Photo by The Home Aesthetic
Hi, HGTV fans! After a false start last week, which we initially thought was the season finale, this week’s episode of Good Bones drops the curtain on Season 6. It’s always sad saying goodbye to the renovation adventures and the Indianapolis glory shots for another nine months, but recappers Megan Fernandez, the homes editor for Indianapolis Monthly, and art director Kristin Sims get through it with dry eyes.
This week, Two Chicks renovates their first project in Cottage Home, a much more established neighborhood than the Old Southside, where they have been working. It’s also a designated historic neighborhood, so this reno will go slowly while the Chicks wait for approvals and follow all the rules.
The other catch is that Two Chicks doesn’t own this house. It’s owned by Courtney and David, two guys who are related to a high school friend of Mina’s. This is their first house flip, and they are in over their heads. Two Chicks comes to the rescue, putting on a veritable house-flipping seminar.
Megan: Episodes usually start with a dose of cuteness from Jack, Mina’s young son, but we don’t mention it because it doesn’t fit with the house story. Also, I’m a little intimidated by trying to describe how sweet he is. But this week I have to point out that Jack is living his best life by driving his little toy car to the ice cream shop in Fountain Square, Square Scoop.
Kristin: My surprise is when Mina says they are getting ice cream “this morning!” What a lucky kid. Superman ice cream for breakfast. Well, I’m sure it isn’t actually breakfast, but Mina does say morning. This must have been shot quite a while ago because Jack was so young and shy. But of course, adorable.
Megan: The timelines would fit, because this renovation winds up taking forever.
Kristin: This one is reeeaaallly slow, stretching through pregnancy, Mina having a baby, and more than two seasons. Starts in the fall and by the end, summer flowers are out again.
Megan: Courtney and David overpaid for an absolute dump—$62,000 for a pile of rotten wood that’s falling down. The foundation and joists are bad, an addition has to come off, the lot is overgrown, and there’s a massive amount of debris inside. To prove how new they are to house-flipping, Courtney and David ask Mina what happens to all the junk.
Kristin: I didn’t understand how they could be in over their heads when they hadn’t even cleaned up the property. And I’m sorry, but who gets into something like this and has to ask, “What happens to all of the junk?”
Megan: I can’t believe this house isn’t a tear-down. It looks like a hurricane hit inside.
Kristin: It almost looks like fire to me. It probably would be a tear-down if it wasn’t protected by historic preservation covenants.
Megan: You’re right.
Kristin: The guys do say that they had discussed flipping a house in this area the night before this place came to market. Perhaps they jumped before they really thought about it.
Megan: On the walk-through, Mina explains to them what’s what with the house, and it’s impressive how much she knows about renovation, although I guess it shouldn’t be. But it’s fun to watch.
Kristin: Gal-splaining. Woman-splaining? Whatever, she rocks.
Megan: With $190,000 in renovation costs, Courtney and David will be lucky to break even because comps in the area sell for $250,000. But Mina is hoping that comps improve by the time they’re done. I don’t understand how they are all going to earn money on this house, unless Two Chicks’s fee is built into the $190,000. Regardless, it’s unbelievable that these guys thought they could flip this house with no experience. I bet Mina is saving them $100,000 in mistakes.
Kristin: And they never address carrying costs, which could have been a lot if this took six to 12 months to finish. But the homeowner did mention rental, so maybe that is their plan.
Megan: Okay, enough business. Let’s get into the house. They’re going to tear off an addition, open up the floor plan, keep it cozy with two bedrooms downstairs, and turn an upstairs loft into a third bedroom by moving a staircase, a vision that’s easy for Mina to see but would have been hard for the homeowners, they admit. Not to be outdone, Karen impresses the homeowners by ID’ing possum poop and other feces by animal.
Kristin: Yeah, ewww. Favorite part of the demo? Cory pulling the lean-to addition down with his Jeep? It was barely attached to the house. It’s so rickety that Austin nearly yanks it down with his bare hands (and chains). Scary that at some point people actually inhabited this structure.
Megan: My favorite part is that Cory demolishes the lean-to wearing white jeans. With the addition off, Cory learns that the sewer line didn’t extend all the way into the house. It didn’t go past the addition’s bathroom. Courtney and David didn’t scope the sewer line before they bought the house. Mina knows better. As Cory says, “After doing 90 of them, you get smart about it.”
Kristin: That’s crazy! How was anyone living in that house? How is that permitted by the city?
Megan: Funny that you can live like that, but you can’t renovate in this area without being watched like a hawk. Two Chicks gets slapped with a few stop-work orders because they exceeded the scope of the plans they submitted to the historical whatever—maybe historic preservation commission.
Kristin: Been there. Done that. The ups and downs of preservation.
Megan: Evidently you can replace windows but not replace more than 75 percent of the framing, and the framers messed up.
Kristin: Once again, when a contractor screws up, you have to pay. This should be a lesson for wannabe flippers. Flipping is not just slapping some paint on the walls and getting cabinets from the Habitat ReStore.
Megan: In a design meeting, Courtney is wearing an appropriate sweatshirt. It says “Keep Going” six times in rainbow colors.
Kristin: It should have read, “I think I can, I think I can.”
Megan: One more vibe for the season: updated cottage to appeal to first-time homebuyers, the target demo given the small size of the house.
Kristin: But as a gift to the viewers in this final episode of the season, they didn’t mention the vibe in every interview segment or after each commercial break!
Megan: In another gift, we get a Karen project, which hasn’t always been the case since she retired from Two Chicks (but stayed on the show). She found a cool armoire in the house during demo, and she and MJ want to cover the inside in maps. They remove the drawers so it’s just an open cabinet. I know you’ll love this because I have a cedar chest that you decoupaged with maps on the outside, and I treasure it so much.
Kristin: Blush. I do have boxes of old maps.
Megan: We return to the house for a nice surprise—the Iron Timbers guys are in the kitchen! They are installing beam wraps, to make the ceiling beams look like wood for a cozy feel. They worry that the wraps won’t fit, but of course the first one fits like a glove because the Iron Timbers guys are perfect. They’re like the Tom Hanks of Good Bones—universally adored and can do no wrong.
Kristin: You’re always happy to see them, and even though each performance is similar to the last, you still want to watch!
Megan: Tad and MJ go to Midland Arts and Antiques, a longtime Indianapolis treasure-hunting spot, to pick up (or pick out) an island. Tad is happy because he never gets to go shopping. He finds a big elephant to sit on, one that looks like it came from Coney Island. MJ is so nervous—he’s like, always check the price before you climb on. Then Tad finds a giant peanut costume and makes MJ wear it. MJ says it has been there the entire time he has been shopping at Midland, and he always wondered who on earth would put it on. And now he knows—he’s the one.
Kristin: I was surprised by their shop. I thought it would be a cool old counter or island. I didn’t expect an industrial piece.
Megan: That’s the “updated” part of the vibe. For the cottage part, the crew does a lot of landscaping to add a neighborhood-appropriate garden out front. Cory’s tight denim shorts keep riding up, which he doesn’t mind. He and Tad eventually form a jort-appreciation society, extolling the breathability and flexibility of snug jean shorts and promising to wear them during “hot boy summer.”
Kristin: I like the idea of all of the floral colors playing off the white exterior. It was nice, but I would have liked a small area of grass like the neighbor’s house. Perhaps that is another reason that it may be a rental—no mowing.
Megan: At the end, it feels so cozy inside. They staged this really well with a big blue rustic coffee table and a slip-covered chair paired with a modern chrome-frame one, and wood-wrapped beams, and the refreshed armoire along with some exposed brick adding character. The kitchen cabinets are a sage green, which feels traditional, with modern black countertops and white subway tile. MJ designed open shelving with a bronze finish for a corner, to not overwhelm the small kitchen with cabinets.
Kristin: This might be one of my favorite kitchens. I don’t know exactly why, but it read well. And the area felt good—I actually didn’t stew over the lack of dining space! I LOVED the beams! Was anyone else wondering about the appliance over the stove? Was it a super-small microwave? Or a weird exhaust hood?
Megan: I’m guessing exhaust ventilation. But I didn’t even see it at first—I just noticed that Karen referred to secondhand furniture as “heritage” furniture. I guess that’s what we’re calling it now.
Kristin: Much better than “dumpster treasure.”
Megan: As far as the investment, the homeowners might actually make $40,000 because the construction delays forced them to wait until the market improved before listing.
Kristin: Minus the carrying costs, preservation fees, extra sewer, insurance, and landscaping.
Megan: I don’t know why they put this house as the season finale instead of last week’s more emotional and grander episode.
Kristin: It was definitely not their usual script. Karen was missing for the walk-through, little demo, minimal Tad antics—is this a sneak peek into next season?
Megan: Interesting thought. I will issue a stop-work order if there aren’t enough Tad antics. Let’s hope it doesn’t come to that. Until next season, scope those sewers!