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Editor's Note:

Discuss Windy City Rehab Here!

 

Has anyone here seen this show? I know it's another flipping show, but I'm really liking it so far. I actually live in Chicago, so I like being able to see the various locations around the city. It'll be interesting what neighborhoods Alison decides to flip houses in as the show goes on. Maybe one where houses are more affordable? ;)

For the first episode, I really liked that Alison kept some vintage details in the house and kept some of the original house's soul. I enjoyed the second house as well.

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I also love the "house hunters" aspect of the show where we get to see 2 different properties in the beginning. It helps that she is in nice neighborhoods.

Honestly didn't love the white paint.  It looked out of place on the street. If she had kept the natural brick, I would have liked that better.

I like Alison, but where is her Chicago accent?  Didn't she say she is from Chicago? Also, her hair is distracting to me. She probably spends a fortune on it (bayalage?), but the difference in color bothers me. Sorry to be so superficial.  Super cute clothes, leggings, and shoes though.

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13 hours ago, MoreCoffeePlease said:

I also love the "house hunters" aspect of the show where we get to see 2 different properties in the beginning. It helps that she is in nice neighborhoods.

Honestly didn't love the white paint.  It looked out of place on the street. If she had kept the natural brick, I would have liked that better.

I like Alison, but where is her Chicago accent?  Didn't she say she is from Chicago? Also, her hair is distracting to me. She probably spends a fortune on it (bayalage?), but the difference in color bothers me. Sorry to be so superficial.  Super cute clothes, leggings, and shoes though.

That's fair about the white paint. I personally thought it was fine, but I could see it working with a light brown paint to help it blend in more. 

As far as her Chicago accent goes, I feel like I've met so many native Chicagoans here that have a pretty neutral accent like Alison does. But what do I know, I'm originally from Indiana, haha. 

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That was quite the project. I wish they had turned it into a 2-unit apartment building, instead of the 4 small units.

I understand that Alison wants to do cool decorating and use upscale finishes, but I think she went overboard for rental units. I think you can do nice and stylish without going to that level. 

Are there neighborhoods in Chicago with strict rules about renovating? On that particular street it looks there were already either some tear-downs that had been redone, or big renos. They looked good, but I could see how a lot of the character of the city is being lost if there are no rules in place.

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It was, indeed! I agree with you on her going a bit overboard. She could've done basic upscale finishes, saved some $$, and still gotten a lot per unit. It is Lincoln Park after all. I did love the faux paint and the entertainment, though. That was cool! I can't imagine paying $2700/month for an apartment and NOT having an in-unit washer/dryer. Girl, bye!

 

I am not sure about the rules of renovating in Chicago. I remember Alison having to get her plans approved in Episode 1, so I could see those rules being in effect with some neighborhoods.

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On 1/3/2019 at 9:40 AM, MoreCoffeePlease said:

Honestly didn't love the white paint.  It looked out of place on the street. If she had kept the natural brick, I would have liked that better.

IA.  You could tell she wanted the house to stand out, but I thought the white was too stark.  

I absolutely love the two flats featured on the show.  I really wish they were available in other parts of the state other than Chicago.

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I saw the 4 unit reno episode and she had to commit one of my biggest pet peeves. The tv's were installed way too high. Like a computer monitor the television should be at eye level to a bit below. They weren't quite as bad as what the Property Brothers always do - put them over the fireplace (one of the worst of all places to put them), but still pretty bad.

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20 hours ago, Terrafamilia said:

The tv's were installed way too high.

SO many designers do this. Very prevalent on HGTV, and I see it in magazines too. Drives me nuts as well. What do people do? Scootch way down on the couch so that they can look up at the screen? I would only put the TV over a fireplace if it were a newer, more horizontal fireplace (not a traditional mantle) where you could put the TV at a good height for viewing.

Of course on Fixer Upper, Joanna never put a TV in the family room. (Yes, I know she was just decorating for the show, and not with the owners' furniture.)  I would want to know where the TV should go!

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I like Allison and Donovan. I generally like Allison's style, but I'd like to see her get over her enthrallment with brass finishes. I see a lot of tv designers using gold and brass finishes, but I don't know of anyone in real life who is using it, or who likes it. It still looks dated to me.

On the penthouse condo remodel, Allison was mad that the carpenter who had framed out the fireplace wall had done it in plywood, which wasn't fire resistant, so it had to be redone at the last minute when the guys who were to install the stone facade wouldn't install it because they knew the plywood underneath wouldn't be fire safe. Given that the condo took 9 months to remodel, I'm guessing that plywood was up for weeks if not more. It really surprised me that neither Allison or Donovan identified that wasn't safe for a fireplace.

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11 hours ago, absolutelyido said:

I like Allison and Donovan. I generally like Allison's style, but I'd like to see her get over her enthrallment with brass finishes. I see a lot of tv designers using gold and brass finishes, but I don't know of anyone in real life who is using it, or who likes it. It still looks dated to me.

On the penthouse condo remodel, Allison was mad that the carpenter who had framed out the fireplace wall had done it in plywood, which wasn't fire resistant, so it had to be redone at the last minute when the guys who were to install the stone facade wouldn't install it because they knew the plywood underneath wouldn't be fire safe. Given that the condo took 9 months to remodel, I'm guessing that plywood was up for weeks if not more. It really surprised me that neither Allison or Donovan identified that wasn't safe for a fireplace.

I thought the same thing.  If they are supposedly experts at what they are doing; this should have been caught immediately.  Not sure why they couldn't have gone over the original drywall surrounding the fireplace in the first place.  The other big no-no was the rotten window sash that I noticed when they were attempting to bring up the appliances, etc. through the top floor.  They can't be bother to replace/fix a rotted out window frame.  Homeowner building inspector would have picked this up during prospective owner's inspection before closing.

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Allison really likes to show off the skin, doesn't she? (No judging - just observing.) In one of the scenes she had on a bra with fancy/multiple straps in the back, covered by a little tank top.

Did not love the building itself (penthouse episode), and also didn't like the wet bar with the wood counter that was stained black.

I do appreciate them showing how much work and project management is involved, and that stuff will go wrong. Many of the other shows make the renovating seem pretty easy and fast.

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During the penthouse reno I was wondering what sort of legal recourse there might be over the stairway fiasco. I suppose in order to successfully sue for reimbursement they'd need something in writing, the clearer the better.

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I'm getting to be a fan of this show. 

At first I thought Allison and Donovan were a thing but now it seems they're just close biz partners? 

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It’s still on the market and the price has decreased.   Good!  

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Watched 10 minutes of 1 show and changed the channel. Too much drama! Just renovate the damn house/condo/apartment.

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On 1/13/2019 at 12:40 PM, Terrafamilia said:

I saw the 4 unit reno episode and she had to commit one of my biggest pet peeves. The tv's were installed way too high. Like a computer monitor the television should be at eye level to a bit below. They weren't quite as bad as what the Property Brothers always do - put them over the fireplace (one of the worst of all places to put them), but still pretty bad.

I also noticed the wood wall the tv was mounted on did not have space for any other electronics, like the DVR.  The shelves they built were too shallow for that, and there was nothing under the tv's at the bottom that could be used.  

14 hours ago, LizDC said:

The house from last night’s episode...

1700 Wabansia

I laughed when I saw it, because she kept talking about how the house was a big white box, which is exactly what one of her previous renos ended up looking like, complete with balcony.  Plus, she put brick on last night's reno and then painted it white again.  She is really not helping Bucktown or adding back any charm. 

That screw up with the offset front door and the archway of the building was huge.  I think she said she was putting in a coat closet by the door and that forced them to move the door over, but that was an awful result.

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I liked this show at first, but the last two episodes have turned me off.  I know most of the “Alison is spending like crazy, and we’re so,over budget!” drama is mostly manufactured, but it’s a little over the top.  

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That screw up with the offset front door and the archway of the building was huge.  I think she said she was putting in a coat closet by the door and that forced them to move the door over, but that was an awful result.

Totally. It doesn't look right now that the door is offset.  The cost of the arch being incorrect (not high enough) had to be significant. Don't they work off of plans that have specs and measurements?

House looks disproportionally (word?) large next to the house next door (looking at the Zillow listing). Maybe it is the angle of the photo.

Even though she called it a "family house" due to all of the space, I'm sure that a lot of families with young kids are turned off by all of the stairs. I don't mind stairs, but there were a lot of levels in that house. I did think the kitchen and dining room were cool, how they were on different levels.

Picture windows are cool, but I want some privacy! I would have to get creative with window treatments.

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The front of the 1700 house is hideous. None of the windows go together and that offset door is bizarre. It looks like a face that’s been punched.

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On 1/23/2019 at 3:05 PM, CrazyInAlabama said:

I wonder what effect the huge amount of water in the basement will have on resale, after they showed it last night?      

Full disclosure would necessitate reporting the previous water issues regardless of the TV show. However, this can't help but shrink their potential market. Any competent buyer's broker would bring it up to support a low-ball offer.

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I'm a native Chicagoan, and I was so looking forward to this show. So far, I'm disappointed to say the least-I'm still watching it, but with the sound off. I really dislike AV and her aesthetic. And (a problem I had with Flip or Flop too) who walks around a construction site dressed like that? Joanna Gaines seems to be able to cover most of her skin when she's on camera. My husband worked in the trades for 25 years, and wouldn't even wear his work clothes into the house because of the dust and chemicals used in renovations, so you certainly wouldn't want it on your skin. Sorry if I'm being petty-I really wanted to like this show.

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I'm not exactly happy when flippers lose money, but I do like that it presents a more realistic view of the profession. The rounded off final numbers shown at the end of flipping shows are optimistic nonsense aimed solely at making the flippers look good.

I hate fixed pane windows, which is on me, but they're definitely not in keeping with the original style of these houses. I don't see how Alison can claim she's bringing the houses back to what they were, when adding features like reclaimed barnwood is not period appropriate. I like some of the results but object to her claims that she cares about historical accuracy.

1700 Wabansia was a ruinous mess as it was, but Alison buying it with 2" of standing water in the basement made my mouth gape. And she paid full ask, if I'm remembering right. Couldn't she see that the multiple levels, awkward layout, and tiny, step-down kitchen were going to be a bitch to fix? The place was better after she finished but I could absolutely understand why it didn't sell.

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1700 Wabansia:  All the water on the lower level should have been a sign that this house was going to be a problem.  I'm sure they could have found another house for less money - both purchase price and reno budget - and made a healthy profit.  The front porch/offset door was a total fail.  The coat closet would have been nice, but not having one wouldn't be a deal breaker whereas a screwed up front entrance that is completely noticeable from the street would be.  Replacing the bay window in the living room with a picture window that can't be opened was a mistake and definitely not keeping with the period of the neighborhood.  At the end of the show, she mentioned she was now losing money because the house hadn't sold yet.  Then it was noted that she took it off the market until Spring.  I'm not a financial expert, but I would think lowering the price and taking a small hit would be better than having it sit for a few months and losing a lot more money when it eventually does sell, probably at a reduced price.  There's another house of hers that hasn't sold yet either and the listing has been "temporarily removed."

I'm not a big fan of AV.  I think she wastes a lot money for unnecessary things that don't add value to the property and/or the buyers probably remove after they move in.  In the 4 flat she did a few weeks ago, she had those custom accent walls in each unit that were totally ridiculous...especially because they were all rentals.  A renter couldn't care less if reclaimed wood from an old barn 100 miles away was an "upgrade."  On the episode last week, she kept commenting how an amateur flipper wouldn't be able to handle all these problems with the house/contractors/materials, but since she's a professional blah blah blah.  However, I would think since she's such a "professional", she would know to drywall a fireplace.  She should also have constant crews/contractors that are reliable and do good work.  I didn't get why the one lazy carpenter took the place of the superintendent.  Obviously, he wasn't qualified and was an ass to boot.  Why she didn't fire him on day 1 was beyond stupid.   She must have more money than common sense.  

I think Donovan needs a vacation.

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Juliet73-I couldn't agree more. I was disgusted by her BS about wanting to "give this guy an opportunity" when this was HER project and she obviously didn't do her due diligence in hiring him, then lays the blame for the stairs and fireplace at his door. Really shameful. 

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Why, why, why does she insist on painting that beautiful brick white??  The houses on Wabansia were absolutely beautiful until she did that! No wonder they aren’t selling. They don’t match the rest of the houses in the neighborhood.....they aren’t old style charm.....she ruined them doing that. 😟

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Good lord.  Watching the penthouse episode and this lady screaming into her phone makes me anxious.      They made so many mistakes by hiring the wrong people and not supervising them I am not sure how they made any money.    I could tell within about 30 seconds that the "superintendent" they hired who messed up was no good.   They supposedly do this for a living and they didn't see it?

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On 1/24/2019 at 3:52 PM, reallymadcow said:

The front of the 1700 house is hideous. None of the windows go together and that offset door is bizarre. It looks like a face that’s been punched.

I thought the black and white was as stark as the original design, which was sort of cool in a bauhaus way.  I understand the 80s wasn’t the best design decade, but I would have kept the original facing in front and painted it something less stark.  The fireplace was interesting, and would have worked had they trimmed the sides.  Glass block in a basement is more secure and private than windows.  Not like they were living there during the day.   Hated the fugly barn wall.  

eTa:  I think we’re talking about different houses.

Edited by Mu Shu
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9 hours ago, cameron said:

Have any of the properties actually sold?

She said that the penthouse sold and for cash.  Not sure about any of the others.

She spent way too much money on the 4 apartment building.  Renters like nice things but not THAT nice.  And they don't always take good care of them either.

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According the realtor.com, the house from the first episode sold.  I don’t know about the penthouse, since they never really gave the address.  The house in tonight’s episode is still in her name. 

 

ETA:  1700 W. Wabansia is also in her name. So, she’s sold 2?  (If the story about the penthouse is true.)

Edited by irisheyes

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Hahaha. Previous savior superintendent is this week’s drop-the-baller. Even after she throws another $80k (or 13+ range hoods) at him for what i imagine were changes she hadn’t considered (so much of that) or bad communication (her specialty)—sorry I got distracted. 

She wanted to drop the buyers? Who had a contract? Ah, Show, sure to be evidence in a once or future lawsuit?

Donovan’s is an enabler. Perhaps he’s made a bunch of cash with her, but he knew he had to pay for the new hood. Because 42” was stipulated in a contract and 30-something inches wasn’t in writing? Or not properly covered?

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Oh man. This episode made me mad!  She has absolutely no idea about Chicago historical architecture at all.  The fact that she ripped up the beautiful built in made me actually moan in distress.  I grew up in the area and lived in those two flats. She stripped everything of value from the house.  Painting everything white? No!  Getting rid of the crown molding? WTF!  Do not make an open concept plan out of a 100 year non open concept plan!  And also hire union workers and you won’t have an issue with your ‘supervisors ‘.

 She is not at all a Chicago native. If she was she’d be proclaiming her neighborhood hard.  It’s a Chicagoan thing.  She called Lincoln Square a ‘village’ which is a very small suburban adjective to describe an area.  She called the els ‘trains’ in a previous episode.  She didn’t even check the city schedule for street closures!  They post that stuff on every website. No one on Giddings was unaware that their permit parking was being uprooted for street construction. My street had construction and it was debated for months on Facebook, etc.  The alderperson would be voted out of town for this alleged non-notice.  I am so glad she lost money again and Dovonan looks done with her.

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Good grief.  This show went downhill fast.   If I was Donavon, I'd stuff Alison behind some drywall and mud her in!  She's extremely unlikeable and a constant complainer.  I had to turn it off tonight.  

 And her hair color drives me crazy!!

Edited by Swiss
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A lot of made for tv drama in last night's episode.  When they first went to preview the Giddings place, you could clearly see back hoe in the distance shot of the street.  Also using windows with the snap in grids on the outside of the windows a really cheap look.  Surprised that the living room fireplace even passed inspection since it didn't have sufficient clearance on the sides for combustion.  She took a beautiful home and turned ii into a modern interpretation of what she considers classic.  She is so over herself.  Also doesn't she understand the concept of change orders and how they are handled along with OH & P.

Edited by cameron
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She totally wrecked that beautiful two flat.  From the article above she'll do the same to the Ukrainian Village Worker's Cottage too. Not sure I can watch too much more of this.

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What was the reason Allison gave that she couldn't use the hutch part of the built-in "as planned?"  Somehow I doubt she planned to ever use it at all because she said there were pot lights installed and something about the storage would be too high?  What does that even mean? She was mumbling quickly during that part and I didn't understand. 

Don't they have professional architectural plans to work from?  Do the electricians just begin putting up pot lights wherever they please? Don't the carpenters measure height clearances before they create and install projects? How the heck does a 36" hood (which looked basic to me, even though it was specially crafted) get installed instead of a 42" one? How is it a complete surprise that the old concrete steps needed to be demolished before the new entrance could be built, and that such work costs time and money?  Does she just randomly change the plans when she has a whim, after all of the work has already been signed off on and done?  And why did it take two sets of inspectors--and three weeks of inactivity--before they finally passed inspection?  What is the payoff in adding $100,00 to the budget to expand an already large and pricey home.  And finally, where's Mike Holmes when you need him?!  He'd straighten everybody out in no time! LOL

 I absolutely cringed when she tore that historical built-in out out of the wall, and broke it up into 2 pieces.  Then painted it.  And discarded the top (for another project--sure).  To make the room more "open" (which it actually didn't).  Yeah, because nothing says Old Chicago like a half-assed, painted wood, built-in. (/sarcasm).  I'm Chicago-adjacent, and every time I'm in the city I'm just in awe of the beauty of some of that architecture. 

I also hated that she used that antique mirror frame (I forget the actual name of it) to frame a piece of art.  Art is so subjective; unless that quickie painting is exactly what the buyers wanted nailed into the wall.  

At least she didn't paint the outside brick, white, this time.  Personally, I'm beyond sick of white and gray, gray and gray, white on white, and white and black on my TV. In a city as diverse as Chicago, there surely must be some other colors available to inspire viewers. 

I'm also way past the trend of open concept.  I'm gonna need to see some walls, dammit!

I'm hate watching at this point.  And wondering if she will run out of money or if Donovan will run off from a job site, mid-project, with his hair on fire.

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2 minutes ago, LoveIsJoy said:

I also hated that she used that antique mirror frame (I forget the actual name of it) to frame a piece of art.  Art is so subjective; unless that quickie painting is exactly what the buyers wanted nailed into the wall.  

It's a pier mirror, and those are gorgeous when they are properly placed.  It belongs in the entry, dammit!

She destroyed two built-in hutches.  There was one on each floor.  I really hate when developers talk about treasuring the character and fine craftsmanship, and then remove all character and put in shoddy craftsmanship, if you can even call it that.  There are ways to blend old and new, but she is not in any way skilled at doing that.

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2 hours ago, LoveIsJoy said:

What was the reason Allison gave that she couldn't use the hutch part of the built-in "as planned?"

I think she said it didn't "go all the way up" after she raised the ceilings. I swear, she ruins more historical architectural elements than she "saves." Feh.

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If I remember correctly, at the beginning of the show, she mentioned "how much character had been removed from the home and how she was going to bring it back in."  She took whatever character that was remaining and destroyed it or it got "saved for a later project."  I didn't understand the whole buyers situation.  If the house was bought, then why weren't they allowed to request any changes, besides the master bath tile?  At the end the house hadn't officially closed so...why were these "buyers" even still being considered. Since the house wasn't technically purchased, A & D should have cut them loose long ago and moved on.  I thought A & D were partners, but when the cost of the $6000 hood came up, it was between D and the brokers, not A?  Yet she spends $$$$ on so much overpriced, useless crap and I'm sure D has to pay half.  

Onto the house...Before A & D even bought the house, you could see the street construction had already started.  Did she honestly think, that the city was going to be done in a day or two?  A smart person would have found out when the city was going to be finished and put that into the contract.

I'm grateful the exterior wasn't really altered.  I didn't see the need for the addition since the house was huge to begin with.  She should have left the LR and DR as is, because removing the walls, etc made both rooms look much smaller.  The white fireplace against the white walls = no.  The hutch should have been painted the same color as the corner cabinet and they should have taken the hardware off first.  Whoever painted that hutch (probably A when she wasn't walking around with her coffee) did a sh!t job.  The kitchen looked like all of her other kitchens. And the beams didn't work in last week's house and they certainly didn't work in this house either.  I liked the pier mirror frame, but it looked awful with the artwork!  Maybe try a MIRROR next time!!

I've said it before and I'll keep saying it.  AV has more money than common sense.  And poor Donovan.  When she was touring the house with the "buyers" and bragging about what an amazing job SHE did, he looked like he wanted to cry or punch her or both.  He needs to get rid of her and find a more competent designer.  

22 hours ago, LBS said:

She is not at all a Chicago native. If she was she’d be proclaiming her neighborhood hard.  It’s a Chicagoan thing.  She called Lincoln Square a ‘village’ which is a very small suburban adjective to describe an area.  She called the els ‘trains’ in a previous episode.  She didn’t even check the city schedule for street closures!  They post that stuff on every website.

I think she's from Geneva, IL so that should answer a lot. 

**Note:   Geneva is a cute town, but it's not Chicago. It's like 40+ minutes away.

Edited by juliet73
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Actually she lived in the Hancock Center till she was 7 and then the family moved to Lincolnwood.

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I just don't enjoy the house flippers that turn everything into a modern house, that looks like it could be anywhere.       None of the Chicago flips, or remodels (there has been at least one on House Hunters Renovation), or the older House Hunters with another flipper years ago, have impressed me.     If I want to see contemporary, I'll watch a California flip show, or Palm Springs, not this show. 

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Just who is the target audience for this show? AV is spending $600k to over $1million on these "rehabs"; do people with that kind of money to invest in flipping really watch HGTV for ideas?  She doesn't have any new or interesting ideas, and although she does have experience I'm not impressed with her expertise. I would be more inclined to watch if it were condensed into 30 minutes.

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How do you think her target audience is different from any HGTV flip show? It’s not. All the shows are going higher end...property brothers, house hunters, other flippers. 

Whether good/bad, it’s HGTV as it has been for a few years.  

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I am not sure if this was answered but saw someone upthread ask it. Chicago is huge and we speak differently across the city. The stereotypical Chicago accent, if it ever existed to the extent that media portrayed it, has died out.  I still here it on a very small scale. I am a Chicago city proper native.

Anyway, I like that they are not all into the open concept. I hate that style.

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I am trying to like this show, but it seems like they spend an ungodly amount of money and make a lot of mistakes.   Every single place they do has some unplanned for expense, and it seems like people working at this level should be able to plan better.

It seems like she gets obsessed with some very specific details that cost her on every place and those things don't ever seem to make that big a difference to the final outcome.

I mainly like the guy who does her little specialty projects for her--rebuilding fireplaces, etc---I like him a lot.  I wish she'd kind of step back and let him do his thing and let us see what he could come up with on his own.

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I feel compelled to (hate) watch for the moment because I know where all these houses are. Feels to me like somebody with a producer credit has decided that it’s entertaining to watch Allison spark joy in herself getting what she considers great deals at places selling stuff reclaimed from old buildings/homes (Chicago has several), combined with her running around confused and confusing, changing things on a whim without proper process, bad project management and frequently disrespecting the original home. Think again. 

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I think all these HGTV shows are just filled with manufactured drama. 

 

I left home (Chicago) three years ago and mainly watch this show for the scenery.

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