Hi, HGTV fans! Season 6 of Good Bones is planting its flag in Indy’s Old Southside with its fourth house in four episodes. I’m Megan Fernandez, homes editor for Indianapolis Monthly (and daily commuter through the Old Southside), and my usual partner in crime, art director Kristin Sims, has a lot to say about the flame technique we saw to distress a beam in this episode.
This is a standard two-story house—we’re not even sure there’s a style name for it, just a regular American house—that is already under contract with a buyer. Two Chicks and a Hammer bought the 1,600-square-foot dump for $40,000 and wants to keep the renovation around $180,000 and sell it for $250,000. It’s a real junker on the outside, but inside a nice surprise awaits for a change—it came demo’d down to the studs.
Kristin: It’s so nice to have a house with so much demo work already complete. But I thought, Well, what will that leave Tad to destroy? But of course, there was plenty.
Megan: Tad destroying stuff is like ASMR to me. He’s swinging all over the ceiling joists this time and ripping off entire swaths of siding at once. The siding of this house comes off like a Japanese foot exfoliation—it’s that flimsy.
Kristin: I have to credit Tad. He is pretty strong. Again, when you see glimpses of the neighboring properties, would you really want that view? For as long as it takes for the other homes on the block to catch up?
Megan: If you want to be near downtown for under $300,000, that’s the reality. I guess it’s not a priority for urban buyers. I live in the next neighborhood over, and we rarely look out the front windows or sit on the front porch.
Kristin: Good for Mina to still climb through a window, during the walk-through, at this point in her pregnancy. But I had to chuckle when she had her son, Jack, pick up her keys from the floor so she didn’t have to bend down, stating that she didn’t want to “squish the baby.”
Megan: Last week, a refrigerator came close to squishing it. She and Karen crawled out a back window to find a maple tree that will have to come down. Inside, shockingly, they are going to knock down a wall and open the floor plan. Then they’ll convert it to a three-bedroom, two-bath and make the upstairs a bonus room. Oh, and the brick foundation is completely caving in, but Mina isn’t fazed. Season 6, everybody.
Kristin: I did like the unique porch posts and trim that they took out. It was the only decor on the exterior. They didn’t replace it. It was either rotted or confiscated by Karen!
Megan: What is this I hear? Tad, of all people, telling Karen to be careful? He implores her not to hurt herself when she goes up in a cherry picker with a chainsaw to cut down the maple.
Kristin: When Mina and Cory reviewed the floor plans, I was shocked at how small the primary bedroom became.
Megan: I was shocked at how small Mina’s nose piercing is. That scene is the first time I’ve seen it. It could be just a speck of glitter. They video chat with the buyers, who say they want to be able to bathe the dogs in the laundry room, so Mina promises a mud sink. Then she goes to discuss the design theme with MJ—beachy, but more like “moody Cape Cod” than kitschy and cheesy.
Kristin: MJ said “love” six times. Does he ever dislike the design direction?
Megan: Sometimes his mouth says “love” and his face says the opposite. With MJ, it’s all in the face. You should have seen my face when Mina described the custom kitchen island she’s designing while wielding a giant piece of driftwood, the inspiration.
Kristin: No beach-house kitsch, but it’s OK to have driftwood circles everywhere?
Megan: I guess a seashell chandelier is fine, too? Spoiler: We are so wrong about the island. But first, Tad has an idea for the new support beam between the living room and kitchen. I can’t talk about his beam better than he did: “It’s big, it’s beautiful, and I think we should probably expose it.”
Kristin: Hated the idea of leaving the beam exposed, but I was willing to wait and see.
Megan: Really? I liked it. It will add some character in a wide-open space and define the living room and kitchen areas. But then out comes the fire. What is happening? I didn’t understand the word MJ uses. Did you?
Kristin: They are going to “shou sugi ban” the header.
Megan: Thank you. MJ says it’s the ancient art of sealing wood with fire, which also accentuates the grain. Your opinion?
Kristin: Noooooo. I think consistency is the key to this technique—and it baffles me that they were trying this with the beam in place. What about the glue melting? And the ceiling? Although Cory came up with a good invention to protect the ceiling (it was like a selfie stick with a metal shield on the end), it just didn’t seem like a good idea to put fire in Tad’s hand in a house that was near completion.
Megan: I wrote the same words: “Why did they put fire in Tad’s hands?”
Kristin: I’ve seen this technique used with great success, especially when used to really char the wood, but they’re going for beach, not bonfire.
Megan: And yet, halfway through, Cory charges into the house with a bigger blowtorch.
Kristin: Here’s what I don’t understand: If this mode of filming is docu-style and the crew just films Two Chicks’s everyday process, why did Cory bring in the large torch when clearly MJ was on a ladder whitewashing over the other side? You can’t tell me that that wasn’t just for TV.
Megan: Well, let’s just ask Cory himself…I just emailed him…He replied!
Cory: That small torch was super ineffective, so I told production, mid-scene, that I needed more power. I sourced one online locally at a big-box store from my phone, and a production assistant hightailed it to the store and brought it back with a propane tank in tow. It was amazing! The torch is actually supposed to be used to kill weeds or melt driveway snow/ice! My dad has one so I knew that more power existed. Lol gotta have fun with this stuff.
Megan: There you go. Totally real. Thank you, Cory.
Kristin: The vote in our household was that the shou sugi ban made the wood look dirty, especially at the end when they shot up close and you could see all of the cracks where the glue had melted away.
Megan: Good eye. OK, here’s something you’ll like. The Iron Timber guys are back! They’re going to build Mina’s kitchen island, which will have an integrated table-height section, too, for dining.
Kristin: Yea, Iron Timber guys! LOVE (as MJ would say) to see them again. Their work is amazing.
Megan: They are terrific Indy ambassadors. Good-natured people, and the craftsmanship is outstanding. This kitchen island is mind-blowing. It was Mina’s vision to have one piece of wood with a live edge form this entire sculptural island.
Kristin: I was doubtful that the live edge would work on an island—I kept seeing the homeowner getting caught by brushing the edge—but leave it up to the Timber guys to make it work. I agree with whichever crew member said it’s the coolest thing Two Chicks has ever put in a house.
Megan: It really is. It’s the design moment I have been waiting six seasons for. It’s that good. And it’s beachy without being kitschy. Let’s just leave it on that note and see if next week’s house can keep this season going strong.