Alison Victoria's Amazing Kitchen Remodels from HGTV's 'Windy City Rehab'

In Windy City Rehab, renovation and real estate pro Alison Victoria brings smart, urban design to neglected homes in Chicago's historic neighborhoods. Check out this before-and-after gallery of her killer kitchen transformations from the show's first season.

Photo By: Peter Wynn Thompson

Photo By: Peter Wynn Thompson

Photo By: Peter Wynn Thompson

Kitchens Reimagined, Chicago Style

Second City Heroes. Alison Victoria and contractor/business partner Donovan Eckhardt pose for a pic in the newly renovated kitchen in a restored bungalow in Chicago's Ukrainian Village neighborhood. This is just one of the spectacularly refurbished kitchens seen in the HGTV series, Windy City Rehab. This gallery takes you to several of the historic home remodels from the show's first season and focuses on Alison's stylish and imaginative kitchen designs.

A Radical Reno on Wabansia Avenue

Before the Renovation. A stylistically misguided '90s era new-build in Chicago's Bucktown replaced one of the district's historic 19th century cottage homes with this stone box with tiny glass-block windows, metal door and an exterior that Alison characterized as looking like a prison.

A Radical Reno on Wabansia Avenue

After. Alison and Donovan completely transformed the exterior, reclaiming the open porch facade and adding a second-floor balcony, striking black and white design elements, a new front door, stately columns and an A-frame profile that's far better suited to the historic character of the neighborhood.

A Radical Reno on Wabansia Avenue

Before. Prior to the renovation the kitchen was '90s-contemporary but strictly bare-bones, stark and uninteresting.

A Radical Reno on Wabansia Avenue

After. Alison's design brought visual interest and elegance to the kitchen with a striking blue kitchen island, twin brass pendants and classic Shaker style cabinets in bright white. Other features include a separate wet bar with open live-edge shelving, gray marble backsplash and a large pantry with rustic dark-stained doors.

Wicker Park Landmark

Alison and Donovan restored this massive 1890s-era landmarked home in Chicago's Wicker Park neighborhood, seen here after the renovation. They faithfully preserved and revitalized the home's historic features like the original cornice design and brick facing.

Wicker Park Landmark

Before. The dated interior came with beige wall-to-wall carpeting but retained some of the authentic vintage features like original wood trim and casings.

Wicker Park Landmark

After. Alison's new structural design removed walls and expanded the home's footprint with a rear addition, yielding an interior in the 5000-square-foot range. She opened up first-floor spaces to create an open floor plan highlighted by a spacious and spectacular kitchen.

Wicker Park Landmark

After. The new kitchen features wide-plank hardwood flooring in herringbone design and light oak shade, a 13-foot kitchen island (the largest Alison had ever designed), forest green cabinetry and a brushed brass range hood.

Wicker Park Landmark

Before. The home's existing kitchen was small, dingy and dated. The renovation modified the spaces and incorporated a massive kitchen that opened onto newly configured dining and living rooms.

Wicker Park Landmark

After. Part of what had been the original, small kitchen is transformed into this breakfast nook with custom banquette with tufted chocolate brown upholstery and a vintage stained-glass pendant fixture. A glass wall with arched metal casing and salvaged antique doors open onto a massive new family room.

Bucktown Rebuild

In the renovation featured in the series premiere, Alison and Donovan took on the makeover of a dilapidated 1903 Bucktwown two-flat on Wabansia Avenue — seen here after the renovation was complete. Following serious setbacks that included crumbling walls and a stop-work order from the city, the home had to essentially be re-created from the ground up, reworking of the entire structure within its original footprint. Though many of the homes original features were beyond saving, Alison paid tribute to the its historic roots, integrating features such as a vintage brick exterior and antique doors. The renovation, which returned the converted two-flat to a single family home, took nine months to complete.

Bucktown Rebuild

Before. Houses in the Bucktown district typically sell for $1.5 million and up, but the Wabansia house will need considerable upgrades inside and out before putting it on the market. The existing kitchen was small and separated from other first-floor spaces.

Bucktown Rebuild

After. The home's layout was completely transformed. The front dining room now flows into an open, elongate kitchen with a large island, white manufactured stone countertops and ceiling-height cabinets.

Bucktown Rebuild

Before. Prior to the renovation the kitchen was, in Alison's words, "beyond dated." It had vinyl flooring, laminate countertops, wallpaper backsplash, old appliances and an awkward layout — with a dishwasher that opened from the side of the island facing away from the kitchen.

Bucktown Rebuild

After. Alison selected a backsplash of marble tile with a distinctive pattern to mesh visually among the home's period features. The wide island has seating for four to accommodate conversation with the cook and casual dining.

Bucktown Rebuild

After. The quartz-composite countertops are designed to resemble marble but are low-maintenance and resistant to staining and temperature.

Bucktown Rebuild

After. Other kitchen highlights include a pro-grade range, farmhouse style sink and soft gray paint for the island cabinets.

Stately Splendor on Hoyne Ave.

Before. This modest A-frame with dated exterior gets transformed into an upscale single-family home with a striking exterior, English influences and elegant interiors that include a showplace kitchen. The house was built in 1888 and is about 2000 square feet. It listed for $560,000.

Stately Splendor on Hoyne Ave.

After. The newly rebuilt structure is now two full stories with a Euro-inspired facade, cornice design, and massive double front-doors with an ornate casing surround. The renovation costs totaled around $552,000 for an overall investment, after the purchase price, of just over $1.1 million. The asking price for the renovated property was $1.4 million.

Stately Splendor on Hoyne Ave.

Before. The kitchen was small, unattractive and badly dated, with a mix of tile flooring and multiple entrances.

Stately Splendor on Hoyne Ave.

Before. The oddly configured kitchen had a bathroom adjacent to the food prep area and exactly one upper kitchen cabinet.

Stately Splendor on Hoyne Ave.

After. The formerly cramped and tiny kitchen kitchen is supplanted by this sleek and lavish space featuring a large island, state-of-the-art range and custom hood. "It's my favorite kitchen that I've ever designed," said Alison.

Stately Splendor on Hoyne Ave.

After. The countertops and island surface are made from engineered marble for low maintenance and high durability. The two-tone hood was specially designed by Alison and becomes the visual centerpiece of the space. Ceiling-height black cabinets provide a dramatic contrast against the white marble backsplash and are given an added flourish with unlacquered brass hardware.

Stately Splendor on Hoyne Ave.

After. The open floor plan features a living area with two fireplaces that opens onto the dining area and kitchen.

A Multi-Level Challenge in Bucktown

Alison and Donovan faced a variety of setbacks when they renovated a dated '80s style two-story home on Wabansia Ave. in Chicago's trendy Bucktown – transforming a property with serious structural issues into this luxurious urban cottage with stylish and contemporary interiors.

A Multi-Level Challenge in Bucktown

Before. The sunken galley kitchen was accessible from two levels via wide stairs with open risers - a configuration no longer permitted undedr current building codes. The overall ceiling height in the space is a desirable feature, as well as the hardwood flooring which was in relatively good condition.

A Multi-Level Challenge in Bucktown

After. Alison's design modifications raised a portion of the floor to expand the footprint of the kitchen and create a bi-level open concept space encompassing the kitchen and dining area. "From the outside to the inside," she says, "I have completely transformed the look and feel of this house, the levels of the home and the functionality."

A Multi-Level Challenge in Bucktown

After. The contemporary kitchen is balanced out with rustic touches including exposed wood beams and a custom island created using an antique hutch as the base. The hutch is stained dark and retains all of its original hardware.

A Multi-Level Challenge in Bucktown

After. Alison went with lighter tones for the cabinets and countertops to make the space feel larger. The design and shade of the tile backsplash was inspired by an antique corner cabinet Alison found for the adjacent breakfast nook.

A Multi-Level Challenge in Bucktown

 "The fact that I am bringing back this house to that old cottage feel that this street was known for," says Alison, "but in a more updated contemporary way — that's me leaving my stamp on the city."

The Lincoln Park Fourplex

This home in the upscale Lincoln Park neighborhood in Chicago was built in 1893 as a single-family home but later converted into four apartment units. Alison and Donovan opted to maintain the building as four separate rental apartments with hopes of selling the building. The newly renovated exterior now features a refinished entry with stylish black arch, black framed windows, exterior sconces, window boxes and new landscaping. 

The Lincoln Park Fourplex

Apartment 1, Before. The lower-front apartment, prior to the renovation, featured high ceilings and a main living area that opens onto the kitchen through an arched opening. The existing kitchen is badly dated but fairly spacious, with a powder room off the left side.

The Lincoln Park Fourplex

Apartment 1, After. The remodeled space is opened up and designed to maximize space. All of the units get red oak flooring, similar to what was originally in the home.

The Lincoln Park Fourplex

Apartment 2, Before. The first-floor rear apartment was in worse condition with extensive damage to both floor and ceiling due to moisture. "It just looks like a scary movie," Alison said.

The Lincoln Park Fourplex

Apartment 2, After. The four individual units are all slightly different, but each comes with two bedrooms, kitchen and living space and is designed with amenities like in-unit washer-dryers.

The Lincoln Park Fourplex

Apartment 2, Before

The Lincoln Park Fourplex

Apartment 2, After. The kitchen in this unit gets a gas stove and sleek, modern styled range hood in black and brass finish.

The Lincoln Park Fourplex

Apartment 3, Before. The kitchen in this unit came with dingy, dated wallpaper and old linoleum flooring.

The Lincoln Park Fourplex

Apartment 3, After. Alison stepped up the surfaces in this kitchen with a genuine marble backsplash in larger tile, a solid brass range hood and twin globe pendants above the peninsula.

The Lincoln Park Fourplex

Apartment 4, After. During construction, new kitchen tile was installed improperly in this unit. Alison insisted that it be ripped out and replaced. "We're selling sophisticated living," she said. "It's on our signage, it's on our brand. If it's not looking great, it's not sophisticated living."

The Skyline Penthouse

Alison and Donovan took on one of their bigger challenges in renovating this Lincoln Park penthouse that features a private elevator and three rooftop outdoor spaces.

The Skyline Penthouse

Before. The penthouse had only a modest galley kitchen with dated cabinetry, tile floor and popcorn ceiling — hardly a kitchen suited to penthouse lifestyle.

The Skyline Penthouse

After. Alison's remodel included removal of a wall, expanding the kitchen into the adjacent space and the addition of hardwood flooring, all new cabinetry in contrasting white and black, and a large island with waterfall-edge countertop.

The Skyline Penthouse

Before. The kitchen, prior to the renovation, was cramped and awkward, but offered amazing views and a door that opened directly into a rooftop balcony.

The Skyline Penthouse

After. The open concept kitchen has stylish, modern appeal with high-gloss white cabinets offset by matte black and natural wood tones and a mirror backsplash.

The Skyline Penthouse

Before

The Skyline Penthouse

After. In the new floor plan, the kitchen opens onto the living area on one side and adjacent informal dining nook at the other. The new layout and design takes far better advantage of the apartment's amazing views and natural light. "It's got a lot of very cool, kind of clean-line contemporary looks," says Alison, " but a little more traditional in terms of color."

The Thomas Street Bungalow

The Ukrainian Village district in Chicago has streets lined with old worker's cottages, many dating to the late 19th century. The houses tend to be small and attract modern buyers looking for charming, cozy homes with history. This is one, built in 1891, is one of the neighborhood's original cottages. Since it's a Chicago Landmarked home, any restoration is guided by specific regulations designed to keep vintage homes true to their historic roots. This visually striking Craftsman style exterior provided inspiration for Alison and Donovan's interior renovations. 

The Thomas Street Bungalow

Before. Though parts of the home contained desirable vintage features like exposed brick, original molding and a fireplace with etched marble surround, the kitchen suffers from an '80s era update with no-frills cabinetry and a blue and green linoleum floor.

The Thomas Street Bungalow

After. The kitchen gets a total visual transformation with hardwood flooring, an oversized island and massive brass range hood that extends on either side of the range - providing the space with a dramatic statement piece. "It's definitely the biggest hood I've ever done," said Alison.

The Thomas Street Bungalow

Before. The renovation entailed a complete overhaul of the kitchen, an expanded footprint with an addition off the back and removal of walls to return the home to a single-family home floor plan. In the new layout, the entire main level will be opened up from front to back with each space defined by two arched openings.

The Thomas Street Bungalow

After. The new kitchen features plenty of storage including matching arched built-ins with internal accent lighting and illuminated from above by antique pendant lights that were salvaged from a 1910 Chicago office building. The remodel also includes a walk-in pantry with an antique door and custom stained-glass panel for the transom, contributing one of several arts-and-crafts touches.

The Thomas Street Bungalow

A Piece of (Modern) History. According to the realtor, members of the band Wilco lived for a time in this house and recorded some of the album Yankee Hotel Foxtrot in this space adjacent to the kitchen. Its place in musical history notwithstanding, the space could use some sprucing up.

The Thomas Street Bungalow

After. The space, now transformed into a stylish breakfast nook, features a built-in banquette with storage units and room for formal or informal dining,

The Thomas Street Bungalow

Alison and Donovan show potential buyers Jake and Julia some of the unique features in the newly expanded and remodeled kitchen. Alison and Donovan were delayed on this renovation for four months, waiting on the necessary permits from the Landmark office. The extra expenses and efforts paid off, however, with the house selling for $1.3 million.

Windy-City Inspired

Keep checking back here for more Windy City Rehab updates including additional galleries, feature articles and an exclusive bonus video series that you can only see here.

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