The Good Bones House

A woman and a man stand on the front porch of a house.
Newlyweds like Elyse LaGarenne and Chris Strautman can find an idyllic first house downtown.

Tony Valainis

“Number one, we wanted to be able to walk to places we loved,” says Elyse LaGarenne of her and husband Chris Strautman’s house hunt.

Number two? No fixer-upper. They liked a Bates-Hendricks house from the HGTV show Good Bones, but it wasn’t quite right. Then Karen E Laine and Mina Starsiak Hawk—aka Two Chicks and a Hammer, the show’s hosts—approached the couple about appearing in the second season.

“When I asked what it would mean,” Elyse says, “they told me I’d be on the show and get some free upgrades. OK!”

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Developers Two Chicks and a Hammer
Parking Detached two-car garages are typical
Walk Score 67 (for Fountain Square at large)
Price $300,000 and up[/sidenote]With almost 2,400 square feet on the eastern edge of Fountain Square, the couple can host their Indy City Futbol team in a high-ceilinged great room with two sets of glass doors leading out to a deck and firepit. Four bedrooms and two-and-a-half baths accommodate roommates. (“How else would we afford this?” Elyse says. She works at Salesforce, and Chris is in support for a tech startup.) Everyone gets their space because the master bedroom and the others are separated by a plant-filled landing. It’s outfitted with a surprise from the show—a built-in cabinet and deep bookcase in Elyse’s favorite color, turquoise.

They bike to their downtown jobs. They walk to favorite spots. They pick up trash along the way. “That’s a negative,” Elyse says. “There’s a ton of trash around here.” Others? Indiana’s largest drug bust happened two doors down. Unflappable, Elyse says that she has never felt unsafe there, and the dizzying pace of development makes it feel like a reasonable facsimile of her former Chicago lifestyle. Signs of quick change are all around—a sagging bungalow next to a crisp contemporary, lines of streetside saplings that Chris arranged with Keep Indianapolis Beautiful. The rate of the transformation makes the neighborhood difficult to pin down. “I wouldn’t say we’re having barbecues,” Chris says, “but we’re close to the neighbors on either side. We share a lawn mower.”

What’s the noise level? Generally tolerable, except for mopeds and one neighbor who mows his lawn at night. Do you get recognized from the show? Yes, and looky-loos come by to take pictures.