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.
This episode, “Updated Victorian in Old Southside,” opens with beauty shots of Segway riders at the canal. The scenery quickly goes downhill when they arrive at a house severely damaged inside by a fire. It’s begging to be torn down. Forlorn, forgotten, forsaken. But for Karen, foreplay. She’s delighted by the junk piled waist-high in every room and immediately tries on a hat and eyes an old icebox. “The walls look like they were bleeding,” she coos in awe as she disappears up into the blackness of the stairwell. A fan on Twitter said to drink every time Karen gasps. Mina is not as charmed and calls it a fake zombie set.
Josh: Maybe I adore Karen so much because she reminds me of my mother, a pack rat. But why does she keep putting on clothes that she finds in these homes? Who knows what was living in that hat?
Kristin: Ewww. And Karen put her face in it to smell for pee.
Megan: Speaking of foreplay, Tad has a twinkle in his eye the whole episode, whether he was mud-wrestling project manager Cory (who revealed he was going commando) or explaining how to “exfoliate” a salvaged oak mantel.
Josh: I wonder if Tad and Cory could go one episode without a homoerotic exchange. I hope not. Cory commando is uncomfortable on a normal day, but demo day? In jeans?!?
Megan: That’s how Karen felt about a surprise they uncovered during demo: a massive original pocket door to the parlor. It’s a remarkable find and cleans up easily, and it inspired this soliloquy from the Tadmanian Devil:
“The door was super sad. It’s like this beautiful thing surrounded by the nastiest stuff. When the door saw us, it was probably like, ‘Whoa, I was a tree! Then I was in this beautiful house! And I was pretty sure I was just going to die this sad life! But no!’ Because we came in, we cleaned that baby up. It’s crazy! Look how nice it is! Oh, it’s so satisfying!”
He’s practically Hamlet.
Kristin: (eye roll)
Megan: The surprises behind the walls aren’t all good, though—the house has big structural issues. The words “joists” and “fire codes” are never good signs.
Josh: First, I really appreciate that they chose to keep the bones of a house that could have easily have been bulldozed and rebuilt.
Kristin: When do you remodel and when do you just tear down? This one seemed to straddle that line as close as it gets. And I hope they either fired the contractor or got their money back—even I know not to use 1x4s for structural reinforcement! I was impressed by Tad’s coherent details of the bad construction.
Josh: So great to see Midland get some airtime when Mina and Karen went shopping for an antique desk.
Megan: I love the boxy black leather sofa she chose to contrast with the old desk. Mina brings a lot of warmth and modernity to each house. The themes are a little thin, but the homes are always really pretty and livable.
Josh: I really enjoy her modern sensibility. But I don’t like the need for a theme. This could likely be the fault of the production company instead of Mina and Karen.
Megan: It’s definitely not designer M.J.’s fault, because he has been MIA lately. We got one scene with him, adding custom turned legs to the kitchen island, which was one of the Victorian touches in the design.
Josh: Give us more M.J.! How many times do I have to shout it, HGTV?
Kristin: Josh, as the resident feng shui master, what’s the rule about walking in the front door and straight into a dining table? Maybe there was more room there than it looked on camera, but I didn’t love the placement.
Josh: It’s only bad for the chairs with their backs to the front door, as that produces a vulnerability. In general, a dining table should never be pushed up against a wall because it reflects an unwelcoming energy, like there aren’t enough seats for guests.
Megan: What did you love this week? For me, the bedroom—layered area rugs and a restful softness that doesn’t feel overtly feminine.
Kristin: The black sofa was my favorite, too. I also liked the master bedroom—nice and simple, no huge bed frame made of charred lumber this week.
Josh: The statement “wall splash” tile in the kitchen was beautiful!
Megan: Any cleaning observations?
Kristin: The nooks in the shower. More corners to get clean. And they had to be tile-installation hell.
Megan: Small price to pay, perhaps, for a dramatic rescue of gorgeous house and its wraparound porch. They wanted $240,000 and got $280,000, which, as someone who lives near Old Southside, is an eye-popping price.
Kristin: The list prices sound like a lot EVERY week! Especially when the selective camera work doesn’t show the boarded-up property with knee-high grass next door.
Josh: Do Two Chicks homes sell for a higher price thanks to their notoriety? Not saying the work isn’t worth the price, but for the location at this moment, it seems like a lot.
Megan: A lot of people wonder if their fame translates to higher home values, but that’s real estate for you. It’s worth what someone will pay. Yet you couldn’t have paid me $1 million to clean out this house, like they did. Let’s see if next week’s mess can top this one. See you then!