HGTV and DIY Network Designer Alison Victoria is a proud Greek-American. Learn about her Chicago roots, hew new show, and more.
If you’re a fan of home improvement shows, you’re surely familiar with Alison Victoria, best known as the host of HGTV and DIY’s ‘Kitchen Crashers’. But did you know, she’s a proud Greek from Chicago? We had the chance to catch up with Alison last week, and speak to her about her roots, her upcoming projects, and hosting the Ascension Legacy Gala on February 4. Read on to learn more about Alison.
Meet Designer Alison Victoria at the Ascension Legacy Gala on February 4. COURTESY: ALISON VICTORIA INTERIORS
Meet Alison Victoria
Born and raised in Chicago, Alison Victoria Gramenos and her family — including 2 brothers and a sister — attended St. Andrew’s Church in Chicago. The family eventually moved to Lincolnwood, and began attending SS Peter and Paul Church in Glenview. Alison traces her Greek roots to Athens and Larissa. She’s very proud of her heritage.
“The older I get, the more I appreciate being 100% Greek. My parents instilled in me this drive and work ethic. It’s a nature vs. nurture thing. My father had this incredible work ethic, and I learned it from him. It drives me in all I do.”
Alison loves to travel.
“It’s my #1 favorite thing to do. It inspires me in so many ways — the colors of the world, the textiles, the landscape.”
Designing a career
Alison said she always knew what she wanted to do. In fact, she began envisioning and shaping interiors at the tender age of 7.
“I started off rearranging my room. Then it was my friend’s bedrooms. Then I began refinishing furniture, ripping up carpet. I’ve always known what I wanted to do. This has helped me stay focused, and helped me to establish myself faster.”
In 1999, she left her hometown to attend the University of Nevada Las Vegas. During her sophomore year, she began working for an interior designer in Las Vegas. After graduation, she joined luxury home builder Christopher Homes, and became their youngest designer. There, she created gorgeous interiors in semi-custom homes.
By 2001, she launched Alison Victoria Interiors, which has offices in Chicago and Las Vegas. Her consulting firm has designed spaces for resorts, private homes, boutiques, and more. Soon after, she began creating a line of modern luxury furniture. The Alison Victoria collection is no longer available, though she currently designs a small luxury furniture line for Interior Define in Chicago.
Among her most notable projects, Alison served as creative director for the Silverton Casino in Las Vegas. She oversaw their $160 million expansion. In 2011, she received the ‘Rising Stars of Business’ award from the Las Vegas Business Press.
Alison considers her style as a mix of vintage and modern, which allows her the flexibility to shape her sleek and elegant designs.
“I’m really into antiquing. My boyfriend loves to do that too, so we go together. I love to mix these finds with current pieces.”
Alison’s big break came about 6 years ago, when she answered an email from an LA production company. They sought a ‘ghost designer’ for HGTV. In this capacity, a designer would have the opportunity to work on the shows, but without credit, and for little pay.
“I thought it would be a good opportunity. The producers liked me and followed me with cameras. They began pitching ideas for shows to me, but I said no.”
Then Alison came up with a pitch of her own: create another spin-off of the ‘Crashers’ series, this time in the kitchen, featuring Alison as the first female ‘Crasher’. The producers loved the idea, and the series, ’Kitchen Crashers’, was born. The popular show, which aired on both HGTV and DIY Network, recently wrapped after 9 seasons.
‘Windy City Rehab’
Alison will be back on TV soon, with a brand new show set in her hometown.
“‘Windy City Rehab’ is a docu-series, following me around Chicago flipping houses that I own.”
Look for the new show to air later this year on HGTV.
Driven by the work ethic she learned from her dad, Alison will not rest on her laurels. In addition to the new TV show, she’s working on several projects with her development company. Plus, she represents noted brands, including GAF Roofing, the largest roofing manufacturer in the world. She’s also designing a new line of faucets and sinks for Kohler. She has many private clients, and is working on upscale restaurants and residences around the country.
“I’m working on another project that’s really exciting. I can’t tell you about it just yet, but I hope to reveal it soon.”
Ascension Legacy Gala
Alison is thrilled to serve as the MC for the upcoming Ascension Legacy Gala, on February 4 at the Lincolnshire Marriott Resort.
“I’m very excited to be part of this. Their building project has been in the works for a while, and will finally become a reality.”
It will be a great night to celebrate the future of the growing community of Ascension Greek Orthodox Church in Lincolnshire, IL.
Updated: This event has already taken place. It was an amazing night, with the parish raising nearly $1 million for their new church.