Photo by Madison Mascare
Hi, HGTV fans! Thanks for dropping by for another recap from Good Bones Season 5. I’m Megan Fernandez, and I often write about homes for Indianapolis Monthly. My design-snob colleagues Josh Cox and Kristin Sims are here, too, pointing out the truly important stuff.
If you noticed the Stutz Building shaking a few months ago, that was Karen dropping a bombshell in the Two Chicks office: She’s retiring! But don’t worry, she will still review blueprints and design plans, demo, make stuff, wallpaper, look at houses with Mina, and “stain anything.” She just won’t come into the office regularly. So by Karen’s standards, we have all been retired since the beginning of quarantine.
JOSH: Karen’s retirement announcement felt so staged, it made any Real Housewives fight look like Oscar material. That said, I yearn to retire in a similar fashion, to stay physically and creatively active when I feel like it.
KRISTIN: I know Mina and Karen have been partners all these years, but it has always seemed like Mina called the shots. Did I miss something? Despite all of the retirement chatter, this is the episode when Karen took the biggest lead with the crew.
MEGAN: As far as who calls the shots, you might find the answer in our feature on Two Chicks a few years ago. Not only is Karen very much not retired, she’s in charge when the crew returns to the Old Southside to gut the other half of the double from last week’s episode, as Mina couldn’t be there. She makes an executive decision to cut Mina’s planned Juliet balcony off the dining room and spend that money on vaulting a bedroom ceiling. She’s sure Mina will agree because it will save money. Whoops! Mina doesn’t approve—it would have required submitting new plans to the city, costing both money and time. The Juliet balcony stays.
JOSH: I’m a utilitarian, so maybe that’s why I shudder at the very mention of a Juliet balcony or whenever I drive past Circa apartments downtown. What is the point?
KRISTIN: The light is nice, but who wants a balcony on an alley?!? Honey, can you pass the bread? What, you can’t hear me over the muffler noise? A vaulted ceiling would have added much more character.
JOSH: Mina and Karen arguing about the ceiling versus the balcony was so dumb, it must have been real. This is my first time seeing a true mother/daughter dynamic, which made up for the staging of that retirement.
MEGAN: I lived in a double just like this one and it can feel really claustrophobic, so I see where Mina was coming from.
JOSH: Let’s get to the good stuff. All of the tile options in this episode were gorgeous, but the bathrooms especially sang. The mismatched pulls in the kitchen worked beautifully since they were the same shape. And that high-gloss black staircase was stunning! So stunning I’m envisioning painting our own stairs the exact same.
KRISTIN: The whole staircase was the punch of drama the space needed. I loved the result of their paneling, especially MJ’s use of matte versus gloss paint treatment. I felt the pain with the trim work that MJ and Cory tackled. As a person who suffers from a math deficiency, miter cuts are the worst!
MEGAN: There are a lot of partners in crime to choose from on Good Bones, and this week I loved MJ and Cory paneling that accent wall on a $75 budget (MJ muttered, “I’m gonna have to borrow some lumber” as they walked off) and fumbling with wallpaper in a high-ceilinged half-bath (MJ again: “Please do not wallpaper me to the wall”).
KRISTIN: The wallpaper scene made me think of the I Love Lucy wallpaper episode. It was a huge challenge for Cory and MJ to hang “a giant sticker” with that much repeat pattern! Kudos to them both. It was a dynamic addition. I’m secretly hoping that they painted the ceiling, too.
JOSH: With Karen stepping back, there must be some extra screen time for MJ to consume.
MEGAN: More time for Mina’s IVF story, too.
JOSH: Kudos to her for sharing the entire IVF journey to shed light on a struggle everyone might not fully understand.
KRISTIN: The slight tears in Mina’s eyes at the end of the clip were so touching. You could see the pain, the hope.
MEGAN: I just hope Braveheart is OK. Where is Karen’s rooster? Oh my gosh, did he “retire?”
KRISTIN: Let’s play a new game after the season finale: “Name the Good Bones Animals.” So far, we have Braveheart the rooster, River the cat …
MEGAN: Does Tad count? He called himself a “monkey of a man” this episode after he crawled into the bedroom ceiling and kicked it down from the top.
JOSH: In between the team bringing down the bedroom ceiling and getting covered in dust, soot, and who knows what else, did anyone notice the lone Barbie-doll leg sticking out of Karen’s overalls during the confessional shots? No doubt she found it during demo and brought it along for good luck the rest of the day, foot first.
KRISTIN: That was my favorite part of the episode!
MEGAN: And that’s why Karen can’t really retire. Plus, Kristin, to your question about Karen’s role in the business, I think she taught Mina and her other children very well, and a mother’s work is never done. I’m sure we’ll see plenty of her next week!