Alison Victoria is a busy lady, even by Las Vegas standards. She’s also a spunky lady, which undoubtedly helps to manage the busy. (It doesn’t hurt when she’s swinging a sledgehammer, either—especially against a pesky wall in the kitchen or a crusty old backsplash.)
The Chicago native and Vegas transplant is bringing Kitchen Crashers, the hit HGTV show she has hosted for the past seven seasons, back to Las Vegas for its eighth go-round. That means she’ll be accosting unsuspecting homeowners in the paint aisle of local home-improvement stores, asking if she can destroy and rebuild their ugly kitchens over the span of three days while capturing the action on camera. We recently caught up with Victoria to talk about her new Alison Victoria LookBook, a few of her favorite local hangouts and what we can expect to see during the upcoming season of Kitchen Crashers (we really, really hope there’s gold plating involved).
Kitchen Crashers was based in Chicago last year. What’s the biggest difference about working in Las Vegas?
The biggest difference has to be the energy of Las Vegas. The way of life is so different, and the people are so laid back and easygoing. Crashing in Chicago always [brings] an element of surprise, because the homes are 50- to 100-year-old places. Las Vegas homes are so young and innocent, and I love the newness of everything. But don’t get me wrong: New doesn’t [always] mean nice, which leaves me with a lot of options for crashing!
Can we expect anything different this season?
The format will always be the same, but the opportunity to do more outdoor kitchens is there. And I will definitely be bringing in some Vegas glam.
What’s the one thing DIYers who aren’t lucky enough to run into you at Lowe’s can do to make a big impact in their kitchen?
Lighting is everything. Adding under-cabinet lighting to highlight your backsplash is a quick and inexpensive way to give your kitchen a face-lift, and anyone can do it! Halogen strip lighting on an adhesive back makes it easier than ever for first-time DIYers, and you don’t even have to hardwire it. Just stick it underneath your cabinets, drill a hole to run it up inside one of the cabinets and control it with a battery pack and dimmer inside.
Explain the concept behind Alison Victoria LookBook.
My intention is a true DIY approach to design and to make myself accessible to everyone. It’s a more casual service than [my design firm] Alison Victoria Interiors that allows clients all over the country to create amazing spaces with a custom feel and without a traditional relationship with a designer. The LookBook is a less expensive and less interactive relationship, because clients order items on their own, find their own contractors and execute the entire project. All communication is done over email. The LookBook includes one floor plan, one color rendering, samples, pictures and a full shopping list of all the items we recommend for the space, along with a workbook. It usually arrives six weeks after we receive the questionnaire, homework and payment.
Any big kitchen design trends we should know about for the coming year?
I’ve never been a huge fan of trends in the kitchen. After all, a kitchen is a kitchen is a kitchen. You always need cabinets, countertops and appliances, and following the trends on these can cost you a pretty penny when that trend is no longer hot! Pay attention to the timeless “trends.” Subway tile and white cabinetry will never go out of style. I love the new microwave drawers. It’s a great way to save space and free up your countertops.
What are your favorite things about living and working in Vegas?
I love the ease of living and the quality of life here. I love how quiet it is compared to living in a big city, and I love that my yiayia (Greek for grandmother) lives right down the street from me. Living somewhere where I can show my toes and that will never, ever have a polar-vortex situation is perfect for me. On the show we work outside for the most part, so weather is a huge factor when you’re trying to get a kitchen done in three days.
Life in Las Vegas feels right, and it’s my happy place for so many different reasons. It’s such a breath of fresh air to be back and “crashing” my West Coast ’hood.
Do you have some favorite Vegas spots you missed while you were in Chicago?
Hands down, I Love Sushi in Henderson! I can seriously eat there five nights a week and never get sick of it. Downtown Las Vegas has transformed so much in the last few years, and [all the restaurants and bars] give me the feeling of being back in Chicago, without the traffic and the bad weather.