Mad About Good Bones & Artichoke Hearts Aren’t Forever
The only home fixer-upper program I watch is Good Bones on HGTV. Season 5 is underway right now. It stars the mother-daughter team of Karen Laine and Mina Starsiak Hawk. They live in Indianapolis and have a construction company called Two Chicks and a Hammer. They’re not flippers in the sense that they buy homes on the cheap, make cosmetic improvements (like what was done to the house next door to me recently), and then sell for maximum profit.
Instead, they seek out the most rotten, run-down ruins and reconstruct them, reclaiming as much from the original house as is safely possible. Then they install stylish yet practical finishes and go to great lengths to stage them to attract buyers.
Mina is also a real estate agent, and Karen was an attorney before she took up construction. They’re so fun together. Mina is the sensible bean-counter and Karen is whimsically New Age. I adore Karen, and while writing this, I discovered her birthday is the day before mine, so we’re both Libras.
This season, Karen has pulled back from the back-breaking renovations and instead focuses on turning trash she salvages from the houses into treasures through various DIY projects. She puts the results back in the houses as part of their history. I’ve seen her transform pianos, mantels, vent covers, light fixtures, doorknobs, panes of glass, even wallpaper into lovely new things.
Another family member who appears regularly is Mina’s half-brother Tad, who leads the demotion crew. That job is often disgusting thanks to what previous occupants left behind — especially in fridges and toilets.
The demo guys are like Tasmanian Devils and often have to reduce the houses to their studs, then clean up the unbelievable mess they make.
The homes are usually modest, with two or three bedrooms, so they’re affordable for normal people. Karen and Mina are also shown buying their materials from local businesses to showcase Indianapolis in a way that makes it look like a very nice place to live.
What surprises me is how many derelict homes there seem to be there. But these women have been at this since 2007 and they’re reviving entire sections of town. Now you often see one of their previous projects beside the one they’re working on.
There’s also a bonus offshoot called Good Bones: Down to the Studs where the crew discusses past projects with funny behind-the-scenes scoop on the how those went.
Since the show started, Mina has gotten married and had a baby named Jack. She’s a rough-and-ready type and seemed to stay involved in the heavy stuff almost right up to her delivery. Now she’s pregnant again and due in September.
Since both women are taking new directions, I hope this isn’t their last season. At the very least, Karen should host her own crafts show.
Here’s some great video, narrated by Mina, that lays out the show’s amazing evolution better than I could…
FOOD TIP: If you remember, several weeks ago I threw a few artichoke hearts into some leftover pasta salad I was jazzing up. The nearly full jar has been in the fridge ever since. Well, today I wanted them, but they were covered with green mold and had to get tossed. Lesson learned: Artichoke hearts ≠ pickles and olives. I had no idea.
BONUS: Comedian Sarah Cooper on How to Immigration…