Interior designers and other experts in the home industry work on an impressive number of spaces throughout their careers. But even if some of the makeovers and redesigns start to blend together after a few years, there are some rooms that are just truly unforgettable.
So, to give designers a chance to revisit their favorite projects—and to bring you plenty of inspiration for your own home—we’re sharing the one room these pros will remember forever. For some, there’s a sentimental connection, for others, there was an obstacle they never thought they’d overcome. But no matter what, these rooms are worth remembering.
The co-star of HGTV’s Restored With The Fords and lauded carpenter Steve Ford completed a lot of memorable projects for his clients over the years. But the room that sticks with him most is his own industrial kitchen, originally part of an untouched warehouse that was converted into the sleek loft space Ford was always looking for.
“My kitchen is a project that I’ll never forget,” Ford says. “We restored an old warehouse in Pittsburgh and converted it to my dream loft on Season 2 of Restored to the Fords, and let’s just say the kitchens in many of those rentals left a lot to be desired. I do so many projects for clients that it was great to work on something that I get to live in and enjoy.”
With lots of free space to design and much work to be done, Ford tackled this project alongside sister and interior designer, Leanne Ford, and will never forget the look on his family’s face at the final reveal.
My mom was so proud and thrilled. That meant a lot, and I’ll never forget that moment.
Keep scrolling to see the making of this industrial chic kitchen from this HGTV design duo.
This custom kitchen was built from scratch, and Ford was excited to take the warehouse from raw space to his dream home.
“My kitchen represents a fresh start in my life. It’s a space that was a diamond in the rough,” Ford says. “I was lucky enough to make it a reality with Leanne’s help. I worked on every inch of this kitchen, and I have a lot of pride in that fact, too.”
Largely representative of his style, Ford notes that the project blended “old, new, rustic and industrial, all in one space.” The kitchen boasts notable design elements, including sleek black pendant lighting, gridded loft windows that illuminate the space, fresh plants to add life, and namely, the custom concrete island that anchors the kitchen—which happens to be Ford’s favorite element.
“I think that kitchen island is a winner,” Ford says. “I did the concrete work for the countertop with my business partner, and good friend, Ed Zelier. I love the texture of the countertop, the size of the island and the waterfall concrete sides. I start my day there with a strong cup, or two, of coffee.”
Though the reward was great, the road to completion of this kitchen did hold its challenges. Since the warehouse was used strictly for storage before Ford moved in, he and his team were challenged with installing the bones of a livable home. “We had our share of challenges turning the corner of a damp, dirty warehouse into a functioning kitchen complete with plumbing, radiant-heat floors, cabinets and an oversized island," Ford notes. "Sometimes, you just have to go for it and work through the challenges.”
The project was memorable for much more than its challenges, though, and gave Ford the opportunity to treat himself as the client and fulfill all his design dreams. “This room was made custom for me,” Ford says. “We work with so many clients and take into consideration their needs and style. But, this time, the project allowed me the freedom and creativity to do what I wanted to do. It was fun to be the client for once.”
As so much time and effort went into the kitchen, it warranted quite the reveal. Members of the Ford family came out to see the completed space, as Leanne and older Ford sister, Michelle, styled the loft with all its furniture and also held stakes in the project's completion. “It was a special moment to see everything in that final reveal,” Ford remembers. “My mom was so proud and thrilled. That meant a lot, and I’ll never forget that moment.”
But if Ford and his team could go back, they would make the decision to add air conditioning to the space, which it lacked. "The entire loft needs the addition of air conditioning,” says Ford. “That ended up being a budget decision, but the AC can be added down the line.”
Reflecting on the project, Ford feels extremely grateful for the opportunity to not only have his own custom kitchen, but to have built it from the ground up alongside his family. “It was a family affair with Leanne focused on the design, and that was incredible,” Ford says. “I’m really grateful for the entire experience.”