Leanne Ford’s Design Intelligence: Learn the Look Now!

Leanne Ford seems to be always self-deprecating, and maybe that’s part of her genius. But her casual approach doesn’t deter me from recognizing true design intelligence when I see it. It’s not so much “lazy of Lee” to practice restraint and minimally mess with what a space already boasts as it is well-informed and “wise of Lee.” It’s the knowing what to add or modify, how much to leave entirely alone, when to stop. I’d sing her praises had she never emerged as a superstar. Leanne Ford’s design intelligence, eye for beauty, exceptional innovation, and creative re-imagining are quite enough.

Leanne Ford designed living room with walls rubbed with coffee, a mix of pieced together flooring, white slipcovered sofa, and rustic organic modern style - photo by Erin Kelly.
Photo: Erin Kelly

Leanne Ford’s Design Intelligence

Anyone can gut a place and start fresh if the budget is healthy enough.

Leanne Ford rustic modern warm interior in a cottage kitchen she designed - photo by Amy Neunsinger. #leanneford #rusticmodern
Photo: Amy Neunsinger

But preserving soul no matter the budget? That calls for: a certain level of soulfulness, a particular set of sensibilities, and purity of the lens.

Leanne Ford rustic modern warm interior in a cottage living room she designed - photo by Amy Neunsinger. #leanneford #rusticmodern
Photo: Amy Neunsinger

Leanne Ford is a favorite of mine for reasons beyond the obvious mutual reverence for white paint

White painted floors, seagrass Frnech baskets, white slipcovered sofa, and natural fiber rugs in a modern rustic California cottage designed by Leanne Ford (photo by Amy Neunsinger).
Photo: Amy Neunsinger

Her style leans toward minimal luxe…there’s always an intelligence about the livability of floorplans, materials, and design directions.

Dappled sunlight on a white California cottage with cedar shake and rustic door - Leanne Ford (photo by Amy Neunsinger).
Photo: Amy Neunsinger

There’s also a sense that she is never showing off. If anything, a deep humility shines through.

Leanne Ford designed living room with walls rubbed with coffee, a mix of pieced together flooring, white slipcovered sofa, and rustic organic modern style - photo by Erin Kelly.
Photo: Erin Kelly

Time and time again, she wisely shows us how to use what we have. We have hung on to it for a reason after all!

Leanne Ford designed living room with walls rubbed with coffee, a mix of pieced together flooring, white slipcovered sofa, and rustic organic modern style - photo by Erin Kelly.
Photo: Erin Kelly

Creatively thinking outside of the box is one of her gifts. She knew the walls in this guest cottage at her home needed interest and texture, and since she had coffee grinds lying around?

Leanne Ford designed rustic modern cottage with round marble top bistro table and boucle ottoman - photo by Erin Kelly.
Photo: Erin Kelly

Of course. Coffee wash the walls. In other cases, she uses ordinary supplies like grout in fresh ways.

Leanne Ford designed bedroom. Twin antique beds in a rustic vintage bedroom with rough textured white walls and wood floors - photo by Erin Kelly.
Photo: Erin Kelly

There’s always some risk involved, but her style reminds us it is only decor – we don’t have to get caught up in the seriousness of it all.

Leanne Ford designed guest cottage with coffee rubbed walls, pieced together rustic brick, cement and wood flooring, and modern rustic decor - photo by Erin Kelly.
Photo: Erin Kelly

And she gives us permission to go for it and explore our own creative impulses.

Leanne Ford designed  serene and vintage cool study in HGTV's Rock the Block. #leanneford #vintagestyle #rocktheblock #interiordesign
Photo: Amy Neunsinger
Healing quote from Jung Pueblo on Hello Lovely Studio. #personalgrowthquotes #perfectionism #healingquotes

Ever see the show stopping cool interiors (including the study, above) she designed for Rock the Block?

Free-spirited Boho Influences

It is often what Leanne Ford doesn’t bother with…for example, trim and casing…that set a relaxed tone. I can’t help but smile and think of Gilligan when I see this:

Leanne Ford's warm rustic modern bathroom design with concrete skimmed walls in a master bath by Leanne Ford on HGTV's Rock the Block. ##rusticmodern #organicbathroom #leanneford
Photo: Amy Neunsinger (Mirror: Ikea Nissedal)

Go Bold With Modern Rustic Texture

Loving the textured, plaster-like wall (above) and wishing you could create one? You can. It’s a skim coat of a concrete product (Sure Tex “Whitewater”) RIGHT HERE.

Leanne Ford designed modern farmhouse kitchen with farm sink, subway tile and butcher block counters. Photo: Alexandra Ribar. #leanneford #restoredbythefords #interiordesign #modernfarmhouse #farmhousekitchen #kitchendesign
Photo: Alexandra Ribar

Natural Warmth & Liberal Doses of White

Leanne’s modern farmhouse white kitchens are often recognizable. Remember when “modern farmhouse” was not yet a thing? You may recall this Pittsburgh kitchen with the MCM Sputnik chandelier.

Leanne Ford rustic modern farmhouse kitchen with rugged wood ceiling beams, Sputnik chandelier over farm table, white cabinets, and stainless appliances.

She often mixes pristine whites with ruggedly beat up wood finishes.

Leanne Ford’s Fashion Stylist Past Shines Through

Before all of the interiors work, she was a fashion stylist in LA. That may explain the heavy California cool vibes.

Leanne Ford rustic modern interior with cowhide, herringbone wood floor, white sofa, and barn door - photo by Josh Franer.
Photo: Josh Franer

It is no wonder she understands cool, edgy, vintage style, and fashionable vignettes.

Family room and modern farmhouse kitchen in the Faraci home. #restoredbythefords #leanneford #modernfarmhouse #interiordesign #familyroom
Photo: Alexandra Ribar

She also uses black to great success. If you watch her HGTV shows, you may remember this bar she created (they antiqued the mirrored back).

Antiqued mirror (original was copper) is used on the back of a bar with shelves in an episode of HOME AGAIN - design by Leanne Ford; photo by Erin Kelly. #leanneford #antiquedmirror
From an episode of “Home Again”; photo: Erin Kelly

Undone Relaxed Cool in Leanne’s Projects

I appreciate how the rooms Leanne touches don’t appear “done” or “decorated” or “perfect.”

Leanne Ford designed cottage with peach door, rustic pieced together flooring, and slipcovered white sofa - photo by Erin Kelly.
Photo: Erin Kelly

Taking a truly unfussy approach to yield an unfussy result means “underdone” and “imperfect” and “evolving” can emerge.

Creating Drama by Riffing on What’s Already There

If you have watched Leanne’s creative approach on TV, then you know she is not quick to dismiss elements that have decorated a home for many years. Does all of the wallpaper have to be removed? Could it be tweaked or somehow elevated to become a unique new artful element?

Rustic modern bedroom by Leanne Ford with partially removed wallpaper and rough textured walls - photo by Erin Kelly.
Photo by Erin Kelly
Tacos quote on Hello Lovely Studio. #tacolover

Curious about the paint colors Leanne favors? SEE THIS. Here’s another warm white she loves:

I independently selected products in this post—if you buy from one of my links, I may earn a commission.

Slightly Messy Zhushing & Shelf Styling

While shelves are functional, they also provide potential for a rotation of interesting styling opps. Leanne often demonstrates how to create opportunities for decorative vignettes to happen without overthinking placement of the treasures.

Open shelves in a modern rustic kitchen with subway tile by Leanne Ford. #modernfarmhousekitchen
Photo: Alexandra Ribar

Clutter-light & Quirky

Her warm modern minimal luxe look often relies on editing and restraint…as well as thoughtfully-curated accessories. Leanne masterfully masses vintage finds and still somehow keeps the look feeling light and airy.

A glorious modern rustic farmhouse kitchen by Leanne Ford for the Faraci family on Restored by the Fords. #restoredbythefords #leanneford #interiordesign #farmhousekitchen #modernfarmhouse #kitchendesign
Photo: Alexandra Ribar

I independently selected products in this post—if you buy from one of my links, I may earn a commission.

Ideas to Get the Leanne Ford Look

Clever Budgeting

Just look at what an inexpensive stencil can do to a patio…this genius stenciling pattern on ordinary concrete exudes the look of cement tile. Learn more about cement vs. stencils here.

Leanne Ford's gorgeous stenciled patio from HGTV's Rock the Block. #leanneford #interiordesign #stencil #rocktheblock
Leanne Ford (Photo: Amy Neunsinger)

For Bathrooms

This story about my own farm sink gives you the inside scoop about why I’m crazy about these pretty basins.

If you love the Zellige handmade tile Leanne often installs maybe you’ll want to try a sample…it runs about $17.50 per square foot.

A more budget-friendly idea for a similar look but with ceramic tile is this one:

For Living Rooms

For Bedrooms

Linen pillowcase in Charcoal Grid Windowpane. Linen pillow image 4
Funny pet quote about dog on Hello Lovely Studio. #doghumor #dogquotes
Linen pillowcase in Charcoal Grid Windowpane. Linen pillow image 2

Leanne Ford’s Favorite White Paint

For Kitchens & Dining Rooms

Simple Glass Vase Set (Various Sizes & Shapes)
Antique Stoneware Marmalade Jar  James Keiller & Son's image 0
Vintage English Crocks – Leanne Ford’s Design Intelligence & Ideas to Get the Look
Beamon 12 - Light Sputnik Sphere Chandelier
Sputnik 12 Light Sphere Chandeiler – Leanne Ford’s Design Intelligence & Ideas to Get the Look

Tour Leanne Ford’s Cabin

More ideas for modern rustic style HERE, and also find decor options here:

Funny tweet about 5 love languages being inadequate - Hello Lovely Studio. #lovelanguages

Peace to you right where you are.

-michele

Shop for items you already intended to buy on Amazon RIGHT HERE, and also find home decor here to keep decor inspiration flowing on Hello Lovely!

Hello Lovely is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

White Slipcovered Sofa
French Stripe Seagrass Basket Set
29″ Whitewashed Table Lamp Set of 2
White Matelasse Quilt on MY BED
THE BEST Energy Bars!
Trees White Wallpaper Mural
Round Farmhouse Table
Myla Slipcover Sofa
Deconstructed Wingback Bed
French Farmhouse Dining Table
Milagro Heart
Slipcovered Dining Chair
Rustic Farmhouse Stool
Edgecombe End Table
Parisian Style Iron Table Lamp  33.5″
Black or Bronze Accent Table
French Stripe Basket Set
White Cotton Crochet Bed Skirt
French Country Rattan Basket Set
Marble Subway Mosaic Tile
Rattan Basket With Lid
White Ruffle Bedding
Seagrass Basket Set
Schumacher Wild Things Wallpaper
Slipcovered Sofa
Linen Napkin Set
French Country Lamp Set
White Matelasse Quilt
Tree Mural Wallpaper
Faux Potted French Lavender
Shaw Daybed
Distressed White French Country Chandelier
French Country Headboard
Oval Back Counter Stool, Set of 2
Antique Brass Pharmacy Floor Lamp
Round French Tufted Ottoman
Kinston Wood Bench
Italian Candelabra Chandelier
Slipcovered Linen Chair
Warner Upholstered Bench
Rustic Country French Dresser
Laurel Wreath Mirror
Round Farmhouse Dining Table
Reclaimed Wood Dresser
Louis Upholstered Bench
Pardon My French Doormat
Stripe Turkish Towel Throw
Pamela Arm Chair
Sweater Weave Basket
French Carved Wood Chandelier
Terracotta Pots & Basket
French Country Wood Chandelier
French Linen Dining Chair
Gustavian Cabinet
French Farmhouse Dining Table
Bar Stool
Beachy White Slipcovered Sofa
Rattan Armchair
Diptyque Oyedo Candle
Cross Back Dining Chair
French Country Candle Holder
French Industrial Metal Chairs (4)
Designer Favorite Wall Mirror
Holborn Lantern Pendant
French Country 6-Light Chandelier
Tray Side Table
French Country Upholstered Arm Chair
Wicker Trunk Set
French Ticking Stripe Pillow
Jute Area Rug
Mohair Throw
Rustic Industrial Farmhouse Shelves
Belgian Linen Sofa
White Duvet & Bedding
Rustic Wood Candlestick Set
French Market Basket
Linen Modern Wing Chair
French Country Farmhouse Baskets
Concrete Pillar Table Lamp
Boheme Madera Bench
Belgian Style Lamp
Kendall Skirted Dining Chair
White Charleston Sofa
Scrubbed Wood 5-Light Chandelier
Arched Champagne Wall Mirror
Moravian Star 1-Light Pendant
Highback Armchair
Mini Pendant Light
White Vase Set
Round Woven Placemat Set
Cashmere Throw With Fringe
Black Bergamot Soy Candle
Fireclay Farm Sink (Reinhard, 30″)
White Waffle Coverlet
Light Grey Vienna Quilt
Boheme Madera Bench
Belgian Linen Duvet Set
Round Marble Side Table
Rustic Pedestal Farm Table
Rattan Hanging Chair Swing
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8 Comments

  1. Carole
    February 8, 2023 / 2:01 pm

    Leanne knows when to go BIG and when to hus-s-s-h-h…

    • Michele
      Author
      February 9, 2023 / 7:26 pm

      Great point! It’s that playfulness happening in between the two that is so genius!

  2. Amy
    February 8, 2023 / 3:46 pm

    Love me some Leanne Ford & some Hello Lovely too! Could you just arrange for the three of us to go have coffee together or lunch?!! Hahaha! That would be the most fun ever!! And can you tell me what is hanging over that Salmon colored door in one of Leanne’s decorating pics above?!! Whatever it is, I’m gonna copy it! Haha! Love her quirky touches! The unexpected always is the most fun & interesting aspect in a room! And the black matte Intrinsic faucet by Delta above (though not the wall mount) is the exact one we used in our apt bath above our garage as well as another black matte faucet, Jason Wu for Brizo, in our son’s Jack & Jill bath. I’ve enjoyed both of them both so much!

    • Michele
      Author
      February 9, 2023 / 7:31 pm

      Yes, we need time with Leanne – she is the coolest, and I love how she works on projects that work with her lifestyle. She seems to make her brand work for HER rather than the other way around. Oooooh – thanks for the endorsement of the faucet – always helps so many folks.

  3. February 8, 2023 / 3:47 pm

    I’m okay with Leanne coming to do my house! Sigh.

    • Michele
      Author
      February 9, 2023 / 7:32 pm

      Me too! Maybe I’m biased but there’s something so salt of the earth and even Midwestern about her sensibilities even though she’s from the East.

  4. Amy
    February 9, 2023 / 9:28 pm

    Meant Trinsic not Intrinsic🤪

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Let’s SHOP!

White Slipcovered Sofa
French Stripe Seagrass Basket Set
29″ Whitewashed Table Lamp Set of 2
White Matelasse Quilt on MY BED
THE BEST Energy Bars!
Trees White Wallpaper Mural
Round Farmhouse Table
Myla Slipcover Sofa
Deconstructed Wingback Bed
French Farmhouse Dining Table
Milagro Heart
Slipcovered Dining Chair
Rustic Farmhouse Stool
Edgecombe End Table
Parisian Style Iron Table Lamp  33.5″
Black or Bronze Accent Table
French Stripe Basket Set
White Cotton Crochet Bed Skirt
French Country Rattan Basket Set
Marble Subway Mosaic Tile
Rattan Basket With Lid
White Ruffle Bedding
Seagrass Basket Set
Schumacher Wild Things Wallpaper
Slipcovered Sofa
Linen Napkin Set
French Country Lamp Set
White Matelasse Quilt
Tree Mural Wallpaper
Faux Potted French Lavender
Shaw Daybed
Distressed White French Country Chandelier
French Country Headboard
Oval Back Counter Stool, Set of 2
Antique Brass Pharmacy Floor Lamp
Round French Tufted Ottoman
Kinston Wood Bench
Italian Candelabra Chandelier
Slipcovered Linen Chair
Warner Upholstered Bench
Rustic Country French Dresser
Laurel Wreath Mirror
Round Farmhouse Dining Table
Reclaimed Wood Dresser
Louis Upholstered Bench
Pardon My French Doormat
Stripe Turkish Towel Throw
Pamela Arm Chair
Sweater Weave Basket
French Carved Wood Chandelier
Terracotta Pots & Basket
French Country Wood Chandelier
French Linen Dining Chair
Gustavian Cabinet
French Farmhouse Dining Table
Bar Stool
Beachy White Slipcovered Sofa
Rattan Armchair
Diptyque Oyedo Candle
Cross Back Dining Chair
French Country Candle Holder
French Industrial Metal Chairs (4)
Designer Favorite Wall Mirror
Holborn Lantern Pendant
French Country 6-Light Chandelier
Tray Side Table
French Country Upholstered Arm Chair
Wicker Trunk Set
French Ticking Stripe Pillow
Jute Area Rug
Mohair Throw
Rustic Industrial Farmhouse Shelves
Belgian Linen Sofa
White Duvet & Bedding
Rustic Wood Candlestick Set
French Market Basket
Linen Modern Wing Chair
French Country Farmhouse Baskets
Concrete Pillar Table Lamp
Boheme Madera Bench
Belgian Style Lamp
Kendall Skirted Dining Chair
White Charleston Sofa
Scrubbed Wood 5-Light Chandelier
Arched Champagne Wall Mirror
Moravian Star 1-Light Pendant
Highback Armchair
Mini Pendant Light
White Vase Set
Round Woven Placemat Set
Cashmere Throw With Fringe
Black Bergamot Soy Candle
Fireclay Farm Sink (Reinhard, 30″)
White Waffle Coverlet
Light Grey Vienna Quilt
Boheme Madera Bench
Belgian Linen Duvet Set
Round Marble Side Table
Rustic Pedestal Farm Table
Rattan Hanging Chair Swing