Alison Victoria's Top Transformations

Host and designer of both DIY Network's Kitchen Crashers and HGTV's Windy City Rehab, Alison Victoria is a pro at transforming drab spaces into daring designs that pair vintage elements with modern functionality.

Photo By: Peter Wynn Thompson

Photo By: Windy City Rehab

Photo By: Windy City Rehab

Photo By: Windy City Rehab

Photo By: Windy City Rehab

Photo By: Windy City Rehab

Photo By: Windy City Rehab

Photo By: Windy City Rehab

Photo By: Windy City Rehab

Photo By: Windy City Rehab

Photo By: Windy City Rehab

Photo By: Windy City Rehab

Photo By: Windy City Rehab

Photo By: Windy City Rehab

Photo By: Windy City Rehab

Photo By: Windy City Rehab

A Design Star, Hard at Work

No stranger to DIY, Alison isn't afraid to get her hands dirty to salvage a room-making statement piece like this stunning carved fireplace surround and overmantel. Her ability to spot a diamond-in-the-rough, rehab it, then work it into her design lends her finished spaces character and a collected-over-time charm.

Before: Dark and Dated

Constucted in 1861, this Civil War-era home has seen lots of cosmetic updates over the past century but the layout consisting of several, small cramped rooms no longer works.

After: Open and Inviting

The 20-foot width of this historic Chicago property provides ample space to accomodate a 21st century open floor plan, with the living room flowing into the newly remodeled chef's kitchen and family room, beyond.

Before: Cramped Kitchen

Last updated in the '80s, the kitchen had dated appliances and finishes with a tight layout that doesn't work.

After: A Stunning Case of the Blues

Bold blue cabinets, that stretch up to the high ceiling, offer ample storage and are contrasted with a pine cabinet, turned wine bar, that's original to the Civil War-era home. Complementing the wood tones in the antique pine cabinet, the custom 13-foot island is the largest Alison has designed and provides seating for seven.

After: A Cozy Corner Dining Nook

Alison's kitchen reno makes the most of the reconfigured square footage by working in a custom tufted banquette and vintage wood table to turn this niche into a cozy dining spot.

After: And, a New-Meets Old Living Room

Anchored by the massive pier mirror, salvaged from a Chicago bar, the home's living room is adjacent to the newly remodeled cook's kitchen.

Before: Tight Two-Story

Built in 1888, this two-story home was spacious for its day with around 2000 square feet but feels cramped by modern standards.

After: Total Transformation

Alison and team raised the roofline to give this historic home a true second story while boosting the curb appeal with a dramatically improved exterior that features wide steps that lead up to double doors framed by an ornate gold surround, salvaged from an Italian opera house.

Before: Diamond in the Rough

One of the home's best existing features, the heavy 160-year-old front door has character to spare but could certainly use a fresh coat of paint.

After: Curb Appeal, Cornered

A front door this special deserves special treatment. To create an even grander entrance, Alison worked with a local artisan to create a stained glass transom that coordinates with the door's original stained glass panels. The transom is topped by a new limestone lintel and metal porch overhang to protect the home's owners from the elements.

Before: Bungalow Beauty

Original to the home, this hand-etched gray stone fireplace surround with brass inset likely dates to the home's construction in 1891 and hooked Alison on wanting to rehab this bungalow from the moment she walked thru the door. The fireplace's ornate details, quality of construction and Arts and Crafts styling influenced many of Alison's design choices for the home.

After: Style Star

Untouched and carefully protected throughout the entire remodel, the home's original stone fireplace is the first thing guests see when they enter the home. Preserving this showstopper and making it the focal point of the living room was one of Alison's key design objectives.

After: Another Reclaimed Fireplace

Alison and team tripled the livable square footage of this century-old home with smart updates like a dormered roof line, digging out the basement to add head room and this spacious addition that adds on a sunny family room off the kitchen. To anchor the space, Alison incorporated an antique carved wooden panel into a new wood surround to create a new feature that's a perfect fit for the cottage's period charm.

Before: Is That a Toilet ... in the Kitchen?

Yes, it is! Before the remodel, the kitchen doubled as a bathroom and featured only one upper cabinet and no real prep space.

After: Sleek Sophistication

Alison custom designed this sculptural range hood to anchor the sleek, new kitchen. Beneath it, she positioned a high-end matte black range that combines the best in timeless British design with modern bells and whistles. Oversized, ornate brass pulls and fixtures tie the custom cabinets in with the range hood.

Before: Cramped Quarters

The home's original sloping roof line made the master bath feel cramped.

After: Open and Airy

Because this property is landmarked, strict rules had to be followed to preserve the home's historic charm. To stay within guidelines while adding more livable space, Alison incorporated dormers to give the master bath a bit more breathing room. She also affixed Deco-inspired fixtures to the mirror to double the light’s impact and filled the bathroom with light colors to make the tight space feel more open.

Before: Stairs, Stairs Everywhere

Ill-conceived at best, this home's multi-level layout that separates the kitchen from the rest of the home is no longer permitted under Chicago's current building codes.

After: A Friendlier Flow

Alison's design lifted the sunken galley kitchen to create an open-concept, bi-level kitchen and living area with a much improved flow. High-end upgrades like rustic wood beams, hidden appliances and an antique hutch turned into a statement-making island combine to give the new-and-improved space timeless charm.

Before: A Mishmash of Styles

Stock cabinetry and linoleum flooring are usable but don't fit with the home's Craftsman-period charm.

After: Livable Luxe

Alison splurged on a massive custom brass range hood and high-end stove inset into a niche to anchor the new kitchen. Custom arched cabinets, fitted with seeded glass, look period to the century-old home while beautifully offering up both hidden and visible storage space.

Before: Prison-Chic?

A slim stone façade with narrow 80's glass-block windows give this home the look and feel of a prison.

After: Classically Chic

The high-contrast black-and-white color palette, new porch and balcony and a custom A-frame roofline complete the transformation of this home in Chicago's trendy Bucktown neighborhood.

Before: Historic but Humdrum

Built in 1890, this historic landmarked home retains the original wood trim but this dated kitchen certainly doesn't have much more in its favor.

After: A Kitchen That Really Cooks

Alison honored the home's history with wide-plank herringbone wood floors that flow throughout the main floor. A 13-foot island anchors the kitchen and provides seating and lots of handy storage and prep space.

Before: The '60s Called ...

Vacant for many years, this home was certainly showing its age with dated wood paneling and brown shag carpet.

After: Salvaged Wood FTW

Swapping out the dated '60s wood paneling for a salvaged barnwood wall brings this small living room into the 21st century. Custom-built floating shelves and niches add much-needed storage space while adding function to the focal wall.

Before: Characterless Kitchen

This kitchen from the '80s is functional but with builder-basic white cabinets and black granite countertops, it definitely doesn't feel like the heart of the home.

After: Charmingly Custom

Alison incorporates high-end details into all her kitchens and this charmer is no exception. She replaced the builder-basic cabinets with custom versions that stretch to the ceiling to offer up extra storage. A classic navy blue island with a manufactured soapstone countertop provides contrast while brass pendants bring in some sparkle.

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