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Speed Read: Home-Show Heroes

The duo’s first Indianapolis Home Show appearance was, well, a bust. “It was four or five people sitting in a room with about 200 chairs. And none of them were there to see us. They were just tired and wanted to sit down,” says E Laine about the first time she and daughter Starsiak, the Fountain Square–based stars of HGTV’s home-renovation show Good Bones, swung by the Indiana State Fairgrounds for the annual home-improvement extravaganza. That was in 2016.

They couldn’t even give tickets away to some events. Literally. Starsiak recalls one early show where a local radio station offered a free meet-and-greet in its green room … and nobody showed up. “That’s how you stay humble,” she says.

Now the hometown crowd comes out in force. By their second Indianapolis Home Show, Good Bones had established the two as bona fide celebs. One drawback: It was way harder for them to visit other booths between appearances without being swarmed by fans. Solution: Explore the show separately. “We’re more recognizable when we are together,” says E Laine.

By the way, that last name isn’t a typo. “There’s a space in my last name. Not a hyphen. Not a period. Just a space,” says E Laine. “There’s also a Karen Laine from Richmond, Indiana, who did stunt work on Back to the Future. There’s a rumor we’re the same person.”

They’re home-show fangirls, too. “I love [them] and go whether we are presenting or not,” says E Laine. “Presenting is a nice bonus because we get to meet nice people, have some fun, share our story, and, of course, wander the show.” Starsiak likes browsing the booths and taking the mic herself, too. They go because they enjoy it—their network, HGTV, doesn’t make them.

And yes, they get tempted by the goods. “I always find something I need—or just want!” says Starsiak. E Laine tucks away ideas for new and interesting stuff, too, even if it wouldn’t work for whatever project they’re knee-deep in at the moment.

Laine’s celebrity crush on the circuit? Clint Harp, carpenter to Chip and Joanna Gaines on Fixer Upper. Says E Laine, “He’s funny, honest, self-deprecating, relatable, and very easy on the eyes.” As for Starsiak, she says she doesn’t “really follow other talent.”

Are these lucrative gigs? E Laine allows that there’s a fee, plus lodging and maybe a per diem (“Home-show food isn’t cheap,” she adds). Beyond that, she is mum: “My parents raised me to not ask people about their salary, their religion, or their politics, so I am going to pass on this as far as a specific number. That would only make people bitter or jealous.” Fine, but color us curious.

Starsiak expounds a bit (but only a bit). “It depends on a lot of variables—travel time and distance, how long we’d be there, and how many times we speak,” she says. A contract might be structured differently depending on whether it’s during the pair’s busy season or not, or if the event is something they’d want to attend anyway.

Want to chat up Starsiak when she’s not on stage? Look for the puppies. “There’s always a puppy rescue—that’s my favorite part, playing with the cute dogs,” she says. That, and finding the massage chairs.

For a home show, there’s no place like home. “I have never been to [one] anywhere that I liked better than Indy,” says E Laine. “There are multiple vendors for pretty much every product. I learn so much, and see new things every time I go.”

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