With two successful seasons under its belt, “Restored by the Fords” follows the duo around their native Pittsburgh as they turn run-down properties into gorgeous homes. And with about 30 places fixed up so far and many more to go, Leanne and Steve nonetheless found time to pen a joint memoir out this month, titled “Work in Progress: Unconventional Thoughts on Designing an Extraordinary Life.”
“People were always asking us how we got on TV and how we work together, so we wanted to get it all down in this book,” Leanne explains. But a larger goal was to “inspire people to relax and know that the creative life is full of mess-ups—but if you keep it loose, you’ll be fine.”
And as if the Fords weren’t busy enough, Leanne recently set up a fabulous three-bedroom rental in Los Angeles so she could be a bit more comfortable during her frequent work trips to the area. She finished decorating the place in record time—particularly since she wanted to be settled before the birth of her first child, a daughter named Ever. She completed the work quickly in part because she’d vowed not to do much heavy lifting, literal or otherwise.
“There was a conscious decision made with this project to redo the decor only,” she explains.
Curious to see her new digs? Check out these exclusive photos she shared with realtor.com®. She also spoke with us about why she made the choices she did. Consider it a virtual tour where you can glean some savvy design tips, too!
Bring the outside in
The SoCal home vibe often mixes indoor and outdoor spaces, which is evident in Leanne’s living room.
“My favorite things here are the windows and being surrounded by greenery,” she says. “We swapped out all the light fixtures in favor of lots of oversized ones and went with natural tones, layered rugs, and indestructible couches.”
The working fireplace, framed by sculptural stacked wood on each side, is also a focal point, she adds.
Display your treasures
“There’s nothing I love more than bookshelves in the home, because they bring such life to your space,” she says. The tomes in the photo below are in the master bedroom, which also features a working fireplace.
“My approach to designing a bookcase is about showing off books and trinkets and all the things you love,” Leanne adds.
Go big—or go home
“We took out all the ceiling fans when we moved in and replaced them with huge lights, which make such an impact in the room,” she says. As for her coffee table pick, she admits she’s open to all styles.
“I do think almost anything can be a coffee table—this one’s actually for outdoor use, but the warm, casual look of it works here,” she explains.
Mount mirrors to brighten
Luckily for the Fords, the mirrored wall shown here in the dining space was already in place.
“It helps reflect light and brighten the room,” she says.
Layered rugs add texture—and hide a big flaw: “We didn’t love the floors in this house, so carpets on top fixed that fast,” she says. The table is an old one from Restoration Hardware, and the chairs, which she spray-painted, are from Safavieh.
And the fun paper lantern is from Amazon, she explains. “There’s no wiring for electrical here so we just hung it on a hook.”
Mix mainstream with vintage
Another Restoration Hardware table sits front and center in the home office, along with vintage Knoll chairs.
“But my favorite piece here is the light, which is from a line I designed for Target called Project 62,” she says.
Make art a priority
Black and white line drawings are a theme throughout the Ford home.
“I love to support my artist friends every time I can, including this piece by Elissa Barber,” she says. A vintage stool is an easy perch by the kitchen window—and it suits Leanne’s “wear black, paint white” motto.
“It’s a color theory that’s timeless, classic, and no-fail,” she explains.
Allow for occasional chairs
Some designers frown upon the occasional chair as one that’s pushed to the corner and never really used, but not Leanne.
“This chair by Jens Risom is a piece of art, and the midcentury style is perfect in this type of home,” she says.
Pick the coziest bedding
“The best thing in the bedroom are the bed linens from Matteo, which is an L.A. brand,” she says. Loads of books encircle the bed, and more art flank each side, represented by Carly Kuhn on the left wall and Alexandra Valenti on the right. Another enormous light fixture hovers above, in place of a ceiling fan that just had to go.
“If you don’t love something—change it! Don’t say, ‘I’m going to move soon,’” Leanne advises.
As for her, with the speed-makeover completed and no more work planned, she can focus on more pressing issues: “We’re just going to take care of the baby now.”
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