20 Ways Leanne Ford Got Creative with White
White is 'the color that makes everything else pop,' says the Restored by the Fords designer mastermind. Here are just a few of Leanne's brightest ideas thus far.
Leanne staged a high-impact collision on the ceiling of this spa-style master bath, where unassuming white hex tiles tumble into panels of deep mahogany. Who says a relaxing space has to be boring?
In Leanne’s world, a ho-hum hearth is a gallery wall in the making. "I’ve painted brick black and white, but mainly white," she told Architectural Digest. "I decide on the shade based on how natural I want the space to feel; when you use ultra-bright white, it’s more crisp and clean."
The pale beadboard in this renovated living room is anything but rustic: It’s a bold backdrop for inky abstract art and a pair of stone tables.
White Light/White Heat
A fireplace doesn’t need fuel to combust, as Leanne demonstrated by leaving interior bricks unpainted and creating a deep frame around sculptural wooden vases. As she told MyDomaine, "White is like this special Secret Service man doing his job without you even realizing it. Painting a space white makes you notice the texture, the brick, the wood, the room."
This entryway feels like an indoor/outdoor space, to a creamy white wall that flows into a bank of floor-to-ceiling windows. Now that’s what we call a sunroom.
The white-on-white effect of the delicate veined marble in the kitchen and the snowy beadboard in its adjoining sitting area let the upper cabinets’ pale wood and a smattering of elegant midcentury chairs take center stage. Bonus: White appliances that would feel dated in a more haphazard kitchen are absolutely of-the-moment, here.
Treasured art pieces and saturated jewel tones pop like firecrackers against the neutral background in this sitting room. "I ended up with a little something I like to call 'Paris meets Berlin meets Pittsburgh,'" Leanne recalls.
In older homes, narrow spaces like this cramp quickly into gloom. That note of claustrophobia was no match for Leanne’s palette, which gives the room (and her clients) space to breathe.
Yet another benefit of keeping things light on the walls: You can get away with going bananas on other surfaces. Leanne took advantage of every inch of height she emphasized with this room’s bright white paint by topping it off with a downright celestial ceiling: "It makes [the space] more vast," she told Rachel Ray.
Powder (Room) White
When was the last time you saw a sink line successfully emphasized as a design feature? Leanne prepped this water closet for unexpected design moments by letting most of the room remain a "blank" canvas—which then became the perfect place to paint a few bold strokes.
White brick is just as appropriate in high-traffic areas like this kitchen as it is in more ornamental ones — and you shouldn’t be shy about painting it just because it’s old. "[T]here’s good brick and bad brick," Leanne told the New York Times. "You have to step back and see how it works in the space. You don’t have to save the wood or save the brick. What you need is a house you love."
Stairway to Heaven
This downtown Pittsburgh home’s historic features are even more attractive in modern tones. This sinuous flight of stairs trails down to the deep stone floor with the delicacy of bridal lace.
Leanne didn’t know she was going to be "a marble girl," as she once put it, but it is an awfully intuitive way to texture one’s whites — and she’s embraced the look and then some. This over-the-top kitchen boasts white walls and eye-popping white marble countertops, a white marble backsplash and a white marble hood(!).
Like the soaring white walls in another client’s townhouse, the creamy beadboard Leanne chose for this indoor pool area gave her the visual space to go a little crazy at the same time.
With a smooth alabaster face and bespoke, asymmetric tile detailing, this anything-but-basic-white tub area is literally and figuratively an installation piece.
Fancy a pair of massive, inky Chesterfields? Make like Leanne and lighten up on your hearth, so the room will say "modern and eclectic" instead of "haunted hunting lodge." (Not that there’s anything wrong with a haunted hunting lodge, if that’s your jam.)
Leanne liberated this feature wall from the '60s by focusing on its textural contrast instead of its natural color. "Even when you see a white space and you have no idea what country, year or year it was designed [in], it will still look relevant and modern," she has said. "Because white is universal. It’s forever."
This home among the trees now has a properly airy nest: Leanne pulled out awkward interior walls and coated the now-sunbathed atrium with feather-white paint.
Your eyes aren’t deceiving you: We’re fairly sure this living room is actually glowing.
Worried about hiding stains? Don’t be. "White is actually a very livable color," Leanne has said. "It’s easily repainted, washed or bleached, and it is not as precious as people think it is. I never understood the concept of not using white because 'it gets dirty.’ If you love it, use it! And let it wear and live a little."