls are both painted the warm gold of curry. The Caribbean-tinged blue on the ceiling in the living room is called Jamaican aqua. It reminds Hurd of the summer sky.

In the dining room, crown moldings, chair rail and built-in cupboards with classic, broken-arch pediments are white. The walls and ceiling are painted tomato red.

“It makes for a very intimate room,” she says. “People sit around the table after dinner and talk for hours.”

The table is crafted from panels of quarter-sawn oak, cut to show off the wood’s intricate graining, banded with carved moldings. The chairs are embellished with carvings reminiscent of Dutch masters depicted by Rembrandt. The intricately carved hutch has doors with stained-glass panels.

Hurd bought the furniture during a shopping trip to the Netherlands when the couple lived in Germany. She appreciates the age and craftsmanship of the pieces, but soon learned that opulent antiques had fallen out of fashion in Holland. Fortuitously, that meant prices had fallen, too.

“The Europeans are all about modern furniture,” she says. “The old carved pieces and antiques are a dime a dozen.”

Over the years, she has learned to trust her instincts, following her own sense of style instead of the latest trends. “If you like something, buy it,” she says. “When you go back, things are never there.”

 


Get the Look

  • Think big. Don’t be put off by a piece solely because it’s super-sized. If it’s beautiful and functional you will find the right space for it.
  • Don’t hide away your pretty things. Enjoy them. Silver that is handled often doesn’t tarnish. And you will set out your crystal and fine china more often if you store it in a readily accessible location.
  • Embrace your whole house. Patti Hurd enjoys playing mahjong with friends in her formal living room.
  • Bring the outdoors inside your home. Hurd collects birdcages and displays them in a sunroom. She also found a home for a Thai spirit house in her family room.
  • Maintain a sense of humor. Nothing enlivens a formal space like a sock monkey.
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January 2017

January 3 - 28  “Winter Group Show” Rotating Group Show features a variety of art in different styles and media. Custom Framing & Gift Certificates are always available. Gallery Hours:...

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Hagley Museum
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320 Lantana Drive
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Elements of Nutrition
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Sponsor: Rehoboth Beach Film Society
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Cost: free

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Greenville, DE  19807
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Where:
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4840 Kennett Pike
Wilmington, DE  19807
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Telephone: 130-265-89111
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Cost: $8 for adults, $6 for children between 4 and 14, and free for children under 4 a

Where:
Hagley Museum
201 Hagley Creek Road
Wilmington, DE  19807
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Sponsor: Hagley Museum
Telephone: (302) 65802400 x 238
Contact Name: Jessica Eisenbrey
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Cost: free

Where:
The Station Gallery
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View map »


Telephone: 302-654-8638
Website »

More information

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Cost: see description

Where:
The Annex
501 Chandler Mill Rd
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Sponsor: The Land Conservancy
Telephone: 610-347-0347 ext.104
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Cost: 45.00

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Sponsor: Rocker Soaps + Herbals
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Cost: 45

Where:
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Contact Name: Rachel Binkley
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Cost: free

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


Telephone: 302-654-8638
Website »

More information

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Cost: see description

Where:
The Annex
501 Chandler Mill Rd
Kennett Square, PA  19348
View map »


Sponsor: The Land Conservancy
Telephone: 610-347-0347 ext.104
Website »

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Bucktoe Creek Preserve
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Sponsor: The Land Conservancy
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Cost: Free

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Wilmington University - Doberstein Admissions Ctr.
320 N DuPont Highway
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1139 W. 7th Street
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Cost: $0

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Copeland Room, Hagley Library
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Cost: $15 - $30

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110 Orchard Rd.
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Telephone: (302) 831-2204
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Cost: $15

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Cost: free

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


Telephone: 302-654-8638
Website »

More information

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Bayhealth Kent General Hospital
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Cost: $29-$59

Where:
OperaDelaware Studio
4 South Poplar St.
Wilmington, DE  19801
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Telephone: 302-442-7809
Contact Name: Mary Wilcosky
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The Resident Ensemble Players, Delaware’s professional acting company performing at the University of Delaware, presents The Bells by Theresa Rebeck. During the great Yukon gold rush of the...

Cost: $15 - $30

Where:
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110 Orchard Rd.
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Sponsor: Resident Ensemble Players
Telephone: (302) 831-2204
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January 3 - 28  “Winter Group Show” Rotating Group Show features a variety of art in different styles and media. Custom Framing & Gift Certificates are always available. Gallery Hours:...

Cost: free

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


Telephone: 302-654-8638
Website »

More information

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Cost: $30 per person

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Delaware College of Art and Design
600 N. Market St.
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432 Sharp Rd
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Cost: $18-$20

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Cinema Art Theater
17701 Dartmouth Drive, #2
Lewes, DE  19958
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Cost: $15 - $30

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500 N Market St
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Telephone: 215-222-1400
Contact Name: MP Intern
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