Gold Coast condo gets a makeover on ‘Windy City Rehab’

Ted, a close friend of host Alison Victoria’s, bought a condo in Chicago’s Gold Coast neighborhood, and it needs a major update. Here’s how Victoria tackled the project.

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Alison Victoria designed this modern kitchen for her latest client for his Gold Coast condo makeover.

Photo from video/HGTV

It’s never a good idea to mix personal relationships with business ones — or is it?

When “Windy City Rehab” host Alison Victoria’s friend needs to renovate his Gold Coast condo, the designer finds out firsthand whether the two can make it work on this and other business projects.

Here’s how it all went down in this most recent episode.

Spoilers ahead!

The house

Ted, owner of Diamond Wine Importers and a friend of Victoria’s for six years, bought his Gold Coast condo for $500,000 and planned to redo it. The unit, which covered an entire floor and provided beautiful views of Lake Michigan, resided in a high-rise originally built by a team of doctors in 1922 just after the Spanish flu pandemic, according to Victoria.

Inside, many of the original elements remained, including old appliances in the kitchen and folding butcher blocks that would expand the counter space. An old vestibule would be repurposed to be part of the main suite. Victoria planned for a guest bedroom and bathroom, and Ted requested turning a wood-paneled room into a billiards room.

Both Ted and designe/architect Tom Nahabedian pressed to preserve the character of the condo as much as possible, but there was one design element Ted refused: wall sconces.

“Who hates sconces? Like, who hates sconces?” Victoria asked incredulously.

Ted insisted on keeping the budget below $1 million and a Christmas deadline, The team had a big project on their hands.

But it wouldn’t be the only project. Victoria and Ted were also working together on her personal line of wine, which would be made from Greek grapes in homage to Victoria’s heritage. He helped her narrow down the scents and tastes she wanted for her label.

The rehab

The building permits came through, and demolition began. While walking through the unit with Nahabedian, Victoria indicated which architectural features she wanted to keep as much as possible. Although a kitchen wall had been knocked down all the appliances had to be replaced, the designer salvaged the original cabinet hardware for future projects and chose butcher block pieces so artisan Ari could make something special for Ted.

“The kitchen is dated but there’s something really beautiful about it,” Victoria mused. “Finding perfection in imperfection. But then there’s so much craftsmanship.”

With Ted in tow, the designers headed to Calia Stone to pick out slabs for his countertops and backsplash for the kitchen and billiards room bars. The slabs needed to be different yet still complimentary, and Ted originally chose a backsplash the other designers felt was too safe. Ted eventually relented and selected a more muted white for the kitchen and a black slab with gold and white veins running through it as countertops and backsplashes for the bars.

“People like Ted hire designer like Tom and myself because they don’t know what they’re doing,” Victoria explained. “With Ted, it just takes a little massaging.”

The wide-open dining room needed a statement table, so Victoria took Ari to Timberworks to choose live-edge slabs that would be turned into a dining table. Ari planned to saw off the bark sides and would use antique cast bronze legs to hold it up.

Up at Ari’s farm, Victoria panicked when she realized only a small piece of the original butcher block countertop made it there. The rest had been thrown out. Thinking quickly, the artisan carved up the block and made a charcuterie board out of it.

“That yin-yang that Ari and I have is powerful,” she said. “It’s like, I’m pissed off that they threw out the butcher block and he’s sitting there going, ‘Why don’t we do something with what we do have?’”

Work continued while Victoria and Ted flew to Greece, so Victoria could sample wines for her label and they could both go antiquing. Ted managed to find two wall sconces that he liked, which made Victoria cheer.

The crew at the condo stayed on schedule as Ari finished the live-edge table and installed it right on time.

The end

Victoria and Tom gave Ted a tour of his newly renovated home, starting with the entry way next to the private elevator which was lit by one of the sconces from Greece. After breezing through a hallway-turned-art-gallery, the trio arrived in the kitchen, which featured blond-colored cabinets that matched the redone floors and the white quartz countertop that Ted chose. A cabinet opened to reveal the bar with the dramatic black and gold countertop and backsplash.

The kitchen now opened to the dining room with its massive table and decorative light fixture above. Ari managed to sand down the sides and combine several slabs into one piece, which Ted gushed over.

Victoria and Ted took Ted through his new primary suite, complete with a killer closet and private bathroom, but he especially loved his new billiards room. The benches provided plenty of seating, and bar matched the one in the kitchen.

With no major problems, the project stayed on budget at $1 million.

“It is really a blessing that we’re here today,” Victoria conceded. “I will tell you that.”

Now the only thing left to do was sit back and enjoy a glass of wine from Victoria’s new label, which Ted brought out for the occasion.

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