Leanne Ford had built her life and career — including four HGTV shows! — in Los Angeles, but when the Covid-19 pandemic took hold this spring, she decided to uproot it all and move back home to Pittsburgh.
Now, that she's settled into an unsurprisingly rustic-chic new home (just look at her fan-favorite L.A. "cabin") on the East Coast with her husband and one-year-old daughter, Ever, she's sharing the story of her unlikely new life — and living space — in a cover story for Domino.
“When quarantine started, our life changed. Which meant the plans for our Los Angeles house changed with it," she writes in the first-person piece. "My husband, Erik, and I had a lot, and I do mean a lot, of discussions: What does our future look like now? What would be best for quality of life? What would be best for our then 1-year-old daughter, Ever? What happens to our careers now that we can’t get on an airplane? Once we actually looked closely at the life we had chosen, our priorities shifted in one swoop.”
She adds, “We very consciously decided, if we are going to be ‘stuck,’ for a while, then we want to be stuck closer to family.”
So they packed up the West Side rental they had called home since shortly before Ever's arrival and headed for Pennsylvania.
Leanne and her brother and HGTV co-star Steve were born and raised in Pittsburgh, and their latest show Home Again with the Fords, premiering on January 4, is set there.
While still living in L.A., Leanne, who has also appeared on Rock the Block and A Very Brady Renovation, had bought, renovated and sold another property in P.A. as a project. But now she was looking for a place that would actually house her family — and occasionally her extended family and friends.
“We wanted people to feel good here, to have a place to relax and stay longer than just three days. Heck, to move in!" she writes. "In fact my sister-in-law, Ali, is living there right now while she helps with our daughter.”
The interiors of their new home are all decorated in neutrals — a trademark of the designer who joked that she wore all black on Restored by the Fords while painting every room white. Her design tricks are visible everywhere, too. The feature points out that "she coffee-stained the walls for a flattering glow, gave the green stove a makeover with custom terracotta-hued vinyl, and hid the fridge behind old confessional doors she thrifted in Pittsburgh."
Of her home-buying ethos, she explains, “I walk into a space and I think: Okay, what is good? What can we keep? I’m not looking for perfect. I’m looking for special.”
To read the full feature and see more photos, pick up the current issue of Domino or visit domino.com.
Home Again with the Fords premieres January 2 on HGTV.
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