Good Bones: Season 8, Episode 8

Photo courtesy The Home Aesthetic

Welcome back, Good Bones fans. It’s getting hard, isn’t it? Hard to ignore that the series and Two Chick and a Hammer are coming to an end when they keep talking about it on air? In this episode, “The Problem Project Pivot,” Two Chicks owner Mina Hawk discusses the tough decision to cut back on business and staff. Also, lovable demo dude Austin Aynes reveals that he lost his job.

It’s sad. But there is life after Good Bones. Austin already has another gig—a bigger one with fellow cast member Tad Starsiak’s new company, Hammer Construction. And who knows, maybe HGTV will give Tad a spinoff. I’m wondering why they are spending so much airtime on his transition.

Another guy who gets some love this episode is venerable local artist Douglas David. Mina has been using his paintings in Two Chicks houses for years (flashback to the bedroom featuring his still life of doughnuts), but viewers have yet to meet him. He sets up his easel in White River State Park, and Mina stops by with her two children, ostensibly just out for a walk and surprised to see David. What a coincidence! It isn’t. Don’t be fooled. But it’s a welcome staging.

Mina then takes project manager Cory Miller to the Valley, a rough-around-the-edges, ripe-for-redevelopment neighborhood southwest of downtown. Mina bought a lot through what she calls a “city program” for just $3,000, and it’s deep, so she plans to build a duplex with a detached two-car garage. Each side of the duplex will come with an efficiency apartment above its garage. She will put in $400,000 and sell each side for $235,000 for a projected profit of $67,000. Not a bad price for a house and an income unit.

Discussing the plans, Cory threatens to become a sad panda if they don’t put a gridded glass garage door in the house somewhere. But he got one already in the premiere, so don’t feel bad for him when Mina predictably rejects the splurge.

Photo courtesy The Home Aesthetic

Anyway, there is no house on which to put a garage door! Mina says contractors poured the foundation below grade. The only good thing to come of this is a funny scene in which she explains the problem to the viewer. See, if the plastic wrapping on the house touches the ground, it will soak up moisture. She turns into Bill Nye the Science Guy and steeps a tissue in Cory’s coffee, showing how the liquid gets absorbed and rises higher and higher. That’s what would happen to the house! Cory doesn’t want his coffee back, and now he really is a sad panda.

Sidebar: You’re a true Good Bones fan if you remember there was also a foundation issue on the show’s first visit to this neighborhood. It was poured too small, which was not discovered until the framing was up. This is the Valley of the damned.

Fixing the foundation means construction can’t continue any time soon, so Mina shifts to finishing the garage apartments and renting them out while the house is in progress. Ultimately, she and husband Steve decide to take ownership of the duplexes and add them to their personal portfolio of rental homes. This conversation takes place outside La Margarita in Fountain Square, where Two Chicks and a Hammer started, and now where Mina and Steve discuss plans to cut back on building and effectively bring Good Bones to a close.

Photo courtesy The Home Aesthetic

Before we can turn into sad pandas about it, Mina is back at work on the duplexes, and we’re distracted by design. “Efficiency” is a new term in the Indianapolis rental market. Here, housing has always been reasonably priced, and most people could afford at least a one-bedroom. Things have changed. The floor plan for these two 500-square-foot efficiencies includes a small eat-in kitchen flowing into a living space/bedroom and, behind barn doors, a large bathroom with a stacked washer and dryer. Cory identifies wasted space under the eaves that can be used as a nook of some sort instead. He also suggests using some of the ample head space on the stairs up from the garage below to expand the kitchen’s footprint. No wonder he already has his own side company, Miller Built.

Mina and interior designer MJ Coyle meet to discuss pretty things. Each side of the duplex will have its own theme, one natural and beachy and the other colorful with a lot of patterns. The beachy side will have white kitchen cabinets, and the colorful side will have light gray cabinets. They also devise a cool closure for the nook—a bookshelf that will open like a bifold door. The nook is big enough for a full bed, something a college student could live with.

Photo courtesy The Home Aesthetic

Now you get to play designer. Mina and MJ choose matte black hardware for one side and luxe French gold for the other. Which goes on the beachy half and which on the colorful patterned side?

Now for flooring: thin, light-toned plank set in a herringbone pattern versus warm-toned plank laid conventionally.

And the backsplash: classic white subway tile versus a marbled-look herringbone.

Answers: The beachy side has the luxe gold fixtures (a dash of metallic to glam up white and natural textures), warmer flooring, and the marbled backsplash to add dimension against white cabinetry. The colorful side gets the bolder black fixtures, lighter flooring, and clean white tile against the gray cabinets.

Photo courtesy The Home Aesthetic

A parade of cameos includes the Iron Timbers team constructing the bifold bookshelves, Mina’s toddlers helping with landscaping (and digging up worms), and Douglas David again, delivering a pastel skyline painted from that vantage point in White River State Park where he was 100-percent scheduled to meet Mina earlier in the episode.

The artwork goes in the beachy side, which is dominated by whispery creams and yellows, soft blue curtains as a privacy screen for the bedroom nook instead of a bookshelf, gold accents, a capiz shell wall hanging, and a beaded curtain in a doorway.

The colorful side has cheerful blue and white floral curtains, a red-striped jute rug, a blue sofa, soft-colored pillows, sage-green bar stools, and natural wood furniture.

Each side is staged with a full living room and a bed filling the space in the nook from wall to wall. On the colorful side, the beefy bifold bookcase that opens to reveal the nook is a genius custom touch. But it requires a raised track on the floor, just waiting to stub toes and rip socks. 

Photo courtesy The Home Aesthetic

Steve steps in as the client because he has years of experience managing rental properties and can assess the market rate for these beautiful efficiencies. He goes with $1,100 or $1,200 a month because they look high-end. The spacious bathroom with double vanities in particular is impressive and worth a little extra.

Speaking of a little extra, Mina themes her reveal outfit to the episode? In a nod to each apartment’s individual look, she takes a stab at the two-tone jeans trend—one leg is light blue, the other is white. If that’s your style, the efficiencies will be for rent soon.