HELLO, GOOD BONES FANS! Season 7 has arrived, and recaps are back in our lives like rattan furniture. Your veteran recappers are contributing editor Megan Fernandez and designer Kristin Sims, part of the Indianapolis Monthly team that brings you home and design coverage in print and online. If you haven’t followed us before, Megan loves Tad’s soul and Kristin wants him to wear some safety gear.
The premiere episode takes it back to where it all started for Two Chicks and a Hammer, the Indianapolis renovation team whose work is documented on Good Bones. This episode’s rescue is in Fountain Square. As co-host Mina drives mom and co-host Karen to the house, Karen wonders how they afforded to buy a fixer-upper in this hot near-downtown neighborhood, where home values have soared since they began renovating houses there.
The sweet-but-sad cottage is 1,900 square feet and cost $130,000, and they will need to put $200,000 into it in order to list it for over $400,000. They will add a fourth bedroom and second full bath, reconfigure the layout, replace the siding, open up the enclosed front porch, and build a garage.
There is one bit of original character to save: a “wing-wall” just inside the front door. This is a wing-wall:
The wing wall becomes an albatross in this episode, so we’ll start there.
Megan: You weren’t a big fan of Karen’s plan to strip and stain the wood. You have done this kind of work, so why were you skeptical?
Kristin: I totally appreciate salvaging something original and the character that so many houses are missing. But there’s no guarantee there will be beautiful wood under there.
Megan: It’s oil-based paint, and Karen has a plan to use a blow torch or some heat source to make it come off. She seems to think this will be easy.
Kristin: It’s a heat gun. Good luck. That’s a lot of work.
Megan: We’ll see. First, down to the basement we go on the inspection. It’s so creepy.
Kristin: This one isn’t nearly as bad as some they’ve been in. It’s part of the job. Everyone thinks flipping homes is decorating and making a profit. But it’s cleaning up crap and hauling out dirty toilets and disgusting stuff.
Megan: You hire people to do that.
Kristin: If you’re a successful flipper, you have to do it yourself to maximize profit. Especially in the beginning.
Megan: The word “seepage” is used in the basement.
Kristin: The last word you want to hear about any room in your house. Right up there with “ooze.”
Megan: “Seepage” is the “moist” of home renovation.
Kristin: Back on the dry main level, Karen wants to arrive early on demo day to save some paneling with woodland scenes and use pieces of it to make a room divider. Cory agrees to be there to help.
Megan: Cut to Karen alone on demo day, wondering where Cory is.
Kristin: Let me guess—he is going to stroll in wearing aviators and his tight jeans and holding a cup of coffee. And be well coiffed.
Megan: Well, here comes the muscle crew marching down the sidewalk—Tad in front and some 38 Special–style guitar music in the background.
Kristin: Cory’s got the aviators, coffee, and tight jeans. But he’s in a backward cap and a hoodie. We were three for four. MJ is scarfed up.
Megan: Cory feigns innocence about having to be there early. Cut to his earlier statements promising to be there. Busted!
Kristin: They’re demo’ing away and suddenly Cory yells, “The gas isn’t off!”
Megan: Seven seasons in and they forget this? Wow.
Kristin: Big fire hazard.
Megan: Cory turns it off, and the crew opens up the second floor to reveal a gorgeous lofted ceiling. Tad is clinging to the rafters like Spiderman.
Kristin: It looks so much prettier up there with just the rafters.
Megan: Looks prettier with Tad hanging off the rafters.
Kristin: Here we go [eyeroll]. Episode 1, Megan loves Tad.
Megan: Over to Mina’s Dream House to review plans with Cory. Interesting that she hasn’t changed much inside in the last few years. I mean, she’s busy, but still.
Kristin: Yeah, there’s that same ornate carved-wood piece by the front door.
Megan: Back at the house, Tad and Cory are on wing-wall duty. Someone has gouged it while stripping it. Cory doesn’t think it’s salvageable and tries to talk Mina out of it, but she wants it for character.
Kristin: This isn’t surprising. Sometimes when they demo, they make something worse instead of better. They should have taken care not to gouge it. It might have been easier just to rebuild it.
Megan: Cory tries to beg off the job, saying it will take at least a week and it’s Karen’s mission. But Mina is the boss, and the boys go back to sanding.
Kristin: This is where I wonder if they do things for TV. Why even have Karen and MJ start this? And I would have used a paint stripper instead of the heat gun.
Megan: Design meeting with Mina and MJ at Two Chicks District Company, aka “District Co,” their boutique in Bates-Hendricks. They already have potential buyers, a young couple moving from Chicago. They like the character of older homes, so Mina plans to pack this puppy full of charm.
Kristin: Hey, that’s my wallpaper! It’s going in my guest room—except I chose a different color and scale. The label says Spoonflower, same place where I ordered.
Megan: What’s forming the pattern?
Megan: I don’t get vintage vibes.
Kristin: It’s described as Art Deco.
Megan: Back at the house, Tad and Cory are still scraping the wing-wall as installation is happening. And installation includes something I haven’t seen on Good Bones before: a swinging “saloon door” into the pantry. It’s very cool. It’s a full door with a big glass panel, not the two half-doors you see in Western movies. Mina explains that the door adds some soul to what is mostly new construction inside.
Kristin: With a glass door, you really have to keep your pantry perfect.
Megan: Speaking of perfect—we’re at Iron Timbers!
Kristin: Our favorite gingers.
Megan: Iron Timbers is a fantastic metalworking shop in Osgood, Indiana, where Two Chicks often goes for custom work, like stair railings and all kinds of things. The big project this time is a media center—a pair of arched bookshelves with a media console in between.
Kristin: Cory says, “That’s an aggressive arch.”
Megan: And MJ one-ups him talking about a special metal-bender, too: “Typically when I’m bending metal, which is most mornings… ” Talk about good bones. Can I say that?
Kristin: Back at the house, Tad and Cory are still sanding. It’s amusing.
Megan: Cory says Operation Wing-Wall has become the bane of his existence. Another problem? Whoever drywalled across the top didn’t do it well and it has gaps, which would require caulk. But they can’t stain caulk.
Kristin: I think they should add more wood trim and call it a day.
Megan: Tad, ever the optimist, tries to sell the gaps as “character.”
Kristin: And Cory says what it is: just wrong. So they take out the header and redo it.
Megan: And we’re still not finished with the wing wall. It doesn’t yet look original enough. MJ brings in local artist Justin Vining, another frequent Two Chicks collaborator, to distress the wood with charcoal. A coat of wax stain gives it a subtle natural color. They do the same to a new wooden bench in the entry, the pantry shelves, and the pantry door, since this house has to feel high-end.
Kristin: The porch is 3,000 percent better with a banister instead of enclosed. It changes the whole look of the house. But look at the tiny TV they installed in the media console.
Megan: Like a 23-inch! There’s not even room for a bigger one between the bookshelves. For a TV show, they really hate TVs. I know they usually don’t stage with TVs because the screen would reflect the camera crew.
Kristin: Otherwise, the decorating is beautiful. This is upping their game on the decorating and sophistication. Not tchotchke, theme-y stuff. Also, the flow of the layout is better. Everything isn’t cramped like a lot of their past houses. You can actually sit more than four people in the living room.
Megan: Do you get a vintage vibe?
Kristin: No, more just comfortable contemporary.
Megan: You notice something else interesting.
Kristin: They let Karen stop dyeing her hair. She told us once that they are under contract to keep it a certain color.
Megan: It could have to do with continuity of editing, since they film across many months.
Kristin: I like this silvery color.
Megan: I don’t love the half-and-half wall paint in the primary bedroom.
Kristin: I wish there was a piece of trim, like a chair rail, dividing the colors.
Megan: Here come the clients, and they love everything as much as you love Karen’s hair. They buy it, and Two Chicks turns a $95,000 profit.
Kristin: This was a good house to kick off the season. You could actually breathe in it. I hope that the upgraded styling continues.
Megan: And they used your wallpaper! You should ditch this recap gig and go work for them. You’d get to meet Iron Timbers! Let’s hope we see them next week. Until then, turn off the gas, house-flippers.