Erika & Josephine Kurtz Designed a Stunning Home in Wilmington

Photos by Genevieve Garruppo

New Moon Rugs designer Erika Kurtz turned to her sister Josephine, principal designer of Kurtz Collection, to reimagine her Wilmington Home.

There are projects where there are too many cooks in the kitchen, and there are those that are tightly knit. A 3,800-square-foot traditional colonial brick home, built in 1949 in the Rockford Park area of Wilmington, would fall into that latter category. That’s because Erika Kurtz (New Moon Rugs designer) looked to her sister Josephine Kurtz, principal interior designer of Kurtz Collection, to conceive a five-bedroom, 4.5-bath house for herself and her daughter Izzy.

“The house was definitely a collaboration between my sister and me,” Josephine says. “Having grown up with art, antiques and exposure to global cultures from a young age, we both felt that it was important to incorporate these things into the design. Erika had a strong role in choosing fixtures and finishes. Working in the interior design space, she is well-versed in what’s out there and what she likes, so it was easy to collaborate on those decisions.”

Kurtz redesign
In the living area, the custom ivory/charcoal New Moon rug (called Laseda), rests under a waterfall tamarind wood cocktail table featuring a flowing streak of glasslike resin chips running through the center. The sectional is from Cisco Home in a gray velvet Crypton, while the swivel ottomans are from Rowe in a tribal fabric. Above the sectional are original oil paintings created by John Kurtz, the father of the designer (Josephine Kurtz) and the homeowner (Erika Kurtz).

The meeting of the minds was therefore already in place: “The fun part was that we have very similar aesthetics and passions,” Josephine says. “It’s so exciting to have a whole house project where I could bring together all the elements that excite me, and also know that they’re perfect for the homeowner. The tough part is that we’re sisters. That changes the dynamic a bit when working together on a personal design project, as you can imagine.”

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Meanwhile, the smoothest aspect of the sisterly collaboration—a 10-month-long journey—was the absence of shopping around: All the furnishings came from the Kurtz showroom, save for a few family antiques.

Because the sisters speak the same language, they were able to cut to the chase in terms of the overall goals for the project. “The functional goal was to create a more open floor plan with a continuous flow throughout, giving the home a more updated, contemporary feel,” Josephine explains. “The design goal was to create a home that really felt welcoming and vibrant while showcasing Erika’s unique sense of style and incredible mix of art, antiques and rugs.”

The foyer wallpaper is from Cole & Sons; the sconces are from Currey & Company. The custom New Moon stair runner and foyer rug are in the Fade design. The mirror is from Palecek, with white and gold beads.

As Josephine tells it, it was the wealth and variety of pieces—both new and antique—that makes the home so singularly Erika’s: “One of the biggest challenges in bringing so many unique pieces together is allowing each to have its moment while still creating a cohesive feel within the room, but I think we achieved that balance by leaving lots of open space and bringing more light into the rooms through our renovations. The result is everything that we hoped for: lots of color, texture, pattern and art everywhere you look. It’s joyful and sophisticated while still being open, airy and inviting.”

The custom dining table features a wood top on a metal base with a gold finish, while the dining chairs are from Palecek and add an exotic note: a black finish with a natural woven back. The sideboard is a family neoclassical piece, American, from the early 20th century. The wallpaper is from Lindsay Cowles, the window treatments are Kelly Wearstler from Lee Jofa, and the rug is custom colored in the Shibori design from New Moon.

To visit the Kurtz Collection is to experience the sisters’ passion for texture, color and pattern, but before any of their tastes could be put into place, there was the matter of rethinking the interior architecture. The sisters saw to it that several walls were knocked down and there was a total kitchen and bathroom gut renovation. “The overall purpose of the structural changes was to create a sense of openness and symmetry, allowing light to enter dark spaces and improving the flow from room to room,” Josephine says. “Bathroom and kitchen remodels were designed to increase functionality, update the aesthetic and enhance the quality of daily life for the homeowner.”

The watchword was flow. They added a doorway into the living room from the back hall, removed the existing coat closet and widened the kitchen opening into the back hall so that it matches the opening in the dining room that shares the same wall. They also installed a doorway beside the living room fireplace (now refaced in a Grey Mist granite), leading into the sun porch, to create symmetry with the three other openings on either side of the main rooms.

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Updated kitchen with pops of blue, Kurtz Wilmington home
The kitchen boasts an island topped with a Cambria quartz called Bentley, while the surrounding countertops are Antolini Bianco Macao quartz. The matte black faucets are from Moen; appliances are Wolf Suite. The gray cabinets are custom designs from Plato. The brass hardware throughout is from Rejuvenation. The light fixtures are all from Visual Comfort, and the Bali Indigo custom rug is from New Moon.

Also on the first floor: “We removed the wall between the dining room and the kitchen, creating a cohesive space perfect for entertaining or family time, and enclosed the breezeway, connecting the kitchen to the garage to produce a beautiful, functional mudroom with custom built-in storage.” (The window seats are wrapped in Osborne & Little fabric.)

Custom mud room in erika kurtz's home
In this decidedly upscale mudroom, the window seats are wrapped in fabric (from Osborne & Little) that depicts a hilly Asian landscape with people riding horses. The custom built-ins are adorned with animal hooks for a playful element. The flooring is 2-foot black-and-white porcelain hexagonal tiles in a custom mosaic pattern.

The second floor also came in for some structural changes: “We vaulted the ceiling in the primary bedroom, which felt very closed-in originally,” Josephine says. “We removed the original closets in the primary bedroom and expanded the bathroom, creating one large walk-in closet and bathroom area. We made the intentional choice to sacrifice some of the bedroom to create more closet and bathroom space.”

Erika’s daughter’s bedroom features a blush pink bed from Cisco Home. The navy linen nightstands were sourced from Bungalow 5. The window treatments are from Schumacher, and the oil paintings near the bed are by John Kurtz.

Then came the resplendent décor: “We are definitely not afraid of color or pattern. In fact, we embrace it. We love experimenting with layering colors and textures,” the designer says, pointing out the lush, jungle-inspired foyer wallpaper by Cole & Sons and the custom ombre stair runner from New Moon.

“Right when you walk in the front door,” Josephine says, “you really get a good sense of the style of the entire house—and the distinct talents of both sisters.”

Related: This Dreamy Rehoboth Home Is an Eye-Catching Custom Project

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