Inside Leanne Ford’s Winning Rock the Block House

With its minimalist aesthetic, the L.A. home stayed true to Ford’s trademark style.

Leanne Ford Rock the Block House
Amy Neunsinger

HGTV’s popular competition show Rock the Block started with a simple concept: Pit four home-improvement stars against each other to transform identical suburban Los Angeles residences into unique homes with increased property values. After four weeks of aesthetic athletics—and the creative use of a $175,000 budget—the houses that emerged were anything but basic. Hidden Potential’s Jasmine Roth may have edged out the competition to win top honors, but we were blown away by Leanne Ford’s minimalist cocoon.

To make the cookie-cutter home her own, Ford embraced the property’s concrete flooring and existing floor plan but used a large portion of her budget to reinvent the kitchen, where she demo-ed the upper cabinetry to install a striking grout-washed stone wall that infuses the space with age and organic texture. “For me, the biggest challenge was to bring character and warmth into a new build,” says Ford. “I did it by adding tons of natural materials, wabi sabi-style textures, and tile and great lighting.” The Restored by the Fords star and her brother Steve also ripped out the door panels of the existing lower cabinets, replacing them with metal grates to give the room an airier look; the granite countertops were removed to make way for unexpected (and indestructible) Formica surfaces.

Though she left other rooms in the house virtually in tact, Ford’s treatment of the master suite was equally dramatic. She knocked down the wall separating the bedroom and bathroom to create a high-luxury open concept with a straight-through line of sight, using a barn door for privacy and separation. The new bathroom features a standalone Native Trails soaking tub and a shower stall lined with lustrous herringbone tiles but missing one key component: doors. It’s a visually arresting detail that is also budget friendly, much like the added rafters in the great room and the stenciled patio floors. “I didn’t want to dilute the budget or the vision,” says Ford.

The result is a home that honors the spirit of the existing property while infusing it with personality and panache. “This house isn’t for everyone by any means, but it is for someone who wants their everyday life to be better than their vacation,” says Ford. Mission accomplished!


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