Behind-the-Scenes: Take a Peek at Alison Victoria's Home Office

The host of Kitchen Crashers offers tips on making the perfect creative space.

By: Francesca Robin

Photo By: Cynthia Lynn ©Cynthia Lynn

Photo By: Cynthia Lynn ©Cynthia Lynn

Photo By: Cynthia Lynn ©Cynthia Lynn

Photo By: Cynthia Lynn ©Cynthia Lynn

Photo By: Cynthia Lynn ©Cynthia Lynn

Photo By: Cynthia Lynn ©Cynthia Lynn

Photo By: Cynthia Lynn ©Cynthia Lynn

Photo By: Cynthia Lynn ©Cynthia Lynn

Photo By: Cynthia Lynn ©Cynthia Lynn

Welcome to Alison's House

You’ve followed her on the hunt through Luminaire, Marshalls and Home Goods for the special, the eclectic or the unusual, all for the ultimate do-over, right? This time, she invited the DIY Network crew to peek into her home and see how a designer solves the home office dilemma. Wearing leather mid-calf spike heeled boots, snug blue-wash jeans and tank top, the Kitchen Crashers dynamo has an easy down-to-earth glamour and it only takes a few minutes to catch what makes her hammer slinging TV personality so infectious: Alison Victoria is utterly relatable.

Think Tank

“I was skeptical to do a home office,” she said. “For me, I have to get away from the house. And my office isn’t like a typical office. I’m really trying to get creative in there, get inspired. I can’t teach someone how to be a great designer, but everybody can start tuning in to what clicks and works for them," explains Alison.

Old Meets New

Victoria’s gray-toned, angular creative covey is perched in a corner on the second story of her historic 1905 three-flat in Chicago’s trendy Wicker Park. In this room you see the unmistakable flashes of her trademark blend of vintage and modern.

Find What Speaks To You

Alison offers some advice: “Instead of flipping through magazines saying ‘that’s for me!’ you need to feel it,” she says. “If you go to a restaurant, a hotel or a friend’s house, pay attention to your environment. If something feels great to you in that space, figure out what it is. Maybe it’s the paint color, the space planning or the lighting.”

Add Something You're Passionate About

Incorporate things you love into your space. “That’s what I did.” She calls these ideas “little moments” and when added together they should make the space feel good to you. Just right.

Get Dual-Purpose Pieces

"Furniture isn't a problem unless you make it one. Get on the multipurpose track. Here, the main desk sits a bit higher for a purpose: move the chair, clear it off and you have a wide table to compare fabrics, do some sketching – a place to arrange and try out ideas," she explains. Her table, like so many other pieces in the room, has personal and sentimental value: she made it herself. “It was part of my first furniture collection,” she says. “It’s my signature piece.” (She’s recently ventured out with her own line of luxury furniture and a cool LookBook service to help the DIYer with design.) Multipurpose doesn't mean park an ugly stack of chewed up plastic crates as shelves; you've got more imagination than that. But you will crave double-duty workhorses, especially in small spaces. “You need storage, but it’s got to look good. You need form and function.”

Add "Awards" and Momentos

"Anchor the space with an inspirational object. Even better if it’s an item acknowledging an important personal achievement," says Victoria. "Take a look at how that gorgeous Herman Miller chair quietly grounds the room, a centerpiece. “I worked my butt off to get that chair,” she laughs. “That piece has been with me for years and years. It has meaning to me because as a designer, you’d die for that chair.”

Keep Sentimental Items Close By

Use your favorite things to create a sweet layer of continuity. Really. “My grandmother gave me her old knitting bag," says Victoria. "It’s Gucci vintage and I stash all my drafting materials: my scale ruler, my colored pencils and all of my stencils. It’s the coolest bag ever!”

Get Creative When Creating a Creative Space

“I’m about potential. Ask yourself: Does this space have the potential to be great? Seeing potential is being creative,” says Victoria.