HGTV Designer Leanne Ford Used Coffee on Her Home’s Walls, and It Looks Good


Earlier this summer, HGTV star and frequent Crate & Barrel collaborator Leanne Ford made a cross-country move back to her native Pennsylvania with her husband Erik and young daughter, Ever. They sold the Los Angeles home she’d just finished designing and moved into an old Pittsburgh-area historic home complete with a greenhouse, garden, and a carriage house on the property, too.

Maybe you caught snippets of her new digs here and there on social media, but there wasn’t any big reveal—that is, until now. In the latest issue of Domino, on newsstands now, Ford penned an essay about her latest—and maybe even most personal—project ever: her guest house renovation, which was shot for the cover feature by photographer Nicole Franzen.

Because Ford knew she’d be offering this place up to friends and family to stay when travel becomes possible again, she decided to treat this space as her ideal retreat: a warm, cottage style setting that her guests would never want to leave. Ford’s known for her innovate use of materials and willingness to take design risks—as well as her penchant for white—so I was only a little surprised to hear about her latest quirky DIY, where she used old coffee to stain the main floor’s walls.

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Apparently, her husband rarely finishes his morning cuppa, so Ford started pouring the leftover brew into a jar. “One day I took it over to the cottage and just rubbed it on the walls,” says Ford. “When I came back the next day, it had set in rather, um, intensely, and I sat there thinking, ‘Did I just ruin this project?’”

From the looks of it, I’d argue the answer to that question is a hard no. The glow coming off those walls is real, and it’s warm. It reminds me of vintage, distressed plaster—the kind you’d find in an old Parisian or Roman apartment. Sure, you could probably get a similar look with a limestone paint or a faux finish of some sort, which might be more user-friendly, but I love that Ford just went for it with leftover coffee. Coffee! How sustainable!

If you take anything from this DIY, maybe it’s just channeling that willingness to take a risk or just to embrace subtle textures over busy patterns every once in a while. With all of the trend reports for next year coming out right now, there’s every reason to believe cozy, soothing spaces are going to help carry us through the end of this year and well into 2021.

To see the rest of Ford’s space, check out the Domino feature and tune into her new show, “Home Again With the Fords,” which will document her renovation process and will be airing on HGTV soon.



Danielle Blundell

Home Editor


Danielle Blundell is AT’s Home Director and covers decorating and design. She loves homes, heels, the history of art, and hockey—but not necessarily always in that order.

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