Clients are back in the mix for Alison Victoria, ‘Windy City Rehab’

For the first time this season, host Alison Victoria takes on clients and helps hem build their dream home on a tight budget.

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This Tri-Taylor brick home is the latest project for Alison Victoria on “Windy City Rehab.” 

This Tri-Taylor brick home is the latest project for Alison Victoria on “Windy City Rehab.”

HGTV/Screenshot from video

After a season (so far) of personal projects mainly outside the city, “Windy City Rehab” pivoted for a Chicago-centric episode that paired host Alison Victoria together with a couple who have grand plans and a tight budget.

Here’s how the fifth episode of Season 3 played out Thursday night:

Spoilers ahead!

The house

Now that Victoria finished her investment properties, she accepted new clients Amin and Nahal Mashouf, a married couple who bought a brick house at 2521 W. Harrison St. in the tony Tri-Taylor neighborhood. Built in the 1890s, the 3,400-sq.-ft. home boasts three floors plus a basement and roof deck.

It was easy to tell why the Mashoufs picked Victoria: They envisioned painting the brick white and trim black.

“Having Alison on board is a big relief,” Amin Mashouf explained, “because it was nights thinking about ‘How am I going to do this?’”

Inside, construction work already started with all the kitchen and bath appliances ripped out along with floors and fixtures. As they walked through, the Mashoufs described the wine cellar they wanted under the stairs, and the gym and sauna in the basement. Knowing Victoria’s passion for custom kitchen hoods, they asked her to design one to make their kitchen pop.

With just a $150,000 budget for a luxury design, Victoria had her work cut out for her.

“That might seem like a lot of money,” Victoria said, “but with all their luxury design ideas, the budget is not that much. That $150,000 might not be enough.”

The rehab

With six months to move-in, Victoria called the two to her office to go over the design plan while work continued at the house.

Trouble emerged when the house failed plumbing and electrical inspections. Contractor Jesus showed Alison where outdated plumbing and electrical wires had been fitted to an exterior wall, clear code violations. It would cost about $15,000 to remove and reinstall everything.

The two then called Amin Mashouf to share the bad news and decide what to do. After hearing the problem and how much it would cost to fix, the client asked, “Who’s paying for this?”

“Hmm, you.” they answered.

Amin Mashouf took the bad news in stride and agreed to drop the rooftop deck renovations.

After choosing a few kitchen hood style options for her clients, Victoria headed out to Germantown, Wisconsin, to artisan Ari’s farm to price various projects. The two decided on mixed materials for the living room mantle, a sexier, modern vibe for the bedroom mantle, and a custom pedestal for the kitchen island. To make the pedestal special, Ari planned to carve a log into hexagon shape and then use a Japanese wood preservation technique called Shou Sugi Ban.

As the deadline loomed, the construction team finished the drywall and install the floors. Meanwhile in Atlanta, Victoria found two carved, antique doors to frame the kitchen doorway, and a brass border for the primary bedroom’s fireplace.

Amin and Nahal Mashouf discuss the design dreams for their three-story Chicago home with Alison Victoria (right) on “Windy City Rehab.”| 

Amin and Nahal Mashouf discuss the design dreams for their three-story Chicago home with Alison Victoria (right) on “Windy City Rehab.”|

HGTV/Screenshot from video

Finishing touches

As the house came together, Ari arrived for his installation day, which Victoria assumed would require one day for the pedestal, fireplace mantels and other small projects. Facing long lead times for materials, Ari hadn’t gotten the brass plating to line the pedestal, and he'd never received full dimensions and materials on the bedroom fireplace, so neither of those jobs were finished. The designer, chatting with Ari over video call, could not have been less pleased.

“I knew she was going to yell at me today,” Ari laughed.

Ari finally received the materials, and with four days until the couple’s move-in, he managed to install his projects just as the construction team finished work on the primary bedroom’s closet and installation of the kitchen doors from Atlanta.

Standing in front of Ari’s finished mantle, Victoria mused, “If this is not fireplace goals, I don’t know what is.”

The end

The Mashoufs arrived at their new home to find its brick unpainted but the window trim painted a striking black. A new and tall front door as well as two outdoor sconces greeted them.

Inside, they marveled at their new living space and admired the way the new kitchen doors matched the floor. While checking out the media room, gym and sauna in the basement, Amin Mashouf said he would be “giving up my gym membership.” The custom hood now finished wowed the couple in the kitchen, and they loved the space for booking, cooking and bartending.

Upstairs, the primary bedroom design — which combined the bathroom, closet and bedroom in one open-concept-styled space with a custom fireplace mantle — blew them away.

“Thank you so much for truly making our dreams come true!” Nahal Mashouf gushed after seeing the house.

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