Good Bones: Season 8, Episode 3

Hi, Good Bones fans! Any Irvingtonians in the house? The beloved historic neighborhood gets some love this week when the show heads out Washington Street to renovate a limestone cottage with historic-preservation covenants. It’s loaded with charm, but how much can Two Chicks and a Hammer preserve when they open up the choppy floor plan behind the thick wooden door?

“Historical Hiccups on Hill Street” starts with Mina Hawk getting her first look inside a house that she bought a year ago for $160,000. Renters have been living there since the purchase, so apparently she never got to check it out. It came with the empty lot next door, so regardless of what shape the house is in, it was likely a good investment.

Mina gets lucky—the house isn’t tragic and gross. There’s a big limestone fireplace that looks like it belongs in the IU Memorial Union. The large kitchen has an adjoining dining room, which will become the main bedroom suite. A sunporch will be rebuilt. Upstairs, lots of unused space under the eaves can be reclaimed to make three bedrooms and a full bath. The fate of a standalone outdoor sink, which Cory thinks would be perfect for gutting fish, it undisclosed.

Mina sets the reno budget at $200,000 for $280,000 all-in (subtracting the value of the empty lot, which she will build on later). If it sells for $365,000, she would turn an $85,000 profit.

When the crew gathers on the sidewalk for marching orders, Tad jumps ship to the management side of the proceedings, standing next to Mina and feeling the “unbridled power” (he pronounces it “unbriddled,” but we know what he means) of authority while giving instructions. “Austin, you keep doing what you’re doing. MJ, you keep increasing your demo skills. Cory, I want to see you get a little dirty.” With work underway, MJ peels off to find some cool stuff to save, like a chandelier and a ceiling medallion. Tad pats himself on the back for supervising both demo and salvage simultaneously.

Photo Courtesy of The Home Aesthetic

Mina breaks a window in a borrowed excavator, wasting the money she saved by DIY’ing the job. Karen and Cory talk about making artwork from found car parts in the garage. Cut to a transition shot of the Artsgarden downtown—nice. Austin subs in for the architectural draftsman and does a good job freehanding a floor plan on graph paper. Just one problem—he’s colorblind and can’t tell if the limestone chunks he found around the property to fill in a doorway match the existing exterior stone.

The Indianapolis Historic Preservation Commission nixes new windows, no matter how energy-efficient they are, or how similar-looking to the existing ones. So out they come for restoration work. Some are painted shut, and chipping them loose and removing every window looks like a massive job. It’s either that or the new owners would have a $600 monthly heating bill, Cory says.

For the design, MJ envisions an eclectic, colorful interior with midcentury-modern touches, pairing warm-toned floors with cool paint colors. The kitchen cabinets will be a whispery light blue, and the main bedroom a deep teal. A custom breakfast nook will have green painted cabinetry that buyers will notice right when they walk in.

To find matching limestone, Austin and Karen roadtrip to a quarry in Oolitic, about an hour south of Indy, between Bloomington and Bedford. They stand with hosts from the Indiana Limestone Company over a giant stone pit with greenish-blue water at the bottom. The stone for the Empire State Building came from this very quarry, a piece of Indiana trivia that was new to Karen. (She might be similarly surprised to learn that the town is pronounced “O-litic.”) She does know that the landmark was built in the 1930s, though, and notes that the quarry was never filled in. One of the hosts explains that’s to preserve the historical significance.

Karen jokes that everyone is going to strip naked and jump in the water, which is something of a rite of passage in Southern Indiana’s quarrylands. They don’t do it, but even without a skinny-dip, Karen says she “had so much fun getting stoned today.” Austin suggests a new tourism motto, “Come down to Monroe County and get stoned…limestoned.” Only they’re in Lawrence County. Everyone already knows that you can get stoned in neighboring Monroe County, home of Indiana University.

Photo Courtesy of The Home Aesthetic

Back at the house, our favorite contractors, Iron Timbers, install the casework for the breakfast nook, painted a beautiful shade of blue-gray with gold rails on plate racks. Throughout the house, the eclectic look comes together with bright yellow furniture, fun patterns, and modern elements.

A blended family of five arrives to take a look, and the three young kids are adorable. They love their bedrooms that Mina decorated according to their interests, and they each claim their stool at the kitchen island. It seems like they have made themselves at home. It appears that the family buys it, even though the house seems a tad small for five people with a single living space, a dining nook that seats four, and not a ton of storage. But the family-friendly Irvington address would make up for it.