New York Meets Virginia: An Interior Design Remix


Douglas and Jane Jacobs moved to their stately brick colonial in Leesburg, Va., from New York along with their two cats and a beagle last year. But they began working with Dinna Eckstein, owner of Audrey Kate Design and Staging long before they left New York.

In fact, they never met with Eckstein in person until after much of the design work was done. The house was beautiful but needed an update. They opted for a partial makeover that included fresh gray paint throughout most of the house, rich, velvet curtains and new furniture to be mixed with many of their favorite possessions they’ve collected from around the world.

Here’s how Eckstein brought it all together:

dsc_7946The master suite, which Jane said is her favorite room, was a vibrant yellow. A color she and Douglas really liked and wanted to keep. They agreed to bring the yellow down to a lighter shade and Eckstein tied it in with a large tufted headboard, dark wood Cabot bedroom suite accented by light wood top drawers. And, taking center stage as you enter the room, is a striking settee in a gray and white filigree pattern, flanked by soft gray and yellow paisley curtains. Coordinating bedding West Elm.

“I don’t normally like dark wood because it looks ponderous, Jane said of the bedroom furniture, “but for a big room they really look …”

“…luminous,” Eckstein adds.

Speaking of dark wood, the matching black entertainment consoles facing the mile-long L-shaped midnight blue Lay-Z-Boy couch are the perfect backdrop for the family room, where the Jacobs spend most of their time. A light gray herringbone patterned indoor-outdoor rug from Maison Warehouse of Sterling, Va., sits at the foot of the couch. The curtains in this room are meant to block the sun since they use it as a media room.

Eckstein couldn’t wait until the arched mirror came in. That took its place over the fireplace and opened up the two-story room even further.

dsc_7925With much background research on the Jacobs’ personalities, likes and dislikes, AKDS has filled their home with furnishings that fit their lifestyle. This is the fun part: With the exception of two large twin contemporary paintings Eckstein found at a local consignment shop — which now hang in the two-story foyer — the Jacobs’ own collectible artwork is accented throughout the house. From Douglas’s favored musical wall clock from Fortunoff of New York to Monet prints from France, needlepoint acquired from Liberty of London and original pieces from artist friends, Eckstein chose strategic places for these pieces and others so their walls highlight their favorite memories AND pull in the new colors of the house.


dsc_7911Eckstein also commissioned a local craftsman, Bruce Smallwood of Smallwood Woodworking, to build a custom dining table that would compliment the couple’s Bernhardt china cabinet, and paired the finished product with a set of contemporary champagne colored chairs.

The Jacobses say they are pleased with the outcome. Some things they had to see before they could envision the plan Eckstein had all along. “I wasn’t sure about the (foyer) paintings, but when I saw them up, I said whoa! That looks good,” Douglas mused. He says of Eckstein, “Dinna has an excellent sense of knowing the style we wanted for our house.”

As Douglas added in his review on her Houzz site, “She asked all the right questions regarding our tastes and made sure that her recommendations were not outlining or too conservative. There was a lot of back and forth as the house was furnished and she was able to discern our likes and dislikes. She had many suggestions, but just as importantly, she listened to our ideas and was able to direct our choices while blending with her knowledge. In the end, the house looks wonderful and uniquely ours.”

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