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Inspiration abounds at the Leesburg Community Home Show

Alison Victoria

Kitchens aren’t just for cooking anymore. They are the figurative heart of the home and the primary gathering place for family members and guests.

In the best of homes, the kitchen exemplifies its owner’s style and personality. Unfortunately, homeowners are often overwhelmed by choices and paralyzed to make changes. They end up with kitchens that are dated, safe and boring.

For those open to a sense of adventure, interior designer and contractor Alison Victoria is ready to rock your kitchen’s world. This host of DIY Network’s “Kitchen Crashers,” Victoria is the keynote speaker at the Leesburg Community Home Show on March 16. Victoria is scheduled to speak at 1 and 3 p.m. She also will be available for a Q&A after each session, and a meet-and-great where she will speak with people individually as time allows.

Victoria began designing at the age of 10 when she asked her mom if she could tackle the basement in their new house. After college, Victoria became the youngest designer at Christopher Homes in Las Vegas. Two years later, she launched her own full-service interior design firm, Alison Victoria Interiors Inc., in Chicago and Las Vegas. She also has her own line of modern luxury furniture.

On Kitchen Crashers, Alison hunts in home improvement stores across America for weekend warriors who want to completely overhaul their kitchen in three days, all while being filmed. “Most people definitely need some help bringing style, beauty and simplicity together to create harmony in their kitchens,” she said. “I like to talk with people, not at them. I like showing people how to make every space in your home livable.”

Breaking the bank isn’t part of the equation. “I like to teach people how to do quick fixes without spending a lot of money,” she said. “I believe in saving what you can in the existing space and then incorporating new items. If you can re-purpose and reincorporate, that’s a great thing.”

A key component is the use of color. “I always give a mini-lesson on color for anyone learning about color and how to apply it to their own space,” she said. “I also show people the wrong way to use color.”

The color in a kitchen should reflect the homeowner, she said. “If you want energy, pick a bright color. If you want soothing, go with something more muted. Color depends on one’s personality and how you use your space.”

Attention to detail is also important. “Little things like accessories make a big difference,” Victoria says.” She likes to incorporate small things, like family pictures or hobby items that reflect personality meaning in people’s lives.

Victoria doesn’t think trends should dictate what works for everyone. “Trends come and go,” she said. “People need backsplashes, counters, cabinets and flooring. After that anything goes.”

The backslash – the space between the countertops and cabinets – has great potential to bring the kitchen together. Unfortunately the space often goes unused. “The backsplash is the artwork of the kitchen. It incorporates pattern, texture, color and contrast.”

Some things Victoria thinks will be big are the return of white appliances. She also thinks white cabinets are making a comeback. “Brass is also back. Countertops make from manufactured stone such as quartz are getting popular because, as opposed to natural stone, it’s man-made and durable.”

Victoria’s goal is that people come away from her presentations with the confidence to make changes. To get more ideas, check out her website at http://www.alisonvictoria.com.

Other representatives at the home show will be available from more than 50 companies. “Guests will get the most out of our home improvement projects with the unique opportunities and special pricing found only at the show,” said producer Scott Smith of Mid Atlantic Expositions and Entertainment. “Visitors will see product demonstrations and participate in educational seminars to discover ideas you never thought possible. It’s a small, intimate show with one-stop shopping.”

This is the second Leesburg Community Home Show. Scott said a fall show is in the works which will focus on seasonal outdoor home improvement projects.

If you go:
Leesburg Community Home Show
When: March 15-16 at Douglass Community Center
Where: 405 E. Market St., Leesburg. 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday.
Cost: $5 for adults. Free tickets may be downloaded at http://www.midatlanticexpos.com.


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