My Houzz: Gordon Ramsay’s Surprise Renovation
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My Houzz: Gordon Ramsay’s Surprise Renovation

What does home mean for me? It’s the most important place
of our lives. It’s where I can properly relax. Chefs don’t spend that
much time at home. So when we are at home,
we want to relax, enjoy and unwind. I’m Gordon Ramsay,
and this is My Houzz. Christina Wilson is one of the most
endearing, humble chefs I’ve ever met, and she puts herself last. It’s all about other people. She grew up outside Philadelphia
in a close-knit family with three older brothers, and it’s an amazing story because before she came
to “Hell’s Kitchen”, she was working in a restaurant and renting this small, intimate
1920s Philadelphia row house. She was working hard,
slogging away 65, 70 hours a week, struggling to pay the rent. She entered
the Fox’s “Hell’s Kitchen” competition back in 2010, and she won it. And the quarter of a million dollars
she won in prize money then went on to buy the house
that she was renting. It was the first time ever
across this competition that I wanted to employ the winner. Christina Wilson,
over the last seven years, has been promoted
to my group executive chef, so she runs several businesses. She handles all the businesses
in Vegas, she’s overseeing
our latest opening, it’s the first ever
Hell’s Kitchen restaurant at Caesars Palace. So she moved
from Philly into Vegas, works two weeks on hard in Vegas,
runs home for five days, two weeks on, five days home. This home is something
that she’s never had a chance to reinvest in. I’m gifting this incredible
transformation of a house to Christina Wilson because this lady’s so humble, and the amount of time
she’s in the limelight, she’s asked for nothing, and this is the least I can do. I don’t live
anywhere near Philadelphia, so I turned to Houzz to redesign
Christina Wilson’s living room, dining room and kitchen. The big advantage of Houzz is that
you can go online and find a pro that understands
what’s happening in Philadelphia. And can really tailor-make the space
that we’ve got. We found Philly designer
Matthew Ferrarini. And now,
I’m getting ready to meet him to discuss the renovation
and finalize a design plan. Gordon, thank you so much
for meeting me today. Not at all. Great to see you.
Amazing suit, by the way. – Oh, thank you very much.
– Immaculate. I was going through
some of the pictures of Christina’s space. – She’s in a Philadelphia row home.
– Yes. So it’s a pretty tight space – Yeah.
– that we’re dealing with. But it can still have
that executive-chef feel to it… Sure. By bringing in certain elements,
multiuse spaces, knocking down some of the walls
that are separating, like, the kitchen
from the dining room and so forth,
opening up the space a lot. I’ve put together some photos
on Houzz’s Ideabook. Right. This is the general look direction
that we’re going for. It has an industrial feel to it. We don’t want it to be
too masculine, too dark, so we want to brighten it up a bit
with some bold colors, add some distressed elements
to it as well. Also, I love that rustic charm
cause it’s not too shiny a floor. And you can see
it’s an aged floor as well, so texturally… Yeah. Beautiful. So there’s a light here
that I kind of like. – What do you think about this?
– That looks [BLEEP] stupid. I mean, you need to grow some
and get a [BLEEP] grip ’cause you’re never gonna
target yourself as a top designer. No, bad choice. It couldn’t have been Gordon Ramsay
without getting cursed at. Thank you. That was nice. Chefs are control freaks
with lighting. They want their dining rooms at home
lit like their restaurants. This is one of the lights
I was thinking about for over the dining room. Mm-hm. I like that. – It’s a black wrought iron.
– Yeah, love that. We can order this
right from this photo here. So we’re gonna add that to the cart. The most important part
about this whole renovation, for me, is the chef’s kitchen. You’ve got your work cut out for you,
trust me. I know. Because we don’t like wasting space. We’re actually gonna have
this multiuse cabinet where it pulls out… I love those little hidden elements. One of the most prominent features
you’re gonna see aesthetically are these navy blue cabinets
that I want to introduce. It’s the same color
I’ve got at home, at mine. – Oh, excellent.
– So that pops immediately. It should feel like it’s got
those rich tones, those colors, – textures…
– Yeah. ‘Cause she cooks on a daily basis,
and it’s all about ingredients. Philadelphia is a four-season city. I wanted to introduce
a living garden in the space so that she can have herbs
all year round. Knowing full well that
one of my amazing chefs has a better kitchen than me
already is pissing me off. However, I love this idea. And so it’s like a feature
on a wall? Yeah. And how close would that be
to the stove? So this is actually gonna be
right off the kitchen on the dining room wall. Love that, what a great idea.
Can I have one, please? – You can, too.
– Thank you. In the living room, I wanted to introduce
a really unique couch, something with some color and to bring some vibrancy
into the space. What do you think
about this couch here? Does it come in any other colors? It does, it does. So this is in a softer blue,
it’s more of a teal. Yeah. So Houzz has this really cool tool
called Visual Match… Right. Where if you see something you like
from one of the photos, we can simply click on the tag, and it will show you similar couches. Right. So although the shape of this
is not ideal, I want to go
with something similar in color. So it pairs it for you in a way that it gives you
a great alternative but in keeping with your, you know… Your aesthetic that you’re going for.
Absolutely. So because it’s such a small space, Philadelphia row homes tend to be
a little bit cold towards the front because that’s where the windows are, so I wanted to introduce
an electric fireplace to warm it up a bit. What do you think about this concept? You know, that looks like
something out of “Hell’s Kitchen”. It does.
So she’ll feel right at home. She’ll want to reminisce
with the flame in the background, but it’s lovely. Can we add that to the cart? Absolutely. Excellent. So, Gordon, you’ve been great. You gave me a ton of great ideas
and insight to run with. Is there anything else I can do
before I get started on this project? Like you, I’m frantically busy… Christina’s big brother
with his wife, Jon and Jenny, are gonna be
on location helping you, whatever you need. But you can always call me. Listen, she’s worked hard
to get this house, she put her winnings
from Hell’s Kitchen towards buying this. So if you’re gonna
redesign a chef’s house and turn the kitchen into a dream,
then, yeah, tread carefully, but good luck. Okay. It’s been a few days. And today, Jon and Jenny
are meeting with Matthew at Christina’s house to go over the renovation plans
and get started. – Hey.
– Hey. – How’s it going?
– Matthew. – Jon. Nice to meet you.
– Nice to meet you. – This is my wife.
– Hi, I’m Jenny. – Hi, Jenny. How are you?
– Good. The Philadelphia row home is definitely a love-hate thing
in Philadelphia. We love it because of the charm,
the history, the brick, however, there’s challenges. – Here it is.
– Okay. The whole space. – Yeah, this is it.
– It’s a huge space. This is what you have. Try not to put your arms out
too wide. All right, seems like it’s still
in it’s 1923 form. for the most part. What are some of the things
that you would definitely like to see modernized and updated
within the space? It doesn’t show her personality. Christina likes to relax
when she is home. She’s an aunt.
She plays with the kids. She is silly, she’s charismatic
and charming and wonderful, and this doesn’t display that at all. Right. Now from the moment I walked in, the staircase, I saw it instantly. Is there any emotional attachment
to this staircase? I don’t think there’s much attached
to this staircase at all. So Christina won’t mind if they go? Absolutely not.
I think she’ll be quite thrilled. I see the landing, you know,
protrudes out a good 3 feet or so, so it’s taking up a lot of space. So I’m gonna remove these walls,
and we can eliminate this landing, and just keep it straight so that you don’t have this return
here. So we’re gonna buy back
maybe 2 or 3 feet, you know, from here. And then getting rid of this and doing a more modern railing that’s on par with what she’s into. Is Christina the type of cook that likes to interact
with her guests while she’s cooking? When she’s cooking
with our daughters, for example, she really likes to teach them
how to do it, so she likes to be right there
with them or have them watch her. She likes to feel connected
to the space… Yes, yeah. Jon, if you’re here
watching the game, – you know, in the living room…
– Sounds about right. You guys might be
hollering back and forth, “Hey, sis,
when is dinner gonna be ready?” – Absolutely.
– That might be a… – Yes.
– Okay. Christina would absolutely love to have her family and friends here
a lot more. But the space
just doesn’t provide her the movement, the freedom
to do her creative work with food that she does on a regular basis. Right now, the wall,
there’s an opening here, but the wall
really separates the cook from the rest of the people
in the house. So by opening that wall up, you’re gonna be able to have
a fluid social environment that I think
caters more to her style. What I like to do in smaller spaces
is capitalize off of everything. So if you can imagine,
like, two French doors, you know, or a sliding door,
all glass, all right? Okay.
or A sliding door That’s bringing in natural light, so from the minute you walk in, you’ll be able
to see straight through because the vestibule is gone, and you’re gonna see greenery,
you’re gonna see outside, you’re gonna see the light, and that’s the key to really making
a small space better. Okay. Christina, being a chef, I want to make this
a special, special place for her. What are
some of her favorite cuisines? She can make anything. But she also likes the basics, you know, she likes mac and cheese,
and, you know… – She runs the… She runs the gamut.
– Yeah, yeah. Even in this kitchen,
she could probably throw down… – Absolutely.
– And make this work. Without a question. Yeah, in a space
that encompasses her passions but also gives her that peace
of being home at the same time. Okay. Appliances are gonna be
very important in this remodel because we want her
to be able to cook and perform at a level that she’s used to. So we’re gonna incorporate
a commercial range along this wall and maybe our sink and storage
and prep along this wall… Okay. – So that she can really go to town.
– Okay. I want to make it fun,
you know, I want it to be Christina. – She’s fun.
– That’s true. I have all of the information I need. I’m just gonna go back to my office,
finalize the plans, and we can get demos
started pretty soon. – Yay!
– All right, sounds great. All right,
it was a pleasure meeting you. – My pleasure.
– Thank you. Thank you. With the plans finalized,
today, we’re starting the demo. – Jon.
– How are you? Good to see you, Matthew.
How’s it going? Everything is good.
Good to see you guys. How are you doing? So Jon is actually, like,
quite the handyman himself, and over the years, he’s been
the go-to guy for Christina to help with repairs
and things like that. And I have a special project for you,
Jon. All right. So I know you have
a love-hate relationship with this railing here. So I’m gonna let you
kick-start our demo by getting rid of this thing. Sounds good. – There you go.
– Woah! All right, Jon, take it easy. – Are you feeling okay?
– I’m all right. I think we got it. You think? We’re gonna get started, my contractor
and his crew’s gonna get in here, start tearing everything apart. So it looks empty now, but it’s gonna look even more empty
by the time we’re done today. It’s been two weeks
since the renovation started on Christina’s house, and today, Jon and Jenny
are stopping by to get an update. Oh, my gosh. It’s so open. – It’s pretty crazy, right?
– I love it. It’s gorgeous. Yes, it is. That’s definitely
one of my favorite parts, – those exposed beams and…
– That’s gorgeous. Matthew shared an Ideabook
with me on the Houzz app. It shows the furniture
that him and Gordon picked out. It’s a cool tool in the Houzz app
called View in My Room 3D, and it actually allows you
to place the furniture in the room – live, so to speak.
– Right. Then you can manipulate it. So that’s the rug. Very cool. I love it. I see a button there,
can you add something there? Yeah, so if you click that,
you go back into the Ideabook, and there’s the couch
they picked out for the design, and you can bring that in,
and then manipulate that as well. – And there you go.
– I love it. Very good. – Hey, look who’s here.
– Oh, hey. – Jon, how are you?
– Matthew. Excellent.
It’s great to see you as well. Good to see you. You know what,
we can actually get Gordon – on the computer…
– Okay. And show him the space,
kind of do a walkthrough with him. – Sounds good.
– Okay. Hey, Gordon,
I’m here with Jon and Jen. – Hey, good to see you again.
– Jon and Jen, nice to see you. Hi, Matt. How’s it going? Yeah, all good, thank you. I cannot wait to see
what you’re about to show me, but looks like
you guys have been busy. Oh, super busy. I just wanted to give you
a quick update and show you, kind of, what’s going on and the progress we’ve made. Great. We knocked down all of the walls
around the vestibule, really opened it up there. Wow. That looks great. The place,
it looks bigger from here, Matt. Absolutely.
And that’s what we’re going for. Over here, Gordon,
we have the fireplace set up, where we did a bump-out, it’s gonna be a fireplace
down at the bottom, and then a TV recessed in
at the top. I love what you’ve done
with the recess. So it doesn’t look like it’s awkward,
it almost looks like it’s a painting. Love it. So as we come in,
I wanted to show you this brand new kitchen concept
that we introduced. The first thing
that’s gonna jump out to you are those two French doors
leading out to the patio. Lot more depth to the kitchen. Is that the beams
on the ceiling there? What is that? Yeah, those are exposed
industrial-style beams. Now that first beam that’s there
is the original beam of the house from the early 1920s. Wow! You stripped that back? Yeah. Hey, Jennifer,
do you mind opening that… pulling that cabinet mechanism,
pulling on those blue tabs. Stop it. Come on! I mean, push it back in,
please, Jennifer. Does it go back flush?
Wow, she is gonna go crazy. You know what
control freaks chefs are like, so that looks incredible. Love that. Gordon, I know you’re super busy, so I just want to go
over one last thing with you and get your feedback. Yeah, so I was a little bit divided just because we’re gonna have
that beautiful herb garden against this wall, this brick wall, and that’s gonna have like
a distressed wood framing around the herbs, and I just didn’t want it to be
too busy, so I’m thinking maybe paint it white and let the herb garden
be the true focal point. I wouldn’t paint that,
definitely not. I know Christina would love
that industrial look. Guys, well done.
Can’t wait to see you. All right, Gordon, take care. – Bye, thanks.
– All right, we’ll see you soon. It makes it all worth it to get the Gordon Ramsay
official seal of approval. Gordon’s a pretty intense guy,
clearly. But I want to brighten up
the space, so I’m gonna paint the bricks. I think
Christina will really be happy. I’m finally here in Philadelphia
to show Christina her new house. I’m on my way to meet Matthew
to add the finishing touches. Holy smokes,
this is amazing, amazing. – Good to see you.
– What do you think? It’s beautiful. – All right, so…
– What can I do to help? Put this, Jon,
right above the French doors, – right there.
– All right. It pays to be tall. Should fit right on. Wow. Oh, my goodness. Are you kidding me? Come on. Wow! Look at this place. – Great job.
– Thank you. – You good?
– Excellent. – Good to see you, Gordon.
– Good to see you too, my man. Oh, man! My first impressions,
walking through the door… you know, breathtaking. The colors, the textures, beautiful. I mean,
everything is from Houzz, right? You can get this stuff online? Yeah, so all of this
was based on Ideabooks created with Houzz. So now you’ve done this one,
ready to come to London and do mine? Just tell me when. Let’s go. Now we had
a little bit of an argument – about painting this wall…
– We did. You said yes, I said no, right? So looking at it now,
I mean, it looks great, so I was wrong, you were right. It means a lot coming from you,
Gordon. Yeah, I know, I know.
But it annoys me. And tell me why did you paint it? Once we put the herb garden up, and I saw it
against that original brick, – it was too busy.
– Right. You know,
your eyes didn’t go right to this. Okay. So when we painted it, it just allows you to focus
on the freshness – of the herb garden…
– Right. Which is what Christina’s all about. Yeah, we’re equal now, 1-1. We’re 1-1, exactly, yeah. Let’s keep it like that. Great job. Thank you.
That looks beautiful. Love it. Love it, love it, love it. – Don’t get too comfortable.
– What? – We’ve got to finish this place up.
– Okay. All right,
Christina’s gonna be here any minute. – Yeah, okay.
– All right. We’re gonna put that in the kitchen. Yeah. So, guys, put the coffee table
parallel with this couch here. I know you’ve been hands on, but you can help out
from time to time. You know, like, I’m visualizing
everything right now, Gordon. – Honestly. Yes.
– All right, I’m visualizing. – There?
– That’s good. That’s all right. I’ll grab this box. Yeah. – [unintelligible].
– Yup. Yup. I have no idea
what Gordon’s been doing. I know I surrendered
the keys to my home a few weeks ago, and so I’m a little nervous
and a little excited, but I really just can’t wait
to see what’s been done. Guys, thank you. Christina’s gonna be here
in a minute, so you guys need to disappear. – All right.
– All right, all right. I’ll see you in there
when she comes back. – Cool.
– Sounds good. – Good job.
– See you. This is gonna transform
Christina’s life tremendously. How can you not fall in love
with this? I can’t wait to see the reaction
on her face. – Close those eyes.
– Okay. Close them. Close. Okay, yes, they’re closed. You ready? All right, give me your hands. – Keep those eyes closed.
– They’re closed. – Up the step.
– Mm-hm. Okay. – There’s the door.
– Yeah, don’t worry. – And stop there for two seconds.
– Okay. Big deep breath. And… [unintelligible]. Welcome home. Open your eyes. What! Welcome home. Oh, my god! – Look at this…
– Shut up! Beautiful. How bright is it in here! It’s so open now, without the cut-outs
and the vestibule. Like, I had no idea
this could happen to my first floor. – I love the furniture.
– Wow. Sofa. Sit there. How does that feel? It feels nice and plush,
and like I could sit here and watch your cooking shows. Or fall asleep in front of the fire. – That’s amazing.
– How beautiful is that? That’s so gorgeous. Oh, my god,
look at all these little details. Honestly, everything,
getting that info from Jon, saying that you never used
to use this room in the winter – because it’s too cold.
– Yeah, it’s too cold. – There’s no excuse now.
– Yes. I’m speechless,
which you know doesn’t happen. Now dining room. What a lovely dining room! Yes, it is gorgeous. I mean, just the fragrance
from that herb garden on the wall. -Oh my goodness -Go smell. Basil? Are you gonna make me
do a blind taste test? No, those days have gone. The engine room of this row house,
the kitchen. Wow! Unbelievable,
I can’t wait to get cooking. Now in a narrow space, it’s tight, but look at one of these… Oh, my god! – Tops.
– Look at that space saver! So you’ve got your workbench,
chopping board. You know,
we need our mise en place, yes? – That’s right.
– I love it. The range is now on the right side,
which just makes this great walkway. Notice the difference in the doors
at the back there? Yeah, I feel it throughout the house
with those doors, it just lets
all that light come right in. And these exposed beams. They were here.
And we’ve added three or four more. Wow, I love that. Thank you, thank you, thank you. It is so nice to come home to. – It looks amazing.
– It does. I cannot believe that this is the house
that I have been in for the last six-and-a-half years, and it is completely different. Not one thing looks familiar
even though it all feels familiar. And you know
I didn’t do this on my own. I teamed up with an amazing designer. Can’t wait for you to meet him. Matt. Jon. Hi. Hey! Hi! What do you think? I think… you never keep secrets from me, – you did a good job with this one.
– I know. Amazing. – Yeah, I don’t know how I did that.
– Christina, this is Matthew. – Hi.
– There you go. – Thank you so much.
– Nice to finally meet you. Wow. – What do you think?
– It’s so amazing. Just the little touches. I remember what the pipes
looked like prior to that, – so thank you.
– Amazing. Now this one’s been amazing, giving his insights
to the dos and don’ts, what you’d like,
what you didn’t like, and then all your little secrets
inside this household… – Not all.
– Not all of them. – Not all.
– Okay, good. I noticed the banister got fixed. It got fixed all right. It got fixed. Hey. Oh, my gosh! – Good morning.
– It’s beautiful! You know, Gordon is amazing,
and I’m so lucky to work for him, for him to be able to choose me to gift this amazing
new renovation on my home, and I’m just overwhelmed. I’ve never had
such a generous gift given to me. High-five. Boom! I love those shoes,
those sparkly shoes. I know. They’re so cute. We’re going shoe shopping actually,
me and Nessie. I love that. Big thank you to you, but more importantly,
congratulations to you, and here’s to a brand new life
in this amazing house. – Thank you, Chef.
– Cheers. Thank you. Thank you, guys. – Thank you so much.
– Cheers. Amazing. Thank you, little ladies,
for your all your help, too. And I’m hoping the first invite
for dinner is only days away. – Yes.
– Promise? If you give me the day off, Chef. – Cheers.
– Cheers. I’m so excited. I was able to pull off this
wonderful surprise for Christina. Christina Wilson is a down-to-earth,
hard-working young lady, so hopefully with this amazing gift, she will understand
how important she is not just to me
but to my entire family. There’s no chef more deserving
than Christina Wilson.


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