Happy autumn eve, everyone! Good Bones: Risky Business has hit its midway point, and contributing editor Megan Fernandez and art director Kristin Sims are recapping whether the trainwreck continues or Mina gets things back on track.
Spoiler: She comes through. That’s the thing about Good Bones. The ending reveal isn’t necessarily the best part. We watch because Mina Hawk, owner of Two Chicks and a Hammer, carries the show with charm, humor, smarts, and candor. Risky Business, which follows her biggest and most expensive renovation yet, makes rich use of her open-book quality as she guides us through the ups and downs of renovation reality.
Last week, we left off with Mina firing her contractor after the project fell far behind schedule and mistakes piled up. Two Chicks and a Hammer will finish the renovation themselves. Now that things are moving forward, we can get to some fun stuff, like pretty bathrooms.
Kristin: Mina is having an eyebrow moment.
Megan: Are you referring to the eyebrow-raising revised budget that Finley shared?
Kristin: No, Mina’s eyebrows are definitely more defined this week. It’s a way to have more without looking like she’s really wearing makeup. Are eyebrows the new lashes?
Megan: This week they are. After the startling budget news, Mina also had an eyebrow-raising encounter with a high-tech toilet.
Kristin: Mina and MJ take a trip to Indy’s Economy Plumbing showroom. Great stuff for a healthy budget. We bought a tub there once, but nothing like the ones that Mina picks. They tour the fixtures and fancy toilets like Dorothy and the Tin Man. Like MJ, I always thought the Tin Man was the best-dressed character.
Megan: MJ says Mina doesn’t realize how high-tech things have become because these products are out of her budget for a typical renovation, so at the showroom, a motion-activated toilet seat made her jump. But one trend Mina knows all about is the bedroom bathtub. She wants to put a freestanding tub near the bedroom area of the carriage house’s main apartment. She saw this in Las Vegas and loved it. Is this really a thing?
Kristin: It’s popular on other shows and seen more in Europe. It’s not my thing. Maybe if I was still in my 20s.
Megan: Mina thinks it’s sexy to soak in the tub with a glass of wine while your sexy partner is lounging on a sexy bed. I’m all for seduction, but there are other ways. Dripping water on a rug is not part of my fantasy. Plus, let’s be honest, both of those people are scrolling through their phones in that situation.
Kristin: Finley brings Mina back to reality with the budget figured out and breaks the news that it will take an extra $140,000 to finish the carriage house. If it is going to take that much, how were the contractors going to do it for the original budget of $288,000? And how is all of that money gone with so much left to do?
Megan: Maybe this includes the lost revenue from the rental venue being behind, or expediting the custom garage doors. I wish we knew more about this. Finley needs her own show to walk us through the numbers.
Kristin: Shouldn’t the former contractor shoulder some of this responsibility? Who’s paying for the wrong windows and time lost because they didn’t order the doors? What did they actually do? Maybe this is why the contractors didn’t run around with their logo on the back of their shirts like so many companies on home-renovation shows—so no one would know the company name.
Megan: For a quick budget fix on the carriage house, they will pull money from the main house’s budget and kick the can down the road. The long-term solution is to sell one of the Two Chicks properties sitting on the market. I’m dying to know why these haven’t sold in the hottest real estate market ever.
Kristin: Finley wonders if buyers are nervous about the large size of their new build on Talbott Street in the Old Southside, an emerging neighborhood.
Megan: Mina points out that even if it sold tomorrow, they wouldn’t get the cash for 45 days. So Plan B—she’s going to talk to Steve about selling one of their own investment properties.
Kristin: On one hand, it’s a great time to sell–and they probably got those houses for a song long ago. On the other hand, it might take a lot to replace that investment in the future with the market changing so much—and with Two Chicks changing some of those neighborhoods.
Megan: Good points. She said another option would be to back out of the big project now and cut her losses. Then she says, “I’m not that kind of girl.” Plus, there wouldn’t be a show! I loved this bit of editing. It was a pivotal narrative point in the episode to move us forward. Kudos to High Noon Entertainment, the longtime producers.
Kristin: With a plan for the finances, MJ and Mina turn their attention to the design plan for the carriage house. Mina’s thinking an industrial, urban-loft, boutique-hotel feel because of the exposed brick.
Megan: I am so over the word “industrial.”
Kristin: I’m over “boutique hotel.” Damn that Kelly Wearstler.
Megan: Both apartments in the carriage house will have Murphy beds. I love the idea of a Murphy bed and have always wondered if they are comfortable. Which reminds me—I saw a job listing for a Mattress and Sleep Editor for Forbes Vetted. You just test mattresses, somehow. I want it. You can actually sleep on the job!
Kristin: You go, girl! Or is that, you snore, girl?
Megan: You go to sleep, girl!
Kristin: In the downstairs apartment, MJ and Mina devise black casework surrounding the Murphy bed for industrial-ness, and an all-white kitchenette for contrast. Plus, a vintage-style fridge and a glitzy chandelier for a touch of glam. It will be interesting to see how the white cabinets come out. I thought a boutique hotel would show some cool color cabinetry. And white would concern me in a rental. Let’s wait and see.
Megan: In the upstairs apartment, the color story is flipped. The Murphy bed wall will be white and the rest is black. There’s a lot of natural light, so the black won’t be overpowering. The full bathroom will be black and gunmetal with gold hardware for the I-word look.
Kristin: I assume they aren’t sticking with the bath pieces that they liked at Economy Plumbing, then—those didn’t have a hint of industrial.
Megan: No, that was a scouting mission, and Economy got some free publicity. Hey, MJ has found some cool history. One of the original owners of this large house was involved in the racing scene in the late 1800s. That’s why the garage, or carriage house, is so big. Mina loves this and wants to pay homage to the history in some way.
Kristin: Some large black-and-white vintage photography of the track would look great with the brick walls!
Megan: Absolutely, and there are so many to choose from. Another thing that will look great—the stair railing on the upstairs apartment, which is the first thing guests will see when they walk upstairs.
Kristin: The Iron Timbers guys are back. My day is complete.
Megan: Mine, too. I love that Mina said Iron Timbers always delivers great quality on time. At the Iron Timbers workshop, the father-and-sons team of Gary, Dustin, and Caleb show a prototype of the arched railing Mina has envisioned, then Mina and MJ get to forge some metal and make one of the arches. They make it a competition, complete with a rochambeau, a Good Bones tradition for deciding which of the Demo Boys will remove a gross toilet.
Kristin: Mina was so sure she’d kick MJ’s ass in welding, but no, he surprised us all. She had to take the back seat on that one.
Megan: Do you miss the Demo Boys by now?
Kristin: Ummmm, sorry, but no. We’ve still seen Austin a little bit. A little MJ. I’m sure Cory and Tad are lurking in the next episode or two. I just like to see the work without shenanigans, get down to business. Well, I guess the Risky Business.
Megan: Tad’s absence has made my heart grow fonder.
Kristin: Oh, Megan.
Megan: What can I say? Now it’s time for Mina to talk to Steve about selling one of their own homes. They discuss three options, all of which they have an emotional attachment to or are great rentals that they don’t want to let go. They settle on the first house they lived in together, which is a premium rental in Fountain Square. But it’s sad because that’s where they lived when Jack was born.
Kristin: She says it’s a choice she never thought they would have to make, but she doesn’t know what else to do.
Megan: I don’t understand how this solves the problem. They still have to wait a minimum of 45 days for the cash influx, so why not just drop the price on the property that was their former office—the one that almost sold in the last episode, but fell through. The office is all equity, so even if it sells for a little below market value, it will still solve the cash-flow problem and let them keep their sentimental rental.
Kristin: I thought the same thing. The sentimental rental is next door to Mina and Steve’s own monster home, so I guess the comps might hold up better. But what happens if they don’t like the people who buy their house next door? And what if the new owners change everything? Wouldn’t that drive them nuts?!?
Megan: It’s risky business. Back to the carriage house design, Mina and MJ are making their first-ever trip to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum. They’re researching the house’s previous owner, George Schebler. His name isn’t as well-known as Carl Fisher and Harry Stutz, some of the big names in racing history.
Kristin: I’m surprised the IMS didn’t have some photos of Schebler. I thought they had everything!
Megan: Schebler was in the carburetor business, and Wikipedia says it was the last auto-parts manufacturer in Indianapolis in the early 20th century. I think Mina should name the speakeasy after him. Call it the Scheb or the Checkered Flag. You know, where the night ends.
Kristin: Finley has good news. They got an offer for the big Talbott house! It saved the day. It’s an all-cash offer for $4,000 under asking, so they don’t have to sell the rental. This house was on Season 6, so it has been on the market forever.
Megan: Charlie, Mina’s little daughter, is so happy and laugh-y during the scene when Mina learns the news. She already speaks real estate.
Kristin: Mina, finally, proudly, shows the finished carriage house to Steve on their date night (with an even bigger brow moment!). The event space is OK, obviously staged from the company we saw last week. It’s not what I’d show as the best use of space, but it’s trying for a hip vibe. But wait, only a single bathroom for the rental space? I guess they really are banking on the parties to rent the two apartments in the building as well—or to have great bladder control.
Megan: Doesn’t seem like enough for 75 bladders.
Kristin: There are white steps leading to the second level. But white steps in a rental? It’s pretty in theory, but is there a no-shoes policy?
Megan: Maybe Mina will add a runner. Viewers aren’t supposed to have your eagle eye. The apartments are smartly done, though. Each one is decorated so that it can convert easily to extra function space. The Murphy beds fold up, and there aren’t any big pieces of furniture to move out of the way. Instead of a dresser, there are big built-in drawers in the casework around the bed. Instead of a sectional sofa, a curvy settee that’s easy to move, or appropriate to have in a cocktail party.
Kristin: I’m OK with the vanity outside for the bathroom, not behind a door. A bridal party can use it to fix hair and makeup while one of them is in the shower/toilet room. It still has enough separation from the bedroom.
Megan: For the Schebler homage, Justin Vining painted a mural over the Murphy bed of the house with an early-model racing car in the driveway. The artwork is a surprise when the bed folds down.
Kristin: It’s the best part of the room!
Megan: As for the controversial bedroom bathtub, it’s in front of a big window. Exhibitionists only! House Beautiful called this trend “the ol’ sleep-and-soak.”
Kristin: Overall, the spaces look great, yet I still don’t feel that all of the amenities are practical. Maybe fancy guests take good care of things.
Megan: Steve works in another “I’m very proud of you,” and they’re off to dinner. Or are they? Do you think they stayed and christened the bedroom tub?
Kristin: That’s why I don’t use the tub at a hotel.
Gallery photos by The Home Aesthetic