Hi, HGTV fans! Are you moving anytime soon? If so, this episode of Good Bones just got you out of a lot of heavy lifting. Allow us—Megan Fernandez, homes editor for Indianapolis Monthly, and art director Kristin Sims—to explain.
All you have to do is borrow a recovery boot from a friend and bam, no climbing stairs or carrying heavy boxes. All lamps and throw pillows for you. Not that we doubt the validity of the injury that the renter showed up with on this episode, because she wasn’t even moving in yet, but when she hobbled up the steep stairs to see her new place, lightbulbs went off.
So, here we are at a four-plex condo building on the Old Southside. Two Chicks and a Hammer owns the building and has already redone three units. This last one will be a rental until this area has more comps for one-bedrooms and its market value increases. It cost $30,000, they’ll put $70,000 into it, and later hope to sell it for $135,000 or more. They already have a renter lined up, a lawyer moving to town for her first job. The space is just 800 square feet, even smaller than last week’s 1,000-square-foot cottage, with one bedroom, kitchen, living room, dining room, and a small bath tucked behind the kitchen. Teeny, but it is on the second floor and has a lot of windows for natural light. The big change will be closing off the dining room, which has a door to both the kitchen and living room, and making it a multipurpose space and a potential second bedroom.
Megan: Losing the dining room make sense in a place this small. (It was the room above beyond the sliding doors, and the wall with shelves had a doorway to the kitchen.) There’s a better use for the space than a dedicated dining room. Young urbanites can eat at a kitchen counter or small table.
Kristin: Yes, most people eat on their couch. And starting her first job, she won’t have much time to eat at home anyway.
Megan: Good point. But the conversion means losing a cute archway between the living and dining room, and won’t it mean less natural light flooding the space? Not sure I love this.
Kristin: I agree. I loved the charm of the arch and the light that came through. The only good thing is that as a lawyer, she probably won’t need to have a roommate living on top of her.
Megan: The condo just needs cosmetic work, but they take it down to the studs for a fresh start. Cue the now-weekly toilet competition, some silly demo-related contest to see who has to remove the john from the apartment. This time, Tad challenges Cory and Austin to balance on a demo fork like it’s a pogo stick.
Kristin: While he damages the floor.
Megan: Yeah, Mina finds gouges later. I’m torn: Indefensible, or a small price to pay for Tad’s spirit?
Kristin: You’re hopeless.
Megan: Well, Mina is one to talk about safety. She is very pregnant and was way too close to being smashed by a runaway refrigerator on the staircase. Cory and Austin almost lost their grip with Mina down below it. Luckily, we know baby Charlotte arrived safely. So for the second bedroom/multipurpose space, they’re going to put in a Murphy bed.
Kristin: The Murphy bed was a good space-saving idea. Have you ever slept on one? I hope they’re more comfortable than a sofa bed … gotta be, no uncomfortable bar in the middle.
Megan: To find out, Tad splays himself across the mattress—dirty from demo, so eww—and gives it his blessing. What we didn’t see, which was on HGTV’s Instagram instead, is that Cory tied Tad to the bed and folded it up.
Kristin: OK, that would have been funny.
Megan: Mina and designer MJ describe the design aesthetic as French Art Deco, but I’m not seeing the Art Deco. MJ also calls the look “wham, bam, thank you, ma’am.” So that’s why Tad is waiting in the Murphy bed.
Kristin: Wouldn’t it have been “wham, bam, thank you, madame?”
Megan: Yes. I’d say so. That clears up the confusion about the theme.
Kristin: I thought Art Deco was a stretch, too. I definitely could see the French influence, but THAT kitchen floor is considered Deco? I acquiesce to MJ’s education, but I’d like a ruling from the judge.
Megan: What did you think about the moulding they added to the bedroom wall behind the bed? They installed chair railing in big picture-frame squares and painted the wall high-gloss white.
Kristin: I thought the millwork added an extra layer of finish, but I think I would have liked it as well or better with the same color of the adjacent walls—that was a lovely, soothing color. The bed looked off center, which made my OCD brain twitch. I’m hoping that it was just the camera angle.
Megan: It looks like an easy DIY project.
Kristin: It’s a lot harder than you think. Or actually, it’s as hard as you thought advanced math in high school was. Some wall millwork, like batten, can be easier—flat moulding, straight cuts—but getting into the 45-degree angles and making sure everything is plumb and joined properly is not easy. And once one corner is off, you’ll want to pull your hair out!
Megan: You talked me out of it. So, they had a slew of little problems. The tile-setter quit for some reason, so Tad had to find another one the same day. I wondered why he couldn’t step in on a small tile job. Is it that hard? Maybe they should have called you!
Kristin: Hey! What do you mean, “Is it that hard?” Do you mean it’s so easy that even I could do it?
Megan: No, just that you’re a good tile-setter! I’ve seen your work. Just surprised Tad couldn’t do this rather elementary reno job himself.
Kristin: It would take time away from his buffoonery.
Megan: The success of this design came down to adding a lot of pretty touches and smart design choices to make the space feel special and also maximize the square footage. What was your favorite part?
Kristin: The kitchen was my favorite room this week. Smart use of floor-to-ceiling upper cabinets surrounding a coffee bar, creating valuable storage in a small space.
Megan: I was skeptical of the second bedroom, but I like how it turned out. The doors are paned and sliding, so the room doesn’t close off the small floor plan and light still comes through to the middle of the condo.
Kristin: But how do you provide privacy for a guest?
Kristin: That’s classy! Maybe it could be a French sheet with an Art Deco print?
Megan: If Karen were still full time, she would have found a sheet on the floor during demo and made a fantastic curtain. She’s not in the episodes as much now that she retired from Two Chicks. But MJ has shown up with bleached-blond hair and a tan and keeps deadpanning sass and shade straight to the camera. He’s going kind of bad-boy this season. When they hang two plants on the second-floor exterior, flanking a window, which was a bit ridiculous, he says, with a totally straight face, “Hanging plants are the earrings of the roof. Like everyone says.”
Kristin: From a distance they looked like “the eyelashes of the window.”
Megan: I see nipples.
Kristin: Can we talk about the chaise lounge chair in the living room?
Megan: Does anyone ever sit on a chaise? Can you do anything other than slink across one like Kate Winslet in Titanic? A chaise should come with a pearl necklace.
Kristin: Or a big blue diamond. A chaise is not my favorite choice. I think it emphasized the lack of space in the room. They’ve never looked comfortable to me, and I’m always looking for a comfy place to read a book.
Megan: The mint wall color in the living room was at least a little Art Deco. I loved the accessorizing in the room, with big antique-gold frames, abstract art with pops of black, a dramatic and contemporary antique-gold chandelier, and more color in pillows and vases. Lots of character. The warmly finished wood floors look luxurious. It’s not Art Deco, but it is money. Let’s see if MJ’s new laissez-faire attitude is back next week—and if the houses keep getting smaller. See you then!