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Windy City Rehab

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I was flipping channels and caught a few minutes of an episode earlier this week, and am unsure if it was a rerun or supposedly new episode. In the few minutes I watched, she was bitching about the kitchen cabinets that had just been delivered being wrong, because they were supposed to go all the way to the ceiling, and they didn't, so she has a foot or so of dead space. (Which to me, is not a big deal; my kitchen cabinets don't go all the way to the ceiling, but they are already so tall that I need a stepstool to reach the two top shelves.) But if I heard her correctly, she said that the space had been measured but the measurements were wrong. Maybe I misheard her, but if someone was an entire foot off in the measurements, that was strictly some amateur hour stuff. Anybody can make an occasional mistake when measuring, but it's more common for there to be an inaccuracy of less than an inch, not an entire foot. 

Nothing that I saw made me interested in watching an entire episode, unless just for the train wreck factor. 

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2 hours ago, BookWoman56 said:

I was flipping channels and caught a few minutes of an episode earlier this week, and am unsure if it was a rerun or supposedly new episode. In the few minutes I watched, she was bitching about the kitchen cabinets that had just been delivered being wrong, because they were supposed to go all the way to the ceiling, and they didn't, so she has a foot or so of dead space. (Which to me, is not a big deal; my kitchen cabinets don't go all the way to the ceiling, but they are already so tall that I need a stepstool to reach the two top shelves.) But if I heard her correctly, she said that the space had been measured but the measurements were wrong. Maybe I misheard her, but if someone was an entire foot off in the measurements, that was strictly some amateur hour stuff. Anybody can make an occasional mistake when measuring, but it's more common for there to be an inaccuracy of less than an inch, not an entire foot. 

Nothing that I saw made me interested in watching an entire episode, unless just for the train wreck factor. 

I was confused by the cabinet issue. When she called the “project manager”, that lady said the height was 117, but when AV measured, she said it was 119. Now, I’m only teach math to 8 year olds, but two inches =/= a foot, correct?  Maybe I just misunderstood cause AV gets so hyper, and I miss details. 

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19 minutes ago, irisheyes said:

I was confused by the cabinet issue. When she called the “project manager”, that lady said the height was 117, but when AV measured, she said it was 119. Now, I’m only teach math to 8 year olds, but two inches =/= a foot, correct?  Maybe I just misunderstood cause AV gets so hyper, and I miss details. 

Maybe there was a point when she clarified the exact measurement error, but I am 99% certain she said that she would have a foot of dead space. And no, two inches is not equal to a foot. Maybe she was just exaggerating the amount of dead space? Who knows? In any case, sloppy work on somebody's part, which does not in any way inspire confidence in the project. 

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Well, at least AV didn't use one of her atrocious brass hoods in the kitchen in this last episode.

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The Chicago Sun-Times has a article today with the heading "Trash, permit violations and mud: why some Chicagoans hate ‘Windy City Rehab".

Quote

Victoria, whose own home is in Bucktown, describes her goal as “taking over Chicago.”

“Bringing sexy back to the city is what I’m doing, why I got into this business. To make sure that I’m putting my stamp on every neighborhood in Chicago,” Victoria says in one video promoting the show called “High Heels, High Stakes.”

“A hundred years from now, people will be saying my name. I absolutely think I’m changing Chicago one house at a time.”

The two declined to comment to the Sun-Times, saying they’d consider an interview after next season premieres.

Quote

An episode featuring a home at 2123 W. Thomas St. in Ukrainian Village ended with a beautifully furnished home with immaculate front and back yards. Victoria and Eckhardt even built a custom-made chicken coop in the back.

In reality, the project still isn’t done. A little over a week ago, there was a small patch of fake green turf in front, strewn with trash. The parkway and back yard were a muddy, littered mess. The chicken coop was gone.

Quote

The show’s biggest claimed success came at a 130-year-old home in Lincoln Park at 2433 N. Janssen Ave. Among other flourishes, developers used reclaimed wood from a barn outside Chicago in some of the units.

After they rehabbed it and turned it into four apartments, they showed several potential renters praising the quality and value.

“Janssen was a huge success,” Victoria says on the show, which aired Jan. 8. “… We ended up closing at $2.2 million” — resulting in an “unreal” profit of $780,000.

She also boasted that the developers “ended up getting one-year signed leases on all four renters” — which made it attractive to buyers.

“I knocked it out of the park,” she said.

According to records on the Multiple Listing Service, three of four units sat unrented for more than four months. Rent has been dropped by hundreds of dollars since the units went on the market in the fall.

Neighbors haven’t seen anyone going in or coming out of the building, which includes some boarded-up windows, for weeks.

“They said they rented all four, which is laughable,” said neighbor Tim Johnson, who watches the show and praised how the building now looks.

Annie Schweitzer, a broker for the property, says they recently signed two more leases — including one this past week — but the renters haven’t moved in yet.

not all negative

Quote

For all its critics, the show — which is airing reruns through April — has plenty of fans.

Charles Janda, the previous owner of the 1929 N. Leavitt St. home, said his house was “pretty dilapidated” and “ripe for tear-down” when the show bought it for rehab.

“I am thrilled they built a home that stayed true to the feel of the original house, on the exterior at least,” Janda says.

Janda says he enjoyed watching his old house star in the show.

“Alison Victoria kind of obsesses over my front door, she took it and turned it into something spectacular,” he says. “And she obsessed on this little light fixture that I probably would have thrown into the garbage in a heartbeat. It was interesting to see her focus on the details.”

Edited by jquitar · Reason: Fixed link
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1 hour ago, jquitar said:

“A hundred years from now, people will be saying my name. I absolutely think I’m changing Chicago one house at a time.”

LMAO, lady. People won't be saying your name 5 years from now.

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Nice article. But since they don’t appear to respect anyone or even each other, chances of them improving relationships with neighbors or actual sales seem slim. 

Exaggerate? Boast? Make shit up? Get stuff wrong? Theme of this show! HGTV likes drama that occurs when surprise$ pop up. But drama created by the incompetence of the leads? Here’s hoping Alderman Hopkins protects his constituents next season.

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Well, it’s good to know that AV’s obnoxious attitude isn’t just for TV. Her reaction to the neighbors’ valid complaints is telling.  I hope the City of Chicago inspectors are all over every single job site like ants from now on.  

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That was an interesting article, and I bet the inspectors will be cracking down on their operations from now on.    The part where the $2k door knobs were taken down and replaced right after the show aired was interesting.  

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Good article! Seems like Alison is not only incompetent, but also an asshole. And HGTV lies about their programs.......what a shock (not).

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For those that don't want to read the article, here are the highlights:

AV said “A hundred years from now, people will be saying my name. I absolutely think I’m changing Chicago one house at a time.”  If they are saying her name, it's not in a positive manner.  And yes, I agree she's changing Chicago one house at a time, but not in a good way.  She really needs to get over herself!

"Victoria believes she deserves a warmer welcome for her efforts at preserving some of the homes’ historic elements.  'We are trying to bring the history back with the builds. So it’s not like we are coming in making crap and just trying to make a buck.' "  Is she for real?!  That's exactly what they are doing!! Crap work and expecting buyers to pay big bucks for it!

"Ruth Egofske, the mother of buyer Anna Morrissey, told the Sun-Times the TV show spent more on the rehab than planned and tried to get the couple to pony up more money. They refused (“They’re both lawyers,” Egofske said), but the deal finally closed earlier this month."  I can't believe anyone would even consider buying from these two after watching this show.  Between the high price tags and all the mistakes made, I can see why all these homes are still sitting unsold.

"1906 N. Hoyne, still hasn’t sold, according to state records. It, too, has an unfinished backyard, and the beautifully staged furniture inside — featured at the end of every show — is gone."  No one is going to pay $1.5 mil for a house with an unfinished backyard...even if it is the size of postage stamp.  Also "So are some incredibly pricey doorknobs she put on doors inside a 1820s-era hand-carved golden, giltwood door frame from southern France that she had installed on the front of the house. The doorknobs — which she said cost $2,000 — were taken down shortly after she revealed their cost on the show."  I hope she took $2000 off the list price. 

"State property transfer tax records and the Multiple Listing Service only confirm four of them have closed."  Out of 11.  

Here's a little backhanded compliment:  "Mary Lu Seidel, director of community engagement for Preservation Chicago, who said what Victoria and Eckhardt are doing is better than the “terrible alternative” of tearing down the houses and replacing them with “McMansions.” She also appreciates how the show features local artifact and restoration businesses, including Urban Remains in West Town and Hammer Design on the Near West Side.  Seidel wishes they didn’t supersize the homes or make changes like painting the brick exteriors — and tried harder to get along with the communities they target.  “We all know flippers are about turning a profit, but it would be great to see this show model a flipper who seems to have more respect for neighbors of the houses they flip,” she said."  I'm glad she gave Ari a shout out! I wish they would cancel AV and give Ari his own show already!!

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So my DVR got backed up and I watched the episode with the water in the basement before they bought it. Made it through that episode but I was done after that. NEVER buy a house with clear water damage like that.

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14 hours ago, absolutelyido said:

LMAO, lady. People won't be saying your name 5 years from now.

She doesn't even use her real name.  Victoria is her middle name.

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2 hours ago, deirdra said:

She doesn't even use her real name.  Victoria is her middle name.

So do many other "celebrities". Nothing new or wrong about that.

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19 hours ago, irisheyes said:

Well, it’s good to know that AV’s obnoxious attitude isn’t just for TV. Her reaction to the neighbors’ valid complaints is telling.  I hope the City of Chicago inspectors are all over every single job site like ants from now on.  

THIS!!

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A couple of days ago, the Chicago Sun-Times posted an article with a map of where the properties are. I thought this might be useful in this thread. 

Map of the Properties

I realized this might be behind a firewall for some. My apologies.

Edited by Surrealist
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9 hours ago, Surrealist said:

A couple of days ago, the Chicago Sun-Times posted an article with a map of where the properties are. I thought this might be useful in this thread. 

Map of the Properties

Very interesting! Thanks for sharing.

Lots of "no record of sale" on that interactive map. At that rate, AV and Donovan will be eating ramen noodles for the rest of their lives.

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How can the company even afford all of the unsold properties?  With the initial purchase price, plus carrying costs, and rehab money, everything must be in the tens of millions by now.  

Edited by CrazyInAlabama
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I don't know how this company is in business without selling much.  They will be even less profitable once lawsuits start coming in on their sold properties because the skylights are leaking and the windows aren't insulated well or the shower wasn't laid right and there's a leak behind the wall that creates mold and rot or the sewer backs up into the basement...

I just don't see these two building a house that won't have issues once it's "finished."

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Watching Restored by the Fords makes Allison's designs look that much more derivative and bland. Of course, they are designing for a client and not for resale but I'd rather have any of the kitchens Ive seen on that show than any of the ones that Allison has done.

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9 hours ago, LBS said:

Evergreen is up on the market as of 3/4/2019 for 2.3M

Thank you so much for this LBS. That second house is magnificent. Taking the wood back to where it was originally was gorgeous. Certainly different than if Victoria and Donavan go hold to it...you are correct, thank goodness they never had a chance to ruin it!

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12 hours ago, suebee12 said:

Thank you so much for this LBS. That second house is magnificent. Taking the wood back to where it was originally was gorgeous. Certainly different than if Victoria and Donavan go hold to it...you are correct, thank goodness they never had a chance to ruin it!

It was stunning, but I didn't like the flat panels on kitchen cabinets and drawers. They looked a bit too modern to me.

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On 3/1/2019 at 12:35 PM, KeithJ said:

I found this show a couple weeks ago and was very interested since I've lived in the Chicago burbs for almost 50 years and have a lot of family in Chicago.

After watching just three episodes, I've come to the conclusion that these two are the dumbest rehabbers I have ever seen.

They bought a house with a renter in it (even though they were on a schedule) and then it took them four months to get rid of them.

They framed an addition on a house and obviously nobody was checking the work and it cost them $30k to tear it down and rebuild it.

They pre-sold a house and then still allowed the buyers to constantly make changes which kept pushing back the closing date (did that one ever close?).

Personally, I don't care for the half modern with historical elements in the houses.  Either go all modern or all historical.  Half and half just looks terrible.

I don't inherently mind a mix and am glad Allison has some interest in old details, but the way it's executed is terrible (but not uncommon).  Bucktown/WP, much like LP and Lakeview and much of the nearby northside (Lincoln Square, North Center) have a lot if old workers cottages.  Now the only people who can afford to buy SFH in most of these areas are people willing to deal with major remodels, developers, and people who want custom homes (and all better off who want larger places with more bedrooms and bathrooms than they came with).  So the workers cottages get knocked down or remade so they are unrecognizable.  This is not at all unique to Allison.  Some of Allison's stuff is silly to me -- turning a working class home into a fancy London apt and thinking it fits because of the era -- but I'm glad she cares about preserving some of the old stuff.

Admittedly I'm biased since I bought an old workers cottage in north Lincoln Square that had been rehabbed to modern preferences (not complaining in that the bedrooms and bathrooms are much more convenient than they would have been, and the place bigger), but want to bring some aspects back to what they were.  But that doesn't mean marble fireplace just because the era is the same, instead I'm trying to research what might have been here and figuring out the elements that fit.

Edited by msmarjoribanks
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