Alison Victoria of “Windy City Rehab” is in some serious trouble. After getting sucked into legal scandals involving her former partner, Donovan Eckhardt, she’s parted ways with him and is trying to move on.
But can she? In the episode “Going Big on Berenice,” Victoria has begun working on a huge house on Berenice Street in Chicago, but soon runs into problems. Since Eckhardt was involved in this deal early on, and had allegedly bungled paperwork along the way, a stop-work order was placed on the building. This causes an expensive nine-month delay, and eventually Victoria realizes that she may not turn a profit on this house.
To make up for lost time, she decides to add features that are so amazing, the house could fetch a high price—all without making her spend a ton more money. Read on to find out the special upgrades Victoria adds that make this house stand out, and might work well in your own home, too.
Curb appeal matters a lot
When Victoria starts work on this house, she’s disappointed with the exterior. With faux stone on the façade and a brown door, it looks dated and dull.
“Curb appeal in this neighborhood is just like any other neighborhood: very important,” she explains, and makes plans to completely reimagine the exterior.
She gives the house a modern look by painting the exterior black and white. For some character, she adds cedar shingles as an architectural accent. This mix of colors and materials adds dimension to the house—it’s a far cry from the boring stone exterior that was there before.
When Victoria’s real estate agent, Vince, stops by to see the property, he loves the choices she’s made.
“The wood you put on the ceiling there, the entryway, really warms it up,” he says.
Add a mantel to this surprising spot
These days, people use their kitchens as a gathering space. It’s like a second living room.
So, for this kitchen, Victoria embraces the idea of a combined living room and kitchen by adding a traditional living room feature: a mantel.
Carpenter Ari Smejkal makes the mantel out of a beam from the home’s original structure. For added style, he cuts out corbels from extra pieces of the wood.
The finished mantel looks perfect in the kitchen, bringing a rustic, earthy vibe to the space that makes it feel extra homey.
“It’s almost like this is the future of kitchens, right?” Victoria says. “That it’s a kitchen but you can’t tell.”
Brass shelves add some bling
The mantel over the range is already the showstopper in this kitchen, but Victoria isn’t done yet.
She wants to give the kitchen lots of character, so she installs floating shelves made of brass. These shelves add a little glam to the space without looking too flashy.
“It complements the kitchen,” Victoria says.
Once these shelves are staged with some plants and artwork, they really stand out as one of the most beautiful storage solutions in the house.
Install an island in the walk-in closet
Victoria’s kitchen storage may look great, but it’s not as creative as the storage she creates for the walk-in closet.
She buys a red antique cabinet with tons of small drawers, knowing this will be perfect for storing accessories. Before putting it in the closet, she fixes it up to make it look more modern.
“I knew that with a beautiful coat, or three coats, of paint, and some new cabinet hardware and a new top, that this could look like a million bucks,” she says.
Sure enough, the closet island looks amazing and very high-end.
Turn an end table into a vanity
As it turns out, the closet isn’t the only place Victoria uses a refurbished antique.
Victoria finds a charming old end table and wants to use it—but not as an end table. She puts a sink in the top and has it installed as a vanity in the bathroom.
Once the new vanity is installed, it looks perfect. The wood detail gives the bathroom a classic, elegant look.
“The small side table looks killer in the powder room,” Victoria says when the project is done.
Fill a bathtub from the ceiling
Victoria gives the master bathroom a large shower and a clean design. Then, to make it extra special, she designs the tub so that it fills up from the ceiling.
“Super cool,” Vince says. “I like that a lot.”
This feature is sure to attract buyers who want a bathroom that feels luxurious and unique.
How does this ‘Windy City Rehab’ turn out?
Given the home’s location and size, Victoria had first seen it as a bargain, paying $487,500 for the place. However, after some expensive delays, she ends up spending a total of $1,029,750 on the renovations.
She lists the house at $1,650,000, and while it’s unknown by the end of the episode whether it sells, if it does at that list price, she could make a profit of $132,000. Maybe after the tough road Victoria’s had lately, her hard work on this place will pay off.
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