Windy City Rehab designer Alison Victoria has a reputation for curating some of the most stylish homes in Chicago – and this most recently includes her 'dream home' –in one of the most unexpected buildings in the city.
In her new HGTV spin-off show, Alison’s Dream Home, the designer shares her 'most personal project' to date – set in her former industrial-style warehouse. While the building was not constructed with home comforts in mind, Alison decided to renovate the space into a beautifully dark living and working space – but the idea only came after initially planning to leave the city.
'Chicago has always been home to me. I was born and raised here, I came back after college, and I really grew my business here. My highest highs and lowest lows have all happened in the city,' she says in HGTV footage. 'When you keep getting hit after hit after hit, it cost me everything... Just when I was ready to pack it all up, sell the office and leave the city, I had maybe my biggest idea yet.'
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After listing her office, Alison received an offer and heard of plans to rezone the warehouse into a residential space. 'I said, I'm sorry, what? I immediately started saying: this is my new house,' she comments.
'This has always felt like such a cool space; it's a cool mix of industrial and traditional, so now it's actually happening. Transforming my office and this big commercial space into a dream home is going to be the toughest project I've ever done. But that doesn't scare me.
'I'm going to put it all on the line, everything I've ever wanted, every penny I could ever spend. Every hurdle I could overcome. I'm going to design the biggest, the baddest, the sexiest live-work dream home I could ever imagine. When I'm done with this space, there will be nothing like it in Chicago.'
And that, she has achieved.
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Revealing the finished home in the photos above, Alison has softened the warehouse's raw industrial roots while still paying homage to its heritage by accentuating its wooden beams and stained glass windows.
The home is comforting but contemporary – serving as the multifunctional space the designer had intended – but despite all its design quirks – we'd say her dramatic dark paint choices come out on top. And Washington-based designer Bethany Reilly agrees.
Bethany, too, has recently worked on a project that uses black paint to create a 'traditional English library feel', similar to the one seen in Alison's home. However, there is more than one way to achieve a dark living room without having to repaint an entire space.
Bethany Reilly is a Washington-based designer and founder of an eponymous design firm specializing in Residential & Commercial design. She attended CIDA-accredited Bellevue College, where she received her Associate Applied Arts in Interior Design – and has a history in commercial tenant improvements and high-end residential projects.
'Using a dark paint color is the easiest way to achieve this look. However, you can also create this mood with lighting and furnishings,' she says.
'Some designers opt to paint the ceiling white with black walls, but I think it vastly depends on the space. Dressing things up with crown molding, coffered ceilings, and highly reflective finishes completes the look.'
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Though controversial because most designers aim to create homes that are light, bright and airy, 'dark spaces are one of the top interior design trends for 2023 and they may be around a while. Designers and homeowners are finding this style gives a comforting and rich aesthetic, and they are here for it,' says Bethany.
We love the finish, and we're buying our way into this dream home with these Alison-inspired buys below.
This antique gold frame is described as a 'gallery classic' and wouldn't look out of place above any fireplace or on any gallery wall. It's also similar to the gold frame that creates a striking contrast against Alison's black-painted shelves.
A soft charcoal black, After Hours, is a soft yet daringly dark hue that is an (almost) perfect color match to the one seen around Alison's home – from her aforementioned shelves to her kitchen cabinets.
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Megan is the Head of Celebrity Style News at Homes & Gardens. She first joined Future Plc as a News Writer across their interiors titles, including Livingetc and Real Homes, before becoming H&G's News Editor in April 2022. She now leads the Celebrity/ News team. Before joining Future, Megan worked as a News Explainer at The Telegraph, following her MA in International Journalism at the University of Leeds. During her BA in English Literature and Creative Writing, she gained writing experience in the US while studying in New York. Megan also focused on travel writing during her time living in Paris, where she produced content for a French travel site. She currently lives in London with her antique typewriter and an expansive collection of houseplants.
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