Welcome back, Good Bones fans! This week’s episode is a “new bones” project to recoup money lost on the Episode 4 house. Two Chicks and a Hammer paid $145,000 for a house and an adjacent lot, took a $12,000 loss on the house reno, and is now building a 2,000-square-foot, two-story family home on the property next door. The plan is to go all-in at $282,500, sell for $425,000, and turn a $142,500 profit.
Impressive, but nothing compared to Karen E Laine’s guns! The 60-year-old cast member shows off her toned biceps in a tank top when the gang meets up for a powwow at her house to kick off the episode.
Two Chicks owner Mina Hawk and project manager Cory Miller head over to the empty lot in Bates-Hendricks, and Cory immediately starts chipping away at Mina’s healthy profit margin.
Cory envisions exterior bifold doors in the back that open to a small soaking pool. And a sunken living room, too. And he’s just getting started.
“So, since this is the first-floor en suite, we’ll have a walkout deck, which will be nice,” he says.
“I hate your face,” Mina replies.
“We can put a little waterfall back here,” he says, climbing a mound of dirt in the backyard.
“You’re probably in the garage, ding-a-ling.”
“Then can we do a copper-colored standing seam roof on the porch? With copper-colored gutters?
“No, that sounds expensive.”
“Can we do half-round barrel gutters?”
“That’s spending my money, Cory.”
All is well by the time they show up to a blueprint meeting in matching Two Chicks camo sweatshirts. The floor plan will involve an open living/kitchen/dining space and a walk-in pantry and mudroom next to the kitchen instead of the pool and hot tub Cory wants. All the better to appeal to families who prefer storage to a drowning hazard.
Upstairs will contain three bedrooms and a loft area. Good Bones loves lofts, by which I mean a bonus living space upstairs, not a high-ceilinged area open to the floor below. I wonder why they use the space for extra living instead of bigger closets or more storage.
The time usually spent on demo is devoted to Tad Starsiak’s side project for his new company, Hammer Construction. He’s doing a bathroom remodel in a 126-year-old house. “I can confidently say I’m an expert when it comes to old homes. How many people at 29 years old got to do 150 old houses?” he asks, referring to his experience as a demo leader with Two Chicks and a Hammer.
He has also seen the error of his reckless ways. “I’ve been crazy. I’ve dropped chimneys through roofs. And I still love all those things. But now I need to take care of not just the house but the client, as well.” Hallelujah.
Back in Bates-Hendricks, Mina plans to install swinging doors to the walk-in pantry to give the house some high-end charm. She is using tall, very old wooden doors she bought in Phoenix years ago after falling in love with them. She has whitewashed them, but installing old doors isn’t easy. She, MJ, Cory, and Austin spend two days on the project alone. Once they are hung, they don’t close cleanly, so Cory tries to grind off old hardware that’s in the way and has a scary moment when one piece flies off and he isn’t wearing safety goggles. They have to remove the delicate doors—no fun—and make the corrections, but the final result is beautiful and worth the work. But if you try this at home, be prepared for frustration and failure.
In the loft, Cory and Karen pick up where Cory left off with his wild ideas before construction began. Mina asks them to brainstorm a special installation to make the space sing. She recalls shelves hung with leather straps in a previous project, and Karen basically says, “Oh, silly child, you think we’re simply going to recycle an idea?” What she really says is, “Have you met us? [Mina] should have known things were not going to go the way she expected.” Instead, things go like this:
Karen: “We could make a piano clock. We could make a plant wall. Metal brushed gold grid with a potted plant that vines into it.”
Mina: “Uhhhhhh …”
Karen: “Maybe it should have a little light.”
Cory: “A gooseneck.”
Mina: “I’m impressed at how quickly this went off the rails.”
Karen: “What if we do piano hammers—I’ve got tons—and make an arc, and pour resin, and make a shelf out of piano hammers?” (Please, no. The resin clock she tried to make for the house next door was a disaster.)
Mina: “I don’t want it to be super distracting, and I want it to feel high-end.”
Karen (to the camera): “One option is to give her exactly what she asks for.”
In the end, they don’t. The universe drops a pair of old wooden ladders into Karen’s lap, and she and Cory turn it into shelving. They cut plastic shelves; paint them red, orange, and yellow; add little lights; and balance the shelves on the rungs. It’s creative but not high-end.
So it’s up to MJ and Mina to deliver the “luxe for less” scheme. For the rest of the house, they choose “blurry blond” flooring (it’s light wood with some visible nail heads, it appears) and champagne-colored bronze hardware in contemporary shapes. The backsplash tile has geometric interlocking V’s in shades of gray, white, and tan. They’re splurging on can lights and modern statement chandeliers.
Back to Tad’s bathroom. He and Karen go to Economy Plumbing downtown to pick out a tub and vanity (Tad is still on training wheels with design). He climbs into a freestanding tub and mentions that he sprained his knee playing intramural soccer, to which Karen replies that they are both too old for sports. This is so not true. What is true is that Tad recognizes that he needs a rich, dark-toned vanity to ground all the white in the tile in this large bathroom. Karen beams with pride.
It gets even mushier when Karen helps Tad stage the bathroom, and Tad, wearing a shirt that says, “Renovate Yourself,” says having “this much responsibility and ability is more than I thought of myself a few years ago, and it has changed so much stuff in my life.” Karen fans away tears. Tad shows the client his pride and joy, pointing out a cathedral ceiling, a trick he learned from Mina and Karen to make a space feel grander. The client is thrilled and has a list of other projects to work on.
It’s Mina’s turn for a reveal, and she shows her new build to parents with a small child. They love the stark black and white exterior and the design, which Mina says is one of the prettiest houses Two Chicks has done. The backsplash goes all the way to the ceiling and manages to look glam rather than busy, even with all those geometric shapes. The decorative lighting throughout shines, so to speak—including alien-esque chandelier with spindly arms that one of the prospective buyers says looks weird but says he still likes.
As for the loft shelving, with which has Karen color-coordinated her outfit, the low plastic shelves have sharp corners, and I can just imagine the toddler cutting herself on them. But it doesn’t appear that the family buys the house. Mina went over budget, spending $290,000 and has listed the house at $450,000 for a possible $87,500 profit.
If only they had added a sunken living room.