Leanne and Steve Ford are design pros, but in the latest “Home Again With the Fords,” they commit a rookie mistake: They change their minds midrenovation.
In the episode “Sister-in-Law Suite,” this brother-and-sister team wants to create a guesthouse where Leanne’s sister-in-law, Ali, can kick back when visiting them in Pittsburgh. Originally, Leanne planned to give this home a colorful English garden feel; but halfway through, she decides to switch gears and aim for a more subtle, modern style.
Suddenly, the renovation is flipped on its head, as the Fords scramble to redo everything they’ve already done. And with just $30,000 to renovate the whole house, they risk running out of money.
Nonetheless, Steve and Leanne manage to pull this house together on budget. Here’s how they do it, which contains some wise take-home lessons for anyone who ends up suffering a case of renovation remorse. (Hey, it happens!)
Want a different color oven? Cover it in vinyl
Once Leanne decides to change the style in this house, she realizes that the green oven, which she ordered specifically with the English garden style in mind, won’t work.
“It’s awesome and I love it, but it doesn’t match the rest of what’s happening now,” Leanne says.
Rather than get a whole new stove, though, Leanne asks Steve to cover it in pink vinyl. As it turns out, it’s entirely possible to give appliances a face-lift this way, and the new color works great.
Embrace different flooring as a nod to a home’s past
After busting down a wall, Leanne realizes that there is empty space between the original living room parquet and the kitchen tile.
While most designers would rip up all the flooring and lay down a new one so it’s consistent, Leanne decides that’s not possible due to her limited budget. Instead, she patches the empty spaces with dark tile, highlighting the different flooring instead of replacing them.
As Leanne explains, it’s all about the history of the house.
“You can see the floor as it used to be,” she says. “I didn’t want to do a perfect floor. I kind of liked that there was some remnants of the past in the floor.”
Raise ceiling joists to open up a room
This guesthouse is deceptive. From the outside, it looks like a tiny cottage; but inside, it has three large bedrooms. Still, Leanne wants to make this old home feel even bigger by opening up the ceiling.
“If this house was built as well as I think it was,” Leanne says, “there’s gorgeous joists from the floor upstairs. I want that exposed in here.”
Steve opens up the ceiling, but there are so many joists, and they’re so low, that they make the space feel like it still has a low ceiling.
So, in order to improve the look and maintain structural integrity, they decide to raise the joists closer to the peak of the roof.
“By raising the joists, now visually when you walk in you feel the height of the space,” Leanne says.
Simplify a busy room with white paint
Once Leanne decides to go in a new design direction, she’s stuck with a hodgepodge of design features, from the colorful stove to the textured ceiling to the wild floor. It feels like a lot for one space. So Leanne decides to clean up the look by painting nearly everything white.
“I’ve got to scale back and simplify,” Leanne says. “And to me, the best way to simplify has always just been white paint.”
Stencils can make a dated bathroom look modern and new
This bathroom was just plain dated.
While Ali is excited about the house, she’s not thrilled with the dated bathroom upstairs—and she’s surprised when Leanne says she wants to keep it more or less the same.
Leanne assures Ali that this old bathroom, and the dated tile, can look new again with just a few adjustments. She replaces the old faucet with a sleek, updated one and then paints the walls with a geometric green stencil.
The stencil is especially great because it brings some modern shapes into the room, while the green color complements the bathroom’s old-fashioned charm.
“We just put stenciling in the wall and this new modern sink. And now the tile feels really good,” Leanne says proudly when the bathroom is finished.
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