Before and After: Leslie Jordan Gave His Friends’ Home a Modern Renovation with Southwestern Style

published Nov 17, 2022
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Credit: HGTV

After 40 years in the entertainment industry, Leslie Jordan decided that he wanted to give back to the people who had been with him from the very beginning. Rosemary and Newell, his best friends, helped him kick off his career and were there for him through personal struggles, so he wanted to return the favor in the form of an updated home. In the latest episode of HGTV’s “Celebrity IOU,” which was filmed prior to Leslie’s death in October, the actor teamed up with Drew and Jonathan Scott to help give his friends’ ranch-style home some modern updates.

“Leslie has spent so much time here and has shared so many rich memories within these walls,” Drew said. “The idea of [giving] Rosemary and Newell a renovation seemed like the perfect way to say thank you for years of friendship and support.”

Credit: HGTV

Rosemary and Newell’s North Hollywood home already had a solid base and was well-maintained through the years, but the house was dated and in need of some modernization. The old rancher-style home had a “cowboy flare” to it, with a warm southwestern style and closed-off rooms. The kitchen, dining, den, and living room area were separate from each other and lacked a natural flow from one room to the other. “With this era of home, everything is so segmented,” Jonathan said. Leslie requested that they open up the rooms while still keeping the cozy feel to the space.

Credit: HGTV

With a six week timeline, Jonathan, Scott, and Leslie kicked off the renovation by knocking out the walls around the fireplace. They added a Roman Clay finish to the fireplace, which gave it a more modern finish while still maintaining the southwestern feel. The wall removal helped connect the living room to the den area and kitchen, which opened up the space in an airy, light-filled way. The house featured two different types of flooring (wood in the living area and tile in the kitchen), so the Scott brothers decided to keep the original hardwood and match the rest of the house to it to help maintain some of the home’s original integrity. By extending the wooden flooring into the kitchen, they also helped connect the rooms and add a more cohesive look to the area.

The team removed the original furniture and added in several new pieces, including a rosewood couch, woven statement chairs, a coffee table, and another gray couch in the den. “Rosemary and Newell are casual in their lifestyle, so we need furniture that reflects that while still remaining true to the southwestern aesthetic that they love so much,” Drew said. His goal was to combine the couple’s love of “modern and country casual,” which he accomplished by adding a dark dining table with light, comfy dining chairs. 

Credit: HGTV

The kitchen saw the greatest transformation. The space was by far the most outdated part of the home, with tile floors, plain wood cabinets, and sub-par counter space. During the kitchen renovation, the team leaned into the southwestern style that Rosemary and Newell loved by adding gray wood cabinetry and an adobe-style vent hood over the stove. They also added a multifunction peninsula that the couple could either cook or eat at. Leslie picked out a white stone for the countertops, which Jonathan opted to also use on the backsplash. 

Credit: HGTV

“Well, I’m not one to really pat myself on the back, but seeing Rosemary and Newell so happy and loving all that we did,” Leslie said, patting himself on the back with a laugh. “…Job well done.”

“Celebrity IOU” airs Mondays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on HGTV and discovery+.