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Emily Henderson

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by Arlyn Hernandez
Emily Henderson Leanne Ford House Tour24

I don’t have cable so I didn’t see last night’s episode of Restored by the Fords on HGTV (yet…I plan on watching online tonight), but I did get a sneak peek a few weeks back (and by sneak, I mean like…WHOLE peek, full on look) into this Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, home designed by the kick-butt Leanne Ford and renovated by her brother, Steve Ford. I’ve long had a design girl crush on Leanne and her beautiful monochromatic spaces; that woman knows how to do neutral with serious soul, which is not easy to do, so when she reached out to us to see if we’d be up for sharing this exclusive house tour in conjunction with the episode release, I couldn’t hit the reply button fast enough to pound out an excited “YES” on my keyboard.

I went to high school with the homeowner, so when he called about having us help with his house, I was determined to try to make it work,” says Leanne about why she took on the project, which involved completely reconfiguring and flipping the floor plan, dealing with exterior walls that were inside (the product of a previous addition), and oh…just about two months to accomplish the whole thing. For each home the Fords restore for the TV show, they “have 6-8 weeks to accomplish a renovation that in real time would probably take about a year. And then you multiply that by the number of projects we are taking on, and things get…crazy.” 

Wowza. The construction may have been a time crunch, but the style didn’t suffer one bit, and the entire downstairs (which we’re showing you today) is so warm, inviting and feels like something that’s been there for decades.

Let’s take a tour, guided by Leanne herself (with a little interjection along the way by me), starting right at the front of the home.

Entry

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“This was a pretty simple fix: pretty paint—creamy white on walls (Sugar Soap in Eggshell by PPG), white on trim (Delicate White in Semi-Gloss by PPG), a vintage carpet from Swoon Rugs, and a new lighting fixture go a long way!”

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We used a lot of vintage rugs throughout the house, mainly from Swoon Rugs, to give the entire place warmth and to tie the rooms all in together.” The wooden console is vintage (just like anything you desperately want usually is) and the basket underneath is positioned to be a big catch-all for the foyer.

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Flooring (in Warm Sunset) | Wall ColorTrim Color | Rug (vintage) | Chandelier (similar)

Kitchen & Dining Room

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Take a left from the foyer and you’ll find yourself in the newly configured kitchen (which was originally in an entirely different place in the house).

The homeowners had a (very dated) kitchen that was added as an addition years after the original house was there, so it was extremely unattached to the rest of the house. You actually had to weave around multiple rooms to get back there. To add to the fun, the kitchen was also on a level down from the rest of the house and separated by the original home’s exterior wall. Our main vision for the home was to open the floor plan, create better flow, and to respect the traditional style while getting modern amenities in there.”

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Cabinetry | Countertops | Chandelier | Line Art | Vintage Barstools (similar) | Vintage Rug

“We ended up moving the kitchen to the front of the house, in what was originally the living room, which was being extremely underutilized. So now we have this gorgeous fireplace in the kitchen and have opened up walls so you can connect all the way to the back of the house and into the back yard!”

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Sink | Faucet

We put the farm sink in front of the beautiful leaded double windows in the front of the house, which was a bit of a to do to figure out, but so worth it.”

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“We wanted the dining room to be an extension of the kitchen so we brought the cabinets all the way down the wall along with a massive range. Something tricky to deal with was that crown molding that was throughout the house. It was original and a huge problem for us because we had to figure out how to recreate it where it was missing. I was NOT going to let that molding go away!”

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“We had a gorgeous old built in that we had to move out of the wall to make way for a first-floor laundry, so we salvaged the glass doors and built a new cabinet around them to use in the kitchen/dining. I loved how that turned out!” Uh, us, too, Leanne, us, too. 

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Table (similar) | Dining Chairs (similar) | Vintage Rug | Chandelier (similar)

Living Room

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Salvaged Doors | Vintage Warehouse Lights

“The now living room is where the old kitchen was (reminder, it’s at a lower level from the now adjacent dining room). And because we had to keep the step-down, we thought it was smarter to make that a lowered living room than try to confine the entire kitchen in there, and I love how it turned out. We also added the vintage black doors on the back wall (more on that in a bit) and extended a deck into their yard to create a gorgeous indoor/outdoor living space.”

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Sofa | Coffee Table (vintage)

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Console (vintage) | Green Arm Chair | Line Art | Woven Leather Lounge Chair (similar)

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“The black doors were a massive to do. I wanted elements of vintage in the house, and we found these amazing, though beat up, doors that I knew we had to use! Problem with them was, everything…we had to replace the glass to be weatherproof exterior glass, we had to beef the doors up so they could live as exterior doors, so we basically overhauled them in every way, while still keeping some of the old texture safe on the inside.” 

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“My brother thought I was crazy doing this project, but I love how they turned out. I also make it a habit, when painting old doors, to paint right over the textured, old, chippy paint. I do not sand them down, as I want the life to show through them, even if we are giving them a fresh coat!”

Mud Room

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Vintage Club Chairs (similar) | Vintage Rug | Side Table (similar) | Chandelier (similar)

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“This was the old dining room that kind of became a catch-all for the extras we wanted on the first floor (first-floor laundry, first-floor powder room, mud room, etc.). We even broke through the exterior wall and added another door so the dogs had a place to come in and out of the house. Lucky dogs!”

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Art

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“We had to rethink the layout of the entire house, in order to use space in a wiser way, which meant we had to move the entire bathroom to the other side of the house in order to keep a better floorplan on their first floor. In general, the whole home is kind of a big surprise. We really did a whammy on this one!”

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Thank you again Leanne for sharing this gorgeous home with us here, and if you haven’t checked out this episode (or any!) of Restored by the Fords, head to HGTV for more details.

Design by Leanne Ford Interiors | Construction by Steve Ford Construction | Interior Styling by Courtney Favini LichtyPhotography by Alexandra Ribar

More house tours this way in our ROOMS section.

  1. Love the tour, very unique solution but is it from Pittsburgh, PA or Pittsburg, CA? I think she works in Pittsburgh.

    1. Pennsylvania

    2. Yup, PA!

  2. OK, I’m ready to move in. That fireplace! Swoon. That dining room built-in? Swoon. Those black doors! … Well, you get the drift. One of the things I like best is that the open shelves in the kitchen aren’t done up in the usual dull personality-less monochromatic way (i.e., a bunch of white and/or black dishes). I love that the shelves have a mix of colors and stuff — that is of course carefully styled to be in sync with the colors of the fireplace tile. Those shelves liven up the kitchen without competing with that wonderful tile. Beautiful home.

    P.S. I’ve spent a few weekends in Pittsburgh and it’s a GREAT town. Great food, beer, vintage shopping, close to the Frank Lloyd Wright home Falling Waters for a day trip. And it was affordable, as big cities go. Such a cool place!

    1. I’m a Pittsburgh resident (though not a native), and wholeheartedly agree: it is amazing. Thanks for the kind words about my adopted city that has completely reinvented itself from a dirty, steel and mining town to something altogether modern. Plus, City Council just banned the use of assault rifles. So, there’s that. Come visit everyone.

      1. Frankly I was hesitant to say anything as I don’t want to spoil it. 🙂 But we stayed in this great VRBO home in the Lawrenceville neighborhood near the most amazing French bakery, La Gourmandine. That place alone is worth a trip back. It’s as close to a real French bakery as I have ever encountered in the States. I’m still dreaming about their baguette aux lardons (bacon bread — OMG!) and their chouquettes! But really, we had amazing food wherever we ate, though, including at Morcilla, a Spanish restaurant in the neighborhood where we stayed.

        People were so so friendly. One weekend we were there along with a national Furries convention and the whole city was very welcoming to what is, lets face it, a pretty fringe population. It was great fun to walk around downtown along with giant rabbits, cats, chickens, you name it. I also highly recommend Condado Tacos downtown. Seriously amazing tacos and guac and queso (suddenly I’m starving).

        In short, it’s a terrible city. All of you people should stay away. 🙂

    2. Pittsburgh PA : -)

  3. I love The house 😍

  4. I am loving their show and can’t wait to see this episode! Leanne is extremely talented and creative.

    1. agreed! I think I’m going to curl up and watch it tonight, all the while screaming in my head “I SOMEHOW FEEL LIKE I KNOW THESE PEOPLE/THIS HOUSE BECAUSE I EMAILED WITH LEANNE ABOUT IT.”

  5. “The problem with it was, everything.” Hahahaha, the story of every home project I have ever done. Those doors are AMAZING though!

    EHD team, I love the kitchen light over the island. Think something like that would work with 8 ft ceilings over a smaller island? Currently only have recessed lighting, SOS!

  6. Is the furniture part of the redesign, or is it just staged for the show? I heard a few references this season from the featured homeowners about “moving back in” and it’s not clear what they mean, exactly,

    1. I bet it’s the same as Fixer Upper – if you want the keep the furnishings, you pay for those separately.

      1. Whaaat? You mean the furniture’s not included in the budget’s they’re working to? I mean, in the real world I’m not surprised cos I always take the money side of those shows with a pinch of salt, but really, without the furniture and styling, they wouldn’t have a house to show at the end of it.

  7. GORGEOUS spaces. Man, I wish you had a floor-plan graphic for us though! I believe that it has a lovely, open flow but I can’t visualize how the rooms fit together.

  8. Funny — I saw two minutes of this show last night, for the first time, and they were literally just then shopping for the huge pendants in the living room. And they look great! in fact, the whole house does. And I have a new definition of heaven: that kitchen. Someday I hope I get there!!!

  9. Love love Leanne Ford! This was another stunning house. I’m just wondering how the range/stove will work. It’s so far away from the rest of the kitchen, even behind the island, in the dining room. And I will absolutely miss one of those beautiful fireplaces in the living room. I feel the fireplaces don’t get the attention it deserve. I was very happy this was an 1 hour episode! Yeah!!

    1. I love Leanne, but I’d have put the range in the island with a downdraft. I didn’t want to be a negative nabob so wasn’t going to say anything if I was the only one. THOSE DOORS, THOUGH! Oh, + ditto re: the cool, real stuff on the shelves. I wanted everything that she bought at that antiques store. That was one mega project!

    2. I noticed the range so far from the kitchen, as well.

      Leanne flips kitchens into front rooms on a few of the renovations she has done on her TV show. Maybe it is her “thing.”

    3. The kitchen *looks* beautiful – but that’s a layout that makes no sense.

      The range is right next to the dining table, but you have to walk around the island with stools to get to the sink, fridge, and prep areas.

      This reads as “designed” but not for someone who wants it to function well.

      1. I know- the position of the range is bizarre! So when you are having people for dinner, the hot stove and messy pots are literally within arms reach of the table?!? What bothers me as well are the sight lines into the kitchen that are so strange- do you really want this to be your view? I think that it shows that they rushed through this renovation. And maybe this is more obvious in the show, but I don’t understand the mudroom.

    4. I know! There’s not even a pot filler above the range to avoid those long walks from the sink to the stove with a heavy pot of water. This kitchen is gorgeous, but a nightmare for souping!

    5. I agree they could have easily fit an induction cooktop a foot away from the sink with a stove below. Would have been sleek looking and accessible.

  10. This is really spectacular. I simply can’t believe they accomplished this in 6-8 weeks…. nope, not possible! I am a little confused why the range is practically in the dining room and so far away from the rest of the kitchen. I can see that aesthetically it gives the range more opportunity to be a focal point but functionally this just wouldn’t work for me. I cook a lot and am a big proponent of a not-too-big kitchen. I guess I am going to have to start watching their show now. 🙂

    1. Ditto about the location of the range/stove. The location is so impractical it had me wondering if the homeowners even plan to use it.

  11. Can I live here! Like, next week? Only thing I don’t adore is that sectional/sofa, proportions feel weird from this shot? But that’s a nit! This is amazing!

  12. This is a beautifully re-done house. She obviously has great taste and a great eye. Bravo!
    I do have to say, I cannot imagine working in that kitchen. The range is so far away from the rest of the kitchen! You have to walk across the room just to drain your pasta into the sink. I would love to know the thought process behind the kitchen layout and/or hear how it’s actually working for the homeowners.

    1. My concern as well, Rachel! I commented above about her tendency to flip the kitchen with the living room on a lot of her renos (at least on her show). I wonder if the surprise factor of the switch is more important than the practicality of where things will be placed in the new space.

      I feel like her design aesthetic has gotten more refined from her first shows but the design needs to work IRL not just for pretty pictures.

  13. Whoa . . . what an honor . . . I can’t believe all of my vintage finds that I provided for this gorgeous house made it Em Henderson!! Love Em and Leanne!

    1. How fun!!

  14. Yay! Love Leanne and Steve! i’m a CA resident but spent the first 25 yrs of my life in Pittsburgh. Awesome city – and way way lower cost of living for those out west.

  15. Leanne Ford is so talented and I’ve watched every episode of her show. I do sometimes wish she would slow down before painting over original historic materials like wood trim and brick. But I can’t argue with the stunning results!

  16. Yes, this is beautiful, but the kitchen work triangle is awkward.

  17. Anyone with ideas re: the living room rug? It’s the only one not linked… I looked at the swoon website and don’t see anything in a similar size?!?

  18. Well, I’m not a fan. First, she’s way too cutesy-ootsy. Then in her design, she usually strips half or more of the architectural features out (looks like she kept slightly more than usual in this reno), and slops white paint over everything else. Boring.

  19. I loved the renovation but I wonder if the stove is too far from the sink and refrigerator. That’s an awfully big triangle.

    1. The constant patrolling of the thought police is so tiresome. And often just plain ridiculous. Seriously? You want to ban “girl crush” and “bromance” because of how YOU interrupt those phrases for YOURSELF? No wonder Trump won.

      1. I think “baning” a phrase is problematic, and not my wish. Phrases that uphold heteronormativity are tiresome and ridiculous, but only for those who are marginalized by them.

        1. Hi Julia and Arlyn (because I hope Arlyn reads this and makes note),

          I didn’t like “girl-crush” for a different reason. We are talking about grown women here. Calling anyone over 19 a girl is pretty backwards. I get crushes all the time–a better term here would have been “professional crush.” Sometimes I have so much appreciation for my colleagues that my love for them just bubbles over and I just respect them so much. Then I explain my exuberance for them to others by saying that I have a “professional crush” on so-and-so. Even if this is a “crush” because the Fords are pretty amazing people and attractive and would be great love partners for anyone, if it were a sexual crush, I would prefer to see “crush.” I just don’t like calling grown women girls. I was scrolling down the comments to see if anyone else didn’t like this. We don’t need to bring Trump into this! So, thank you Julia for posting the “scary mommy” article. I appreciated it and read it and then perused the site even more. I love their work on instagram.

  20. Oh my word it’s so beautiful and simple but unique and soulful. I love Leanne Ford! Glad to see this home shared here!

  21. Kitchen is beautiful but cooktop is WAY too far from refrigerator and sink. Imagine cleaning your hands and carrying all the ingredients from the fridge to cook top. Yikes!

  22. I Love Leanne Ford and her minimalist designs, but the kitchen design makes no sense. I also did not understand why those chairs in the mudroom are facing the wall (fire place). What’s their purpose? Take off shoes? They block the entire flow of the room, and definitely not seem to belong a mudroom. Reading nook maybe.

    1. And if it is a mudroom why are there no closed cupboards??? Our mudroom is literally where we bring dogs and dirty kids into the house and leave all the bags/coats/boots- apparently in this house the plan is to leave that stuff laying on a extra long bench so you can then admire it from a club chair?

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