Welcome back, everyone! Good Bones returned to regular episodes of Season 7 this week after the Risky Business spinoff wrapped. Contributing editor Megan Fernandez and art director Kristin Sims are celebrating, but not what you think.
Megan: Happy birthday!
Kristin: Happy anniversary!
Megan: Is this what you wished for when you blew out your 32 candles today? The return of the Demo Boys?
Kristin: Well, 32 was, ahem, a few years ago … But it was kinda nice to get back to normal on our shared celebration day. And the Demo Boys helped us ease into the second half of the Good Bones season with minor antics.
Megan: Yeah, they really dialed it back in the Valley, which is a neighborhood Two Chicks and a Hammer has never worked in before. The Valley isn’t a place many locals would recognize. I had to Google it. It’s southwest of downtown, and I don’t think there’s a real valley anywhere close. Indy is as flat as a new foundation. No mountains, no valleys.
Kristin: I wasn’t aware of the Valley, either, but when they mapped it, it seemed like a large neighborhood. I guess that answers our question about where they would expand next.
Megan: This might be around the old GM Stamping Plant site, which is being redeveloped, so maybe this neighborhood will change a lot in the future. Right now, I wouldn’t consider it a desirable place to live—certainly not as desirable as their usual locations.
Kristin: There are still deals to be found there, close to downtown. Two Chicks bought this house four years ago for $14,500. Since then, squatters set it on fire, so it’s a teardown. Mina budgets $250,000 for demo and new construction and will list it around $300,000. It’s not a big profit, but this is their first house in an emerging neighborhood. Often, the first house is a loss leader for future investments.
Megan: One bonus is that they can save the extra-large and super-solid garage, which would cost $25,000 to build, but first they have to clean out the large pile of poop of unspecified origin. Mina said they’re gonna polish this t-u-r-d until it shines. I can’t say that word.
Kristin: Yes, since there was a box spring and mattress nearby, my thought was human—but I really don’t want to know.
Megan: They also find a large handwritten poem and a palm tree on the garage wall. Will Karen save this?
Kristin: Hmmm, poetry and poop, what more could a girl ask for?
Megan: A house built the right size? When Mina and Cory assess the site after demo, Cory said he’s bringing back the “ripped-jean tour,” referring to his pants. But also missing, in addition to some of his denim, is five feet of the house! It has been framed out too small—it’s a whole Mina off. Neither the foundation nor framing crew noticed. Who did this job? This is the kind of flub we saw on Risky Business.
Kristin: Seriously?!? Is it Jordan’s fault? What the heck? How do they all stand around and laugh about it? I’d like an end-of-series tally on the flubs.
Megan: Jordan, the crew member who Mina quizzes about it, assures her that all the framing is there, but it just has to … move? I don’t know. They frame and pour new footers, and voila, problem fixed. Clipping along, no drama, a little dull.
Kristin: Until we learn that Finley won’t use their walkie-talkies to communicate with Austin because she picked up truckers and got freaked out. It reminded me of the old CB days. In Northern Indiana, you could pick up the semi chatter going across the toll road.
Megan: This is what we did for fun before cellphones. What did you learn about life from the truck drivers?
Kristin: Not much that I can repeat here.
Megan: Now Mina and Cory’s blueprint review has relocated from Mina’s house to the new office. Goodbye to Mina’s kitchen and cute Jack moments. I’m sure Mina is happy to not have a camera crew in her house. Honestly, I love Mina’s home, but we’ve seen it many times. Let’s give them some peace.
Kristin: Yes, probably easier all around.
Megan: The design is going to include an open area under the stairway on the main floor for a kid’s hiding and play space. I think Harry Potter was forced to live in a closet under the stairs. Anyway, this space could have been storage. What’s usually under a stairway? Dead space behind drywall? Shouldn’t there always be a closet or some usable space? A safe room? An escape room?
Kristin: I like that the space can also be for pets. It gives some options in case the new owners don’t have kids.
Megan: I’m excited to see how it turns out. Otherwise, it’s 20 minutes in, Tad is missing so far, and Mina’s not wearing a cute coat in these winter scenes. She’s in an understated camel-colored down coat. Remember her big pink plaid coat in the first part of the season? I would have appreciated a new-coat moment. I’m spoiled.
Kristin: Since the demo was a total teardown, the guys have been lying low. But with the framing and drywall done, Mina and MJ can get down to business on the interior.
Megan: The planned two-story entryway becomes a second-story loft for added square footage instead. They need every advantage they can get when entering a new neighborhood, so they sacrifice the drama of a soaring entryway for more square footage. It’s probably a smart idea. A standard house doesn’t need a soaring entryway. It doesn’t have to pretend to be a castle at the front. It’s wasted space.
Kristin: Yes! That’s exactly what I was thinking when Mina mentioned the idea. This isn’t Charlotte Hall and MJ’s mention of a big chandelier seemed too over the top for this hood.
Megan: Exactly. Speaking of MJ, he’s now at HQ to choose finishes with Mina. The house’s blue siding has inspired a nature-influenced design for the interior. They think this will make the house memorable when buyers attend several open houses on the same day. A big part of the theme is a Justin Vining mural in the entryway, giving it some pop to make up for the lost drama of the tall ceiling.
Kristin: I love Justin Vining’s work, but is this Good Bones‘s new signature? This is the third time they’ve added this to an interior.
Megan: Justin Vining is the new Carrara marble. For tile, Mina looks at a lot of similar white options and pulls one with some brown bits for the shower because she thinks it will read luxe. The brown specks took me back to the garage poop.
Kristin: Well, thankfully I didn’t think “poop,” but it did feel similar to other tiles they’ve used.
Megan: MJ selected a herringbone tile for a backsplash because it feels like movement, like water pouring down from the ceiling. Um, that’s not a good thing. But I guess it’s the nature theme. No one will pick up on this.
Kristin: Did they not have enough water pouring from the ceiling in the Risky Business series?
Megan: Exactly. Flashbacks. I know, I’m being too literal. It will probably look great. Karen enters the cleaned-up garage holding a stray cat. Austin says, “You just love picking up strays.” She replies, “I know, how do you think we got Cory?” I did miss her kooky repartee during the hiatus. I’m all for a cat or dog cameo, and Karen is good for those. She’s always cradling an animal these days. She’s there to turn panels of the plastic headboard into picture frames. It’s not the most exciting project. Moving on.
Kristin: Thank you.
Megan: Mina walks in the house to see that the under-the-stairs nook has been drywalled over. Argh! MJ hands her a knife and passes on a message from Finley: If Mina wants the nook, she has to do it herself. What’s Finley’s deal? Charlotte Hall must be raking in money by now! Loosen up.
Kristin: It didn’t look to me that Finley kiboshed the idea. She may have heard that it was already finished and said that Mina could open it back up if she wanted—which she wanted!
Megan: Yeah, it was a fakeout, and I fell for it. After the commercial, we learn that MJ was just joking. Sorry, Finley. But the nook really is drywalled over, and Mina lists all the things that happened that shouldn’t have: drywall installed (she said twice?), drywall primed, trim installed, wall painted, trim painted, floor down, quarter-round down.
Kristin: I agree with Mina (I know, broken record)—how could it get that far without someone saying, “Hey, that’s not correct?”
Megan: It’s mystifying. Mina starts hacking at the drywall with the knife—she is getting her nook. She eventually orders MJ to “get in the hole” that she creates. MJ says it’s “way less Wizarding World” inside. So his mind went to Harry Potter, too.
Kristin: And did you notice all of the crap that was drywalled into the space? Lumber, trash… lazy.
Megan: I bet they thought no one would ever find it. Oops! Turning her attention to the loft, Mina is underwhelmed by MJ’s plan to furnish it with desks and chairs and challenges him to be more creative. Do you think this would really help sell the house? Don’t bathrooms and kitchens sell houses, not novelty treatments in lofts?
Kristin: I actually thought with so many people working from home, a workspace would be useful. Well, more useful than a two-story entry!
Megan: People love escape rooms, too. Just saying.
Kristin: The stairway nook gets built, and Karen and Cory go shopping for rocks for the landscape, which Cory hopes the buyers don’t “take for granite.” Ouch. We learn that boulders are priced at around 30 cents per pound, which can be several hundred dollars for a big one. Their rock budget isn’t very large, so Karen is going to spend it on just three stones and create some more on the cheap.
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Megan: Now this feels like the Good Bones we know. Kooky fake rocks.Kristin: MJ comes up with a “blue skies” theme for the loft, which will have a two-toned wall and feel like walking on clouds. He buys a $300 soft Persian-style rug that he and Cory cut to fit perfectly from wall to wall.Megan: It’s a cozy touch, but give me more storage space, I think. Or a nice upstairs laundry room. Anyway, when it’s finished, MJ’s like, “Who’s the basic B now?”Kristin: Uh, sorry, but he is. All of that drama and it’s still literally just a desk and a chair.Megan: I know. It’s pretty much what I thought his first plan was, without the fitted rug. Never mind—here’s Tad! It only took 45 minutes. He and Austin are going to help Karen make faux rocks with a mold. Hey, another kids playspace! Hide inside the fake hollow rock.Kristin: Speaking of playing, they bring in Cory’s toys to stage the garage. Here he comes racing down the street in a go-kart. He also brings a motorcycle and a Jeep to park in the garage and show how much will fit.Megan: Guess Mina is paying him well. Kristin: Or he’s single.Megan: I get the impression on social media that he’s boo’d up at the moment. Oh, there IS some storage in the stairway nook. I’m happy.Kristin: Yes, this area came out cute and can easily be transformed into whatever the homeowner wants it to be.Megan: Time for the open house. The exterior is blue-gray siding, gray shake singles, and a rust-colored door. Karen spilled the secret about the fake rocks to the first buyers. She just blurted it out. I thought it was supposed to be a secret. Do you like the mural in the entry? I know you’re usually not a big fan of a mural because homeowners feel obligated to keep it, even if they don’t like it. Kristin: I thought about that during the reveal. I definitely like the look. Justin does beautiful work. It just wouldn’t go with my stuff.
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Megan: The rest of the house overrides the nature theme, with Carrara marble, white upholstered furniture, and a white and matte-black kitchen. The herringbone backsplash goes all the way to the ceiling and is a nice pop of drama, but the movement of the pattern doesn’t give me nature feels.Kristin: Me, either. Megan: I like the loft space. It can be a home office. In the main bedroom, there’s a high horizontal window above the bed for privacy. The bathroom gleams like usual and has a single rectangular mirror spanning the double-sink vanity for a bit of grandeur.Kristin: The beds and baths that were shown all had good space. Better than we usually see on the show. It dawned on me while watching this episode—no basement, no attic–only a six-bay garage. Either millennials have no stuff or this is why there are so many storage facilities in town!Megan: I guess it didn’t matter. The house sold in a few days at full list, $315,000, for a profit of $46,500. This will establish a good comp for future renovations in this neighborhood. But I’m still not sure it’s a desirable place to live. Terrible schools, no coffee shops or commercial destinations. Maybe all that is coming with redevelopment of the GM Stamping Plant, but it will be awhile.Kristin: Maybe the key is the proximity to downtown? I wonder if you can hear the lions at the zoo from there?Megan: Maybe that will drown out the gunshots. I can say that because we have found two bullets in our street this month. Well, what do you think of the return? Are you happy to be back?Kristin: I’m curious to see how this new turn plays out. Feels like newer builds might be a bigger part of their future?Megan: If squatters keep setting fires, yes. I doubt they want to keep tearing down, especially with the costs and supply-chain issues since the pandemic. Now that we got to linger over the design in Risky Business, I wish the reveal didn’t flash by so fast. This house is very pretty and I liked the flow of the floor plan from what I saw, but it feels like we don’t spend much time in the finished product. I wanted a few more minutes in it. I guess I could have paused, but it’s not the same. Kind of like a fake rock.Gallery by The Home Aesthetic, courtesy Two Chicks and a Hammer