Luxe Life Blog
Alison Victoria, UNLV student designer turned HGTV DIY star
While Robin Leach takes his traditional summer vacation under the Tuscan sun in Italy, many of our Strip and Las Vegas personalities have stepped forward in his absence to pen their own words of wisdom. Our thanks to them all. We continue today with interior designer Alison Victoria, who began designing at age 10 when she asked her mom if she could tackle the basement in their new house. After completing her studies at UNLV, Alison started her career as the youngest designer working for Christopher Homes in Las Vegas.
Two years later, Alison launched her own interior design firm, Alison Victoria Interiors Inc. in Chicago and Las Vegas, where she brings design and personality together at boutiques, resorts and residences. She created a line of modern luxury furniture and also serves as creative director for Silverton Casino Lodge, where she oversaw its $160 million expansion and new pavilion. On HGTV’s “Kitchen Crashers,” Alison hunts in stores across America for people who need help bringing style, beauty and simplicity to their kitchens.
By Alison Victoria
Just like every little boy wants to grow up and become Superman, every little girl wants to grow up and become a … kitchen crasher! I feel like pinching myself every morning and find myself wondering how I got to this amazing point in my life.
Being famous wasn’t in the cards at age 31, and my dreams of being the next Bond girl were out the window. Or so I thought. My life is, and has always been, far from ordinary. At 9, I remember being more excited about the space planning of my friend’s bedroom than playing hide-and-seek with my brothers and sister.
Design was in my blood, it was my passion, and my goal was to make sure I became a household name in the design field when I grew up. Fast forward 22 years. I find myself being followed around by cameras in home improvement stores trying to find a homeowner to surprise with a custom-designed kitchen.
Being the host and designer on HGTV’s “Kitchen Crashers” for the past year has made me realize that you can have and do whatever you want. I always wanted to be an interior designer; I get a high from pleasing clients and revealing spaces. I’ve always had Tasmanian Devil energy, and I’ve never exercised that much in the patience department.
Put all of those things together, and it makes for the perfect kitchen crasher. To date, I have crashed 26 kitchens, I have changed the lives of 26 families, and I have achieved the same high 26 times that I used to achieve only twice a year when designing privately.
I get to wake up every day and do what I love. I get to design and build kitchens from start to finish in three days, and I get to do all of that on my own TV show in front of millions of people. Sounds glamorous, doesn’t it? Think again.
Day 1 on set: Twenty-five push-ups to warm up, sledgehammer in hand and the demo begins. Cabinets are flying, countertops are breaking, and dust clouds are so thick, I can’t see the camera (and there might be some asbestos). I forgot to mention makeup touch-ups in between.
Day 2 on set: DIY projects with homeowners, surprise reveals (new cabinets, appliances, backsplash tile, etc.), shopping at Home Goods for accessories -- and constant laughing with the crew.
Day 3 on set: Complete and total chaos! Thirty people in and out of the kitchen finishing up details, the crew placing inside bets on what time we’ll finish this time, and the big reveal.
Nothing can describe the feeling I have minutes before the homeowners come in to see their new kitchen. I feel giddy and nervous at the same time, but the minute they walk in and see the new kitchen, I feel like it’s the first time.
But never the last. I plan on crashing kitchens and changing lives for years to come. I have it all and owe it all to the people who work with me and support me every day. After all, you are only as good as the people you work with, and I feel lucky knowing I have the best of the best.
Dream big, know that you can’t have it all at once, be scared, and never say never.
Our thanks to Alison for the wham, bam “crash” success story. Be sure to check out our other guest columns today from nightlife czar Jack Colton and Christophe Tassan, the director of wine at Mandalay Bay. Join us Monday with “Jersey Boys” at the Paris cast members, Ron Randazzo’s amazing 30-year run as the manager of a landmark Las Vegas restaurant and the high-powered female executive of a Las Vegas entertainment and sports conglomerate.
Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.
Follow Robin Leach on Twitter at Twitter.com/Robin_Leach.
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