Restored by the Fords: Tuesdays at 10|9c 00:54

Catch inventive brother-sister duo Leanne and Steve Ford in Restored by the Fords on Prefit.

The Backstory

How Leanne and Steve Got Their Start in Home Restoration

It's all thanks to a few strategically placed holes in the walls of Leanne's vintage schoolhouse.

Seen on the Show

Leanne Ford: Wear Black, Paint White

This post (and life motto) dedicated to all who support the absence of color.

An Ode to Pittsburgh Architecture

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The Duquesne Incline

One would do well to begin an appreciation of Pittsburgh’s scenery with a ride on the restored wooden cable cars that began climbing the to the summit of Coal Hill, later known as Mount Washington, in 1877. The Incline is now operated by a preservation society, but it’s part of Pittsburgh’s transportation grid and uses the same fares as buses and trolleys—and offers an incomparable downtown view.

Smithfield Street Bridge

Pittsburgh’s oldest surviving river bridge—it was built between 1881 and 1883 to connect the northern and southern shores of the Monongahela River—is now the third version of a structure at the same spot (a covered wooden bridge was erected there between 1816 and 1818). Today’s Smithfield Street Bridge carries cars, trains and pedestrians between the complex and the .

Pennsylvania (Union) Station

Constructed between 1898 and 1903 by Daniel Burnham, Pennsylvania Railroad (PRR)’s downtown station was designed to impress: Burnham had recently wowed visitors at the World’s Fair in Chicago, and for Pittsburgh’s Penn Station he created what was to become one of America’s great examples of Beaux-Arts architecture. The soaring rotunda at the end of Liberty Avenue downtown is no longer in service as an entry for train passengers—Amtrak’s working station is now located in another facility at the back of the building complex—but visitors can still feast their eyes on its .

Phipps Conservatory

The spirit of the World’s Fair also made its way to Pittsburgh via the philanthropist Henry J. Phipps, who wanted to “erect something that [would] prove a source of instruction as well as pleasure to the people.” Upon completion in 1893, ’s nine rooms contained plants that had been displayed in Chicago. 120 years later, it also plays host to , parties, classes and even a greenmarket, and is open to visitors from 9:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily ().

Allegheny County Courthouse and Jail

In Allegheny County’s words, “One of the most unique aspects of our history is a location that most county citizens tried to avoid.” Allegheny County Courthouse and Jail was designed by the architect H.H. Richardson in 1884 and built with a 229-foot tower and Romanesque flourishes. Since the jail itself was closed in 1995, one could argue that the grand old complex is now more welcoming than ever before.

Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh (Main Branch)

In 1881, Andrew Carnegie offered Pittsburgh $250,000—an offer that later increased to $1 million—to help create a and branches throughout the city. Both a library lover and a shrewd businessman, Carnegie was happy to provide capital funding, then insisted the best way to maintain a healthy relationship between the organization and local residents was for them to contribute to its upkeep.

St. Paul Cathedral

The 247-foot-tall, Scholastic Gothic cathedral built on Fifth Avenue cost $1.1 million to erect and furnish in 1906. A century later, has joined the National Register of Historic Places and is still the mother church and center of spiritual life for Catholics in Pittsburgh.

First English Evangelical Lutheran Church

Founded in 1837 by the missionary J.C.F. Heyer and consecrated at its current location in 1888, the —as its name implies—pioneered worship for Lutherans west of the Alleghenies. Its 170-foot spire now stands at the heart of the Golden Triangle, where the church’s delicate stonework and Tiffany windows rub shoulders with Pittsburgh’s skyscrapers.

McCook Mansion

In the late 19th and early 20th Century, a portion of Fifth Avenue on the city’s north side gained notoriety as “Millionaire’s Row,” thanks to the lavish Gilded Age estates constructed there for prominent members of society. , a three-story manor built in 1907 for Henry Clay Frick’s attorney and his family, is .

Photo By: Picasa

Emmanuel Episcopal Church

One of H.H. Richardson’s final designs, the comparatively humble, brick-clad seems a far cry from the classical confections at the Allegheny County Courthouse—but its simple, severe structure has its admirers. As the architectural historian James D. Van Trump wrote, “[b]eyond Fashion and beyond the caprices of the changing stylistic seasons, it seems to possess a curious timeless serenity, more than a hint of architectural immortality.”

Clayton (Henry Clay Frick Estate)

Frick’s own home stands on Reynolds Street, and while it wasn’t commissioned for his family, they made extensive additions to the property after its purchase in 1882 and preserved it from the decay that befell most of the Pittsburgh’s historic mansions. Visitors can now tour for intimate glimpses of Victorian architecture (and the domestic artifacts of some of the city’s most well-heeled residents).

Photo By: Picasa

Soldiers & Sailors Memorial Hall & Museum

Envisioned in the 1890s as a memorial to Allegheny County’s Civil War veterans and built where the Army had mustered its forces, is now dedicated to honoring the men and women of all branches of service “from all generations and conflicts.” “Our goal,” the museum’s curators say, “is not to idealize war but to honor and educate about the sacrifices during it.”

Cathedral of Learning

University of Pittsburgh Chancellor John G. Bowman wanted to erect a monumental building that would be an inspiration to everyone who saw it (and, of course, provide much-needed growing room for the school, which was rapidly expanding after World War I). The ’s creation was an act of civic pride: Local businesses gifted supplies for its construction, and , “17,000 men and women and 97,000 school children made individual contributions to help build the great tower.”

Photo By: Don Burkett

Union Trust Building

The , first known as the Union Arcade, was built on land that was transferred from religious to secular use via a 1901 deed—and urban legends suggest that there’s a chapel hidden in one of its towers to comply with a requirement that a place of worship remain there. In truth, Henry Clay Frick intended it strictly for shoppers—but its spectacular roof is nevertheless divine.

Gulf Tower

Built in 1932 as the headquarters for the Gulf Oil Company—on the same location as the U.S.’s first oil refinery—the Gulf Tower was Pittsburgh’s tallest building until 1970 (when the U.S. Steel Building was completed). It’s long represented the intersection between classical ideals and industrial realities: The pyramid at its crown, designed to resemble the (one of the seven wonders of the world), has required extensive restoration to remove decades of thoroughly modern grime.

Photo By: Derek Jensen

Three Sisters bridges

The trio of large steel eyebar suspension bridges at 6th, 7th and 9th Street—named for Pittsburgh residents Roberto Clemente, Andy Warhol and Rachel Carson—are the only three identical side-by-side bridges in the world. Painted a shade of gold known as “Pittsburgh yellow,” their triplet images have appeared on logos for the Pittsburgh Marathon, Major League Baseball’s 2006 All-Star Game and the 2009 G-20 Summit (all of which, naturally, were held in town).

PPG Place

Built in the 1980s to recall and update Pittsburgh classics like the Cathedral of Learning and the Allegheny County Courthouse, (named for its original anchor tenant, née the Pittsburgh Plate Glass Company) is a half-step between the city’s storied history and its gleaming skyscrapers. Designed by Philip Johnson, “at once the elder statesman and the enfant terrible of American Architecture,” the neo-Gothic complex’s footprint spans three downtown blocks.

Mellon Hall of Science

The Richard King Mellon Hall of Science at Duquesne University, a four-story building that houses labs and lecture halls, is one of modern master Mies van der Rohe’s lesser-known projects (completed in 1968, a year before his death). As the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review , “Unless you’re a science student at Duquesne...you’re unlikely to go there at all.” That said, it’s just as characteristic of the celebrated architect’s much-imitated style as his more celebrated works in New York and Chicago—and less-is-more fans will find a visit well worth their time.

Fallingwater (Mill Run, Pennsylvania)

About 90 minutes from downtown Pittsburgh, in Bear Run, Penn., Frank Lloyd Wright built , where his clients wanted a weekend house beside the area’s breathtaking sandstone ledges and waterfalls. Wright created concrete “trays” that allowed the home to perch over the rushing water, and his project was heralded as a masterpiece before it was completed in 1937. More than 5.7 million people have visited the property since it opened to the public in 1964, and it’s been a National Historic Landmark since 1976.

Kentuck Knob (Chalk Hill, Pennsylvania)

Seven miles south of Fallingwater, architecture and sculpture meet at , one of the last homes Frank Lloyd Wright completed. A “Usonian” (that is, "affordable for the average American") house, Kentuck Knob was based on a hexagonal design and built of sandstone and tidewater red cypress. More than 30 sculptures—including one of ’s first commissions—dot the leafy landscape and walking trails around the house.

About the Hosts

Leanne, an interior designer, first gained national attention when she restored and designed a turn-of-the-century schoolhouse in her hometown. Today, Leanne’s designs can be found in homes across the country and reflect what she describes as her signature “modern yet lived-in” aesthetic.

Steve is a licensed contractor who tackles unconventional construction challenges that bring his sister’s unique vision to life. His portfolio includes store and restaurant design, displays and set design for national retail brands, residential renovations, as well as the restoration of a corporate headquarters.

About the Show

Leanne and Steve Ford renovate older homes in rural Pennsylvania that are a bit out of the ordinary and unconventional. As the designer and "house whisperer," Leanne is the brains behind each project while Steve uses his "MacGyver-like" carpentry skills to bring her crazy, over the top ideas to life.

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Tuesday
Dec 13
11pm | 10c
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Saturday
Dec 17
1pm | 12c
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Tuesday
Jul 4
7:30am | 6:30c
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Thursday
Aug 31
7:30am | 6:30c
Season 1, Episode 7

Building Character

A young couple needs a larger space for them and their two kids, so Steve and Leanne decide to reconfigure the floor plan to transform their small house into a home with plenty of elbowroom. But with a new bathroom, master bedroom and kitchen, will Steve and Leanne find the space in the budget to fit in all their ideas?

Tuesday
Jan 2
10pm | 9c
Season 1, Episode 4

First Floor Blowout

The Fords are tasked with updating the first floor of a regal Victorian house built in 1885. The owners of this elegant home are both young and traditional in their style, so Leanne looks to create an entertaining floor that's a perfect balance of new and old. A custom bar is then made from salvaged cabinets, and a layer of bold wallpaper with a romantic feel is installed. The end result is a blend of classic and contemporary, making for a one-of-a-kind home.

Wednesday
Jan 10
1am | 12c
Season 1, Episode 2

Midcentury Mess Gets Modern Makeover

In Pittsburgh, PA, siblings Leanne and Steve Ford target a dark, midcentury home that has been empty for over a decade. They transform this funky house into a sleek oasis with mold remediation, plenty of demo and a bridge build.

Tuesday
Jan 16
10pm | 9c
Season 1, Episode 8

A Home For A Future Designer

Tuesday
Jan 23
10pm | 9c
Season 1, Episode 8

A Home For A Future Designer

Sunday
Jan 28
9am | 8c
Season 1, Episode 2

Midcentury Mess Gets Modern Makeover

In Pittsburgh, PA, siblings Leanne and Steve Ford target a dark, midcentury home that has been empty for over a decade. They transform this funky house into a sleek oasis with mold remediation, plenty of demo and a bridge build.

Tuesday
Jan 30
6pm | 5c
Season 1, Episode 6

House With a Circle Ceiling

Tuesday
Jan 30
10pm | 9c
Season 1, Episode 6

House With a Circle Ceiling

Wednesday
Jan 31
1am | 12c
Season 1, Episode 5

The Oasis, Part Two

Steve and Leanne Ford are back at the Collins' midcentury home for the final phase of renovation. With a tight budget of $30,000, the Fords must find a way to fit all of their design ideas into the Collins' bedrooms and bathrooms, along with their out-of-date indoor pool. Along the way, they get inspiration after a trip to the historic Fallingwater house by Frank Lloyd Wright.

Tuesday
Feb 13
10pm | 9c
Season 1, Episode 3

Victorian Gets Some Street Style

Steve and Leanne Ford are asked to tackle the first floor of an old Victorian row house that is drowning in wallpaper. Their first order of business is to brighten and lighten the whole space, then overhaul the dungeon of a kitchen to let the light shine in and reveal a simple, elegant design.

Tuesday
Feb 20
10pm | 9c
Season 1, Episode 3

Victorian Gets Some Street Style

Steve and Leanne Ford are asked to tackle the first floor of an old Victorian row house that is drowning in wallpaper. Their first order of business is to brighten and lighten the whole space, then overhaul the dungeon of a kitchen to let the light shine in and reveal a simple, elegant design.

Wednesday
Feb 21
1am | 12c

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