Steve and Leanne Ford love renovating homes in their hometown of Pittsburgh, yet in the latest episode of “Home Again With the Fords,” this brother-and-sister team is thinking about a whole different city: Paris.
In “Paris in Pittsburgh,” Steve and Leanne meet Bridgette and Dan, high school sweethearts who’ve been around the world. But now, with two young kids, they’re ready to return home to Pittsburgh and settle in the neighborhood of Franklin Park.
However, it seems they’ve brought back a love of European style, because they ask Leanne to bring some Parisian flair into their home, hoping the space could feel like a chic “Pittsburgh pied-à-terre.”
But Leanne and Steve have a lot on their to-do list as it is. With four different types of flooring and a stuffy style, this house needs lots of work. And with only $80,000 to work with, Leanne will need to be smart with her budget.
Read on to see how Leanne adds some Parisian style to this home, which might inspire you to copy her moves for a mental mini vacation.
Give your living room a dark fireplace feature
Bridgette and Dan love their new house, but they hate the wallpaper in the living room. So Steve and Leanne remove the wallpaper and replace it with clean, white walls. However, once the room is painted, it looks a little stark.
Leanne decides to put some color back into the room by making the fireplace darker. She starts with a black marble hearth and realizes that painting the mantel to match could add even more style to the space.
“We’re making the mantel high-gloss black to tie into the marble around the hearth, and it’s going to feel really, very cool and modern,” Leanne says.
When the fireplace is finished, it stands out as a bold feature in this minimalist living room. Now, this room feels a little more exciting, a little more European, and way more chic.
Love wainscoting? Install cabinets with the same look
While Bridgette and Dan say that they hate the wallpaper in the living room, they make a point to mention how much they love the wainscoting.
Leanne agrees that the beautiful paneling is too nice to take out. In fact, she loves the look so much that she’s inspired to bring a similar look to the kitchen cabinets.
“The cabinets are all custom-built, and the style is a rip-off of the molding that Dan and Bridgette already had in their living room,” Leanne explains once the cabinets are installed. “I love playing with molding, which is in every gorgeous French pied-à-terre.”
The stylish cabinets elevate the kitchen, giving the whole room a hint of old-world French elegance.
Use a two-tone countertop for an edgy, modern style
When Leanne is designing the kitchen, she runs into a big problem. While she loves a particular type of marble, she can’t get enough of it to cover the entire island. So she gets an idea to use the marble she loves, paired with a dark marble with complementary veining.
“My idea is to split the island at a diagonal, using white marble with gray veins at one side and black marble with some gray veining on the other,” Leanne says. “It’s going to look super cool.”
When the marble is finished, the two colors look great. It’s a unique, modern look, and Steve especially likes it.
“Honestly, if it was all black, I feel like it would be too dark,” he says, “but because it has that white and the black, it’s like the perfect countertop now.”
In keeping with the French theme, Leanne declares, “The marble is the pièce de résistance in this home.”
Use transitions between flooring styles
One of the biggest problems with this house is the flooring. When Steve and Leanne first tour the house, they’re surprised to see not one, not two, but four different parquet patterns in various rooms. They know something needs to be done.
While they replace the kitchen floor, they don’t want to replace all of the original parquet, so they come up with a way to make the different patterns work together.
Leanne tells Bridgette and Dan that they’ll install wider, heavier transitions between the floors.
“It feels more purposeful and turns it into a beautiful thing as opposed to an afterthought,” Leanne explains.
They end up installing planks of wood in a diagonal to make the transition seem more intentional, and in the end, Bridgette and Dan get to keep the beautiful parquets in a way that works.
Paint everything white to pull it together
While Leanne and Steve notice a lot of different floors, they also take note of the busy walls.
“Visually, there’s a lot going on in this house still with the trim, with the crown molding. I mean, there’s so many different tones of wood,” Leanne says.
Luckily, she has an easy fix and decides to have the interior painted a clean, crisp white.
“By giving it all the same coat of white paint, it’s going to simplify,” Leanne says.
With a monochromatic tone, it’ll be easier to appreciate the textured details of this house, like the vertical wood paneling and the brick accents, all while leaving the home with a clean, European style.