HGTV's Leanne and Steve Ford Ignite Bold, Creative Spark With Debut Memoir 'Work in Progress' (Review)

After attracting more than 13.9 million total viewers with their debut season on HGTV in 2017, Restored by the Fords stars and siblings, Leanne Ford and Steve Ford are fast becoming a network staple with their unique design style. Known for bringing their daring flair to quirky Pittsburgh-area homes, the trendy creative director-turned-interior designer and her passionate, licensed contractor brother's feats in blending architectural details with distinctive elements has proven to be successful for the pair — especially as they venture further into genuine authenticity with their debut memoir, Work in Progress: Unconventional Thoughts on Designing an Extraordinary Life.

(Photo: HGTV / Discovery)

Released Oct. 29 by HarperCollins Publishing and Thomas Nelson, Work in Progress is a glorious celebration of a creative life and the potential within our drive to never give up. Part inspiration, part how-to, the humble Fords are as real as they come while sharing intimate details of how they made it to where they are today. Chronicling with humor and friendliness how they continue to learn and grow through significant moments in their life with a captivating conversational style, the two work to demystify the truth behind creativity while tackling relatable challenges.

Though they are admittedly not so different than many with similar middle-class upbringings, it's their unique disposition on life and the trials experienced that sets them apart. Deeply self-aware and gifted in writing, Leanne and Steve do a wonderful job in baring a bit of their soul to help others gently nudge away their fears, the stigma of failure and society's growing ideals of perfectionism. With enthralling stories of their close-knit family rooted in faith, their relationships, low points and choices made, the two have always been surrounded by an encouraging realm of creativity that catapulted them in their continuous push and hard work.

From these facets of self-development feeding the siblings confidence and passion necessary for pursuing a life of creativity, the Fords prove their determination along a relatable list of subjects, particularly that of their father's death, whom they both honor most lovingly with their words. Between the storm of turns and the choices they each make, the two trek through different paths in life and graciously prove it's never too late to pursue your next dream. After all, life is an evolving creative process.

Leanne and Steve also share their secrets for turning dreams into reality with their heartwarming back-and-forth banter about what it means to be creative and appreciating all the intricacies of life. Never letting fear get in the way of a great idea and the choices they've made, Work in Progress is broken down into 14 eloquent and often times, emotionally stirring chapters that spark inner thought and self-reflection for admirable relatability. While so many in the industry choose to keep mum on their formula for success, the Fords sincerely want to help readers live creatively and awaken their intuition to lead a satisfying, happy life. It's not only an amiable action evidenced through their writing, but it's done most luminously and with immense interest.

Along the way, the Fords spring into action with an end-of-chapter questionnaire of sorts, titled, "Working on Progress," immersing the reader with an assortment of questions for self-reflection: What makes you feel most alive? What's the big picture plan for your life? What small steps can you take to get going in the right direction? It's this section that is not only admirable of both Leanne and Steve as it inspires readers and creates an opportunity to think outside the box, but one that is a testament to their realism. What you see on HGTV is what you get with the Fords. They are kind and courteous to all those they meet and chat with, and their memoir speaks volumes to that integrity.

That's another thing to really love about their debut. In addition to tugging at your heartstrings and riling up deep thought with warmth, the siblings come across extremely likeable thanks to their inspiring stories, chatty advice and pep talks. It's an aspect that will undeniably put a smile on your face and create a feeling of closeness with their words. It's this astonishing charm that not only makes their story a fascinating page-turner, but one that speaks to their truth. It's that kind of grace and magnetism the two permeate in their banter touching on sensitive subjects that translates effortlessly to every word, and honors every situation for what it was.

Funny, insightful and honest, the Fords have created an incredible love letter to the nature of creativity, leaving you feeling curious and inspired. Bright and driven with a steadfast passion for life and its creative cycles, Leanne and Steve offer a priceless glimpse into their world with their impressive debut helping the masses break out of a creative rut for fulfillment and purpose.


A must-read for fans of the HGTV duo and readers of the self-development genre looking to live a creative life, Work in Progress is a sunny, heartwarming memoir with fetching storytelling that makes this a truly motivational read. While Leanne and Steve firmly believe we're all a "work in progress" with room to improve and build past our fears and failures, the two demonstrate through sharp insights and intimate anecdotes that the possibilities are endless when it comes to designing our own extraordinary life.

Work in Progress: Unconventional Thoughts on Designing an Extraordinary Life is out now in-stores and digital retailers.

(Photo: HarperCollins Publishing / Thomas Nelson)