Rydal Waters Charter Member Spotlight: Siri Hurst
It’s easy to form a first impression of Siri Hurst as a collector of unique jewelry, but the bigger story reveals a lifelong tapestry of experience in fine art and cultures from around the world.
Having come to the U.S. from South Africa at age 12, Siri’s family lived for several months with the Theodore Pitcairn family. During that time, she was surrounded by Impressionist paintings, including Monet’s “Garden at SainteAdresse” (now at the Metropolitan Museum, New York), along with several van Goghs and El Grecos collected by the Reverend Pitcairn, an early supporter of the Impressionist art movement.
"My artwork doesn't just jump out at you; it quietly draws you in." --- Siri Hurst, Charter Member
The setting of the Pitcairns’ French Norman-style estate (designed by George Howe) included antique French and Italian furniture, while nearby Bryn Athyn Cathedral and Glencairn Museum gave Siri exposure to the arts & crafts movement. “It gave me an appreciation for the ‘human touch’ over mass-produced,” she says.
Siri and her late husband, artist Nishan Yardumian, shared a love of medieval artwork and architecture. “Back then, we were just getting started,” she says, “so I’d say our style was ‘shabby chic.’ Actually, without the ‘chic.’”
Nevertheless, Siri continued to follow her passion for art and travel, starting to acquire handmade furniture on her journeys, including tables from Thailand and a bed from Bali. But as the costs of shipping gradually exceeded the value of the items themselves, she adjusted her approach. “I started buying smaller items, like fabrics, pillowcases and jewelry.” Those items began to define Siri’s style and continue to do so today, as she has incorporated them into her wardrobe and her home.
“People have said my home has a zen feel,” Siri says. In part, she attributes that to the carved wood ‘spirit house’ from Thailand and the Tibetan prayer flags hanging from her ceiling. But it’s also the way she curates and displays her eclectic collection. “My artwork doesn’t jump out at you; it quietly draws you in.”
Her personal style comes across in a similar way, with a fashionable yet understated wardrobe selected to complement specific pieces from her jewelry collection. Striking works of handcraft come from a range of exotic locales, including Oman, Turkey, Tibet, Bali, China and Africa, but Siri points out that her motivation has never been simply to collect pieces or wear jewelry.
"I never set out to design my house with a particular style in mind. It simply reflects what I love." --- Siri Hurst, Charter Member
It’s about pursuing her passion for diverse art and cultures. “I have this jewelry because it reflects me: my love for art, culture and beauty.”
Siri’s personal style and home interior, then, are really outward expressions of her lifelong art appreciation.
Now in the process of planning her new Rydal Waters cottage, she’s deciding how her art pieces will best suit her new space. And while she’s reproducing the feel of her Huntingdon Valley home, she’s open to the new creative potential. “I never set out to design my house with a particular style in mind,” she says. “It simply reflects what I love.”
"I'm looking forward to being a part of the community." --- Siri Hurst, Charter Member
Her Rydal Waters planning extends beyond the walls of her new cottage, however. “I like the idea of being part of a close-knit neighborhood,” she says. “I’m looking forward to being a part of the community.”
Siri and more than 75 others are Charter Members of Rydal Waters, the new Rydal Park expansion of elegant, maintenance-free cottages slated to open soon in Abington.