Where Leanne Ford Always Finds Hidden Square Footage in a Home
Plus her trick for transforming rental kitchens.
Updated Sep 29, 2021 6:29 AM
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Introducing Domino’s new podcast, Design Time, where we explore spaces with meaning. Each week, join editor-in-chief Jessica Romm Perez along with talented creatives and designers from our community to explore how to create a home that tells your story. Listen now and subscribe for new episodes every Thursday.
In the past four months, Leanne Ford has accomplished more than most. The designer and her husband, Buck Mason founder Erik Allen Ford, sold their home in Los Angeles’s Pacific Palisades neighborhood (not without making some light kitchen renovations first), moved across the country to her hometown of Pittsburgh, purchased a new place, and got into gardening. “Everyone says, ‘You go back to family,’” Ford tells Domino’s editor-in-chief, Jessica Romm Perez, on this week’s episode of Design Time. “I never understood it until I lived it.”
Tune in today on Spotify and Apple Podcast to hear all about Ford’s pandemic-inspired move, filming the next season of HGTV’s Restored by the Fords, why she never second-guesses, and how she curates a space to find her “zen factor.” Along the way, the industry veteran shares a ton of bright renovating ideas. Here’s a sneak peek at a few of our favorite tricks.
Always Buy Old Doors“I love using old doors. We’ll get ones that are $25 each. My contractors always laugh at me because of how much it costs to actually fit them, but at the end of the day, it’s that mix of new and old. I never want a place to feel designed. I want it to feel accidentally beautiful.”
Be Bold With Oversize Lighting“I do a ton of paper lanterns, and that’s because they are easy to get in the house. They fill up space and you can bring them lower to the table than you think (6 inches above your head). Do an extreme version of what you think you should do and it will feel more special.”
Only Have Two Minutes?“Rearrange your furniture. Take the sofa away from the wall and move it more into the other room. Even if it’s not better, it just feels new and fun. It helps you think differently.”
Take Down Upper Cabinets“People don’t realize this, but taking off upper cabinets is really easy, especially in older, dare I say, dumpy kitchens. Get a power drill and they’ll come off in 10 minutes.”
Paint Tile“If you have tiles that you don’t love, paint them. It’s not a permanent fix—it’s temporary; something to tide you over. If it doesn’t work, you’re right back to where you were anyway.”
Make Use of Crawl Spaces“There’s actually hidden square footage in your house half the time. The first bathroom I ever designed was a crawl space that we cut into to put the tub.”
On a Budget? Stick With Black Hardware“You can’t really get away with fake brass. Super-simple matte black faucets and fixtures, on the other hand, look great, and you know what you’re getting.”
Walk Before You Run“Is there a bathroom that needs its wallpaper ripped down or wallpaper put up? Is there something you could paint this weekend? Is there a light you can switch out? Do stuff that’s easy and accessible and simple and budget-friendly.”