How a new Pittsburgh-based HGTV home renovation show almost made me buy a painting of a duck | Film | Pittsburgh

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Photo: HGTV

Leanne and Steve Ford

The longer I am in quarantine, the more I sink into a seemingly endless cycle of home design shows. There’s the unsettling number of House Hunters episodes I’ve seen, the Architectural Digest celebrity home tours, the YouTube channel about tiny houses. I’m not particularly good at home decor and have no plans to buy a house in the near future, but I just can’t stop watching other people tour houses that are much nicer and bigger than my apartment, whose kitchen is the The size of a narrow hallway.

Enter Home Again with the Fords, a new HGTV home renovation show in and around Pittsburgh (airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m.) hosted by brother and sister Steve and Leanne Ford’s design team. (Yes, they’re siblings. Yes, HGTV has an abundance of home renovation shows hosted by a married couple. Yes, the vibe is a bit confusing at times.) The Fords did a very similar show before, Restored by the Fords, that was too based in Pittsburgh. The newest show is an hour instead of half an hour and is more focused on the area and history of the place they are renovating.

The show premiered on February 2 with the first episode in Carnegie. The season has seven episodes, and according to TribLive, the episodes will be Fox Chapel, Squirrel Hill, Aspinwall, Franklin Park and Dorseyville.

In the first episode, which is the only one I’ve seen, a couple who live in a 100-year-old farmhouse that has been in the family for several generations wants to renovate it for their parents who move back into the house after I do lived in Nashville for years. The house also belongs to the family who own Forsythe Miniature Golf, which has been around since 1942.

The whole concept of Home Again is helping people who have moved away from the Pittsburgh area to return home, which matches the popular image of the city as being reinvigorated (which of course only benefits certain people, usually on the white and affluent side. those who have left the city in recent years did so because they could no longer afford it.)

At first, I feared that the Fords, like many of those renovation shows, would turn the farmhouse into too-clean slate by putting all-white cabinets in an all-white, gray-walled kitchen in the rest of the house. I think Big Design lives far too long under the tyranny of gray and pale colors. Leanne Ford’s signature color is white, and she is known for using it a lot in her designs (she has a guide on how to choose white color on her website) and often wears all-white outfits on the show. She said that’s because other colors pop, but there aren’t enough other colors used to pop.

Fortunately, one of the homeowners, Vicki Sawyer, is a painter, and the Fords used her colorful, whimsical work to inspire the design of the house. Here I was distracted looking and fell into a hole looking at Sawyer’s painting. They showed one in Home Again of a goat with vegetables on its head, and I needed to know more.

On her website, Sawyer cites growing up at Carnegie House, a working farm with a large chicken coop, as the inspiration for her paintings, in which birds, rabbits, lambs, deer and pigs are mixed with a range of products from watermelon to carrots to artichokes.

I stopped paying attention for at least 15 minutes as I browsed Sawyer’s website and wondered whether to buy a pillow or a painting. I had a $ 150 painting of a duck with a green onion crown on my head in my online shopping cart before I came to my senses (which meant that if I wanted to buy an expensive painting, I realized that I should wait until) I’ll move into the apartments a few months). (Yes, I ate a medicinal weed pill before I saw this.)

The end result of the Home Again renovation was, to my surprise, very sweet. Again I was prepared that it was all “modern clean lines” and stainless steel and those gray synthetic wood laminate floors that are everywhere. But the Fords respected the age of the farmhouse and its “character,” as they like to say on HGTV shows. There was still a lot of white, but it was still a lovely little house.

And in the end, Sawyer gave the fords a painting, and I was jealous.

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