HI, HGTV FANS. Good Bones got back to basics this week after a few special projects. Speaking of basic, I’m Megan Fernandez, the homes editor for Indianapolis Monthly, and art director Kristin Sims is recapping away, too.
Recent episodes have featured the Two Chicks and a Hammer store construction, a home that didn’t need much demo, and a new build that was already partially built when Two Chicks bought it. This week, it’s like old times when they tackle an Old Southside house with a terrible foundation, a hole from the sidewalk into the basement, walls caving in, and fire damage. It is barely standing. It’s the first house in six seasons that Karen feels good about tearing down.
Kristin: Thank goodness they decided to tear it down! It’s their biggest dump yet—I guess the dump went to the dump. Yet Karen still wants to haul junk home!
Megan: The demo boys make a competition out of it—they have two minutes to ransack the house looking for the best salvage for Karen. Tad goes on the offensive, trying to trap the other two by tossing a toilet down the stairs. They play dirty back by barricading him upstairs, but the Tadmanian Devil is no match for their obstacle. He just trounces over a mattress and thrashes through a wall of furniture to bring Karen some colored glass baubles.
Kristin: All for some cheesy, dollar-store, colored-glass vase fillers. These warrant oohs and ahhs?
Megan: So who wins?
Kristin: Cory always wins in my book, with Austin a close second. The tea cart was probably the only piece of furniture that made it out in one piece.
Megan: Mina let the boys engage in some unnecessary demo before the house is properly torn down. Even in an anything-goes situation, Tad still does something that makes Mina (and everyone) yell at him—he’s breaking through glass without wearing gloves. Then he tosses a cabinet from the second floor onto the sidewalk, hoping for a bigger explosion than he got.
Kristin: I have no words.
Megan: I have a few for said sidewalk: It is right next to the house. This house is right on top of the street, with no setback. And for some reason, Two Chicks has to rebuild it on the same footprint.
Kristin: And they also decide to build a small front porch, when they can build anything back.
Megan: I doubt anyone will sit there. At least it’s recessed. And this house will have a second-floor deck anyway. The new place will have living space only on the second level, above the garage, similar to the Season 5 finale house. At least the owners will be somewhat removed from the street.
Kristin: I like second-floor living. It gives the homeowner more light, more privacy, and more air flow. It’s just a workout after a big trip to the grocery!
Megan: A grocery dumbwaiter would have been handy.
Kristin: I hate to say that I start to cringe when they show the Stutz building because I know what’s coming!
Megan: Mina and MJ’s design pow-wow—which often involves a theme. It’s well established that we are not the biggest fans of these themes.
Kristin: Do you think they need a theme to force themselves to do something different in each property, and keep the projects straight?
Megan: Possibly, and to give the episode some structure. And so they can use the word “vibe” a lot. In all fairness, an actual professional designer (as opposed to us) recently wrote in to compliment the Good Bones design style: “The fresh, clean design look hearkens back to my California style. They truly appeal to all ages and buyers. So refreshing to see effortless, easy style coming from the Midwest.”
Kristin: It’s very convenient that the same tile magically works each week in all the themes.
Megan: This week’s vibe is “modern Italian villa.” This means warmer tones of wood, butcher-block counters, and gray cabinets with black hardware for the modern touch. But more exciting, Mina is sketching an idea on a large pad of paper, and it reminds me of the old game show Win, Lose or Draw. She wants to do a marble inset into the counter, which will sit in between two slabs of butcher block, eliminating the seam. A Mina original.
Kristin: A butcher block seam would have looked terrible, and I think might have created structural issues with the plumbing.
Megan: Speaking of looking terrible—the exterior is coming along. Terrible is too strong, but it’s a patchwork of three colors of siding to give the flat shape some interest. But Cory points out that the tan color looks like Band-Aids. MJ and Cory want to change the siding, but Mina is all, “We don’t have the money,” like they are kids asking for a swimming pool. So they focus on adding “distractions” inside, like Venetian plaster on a bump-out now upgraded to a “pillar,” and a mural in the stairwell.
Kristin: I hated the mural idea—it felt forced—but I like artist Justin Vining’s style, and it came out well in the neutral color palette. A mural is a risky endeavor and sometimes expensive for any property going on the market. You never know someone’s taste and decor.
Megan: At least the whole project was funny. Justin and MJ ask Cory and Austin to help by painting some gray grass, very wispy and natural. But they are so heavy-handed, they basically just paint the area solid gray. And they are painting with brewed coffee. It was edited to feel like a clumsy mess, punctuated with someone muttering, “This house isn’t going to sell.”
Kristin: I’m not a coffee drinker, and the thought of a wall soaked in java made me cringe. If it were tea, which is common in art and fabrics, then I could get on board. I just kept wondering if that smell lingered, like when you enter a smoker’s house.
Megan: It would smell like Italy! Sell it! The mural winds up looking OK and Justin-worthy. The episode had opened with World’s Cutest Boy Jack Hawk, Mina’s son, painting on a toy easel with his dad, and honestly, Jack might have done better than Cory and Austin.
Megan: In their defense, they didn’t think they were qualified, either. A lot of the episode feels similarly haphazard. They load furniture precariously with a forklift through the second-level porch doors, all wobbly, and Mina arranges the living room, then runs outside to meet potential buyers. By the time Karen oversells the mural by saying that wall paintings are back “big time,” it all just feels a little Fyre Festival.
Kristin: Another house with no dining area, too.
Megan: Well, there is one at the top of the stairs, but it’s small. The kitchen is really pretty, though. It’s small but has a lot of character. The living space is airy and flooded with natural light, and the deck over the garage is a nice space. It’s not like the house is a disaster at all. But getting there seemed bumpier than usual. I have to keep remembering they filmed this during the pandemic last year.
Kristin: Despite our criticisms, a couple buys the house for full list, $250,000, for a profit of $74,000. In most episodes, the Two Chicks don’t make that kind of profit. I wish they would have taken a little less and used fiber cement siding, especially when you see how the vinyl was already warped and wavy above the porch before the sale.
Megan: That price also includes a gorgeous stairway railing that Mina and MJ sketched. If our Hoosier tradescraft crush, Iron Timbers, made this, they didn’t get any screen time.
Kristin: Last season, Two Chicks also worked with a local metal company. They must have paid full price for this railing, so no airtime. Plus, they can’t cheat on the Timbers guys on air!
Megan: I don’t feel swept away to Italy, but $250,000 is a decent price to be so close to downtown, even if you are sleeping over a sidewalk. I’m sure the buyers are happy, which is what matters. Arrivederci until next week!