A Home Fit for a Princess Room: Kristina Agostino's Elkhorn Residence Gets a Feminine RedesignDec 27, 2020 02:28PM ● By Sean Robinson
Photography by Bill Sitzmann
First comes the ding-dong of the doorbell, then the pitter-patter of paws. Augie and Rocky, two shih tzu mixes, are the welcoming committee to guests of the Agostino residence in southwest Elkhorn.
Standing on six acres and encompassing 9,600 square feet, this estate combines Midwestern charm with a level of sophistication that exists only among stately colonial homes. The kind with five bedrooms and eight bathrooms. However, the tail-wagging twosome, who are more greeters than guard dogs, are a sign of the comforting ambiance to be found inside.
“This family doesn’t do the ‘shoes off at the front door’ thing,” said Kristina Agostino, the lady of the house. “We’ve got children, and the home is for living. It’s not a museum,” she asserted.
Kristina and her husband, Michael, reside here with two of their four sons. And then there are the two furry pups, as well as two cats. For this family, it’s laid-back living done the stylish way.
The effortless elegance the home now embodies wasn’t there on move-in day six years ago. It was a passion project Kristina oversaw throughout much of 2019. Despite having jaw-dropping curb appeal and opulence to spare, the home’s interior wasn’t as inviting as she wished. Hiring Lassek and Dunn Design for a major property facelift, she sought to make the home hers in every sense.
“We came in, and the home was beautiful. It was just not to her taste,” said interior designer Janine Dunn. “It was very dark, heavy, and masculine. Almost from the start, we knew the home needed to be brighter and feel more feminine.”
Today, that feminine touch starts in what Kristina calls “the princess room.” Located just off the entryway, what was once the dining room has been transformed into a posh Parisian parlor to enjoy cocktails and laze about. Suede seating is surrounded by shimmering touches of silver and gold. Even the floral wallpaper is flocked with metallic detailing. In the corner stands a decorated Christmas tree year-round. Here, its grandeur never seems out of season.
Being the only female in a family of six, having a space this special is a dream, Kristina said. “I’m just in awe. I can’t believe this is mine,” she said. “The Christmas tree being up all year is a running joke, but it fits the room.”
The dining area has moved from the front of the house to the kitchen, where 12 chairs surround a white and gray stone tabletop. French-style chandeliers hang above, and glittered candles line the center.
It’s here at this table Kristina enjoys her morning cup of joe, freshly made at the adjacent coffee bar. It’s also the spot where the Agostinos gather every Sunday for a big Italian dinner. Sitting here, the open concept allows for an unobstructed view of the refaced living room fireplace, surrounding refreshed cabinetry, as well as a large custom-made portrait hanging above an immaculately decorated entry table.
Each piece of decor has been carefully selected with approval from Kristina. Nothing is overly ornamental, yet it’s carefully curated to all work together. A balance of red, grays, and blacks are featured throughout the living space.
“Kristina already had a lot of red in here—the two red sofas, the walls, the cherry undertone of the cabinets. However, her personality is so light,” said co-designer Mandy Lassek. “Our job was to bring in more neutrals so that the right reds could pop.”
Once the seven-month redesign wrapped, Lassek and Dunn gifted Kristina a decorative pig (trimmed in silver instead of pink, of course) that now sits atop her kitchen island.
“Everything they brought me the first time was right,” Kristina said. “It was insane. Lighting, cabinets, backsplash, counters, even that pig. They just got me.”
This wasn’t the first overhaul the Agostinos gave the home. When they moved in, it was nearly 3,600-square-feet smaller. After living here for just a year, they added an additional wing, including an expansion of the primary bedroom, his and her offices, a new laundry room, and a gym and theater.
“I want this to be a great family home with lots of great family memories,” Kristina said. “Every aspect of this home was built with love. We basically changed the whole house.”
One original feature that has remained is the resort-style pool and accompanying pool house. As a West Palm Beach, Florida, native, Kristina said this is what closed the deal for her six years ago.
Their backyard paradise is where they spent much of last summer, safely socially distanced yet still making the most of the warmer months amid a pandemic. The property’s fully stocked pond also got plenty of good use between fishing, canoeing, and paddle boating. The bustle of Q Street is just blocks away, yet the Agostinos might as well be miles outside city limits with their rolling lawn and heavily tree-lined grounds hiding them.
However, Kristina is hopeful their six acres will be lively again soon. She is gleefully looking forward to the days when she can entertain friends and hold fundraisers at her home like before. When once again, Augie and Rocky will be busy greeting guests and dozens of visitors (wearing their shoes) will be shuffling about the house.
“I grew up with a single mom, and times were very hard. Never in my life did I imagine I’d pull up to something like this and it would be my home,” Kristina said. “We love it, treasure it, and never take it for granted.”
This article first appeared in the January/February 2021 issue of Home Magazine. Click here to subscribe to the print edition.