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HGTV's 'Restored by the Fords' will show Pittsburgh siblings' skills

Shirley McMarlin
| Wednesday, Dec. 27, 2017, 11:36 a.m.
Siblings Leanne and Steve Ford will renovate Pittsburgh-area homes on 'Restored by the Fords,' debuting Jan. 2 on HGTV.
Siblings Leanne and Steve Ford will renovate Pittsburgh-area homes on 'Restored by the Fords,' debuting Jan. 2 on HGTV.

A Pittsburgh sister and brother will show off their home improvement skills on "Restored by the Fords," debuting at 10 p.m. Jan. 2 on HGTV.

Designer Leanne Ford and contractor Steve Ford have made restoring unusual or unconventional Pittsburgh-area homes their specialty.

The first episode, "Building Character," will show the Fords helping a young couple with two kids to reconfigure the floor plan of their small house to make more space. The challenge includes fitting a new bathroom, master bedroom and kitchen into the couple's budget.

The idea for the show evolved after Leanne, a former stylist and a creative director in the fashion industry in New York City and Los Angeles, bought her first home — a historic schoolhouse untouched since the 1960s. Wanting to modernize the structure but maintain its original charm, Leanne couldn't find a contractor who shared her vision. So she turned to her older brother.

Steve wasn't a full-time contractor at the time, but he had worked seasonal construction jobs since high school to support interests like skiing, snowboarding and rafting. In fact, Steve's Surf Pittsburgh initiative teaches people to wake surf on the Ohio, Monongahela and Allegheny rivers.

When work on the schoolhouse was finished, Leanne and Steve started getting requests from friends to work on their houses. One job led to another, and soon the Fords made home design their primary gig.

The network aired a pilot for the series, produced by High Noon Entertainment, in December 2016. Based on its performance, HGTV ordered the show to series, with the first season consisting of eight episodes.

Shirley McMarlin is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach her at 724-836-5750, or via Twitter @shirley_trib.

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