For years, public television icon Fred Rogers, the late cardigan-donning creator of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, made Pittsburgh’s bucolic Squirrel Hill his own neighborhood. Just across the street from his sprawling old residence is a 1920s row house that gets the spotlight in the next episode of Leanne and her brother Steve Ford’s Home Again With the Fords on HGTV, a follow-up to her previous show, Restored by the Fords. Awash in earthy hues, the home balances modernity with a childhood nostalgia all its own. Ahead of the episode’s February 16 premiere, Leanne Ford decided to give AD a sneak peek inside the special project.
Throughout the series, the design-savvy siblings tackle renovation projects for folks eager to honor their family roots in the Fords’ native Pittsburgh. Allison Pochapin is one example. Both her parents recently passed away, and Pochapin wanted to pay homage to them by buying the house she grew up in and giving it a thoughtful new sheen. “It was immersed in memories and emotional connections for Allison, and we took care to make that the priority,” Leanne says to AD.
The new episode airs next Tuesday at 9 p.m. ET/PT. Pictured here is the entryway to the home.
With the help of Williamson Construction, over the course of eight weeks the Fords melded past and present, spiffing up existing floors and preserving especially meaningful elements that were the handiwork of Pochapin’s mother—such as the dark wood casings and jambs she stripped down and stained. There’s also the mustard yellow and green tiles uncovered on the two fireplaces, which were clearly hidden gems. Leanne drew on these tones for the overall color palette, an example, she notes, of “not wiping out the history but working with it.”
Previously, the living room was rarely used, but Leanne and Steve turned it into an inviting hangout. They added board and batten, for instance, because “there was a shadow of it” elsewhere in the abode, Leanne points out. A mess of ferns adorning the nonworking fireplace instils a vintage vibe reminiscent of 1972, the year Pochapin’s parents first moved in. Those green elements mix with fresh touches like Portola lime wash, low-slung seating, and a Colin King rug for Beni. Often, living rooms essentially serve as walkthroughs in these types of dwellings. “People [usually] don’t know how to place their furniture with the fireplace there, so it tends to gets shoved up against the wall. It was nice to be able to use the fireplace as a backdrop instead,” Leanne explains.