Mina and Karen's Magical Cottage on the Hill
The good ladies of Good Bones create a cottage charmer with a contemporary coastal vibe.
When Karen and Mina took on the renovation of the “little white house on Sanders Street” in the historic Bates-Hendricks neighborhood in southeast Indy, everything at first seemed like rainbows and unicorns. Despite having seen some hard times, the 1200-square-foot cottage, with its tiny footprint, spindle porch columns and heirloom rose bush did, in fact, have a certain fairytale appeal.
It's going to be cute; it's going to be cozy. It's going to be our adorable, little magic fairy cottage.Karen
But rainbows are fleeting, unicorns are elusive and, upon closer inspection, the little white house on Sanders Street seemed more scary than enchanting. A cursory tour revealed water leaking in the basement, significant foundation issues, an unsound roof and floor joists with no visible means of support.
So it would seem our fearless duo find themselves — not for the first time — in possession of a challenging fixer-upper that’s apparently still standing solely by the power of magic. At least that’s Karen’s take. Mina has her doubts.
There's nothing magical about this. What I call a problem that's going to cost more money, Mom calls 'magic'. Those are the two sides of the coin here.Mina
Undaunted, Team Two Chicks and a Hammer proceeds full speed ahead, ripping down siding, taking the home interior down to the studs and devising an all-new floor plan that better suits the scale of the house.
The first floor gets updated with an open-concept layout in the forward section that incorporates a combined kitchen, dining and living space. The high ceilings get a dramatic cathedral treatment and the new kitchen gets double-stacked cabinets and Carrara marble backsplash.
The rear section of the house, which had been divided into small, awkward spaces, gets reconfigured to create a spacious master suite with an all-new bath highlighted by pocket doors, a double vanity and full-sized tub.
Also added on the first-floor is a second bedroom, with separate bath, in a space that had originally been a porch add-on. Upstairs, a loft space gets updated to create a guest bedroom with day bed and seating area.
In a rare opportunity, before the house gets put on the market, a former owner who had lived in the house during the '70s gets to make a return visit to see Karen and Mina’s completed transformation. Her overall impression: “I was in awe when I looked at it. It looks so magical. It looks happy,” she said. “You’ve taken a diamond in the rough and turned it into a beautiful jewel.”
The Good Bones episode titled "The Little White House on the Hill" premieres June 20 at 10p|9c. And check back here to see more new photo galleries, exclusive video clips and show updates.
Magic Happens...If You Work at It
When our fearless duo took on renovation of the “little white house on Sanders Street” in the historic Bates-Hendricks neighborhood, everything at first seemed like rainbows and unicorns. "It's going to be cute; it's going to be cozy," said Karen. "It's going to be our adorable little magic fairy cottage." Closer inspection, however, revealed some cold, hard realities. Sometimes sheer diligence is required to make fairytale endings come true.
Vivid and Vibrant
Karen and Mina staged the spaces using a mix of vintage-modern and contemporary furnishings, eye-catching wall art and a bright palette with electric hues. "To make this floor plan feel warm and livable," said Karen, "we're going to have to really think hard about how we furnish it."
In the old layout of the home, the kitchen had been located at the back of the house. Karen and Mina created a more efficient space with the kitchen moved forward and opening onto the living room. Double-stacked upper cabinets help give the space a more open and dramatic feel.
Karen and Mina purchased the Sanders Street house for $30,000 and invested $145,000 in renovations. Once they put the house on the market, it sold quickly for $200,000 leaving proceeds after closing costs and fees of around $50,000. The hope is that high-quality improvements such as this will help attract buyers willing to take on similar thoughtful renovations of distressed properties nearby, ultimately bringing new life, new businesses and vitality to the inner-city neighborhood.