Hello, everyone! Good Bones gets back to its nasty roots after a detour into sparkly bridal retail last week. Contributing editor Megan Fernandez and art director Kristin Sims follow the return to familiar territory, Indy’s Old Southside.
First we meet Brittany, a new supervisor at Two Chicks and a Hammer. She oversees the project managers and construction. Gotta love more chicks in charge. Cory says he thinks he can charm Brittany, but Mina points out that all a girl wants is a job done right.
Kristin: Welcome, Brittany. Hopefully she will shore up some of the crazy builder mishaps we’ve seen this season. I’m scared just viewing the episode preview!
Megan: Mina’s one to talk, though—she sorta bought the wrong house this week.
Kristin: She snapped up a crummy property for $30,000 sight unseen, and when she showed up to the site with Cory, she realized she thought she had purchased the one across the street. But Cory thinks the lot is probably worth the price alone, so it’s all good. They mention that they can probably get $300,000 when all is said and done. Really? With other houses that look “tattered” on the block?
Megan: Homebuyers might be told that those houses will be renovated soon and then prices will go up. At first glance, this one looks like a teardown to me. Then Mina and Cory discover that it’s sinking and it sounds like a “fall down.”
Kristin: Question: When they think the price is decent “for the lot,” what about the crappy structure? Even if it’s a teardown, that costs money. The foundation repair costs money. Just hauling away all of the debris costs money. Is it still a great deal?
Megan: If they can do the demo and clear the lot with in-house labor, it probably is still worth it. Location is everything, and the Old Southside borders downtown and Bates-Hendricks. Mina decides to tear down the house and build a new starter home. Instead of a horror toilet, the Demo Boys have to deal with a mysterious barrel in the garage, the kind used to dissolve a body in acid. On Breaking Bad, anyway. It smells like soap. They open it to find white powder, and someone says, “We just figured out how to fund this project!” But alas, it’s laundry detergent.
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Kristin: So the previous homeowner was more concerned with tidy-whiteys than the floors sinking?Megan: I think you just started a new tongue-twister.Ty tries on tidy tighty-whiteys.Anyway, it looks like it’s from an industrial laundry service. With that resolved, Jack joins Mina in the excavator to tear down the garage and house. Tad begs her to crush a deep freezer he spots in the debris. Liquid pours out, and it stinks so bad that Tad goes running down the street, retching. I guess that didn’t smell like Tide Plus Febreze. MJ calls it “mystery meat water.”Kristin: Mmmmm, that was tough to watch. My own dinner almost made an appearance. But what did they expect? It’s a chest freezer, sitting out in the elements for who knows how long, under the hot sun. Yuck, still giving me shivers.Megan: Tad returns in time to salvage some porch posts from the pile to repurpose. Kristin: That was smart. I’ve paid big bucks for pillars just like those at an antique salvage place.Megan: Next time, just buy a rotting house on the Old Southside. On to building a new four-bedroom, three-bath open floor plan—with a dining space! They hope this project moves quickly because Two Chicks need some cash flow. I think they skipped a framing inspection to save time.Kristin: I don’t think they can skip it. Seems like they are going to have a midway inspection before adding HVAC, electrical, and plumbing. Cory says now is the time to cross Ts and dot the Is. Hmm, foreshadowing?Megan: Yep. A couple scenes later, Brittany’s first real line on the show is, “I come with a lovely problem. Every door in this house is framed too short by an inch and a half.” Drywall is already up, so it has to be cut out and the doors reframed. Mina admits she should have listened to Cory about the framing inspection and adds, “It feels gross even saying that.”Kristin: I’m surprised they don’t need inspections before the drywall goes up. Doesn’t the city check that the structure is sound before proceeding? Really that’s only a 2×4 and while it IS ridiculous (!!!), it could be worse.Megan: And it has been! Remember in “A Cottage Catastrophe” two seasons ago, the whole house fell down overnight? In this same neighborhood. That was worse.Kristin: Transition to views of Indy. Beautiful shot of a red sunrise over downtown … that we’ve seen three times this season.Megan: That same foreboding bloody skyline! What’s up, Good Bones? Recycling couches, repeating sunsets. I’m tempted to go back and look at other design meetings to see if Mina and MJ are wearing the same shackets and flannels that they are in this episode. I’m just curious if they film several design meetings at once. I wear the same thing about every day, no crime there, but I’m not on TV.Kristin: That’s the blessing (or curse) of working from home these days. We just call it our new uniforms.Megan: I wonder if viewers realize they are looking at a tomb in some of the downtown city shots. It’s Cenotaph Square, the monument with four black pillars topped with golden eagles. It was intended to be the burial site of the first soldier who died in World War I (a Hoosier), but the family decided to leave the remains in their original location in Evansville. So instead, the cenotaph—a raised tomb—is a memorial to all soldiers who died in the war.Kristin: I hope visitors to the city don’t just beeline it for District Co. I hope they take some time to see the beautiful sites that Indy has to offer.Megan: I hope the couple interested in buying this house doesn’t beeline for the front porch! It’s a postage stamp. Kristin: Right?!? As the concrete is being poured, Mina mentions that the neighborhood association required them to make a front patio to provide a friendlier neighborhood vibe. I hope they add some more to the footprint. And since the couple is expecting their first child, they will need room for toys.Megan: The design will be pretty modern, which these days means mostly white with some black accents. Mina and MJ pick light ash-gray floors to make the small floor plan feel bigger and to go with the white-and-gray backsplash. MJ wants to add interest and break up all the light flooring with a dark countertop with some veining. He also wants to use the salvaged pillars to incorporate a built-in desk and shelving at the top of the stairs.Kristin: I think the problem with a built-in desk is that—especially in this work-from-home era—desks are really personal. Not everyone wants to sit in the hallway, crammed in the corner. It’s a big risk making something like that permanent. I can’t wait to see the final build.Megan: Another design feature is the iron stair railing, a set of vertical black bars similar to the jail cell from a couple seasons ago. The one is better because it doesn’t go all the way up to the ceiling for the full length of the stairs, only at the top. Mina loves it so much, she orders a similar partition wall for the entry that can swing out of the way, saying these custom touches make homebuyers feel like a lot of care was taken in the renovation. The bigger issue is that Tad damages some drywall trying to hammer the railing into place. He is relieved of his hammer.Kristin: You have three guys there—the Iron Timbers team—who crafted this piece of art by hand. Why would Tad be the one to bang it into place?Megan: Um, Tad, bang? That’s just too easy. Moving on. MJ is still trying to live down Mina’s comment from an earlier episode that his loft design skills are “basic.” Hey, she knows how to motivate. Kristin: He adds prefab cabinetry to the nook at the top of the stairs and incorporates the salvaged chipped-paint pillar. There’s a small desk section attached to the shelving. He says it’s the perfect spot to write the next great American novel. But only if you don’t need space for notes—or a cup of coffee. I think the first-floor bedroom would be a “novel” space.
Megan: My issue is that I couldn’t sit with my back to a stairway right behind me. I’d constantly be looking over my shoulder. But I’d use the desk area for books and baskets. He and Cory dub the loft installation a “custom moment.” Another one: Karen and the boys and the DOG making an abstract painting for a bedroom. Karen dips her dog’s paws in paint and dabs them on that canvas. They only get 10 seconds of content out of this. I’m sure they have to try several things that may or may not make the edit.
Kristin: The dog almost died last week when Karen was holding him and slipped off of a boulder. Now she’s making him paint?
Megan: They leave him out of the next project, building cedar planter boxes.
Kristin: The team adds trees and planters to the front yard. They add some hip to the entry space.
Megan: We move to decorating quickly, as new builds don’t have much drama unless the doorways are too short. As they are speed-staging, MJ grumbles to Mina, “You didn’t mention the built-in.” Let’s see if it catches the attention of Mason and Kailey, apartment-dwellers looking for their first home.
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Kristin: The house has the tall, vertical proportions of a beach cottage. It’s charming. Megan: It feels a little busy with so much board and batten and two side-by-side pitched rooflines on the ground level. The patio is much bigger than what we saw earlier, which was just the front porch. There’s a separate patio with room for two rocking chairs.Kristin: The second roofline at least provides the rockers with a little protection from the elements. A little.Megan: Inside, the stairway bars on the walls mean you can’t hang artwork there. For the staging, Mina leans artwork against the wall on top of a console. I guess that works, but the element still isn’t my favorite. Kristin: I like it. It provides a design element in a very white box. And the measurements had to be spot-on. Iron Timbers framed the metalwork around every vent, outlet, and light switch. But it is a commitment. It would be nearly impossible to change the wall color.Megan: Yeah, they would have to tape and paint between a lot of bars. As for the matching foyer partition, I wonder if the homeowners would ever swing it open to define the entryway. Can you see a use for this?Kristin: I thought it made the living area seem a little larger. I liked it better used as a partition than folded back. But it was an odd design choice—and added expense.Megan: In the bedrooms, Mina continues the monochromatic look from Charlotte Hall with trim and ceilings painted to match the walls. No one likes to paint a ceiling, but I love the look. It’s cocooning and sophisticated. Kristin: I, too, like a painted ceiling, but it was a little much to have the upstairs bedroom the exact same color as the first-floor bedroom. I think you want your main bedroom to seem more special than the others.Megan: I’m gonna guess Two Chicks had a lot of this paint color on hand. It doesn’t deter Mason and Kailey from buying the house at full list, $315,000 for 1,800 square feet and no garage. Two Chicks made $60,000.Kristin: In the opening scenes, Mina said that there would be a garage in back. Now there’s a tree where the driveway should be. It’s going to suck hauling groceries and a new baby into the house from the curb.Megan: And scraping the car windows in the winter. I’m glad Two Chicks is back to renovating houses after the retail episode, but this wasn’t the most memorable one. It didn’t have a lot of energy.Kristin: OK, for real, in the Bad News Brittany scene, did you see the chaotic property on the other side of the backyard fence? You are going to pay that much money for that view from your bedroom suite?Megan: I guess I don’t remember that, either! There are a lot of houses in disrepair on the Old Southside. But maybe not for long because we have a couple more episodes to go this season. Tune in next week to see if Mina buys the wrong house again.Gallery by The Home Aesthetic, courtesy Two Chicks and a Hammer