The HGTV star recently completed her dream home in Chicago.
Alison Victoria is finally in her dream home. After a series of personal and professional challenges, the Chicago-based HGTV star managed to convert her industrial office into a stunning live-work space in seven months for $1.2 million, $400,000 of which came in the form of a loan from her best friends.
"I had to do it because I couldn't get a conventional loan," Victoria told ET's Deidre Behar during a tour of the 7,000 square foot space. "I had this big grand idea. I go, 'Oh, I'm going to get this done. I'm going to use the money I got from my Vegas house. I’m going to put that in. That will be enough.' Then it kept adding up."
A conventional loan wasn't in the cards for Victoria after she parted ways with her former business partner, contractor Donovan Eckhardt, amid legal wars with former clients who sued for alleged fraud and shoddy construction.
"I was like, 'Oh wait, no one's gonna [give me] a loan,'" Victoria recalled. "... So I had to either say, 'I've got to get out now,' or I have to ask for help. And so I went to two of my friends, they loaned me a total of $400,000. I still owe that money back to them. I don't have that right now."
Victoria wants fans to know that her miniseries documenting the renovation, Windy City Rehab: Alison's Dream Home, "is not some rich girl story."
"I had to ask hard questions, and I had to do the research, and I had to constantly just go for it," she said. "Now I'm in a place where I'm like, 'OK, I'll work my ass off to make money to pay my friends back to live in this dream home.' I'll do just that, but it's still a reality that this wouldn't have happened without so many people and I'm just really grateful."
The dream home almost didn't come to fruition amid Victoria's legal woes, as she had initially decided to sell everything she owned in Chicago and move out west.
"I was in kind of a mess of lawsuits and was ready to leave the city," she explained. "This was the last thing I had for sale. It would have been the last tie to the city that I grew up in, lived in and loved."
When Victoria got an offer on the property and learned that the potential buyer wanted to rezone the office space for residential living, the HGTV had her lightbulb moment.
"I said, 'It's off the market,' and then it began," she said. "... This is my home and now I get to dream so, so big. I’m just the happiest I've ever been personally, professionally."
For Victoria, the renovation was "the easiest" she's ever done in one respect, because she "knew exactly what I wanted." The financial aspect, however, was a whole different story, as Victoria had two moments when she realized, "I don't know if I'm going to afford to pay for that."
"It was such a roller coaster," she admitted. "The emotions were the real challenge, because it was such an emotional time. I wasn't here half the time, I was out of my apartment, I lived out of luggage for seven months."
It was all worth it in the end, as Victoria ended up with a stunning space that she describes as European, industrial and contemporary. Built in the 1940s, the one-time factory features an 80-foot skylight and 36-foot ceilings. It boasts four bedrooms and three-and-a-half bathrooms, and has other features such as a custom brass hood in the kitchen, a full bar, and an "Italian garden"-inspired courtyard with heated floors and hot tub.
"Everything has a story from a shopping experience or a memory in my life," Victoria said. "... I feel like this is this culmination of everything that is me and more."
Now that it's all said and done, Victoria told ET, "to be here in this city that I grew up in, in a home that I never thought I would have, and not [be] scared anymore, that's really a special place for me to be."
"I know everything happens for a reason and I just feel lighter, brighter, happier," she said. "... How lucky am I?... I'm gonna pinch myself every day that I live here. Trust me."
Windy City Rehab: Alison's Dream Home airs Tuesdays on HGTV.