‘Windy City Rehab’ craftsman Ari Smejkal announces retirement

The news was revealed on Tuesday’s episode of ”Windy City Rehab: Alison’s Dream Home.”

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Alison Victoria and Ari Smejkal.

Alison Victoria and Ari Smejkal.

@thealisonvictoria on Instagram

Alison Victoria’s $1.2 million dollar “Dream Home” project couldn’t hold a candle to the news on Tuesday that “Windy City Rehab” craftsman Ari Smejkal is retiring.

The news came in the final minutes of Tuesday night’s second episode of ”Windy City Rehab: Alison’s Dream Home,” the HGTV series showcasing Victoria’s transformation of her former Chicago office/warehouse into the home of her, well, dreams.

Smejkal as been part of the “Windy City Rehab” family for 7 years. He’s the uber-talented artisan who can build seemingly anything out of lumber and nails in the Germantown, Wis., farm headquarters of his Hammer Design Group.

Last week, Smejkal revealed he was stepping away from Victoria’s project and heading to India for a month for specialized treatment for his seriously ailing shoulders, the result of more than 30 years of hammering, lifting lumber and cabinets, moving wall units and the like. He returned to the show “a new man,” according to Victoria, even sporting a pinky ring in one video chat, much to her giggling surprise.

On Instagram, Victoria shared her thoughts on his retirement, writing in part: “What a wild and crazy ride we’ve been on for the last 12 years. Our friendship is the part I cherish the most. Having each others backs through the highs and lows and always supporting each other when we needed it most.”


“I love you. I just want you to be happy,” Victoria tells a choked-up Smejkal during their conversation declaring her support for his decision.

According to a 2020 interview with Smejkal, he’s built interiors for more than 100 Chicago restaurants.

Meanwhile, the dream home work continues as Victoria bemoans the lack of cash that could sideline her project. (No worries, scenes from the final episode next week show the finished product.)

The sale of her Atlanta condo (on which she was counting to finance her dream house) has stalled and she reveals she turned to family and friends for a loan to finance the costly re-do of the 6,250-square-foot Windy City site.

We’ll have to wait until next Tuesday to see how her French fireplace mantels, antique Italian doors, towering skylights, indoor spa pool, super industrial kitchen, olive tree planters, bedroom oasis and the massive, one-of-a-kind, 15-feet-wide-by-20-feet-tall bar (thank you, Ari) all come together for her Parisian-inspired home.

Is there a Smejkal woodworking show possibly in the works?

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