Howdy, Good Bones fans! This week’s project took the whole crew to the back roads of Henry County, 45 minutes from Indianapolis. The limestone ranch house surrounded by farmland is the family homestead of Two Chicks and a Hammer’s head of construction, Brittany DeLucio. She grew up there, her son grew up there, and she has owned it as a rental in recent years. She’s ready to liquidate and start a college fund.
The house is near New Castle, home of the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame—and small reno budgets. Brittany has $50,000 for interior and exterior updates, which is, at most, half of what Mina Hawk usually works with to redo homes near downtown Indy. But the house just needs some cosmetic love, an open floor plan, and a new kitchen. For Mina, this is a layup.
The episode is titled “City Slickers Go Country,” but during the walk-through, project manager Cory proudly declares himself part country boy. Mina argues, “Yet, you refuse to get dirty, love skinny jeans, and could not get away from that dead possum fast enough.” He doesn’t do mice, either. Not a city mouse or a country mouse.
All the sweatshirts and crunchy fallen leaves in this episode, which was filmed last year, give me fall fever, and that’s before we see the showstopping stone fireplace in the living room. Other than this feature, everything is going to change. Mina will take down a wall to open up the living space and enlarge the kitchen. She’ll cover original hardwood floors with vinyl plank flooring already on hand at the Two Chicks office (a freebie). It sounds like a sin, but the hardwoods aren’t running in the same direction and don’t span the entire house. The vinyl will create a cohesive look from end to end. Down a hall, three bedrooms and two bathrooms will be remodeled. A large sunroom has great potential with its soaring ceiling and peaceful views of the countryside. Mina wants to add window trim and a big chandelier to make it as pretty as possible.
Tad is MIA on demo day because he’s occupied with a side project in a client’s backyard. Austin strikes the perfect note of disbelief and disgust when he says, “He’s going to … check on a pergola.” In his absence, Mina wreaks some Tad-style havoc with a leaf blower, blasting Austin’s long hair and MJ’s knit cap off.
Wait, who are the two guys talking about taking the chimney down? I don’t recognize them. Country cousins? Oh—it’s a promo scene from Bargain Block, once again stuck in the middle of Good Bones. Fool me twice, shame on me. Fool me for six episodes and shame on whoever thought this was a good idea. And it’s always the same scene! Just take the chimney down already.
Back on the right show, Mina is knocked off a ladder by a collapsing ceiling, but she sticks the landing, so she says it doesn’t count. While demo and construction continue drama-free, the crew limewashes the stone exterior to transform it dramatically from dirty and drab to shiny and white. It doesn’t look like the same house, and it only cost about $1,000 in materials. Matte black window frames and doors give it the crisp modern farmhouse look that will appeal to a broad buyer pool.
With Mina and Brittany in the living room discussing the plan to drywall the new header in the opened up space (a new header costs between $3,000 and $5,000, by the way, if you’re considering taking down a wall in your house), MJ suddenly gasps like he has spotted an empty rocking chair at Cracker Barrel and suggests an upgrade—a fake beam! Brittany reminds him that “budget is the inspiration” for the remodel and goes with the frugal drywall option.
Budgeting everything usually doesn’t make for good TV, so Mina and MJ have their work cut out for them in pulling together a beautiful riff on “typical farmhouse design” with furniture you can sink into and matte black hardware against white-and-bright cabinets, walls, tile, and flooring. Nothing glam, but maybe the dash of metallic in the light fixtures will help. The improved layout is the selling point for this house.
Back in the city, we get a totally unrelated scene of Tad and Cory on a double date. They make macarons at Circle City Sweets, a bakery in The Amp. Speaking from experience, making macarons is harder than anything they do in construction. For starters, the humidity has to be just right. Don’t try it. The domestic adventure prompts Tad and Cory to talk about falling in love and settling down. According to Tad, dad bods are right around the corner for them.
If he’s lucky, Tad’s kids will be as adorable as Mina’s. When the cabinets get delivered to the New Castle kitchen, her son pops out of one of the doors and says, “I love you,” to his mom. He steals the episode from Karen’s tiny dog, who is zipped up inside her jacket.
The sunroom with a couch, chairs, a massive plant, and a black iron chandelier is gorgeous, but I wondered about the use of space. In a tight 1,800 square feet, does anyone need a second living area and a separate dining room? Could they use an office instead? The huge square island is big enough for dining, and—as we keep hearing—this is the country, where folks are casual. I guess the new owners could use the sunroom and dining room however they want, or they could use the third bedroom as a combo office and guest room. Then again, maybe it’s nice to have separate living areas when people want to do different things.
The one wrong step of the design is the salvage project. Karen and MJ use wood from Brittany’s son’s old swing set, long since destroyed by a tree, to make a rustic slatted coffee table. Even whitewashed, it looks only one step up from the ubiquitous wooden spool table found in many man caves (at least on TV). Karen also makes a large piece of art by cutting swing set wood into small placards and painting rows of them different colors, finishing it with shimmering wax. It’s much better than the table, and I’m surprised at how well it turns out.
Wait, make that two wrong steps—where is the basketball hoop? A small-town Indiana driveway isn’t complete without one.
Nevertheless, the house sells in a week for the full list price of nearly $300,000, and Brittany and her husband take home a $150,000 Mina Hawk Scholarship for their son’s higher education. The rustic coffee table will look great in his frat house.