Good Bones Recap: Risky Business, Episode 5

Mina Starsiak Hawk helps install a Juliet balcony in the historic Sander’s House.
Mina, Mel, and Curtis posing in the parlor.
Mina, Mel, and Curtis posing in the parlor.

Happy PSL season, everyone! Good Bones: Risky Business is in the home stretch with the penultimate episode. Contributing editor Megan Fernandez and art director Kristin Sims have the rundown.

Last week left off with Mina Hawk booking the first wedding at Charlotte Hall, which isn’t really close to being finished. They still need to knock out the main level of the house, the basement speakeasy, and the whole exterior. But Mina made a vow that it will be ready for her friends Mel and Curtis’s big day. It’s a race against time.

Megan: First, Mina and MJ go to a speakeasy for inspiration. It’s in Louisville, which is about two hours away. I think they are hiding from Mel and Curtis.

Kristin: This whole place was cool. It made me want to visit, but then I wondered if I’m cool enough. A corner cabinet was a surprise as the doors opened Narnia-esque into another private seating area. Who do you have to know to get a seat in there? Thus began the plan to add a secret passageway in Charlotte Hall.

Megan: Like in Clue! Timeout: Why isn’t there an actual Clue house in this age of branded experiences?

Kristin: We need to do that! I’m sure readers won’t blab “our” idea. Time back in: I think Mina and MJ are spending too much time on the speakeasy. It will be interesting to see if there ends up being any real space down there.

Megan: I’m surprised every time the speakeasy comes up. It seems like a low priority, and I thought they would drop the idea once the project went over budget. But if they’re going to do it, it has to be finished before Charlotte Hall opens. If the venue is successful, there won’t be a window later to resume construction. You can’t really sneak in a whole crew.

Kristin: The main floor is the focus right now. Mina and MJ go to Iron Timbers to review the grand staircase the guys are building. Gary’s decorative leaves and acorns read “cabin” instead of Victorian to Mina and MJ, even though Gary researched it and found those motifs appropriate. 

Megan: Note that Gary didn’t scornfully tell Mina how wrong she is. He handled the feedback diplomatically and said, “We thought this would work, but obviously we had the wrong idea.” What do you think about Gary’s design?

MJ, Iron Timbers's Gary, and Mina designing stairs
Mina drawing her vision for the the carvings on the banister.

Kristin: It does read Victorian, but it’s not right for this house. This house doesn’t have all of the floral and froo-froo of a true Victorian. As much as I love Iron Timbers, it wasn’t my favorite, either. As Mina said, she felt like an a–hole having to nix it. We all felt her pain … and theirs!

Megan: They all handled it professionally, agreeing to replace the decorative parts with carved scrollwork. Funny that the transition shot to the next scene was a sidewalk full of fallen autumn leaves. This was filmed last year, although the same season is nigh upon us right now! For readers in other parts of the country, fall is like a holy season in Indiana—and much of the Midwest and New England, too. Do you have a fall tradition?

Kristin: Just long drives in the cool air when we can. When anyone asks if we’d ever move west or south, I always say no because I’d miss the change of the seasons. The beauty of fall foliage is something that can never quite be captured in photos.

Megan: Amen. Even though Two Chicks has a headquarters now, Mina and MJ are still nomads when it comes to design meetings. This time, they meet at a different Two Chicks jobsite, and MJ brings in chandeliers and swatches on a wagon. They choose a chunky, modern wood-bead chandelier for the kitchen.

Kristin: Back at Charlotte Hall, install is finishing up with the upstairs plumbing and the kitchen chandelier.

Megan: Everything was going so well until they discover a water leak in the kitchen ceiling. Silver lining—there is Austin, holding a pickle bucket.

Kristin: Better known as a five-gallon bucket for those of us who didn’t grow up on a pickle farm!

Megan: I’m the only one?

Kristin: The real silver lining is that the water leak might ruin the dreadfully tiny medallion above the kitchen chandelier. Maybe that was the design gods saying, let us rain down on your little medallion and cause enough damage to warrant the installation of a larger, beautiful one in its place.

Megan: Thou shalt not deny proper proportions. Speaking of design gods, Iron Timbers is on site to build the library paneling and the trick Clue door inspired by the one in the speakeasy. Then Mina goes to taste cake with Mel and Curtis at Gallery on 16th, my favorite brunch spot in Indianapolis.

Kristin: Who takes their potential venue contractor to a taste test? There have been a few far-fetched outings throughout this series.  

Megan: I will crash a cake taste test any time. Note to readers: Mina called the restaurant Gallery Pastry Shop. This scene happened at Gallery on 16th, a sister restaurant to two Gallery Pastries in Indianapolis. If you make a reservation for Gallery Pastry Shop, you’ll end up somewhere else, and they don’t have the same decor or menu. Make a reservation at Gallery on 16th, and get the hummus. 

Kristin: Bridget, the event planner, spoiled the good times by asking for a status check, starting with when they know “for sure” that the downstairs will be finished. 

Megan: Mina has to tell the wedding team that the kitchen isn’t finished right now. Gallery’s caterer asks if it will be done before the wedding, and Mina says only that “they are working very hard to finish it as fast as they can.” Did she mean the kitchen or the cake? Anyway, Mina got the third degree.

Watch the scene at Gallery on 16th here:

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It was very uncomfortable. I don’t think we’ve ever seen Mina in such a pickle! That was for you, Megan.

Megan: Well done—just like the finial on the finished staircase! It’s like a little urn. Things are coming together nicely on the main floor. Mina and Austin install one of the refinished original pocket doors, and it’s stunning. But I must say, the transition shot to the next scene shows a bloody-red sky at dusk like I have never seen in Indy. It looked a little foreboding, so I wonder what’s next.

Kristin: Nothing bad yet. Mina and MJ go hunting for artwork for the house at the Brown County Art Guild. They hone in on Marie Goth, who was a local painter born during the Victorian age and became the first female artist to paint a governor. 

Megan: I’ve never heard of Marie Goth, but what a cool name.

Kristin: I hadn’t heard of her, either, but it’s great that so many will now know her name. I wonder how they were going to afford a Goth painting until they say, “Let’s look at the prints.” Smart.

Megan: To Mina, Marie Goth represents strong women, which is important to her. Love this. Not so much the next scene, when Mina and a few guys install a very breakable chandelier in the two-story foyer ceiling. Mina is trying to climb a tall ladder stabilized against the wall while holding a huge, round glass orb. There seems to be a lot of people on the same ladder, too.

Kristin: Obviously, they knew what they were doing—and the weight limit of the ladder—but it was a nail-biting scene. Sometimes a girl just needs to pull up her bootstraps and take her big ball up a ladder.

Megan: That’s a T-shirt slogan. In even higher news, Mina and MJ address the business of the turret. It will be copper-clad, but they don’t want it to patina. They want to maintain the copper look. For expertise, they turn to—who else?—Iron Timbers. At the workshop, Caleb smelts some copper, pours a heart-shaped mold, and walks them through the options to maintain the copper hue. It struck me that Caleb also has copper-colored hair.

Kristin: Between Mina and the Iron Timbers guys, Good Bones has a lot of gingers.

Megan: To keep the turret gingery will require coating it and a lot of maintenance. Or they could go with copper-colored aluminum or steel, aka faux, whereupon MJ sneezes because he’s allergic to the word “faux.” He asks Caleb what they should call it instead, and Caleb says “fopper.” 

Kristin: Funny, that’s what I called it, too!

Megan: Iron Timbers is your soulmate.

Kristin: So they went through the whole smelting-copper thing to determine if they want real copper on the turret? Who doesn’t know that copper patinas and that it needs to be coated? And that there are alternatives? And if you truly don’t know these things, couldn’t this have been a phone call or a Zoom? Another example of gratuitous field-tripping.

Megan: I’m sure Mina could have Googled it, but I love the field trips. They break up all the sawdust and show off Indiana. Back at the house, Mina reveals the secret bookcase door to Steve and Jack. There’s a stack of pizza boxes waiting on the other side. Jealous.

Kristin: Don’t get me started on the secret door. What a huge expense and time suck. I thought the door was going to go from the library to a secret passage down to the speakeasy—but it’s just to the next room. It’s clever, but really? How did that get by Finley’s spreadsheet? AND how can they call it a library when there aren’t any books? Maybe I need pizza, too. This episode is making me hangry.

Megan: If we had been watching together, we totally would have ordered pizza. I have been craving late-night pizza for a long time. Another timeout: The commercial for Illinois tourism includes the slogan “the middle of everything.” First of all, Indianapolis is called the Crossroads of America, so hands off our centrality. Also, is “middle” a selling point? I think of middle airplane seats, being in the middle of an argument, middle age, middle hair parts.

Kristin: I caught that commercial placement, too. Smart—on their part.

Megan: We are well past the middle of the episode. It’s time for the reveal of the main floor to Mel and Curtis. The vibe is a lot airier than I expected, with white walls and natural light, not the dark drama of Victorian style. Mina borrowed the ornateness of Victorian design set against modern light and brightness. The “layering” they discovered at the James Whitcomb Riley house last week amounts to faux judges paneling and chandelier medallions. Not a lot of layering, but it’s still pretty. I thought the layering could be expensive and ambitious.

The reveal:


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Kristin: The Victorian theme is very loose.Megan: In their defense, they did say “modern Victorian,” and Charlotte Hall has that vibe. The pocket doors are stunning. They really pop with the lightened-up decor.Kristin: Surprisingly, I even like the sliding “barn doors” between the dining room and kitchen. We were both horrified by their mention last week. These are nice because they aren’t the typical barn doors. They are lovely replicas of the original pocket doors, painted crisp white with beautiful brass tracks.Megan: They won me over, too. I like the modern, svelte chandelier in the dining room. The bedroom suite on the main level looks amazing painted a dark shade of brown-black. This is where the Marie Goth prints are. I love them! So many vivid portraits and pretty still lifes. Are you going to be on the lookout for a Marie Goth?Kristin: Her paintings are amazing! So much talent. It was a great education, and I’d love to find one of her pieces hidden away somewhere, but I don’t know where I’d put it.Megan: In your future bed-and-breakfast?Kristin: Not after watching all this!Megan: So it’s four weeks until the wedding and there’s still no kitchen or outdoor patio space. Mel and Curtis ask Mina, “Do you think you can get it done? Mina says, “I do!” The preview suggests otherwise.Kristin: I still want pizza. Who delivers this late?

Photo gallery by The Home Aesthetic