If you’re looking to make a show about home restoration, Pittsburgh is a great choice, with its rich stock of old and eclectic houses.
“We specialize in taking quirky homes with odd layouts and turning them into the coolest and most contemporary places in town,” says Leanne Ford.
Leanne and her brother Steve are the stars of “Restored by the Fords,” which debuted January 2 at 10 p.m. on HGTV. The pilot aired nearly a year ago on the same network.
Growing up in Pittsburgh, the siblings never imagined that they’d be working together as adults. After long, circuitous career paths that took them in opposite directions, they found that the skills they had picked up complemented each other perfectly — and that other people want to watch them find and restore old Pittsburgh homes.
Leanne is the interior decorator with the vision. Steve is the contractor who carries it out.
Leanne came to interior decoration late, after 15 years in the fashion industry in New York and L.A. Steve has a lot of interests — he’s introducing Pittsburgh to wake-surfing on the rivers — but he’s best at turning Leanne’s ideas into reality, no matter how off-the-wall (or through-the-wall).
Another local reality TV show in the pipeline also has an aspect of home renovation. Created by Apple Box Studios in the Strip, it’s called “Room 2 Grow,” about the phenomenon of “gender reveal” parties for new babies.
It revolves around painter and fifth-grade art teacher Christopher Mark Galiyas, who has found a niche creating elaborate murals for children’s rooms. Working with expectant parents-to-be who have struggled to become pregnant, Christopher and his wife Stacy transform the baby’s room into a place that tells the story of the family, the baby’s gender — and a few hidden surprises for the young family.
The show is about “gender reveal, values and raising children — some of the tough questions about raising children,” says Samantha Kaneta of Apple Box Studios who is working on the show with agency owner Michael Wertz.
After a call for candidates, they interviewed 50 couples and chose Michael and Jessica Keefer from Clinton, PA. They are creating the pilot for the show now and will soon be pitching it to networks.