Happy August, HGTV fans! Good Bones is heating up like the mercury and we—contributing editor Megan Fernandez and art director Kristin Sims—are turning and burning through the recap of “Big Red Urban Barn.”
This week, Two Chicks and a Hammer takes on its eighth or ninth renovation on Talbott Street in the Old Southside. In this business, renovators often take a loss or break even on the first houses in a new area in order to increase the home values there, then they cash in on future renovations on the same street. So they’re back for the payoff.
Megan: We kick off at SoChatti, a chocolate-maker’s tasting room near downtown. It’s definitely one of the cooler secrets in Indianapolis.
Kristin: Once again, Mina and Finley talk about raising money for the Two Chicks headquarters that they need to build. The new office should be the show’s new drinking game—it seems to be the ongoing theme of the season.
Megan: After last week’s loss, there’s a lot of pressure on this house. It’s a 900-square-foot “nugget,” as Mina says, for $55,000. Mina’s hopeful that some new building rules will help them make it sellable. The new rules are designed to increase urban density by allowing bigger houses on small lots. Now, the house can take up 80 percent of the lot, up from 40 percent, so they can build an addition onto this house now.
Kristin: That’s a huge increase. I guess that means no playspace for families.
Megan: The reno budget is $130,000 for all-in at $185,000, and in this seller’s market, they can list it with just the floor plans for $250,000 easy, for a $65,000 profit.
Kristin: I’m actually surprised that they wouldn’t ask even more. A four-bedroom for $250,000 seems super reasonable—especially with the crazy prices they’ve thrown around in past seasons before the market boom.
Megan: This house is Cyclops—it has just one window facing the front, and it’s off-center. The interior smells weird, but it’s really clean—no poop or rotten food. On the inspection, did Karen call one of the ceiling fixtures a “boob light”? I looked up from where I was sitting in my living room at an identical light.
Kristin: Yes, sorry, you have a boob overhead.
Megan: Just one. A Cyclops boob. Their boob light is going away in the gut job. Though the house isn’t gross, it needs a new layout. And there is a tiny problem of a missing foundation. The basement is straight dug out, and the house is floating.
Kristin: Why in the world would someone dig out the foundation? Just when you think you’ve seen all of the crazy, a new episode pops up. But Mina’s solution to fix it by pouring concrete through a window sounds like one of the best basement plans of the season. It would be great as a homeowner to have a nice, new, clean floor, tiny as it may be.
Megan: They might have a nice, new rug, too. Karen finds a Persian rug when she climbs through a hole in the ceiling to the attic. Later, MJ heroically rescues it after crawling to the far corner of the attic in the dark. And actually, the rug is pretty cool.
Kristin: I love that MJ clarified the difference between a rug and carpet before he wedged himself up into the attic. I wouldn’t go anywhere close to that for carpet, either. The rug is in better shape than I expected, but not as cool as I was hoping.
Megan: Cory makes quite an entrance this episode during demo.
Kristin: He comes in hot—or extremely wired on caffeine, which, after a late night and two morning flights that same day, is quite possible. He busts through the door and immediately starts swinging a sledgehammer at the walls.
Megan: Yet still no dining room. This time, Two Chicks is leaving out a kitchen island and the homeowner can choose to add one or put a dining table there. They’re going with a lot of open shelving in the kitchen. I love the look, but the shelves can get messy and dishes get dusty and greasy.
Kristin: Yeah, you need great dishes and glassware and to be really organized. Some cool propping helps. It’s rarely as beautiful as they show in magazines. And it’s only practical if you use items often enough to keep them clean.
Megan: The red exterior is MJ’s idea for the “urban barn/bungalow.” A barngalow?
Kristin: The red with tan shake shingles is not my favorite at first glance, but I’ll reserve judgment until the final reveal.
Megan: Here’s a whoops—their contractor installed new trim without putting flashing behind it. Flashing is a waterproofing material that goes around the roof line, doors, and windows. Someone will have to take down the trim and redo it. Not only is this expensive, but Cory explains that trim (or flashing) is tricky to install properly while staying in compliance with the manufacturer’s warranty. If they miss one step, it can void. It was the contractor’s mistake, but Mina insists that means “we” did it wrong because a fish stinks from the head down. She’s all about responsibility this season.
Kristin: Maybe the contractor screwup is this season’s new drinking game. It seems to be happening more than anything else, episode after episode. I feel Mina’s frustration.
Megan: The design style is simple farm-chic: blond wood floors, white walls, beadboard backsplash and open floating shelves, horizontal fencing.
Kristin: Don’t know if I love the beadboard backsplash. Yes, it’s cute, it’s farmhouse. But used in the kitchen, all I can think of is trying to clean the gunk from all of those grooves. I’ll take dusty dishes on open shelves over gunky grooves any day.
Megan: HAHA, MJ’s Cory imitation with his hands on his hips!
Kristin: He looked like a chick! A baby chicken, not slang for female.
Megan: It turns out that the Persian attic rug is worth almost $1,000. When MJ and Karen are at the cleaners, Cory busts in (again) with his own personal rugs and asks, “Are we scrubbing rug?” and it sounds dirty, ironically. The attic rug looks brand-new once it’s clean!
Kristin: Yes, I was wrong. It looks much better rolled out. Earlier in the episode, I thought the rug looked like the red-and-green faux Persian rugs you can get at clearance stores. This one’s a keeper.
Megan: The house is under contract and is supposed to close in four weeks, aka a “turn and burn,” per MJ. But the backsplash is a mess. Someone installed cheap MDF beadboard, and not well. It has to be redone.
Kristin: Seriously? WHO DOES THAT? There are so many better real beadboard options out there that won’t break the bank. ARRRGGGH. Cory is slipping from my No. 1 spot.
Megan: Maybe you’re coming around to my Team Tad. MJ, who is in charge of decorating a game room, has an idea to turn an old $10 pedestal table into a chessboard. Cory and Tad have to strip it, and Tad is finding a lot of joy in using a scraper to get under the wood top and chip it out. He says it’s so satisfying. It reminded me of peeling off a face mask, the beauty kind. I wonder if he face-masks … maybe not with that beard. But I could see it. I bet Tad’s up for anything.
Kristin: I would think he would be up for a good MAN-i/pedi.
Megan: Nice. And I agree. The table turns out great. Downstairs in the kitchen, the open shelving is going right across the window.
Kristin: I was hoping that they would place a break in the bottom shelf so the view is not obstructed when the homeowner was at the sink—and they did. It really adds a more custom look to the shelves.
Megan: The small kitchen looks nice. Lots of interest with the stuff on the open shelves.
Kristin: The black piping on the shelves and the black faucet are a nice addition. And the herringbone butcher-block counters take butcher block to the next level. Unfortunately, I hate the cabinet knobs turned on their sides and so inconsistently placed.
Megan: Karen, Cory, and Tad planted 48 plants. My back hurts thinking about it.
Kristin: Your back wouldn’t hurt if you could use the auger, too.
Megan: Dakota has put offers on six other houses. Poor guy! It’s a tough market. He loves the red color.
Kristin: As we return from commercial, and the drone camera flies under the bridge across the street toward the home, the red stands out and brightens the neighborhood. It will be easy to tell his friends where to find his home.
Megan: With the addition, the house isn’t a nugget anymore, it’s the whole bird (hey, no bird wallpaper this week). The yard is a strip. But I’d be OK with a low-maintenance yard. Mina reveals that she has all fake plants. She is not Karen’s daughter!
Kristin: You can see that every time they show the front of Mina’s house. There’s a crazy amount of fake flowers lining her balcony.
Megan: Dakota is a doll and he’s a serious plant parent (that’s what the kids call it now when you own a houseplant). He takes the Nugget for $294,000 instead of $250,000 because of the beadboard—I mean, because the market has increased so much during the renovation time. You called the higher price.
Kristin: And the neighbor has a pool!
Megan: So does my neighbor. Don’t get your hopes up, Dakota. See you next week, when the “new HQ” drinking game might be over.