Photo by Madison Mascare
Hi, HGTV fans! We’re into the second half of Good Bones Season 5. I’m Megan Fernandez, and I often write about homes for Indianapolis Monthly. My personal design hero and colleague Kristin Sims is recapping as usual, but our partner-in-crime, Josh Cox, is off leading a search party for the show’s designer, M.J., who has been AWOL lately.This episode, “Free House, Expensive Reno,” starts off with Mina surprising Karen by taking her somewhere in Indy that will make her happy. The idea is to butter her up before Mina shows Karen a house she won’t like. Kristin, you can do the honors.Kristin: Irvington! I was so happy to see our old stomping grounds featured this week. We called the neighborhood home for 20 years, and it still holds a huge place in our hearts.
Megan: Have you heard of the massive Kyle oak tree where Mina takes Karen, thinking it will make her day?
Kristin: Of course! No self-respecting Irvingtonian lacks knowledge of the Kile oak!
Megan: Well, Karen isn’t impressed. She’s seen it many times. So the gist of this episode is that Mina got a free house from a friend—a two-bedroom, one-bath, about 770 square feet. The floor is caving in and half of the roof will need to come down. During the walk-through, Karen and Mina enter the bathroom totally unfazed by the remains of a horror movie that must have been filmed there, by the looks of the tub and toilet. Instead, they admire a wall that has fallen in with the tile completely intact.
Kristin: That was some darn good tile work!
Megan: The foundation is decent, so they hope to save it and half the roof and rebuild the rest. Demo is hairy because they need to bring down part of the roof in a controlled way, which lets Tad do all kinds of daredevil-y stuff. Cut to commercial with the crew on the roof and…
Kristin: It looks likes the roof collapsed. I gasped out loud.
Megan: It wobbles, yet hangs on! But, psych—while permits are pending, the whole house caves in. This becomes a new-construction job. It must have taken a while because Tad wears red shorts during demo, but for part of the episode, Mina is cinched into her hoodie like a sausage. The red shorts must be Tad’s Second Half Look. He wore denim cutoffs for the first seven episodes.
Kristin: Tad’s shorts seem a little high-school-wrestling-coach short to me.
Megan: He has the legs for it. The rest of the construction goes pretty smoothly—except for Cory, who is afraid of heights and appears to be forced by the production team to spend a few minutes on a wobbly scaffold. He flashes his belly in his mad rush to get down.
Kristin: Josh chose the wrong week to go on vacation. I mean, search for M.J.
Megan: They turn this into the best $115,500 house in the city. Because it’s small, Mina keeps the design predominantly white with Scandinavian touches in light natural woods, pickled beams in a vaulted ceiling, and beige and cream furniture. Karen builds a tree and a hanging bed, honoring this famous Kile oak I’ve never heard of.
Kristin: This was the best bed Karen has ever built! I totally want one. I do question the addition of the parrot, though. In all our years in Irvington, we never saw a parrot in the oak.
Megan: They’re more elusive than M.J.—who is back! With rope to build the bed! He must have been on Josh’s beach after all. Kristin, any other design observations?
Kristin: They make the most of this small footprint, and the simple decor doesn’t cover up their home design. I love the vaulted ceiling and the beams, although I don’t know how the homeowner will change the light bulbs. The dining area is a stretch placed right in front of the bedroom door, but good try. A double sink in the bathroom isn’t necessarily needed in a house this size, but it does provide needed storage. Which makes me wonder—where would you store your holiday ornaments? No basement, no attic, no garage.
Megan: Under the hanging bed? Mina’s IVF story takes a very sad turn this week when she discovers the egg fertilization didn’t work. She is surprised to learn that at a healthy 35 years old, she doesn’t have many eggs at all.
Kristin: Ugh. Her doctor’s appointment and teary car confessional were heart-wrenching. Afterward I thought, This is what truly makes Good Bones different than the other shows out there—their family focus and openness.
Megan: Yes, and they all obviously care as much about each other as they do the houses they save. Which makes me excited to see what they do next week and how Mina and Steve persevere. Maybe this house is a metaphor: It didn’t go as planned and they had to start from scratch, but they made it work. We know Mina is tough. Stay tuned!