Good Bones: A Historical House and a Hot Mess

Mina and Karen take the plunge on a vintage house in a historic Indy neighborhood — then endeavor to recoup their hefty investment while restoring the house within strict historic zoning guidelines.

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Photo By: Mary Ann Carter/Getty Images

Photo By: Mary Ann Carter/Getty Images

Photo By: Mary Ann Carter/Getty Images

Photo By: Mary Ann Carter/Getty Images

Photo By: Mary Ann Carter/Getty Images

Photo By: Mary Ann Carter/Getty Images

Photo By: Mary Ann Carter/Getty Images

Photo By: Mary Ann Carter/Getty Images

Photo By: Mary Ann Carter/Getty Images

Photo By: Mary Ann Carter/Getty Images

Photo By: Mary Ann Carter/Getty Images

Photo By: Mary Ann Carter/Getty Images

Photo By: Mary Ann Carter/Getty Images

Photo By: Mary Ann Carter/Getty Images

Photo By: Mary Ann Carter/Getty Images

Photo By: Mary Ann Carter/Getty Images

Photo By: Mary Ann Carter/Getty Images

Photo By: Mary Ann Carter/Getty Images

Photo By: Mary Ann Carter/Getty Images

Photo By: Mary Ann Carter/Getty Images

Photo By: Mary Ann Carter/Getty Images

Photo By: Mary Ann Carter/Getty Images

Photo By: Mary Ann Carter/Getty Images

Photo By: Mary Ann Carter/Getty Images

Photo By: Mary Ann Carter/Getty Images

The Little Lexington House

Mina and Karen pose for a pic with potential home buyer, Ryan. For this project, the Mina and Karen splurged on a corner-lot home in the established Fletcher Place neighborhood, an area that contains many vintage homes and is zoned historic. In some ways it's a less risky venture than their other flips — since the property values in this area tend to be more stable. But the initial purchase price was higher than what they typically pay, and renovating in accordance with historic zoning requirements can come with its own special challenges.

Modern and Masculine

The newly remodeled living room features new engineered hardwood flooring in dark finish, a cool blue palette and modern styled furnishings. "We added some mid-century style chairs and a low industrial glass coffee table," said Karen, "so it fills the space well without making the space feel overfilled."

Kitchenistas

The footprint of the entire house is tiny, so all the spaces are naturally small. The kitchen, which in Mina's new floor plan is moved forward and contiguous with the redesigned living room, is compact but efficiently designed and laid out with plenty of storage and counter space. 

Before

Mina and Karen purchased this house in the Fletcher Place neighborhood for $65,000. It came with two bedrooms, one bath, lots of closets and the kitchen located in an addition at the rear of the house. Prior to the renovation, the exterior was painted a dingy yellow, the wood siding was rotted and there were foundation issues. The renovation estimate at the outset was $125,000, and Mina hoped to be able to put the house on the market for at least $230,000.

After

Exterior enhancements include new wood siding and insulation, heavier porch columns, pale yellow paint and white trim. The front door and windows were replaced but, in keeping with historic preservation guidelines, doors and windows must remain in their original sizes and locations and use the same design and materials as when the house was built. Rather than using modern vinyl, fiberglass or composite frames, these are classic wood windows in sash design.

Backyard, Before

Backyard, After

At the time that the kitchen add-on was built at the rear house, the home’s back door was incorporated into that structure. Mina’s design plan called for moving the kitchen forward in the floor plan, turning the rear section into a bedroom and offsetting the back door to the side of that section. The historic zoning restrictions that prohibit relocating of doors presented a problem in that respect. Fortunately, during demo the home’s original back-door framing – pre-dating the add-on – was located, so the renovation could include returning the door to its original offset location seen here.

Backyard, After

Highlights in the newly landscaped backyard include a large rear deck with outdoor dining area and fire pit.

Living Room, Before

Many of the distressed homes that Mina and Karen have purchased have had trash and belongings left by former tenants, but this one may have been the record breaker for shear volume of trash.

Before

Once the refuse could be cleared away, the planned renovation would essentially be a full gut job would create a combined kitchen and living space at the front of the house, with bedrooms and baths at the rear.

Living Room, After

"There's this grown-up, masculine feel going on," said Karen. "We went with this mid-century modern [look], some organic elements, some warm woods and brighter colors to accent." The original painting featured in the living room is an impressionistic styled cityscape of Indianapolis by Mina and Karen’s friend Beth, a local artist whose paintings have been featured in a number of their restorations.

Before

Kitchen, Before

 

Kitchen, After

The kitchen, newly relocated to the front portion of the house, features quartz countertops in light gray, a concrete sink, double-stacked upper cabinets, marble hex tile and brushed stainless appliances.

Kitchen, Detail

One of the kitchen's more distinctive features is this deep concrete sink. 

A challenge with the new kitchen was designing around the existing windows — which had to be retained in their original dimensions in order to meet historic preservation guidelines.

Bedroom, Before

Bedroom, After

The first of two newly remodeled bedrooms, this one is located in what was once part of the kitchen and laundry room. It features new recessed lighting and powder blue walls, and is staged with coordinating bed linens and dhurrie area rug and a bed with calfskin leather headboard.

Bathroom #1, After

Connected to the front bedroom is this en suite bath with full combination bathtub and shower and double vanity,

Bathroom #1, After

Bedroom #2, After

The rear bedroom, which can serve as the master, is spacious and open with high ceilings and lots of closet space. The table lamp at right was custom created by Karen using wood turnings that were original to the house and salvaged during demo.

Bathroom, Before

Prior to the renovation, this cramped, narrow bathroom — which Mina likened to a bowling alley — was the only bathroom in the house.

Bathroom #2, After

Both of the new bathrooms feature gray Carrara marble hex tile for the shower surrounds.

Bathroom #2, After

Office Nook

Working within the 845-square-foot house, Mina wanted to make every square foot count, se she added this fun workspace with built-in shelves and desk. A panel from one of the original wood doors was cut and repurposed to create the desk top then topped with glass to make a smooth work surface.

Powder Room, After

There was also room to add this half bath tucked into a small space just off the hallway.

Backyard, After

The newly revitalized backyard is what Mina calls "the icing on the cake" for this renovaiton.

Backyard, After

"We've got a grill. We've got a high-top bar setting, dining table, fire pit, storage shed, deck and green space," said Mina. "I mean, if the house doesn't sell them, this yard definitely will."

Behind the Scenes

With the renovation complete, Mina and Karen take a break to enjoy  hors d'oeuvres on the rear lanai.

Behind the Scenes: The Reveal

As they often do, Mina and Karen already had a potential buyer in mind for this house before the renovation was complete. In this case it was Ryan, seen here getting the full guided tour, who's excited by the prospect of moving to Fletcher Place.

Behind the Scenes: The Reveal

After showing Ryan all of the renovated spaces, our two house-flippers extraordinaire are hopeful that a glass of wine might just help close the deal.

Behind the Scenes: The Reveal

Spoiler Alert: Ryan found the house to be ideal and perfectly in line with his tastes, In the end, he did buy it. 

Behind the Scenes: The Reveal

Behind the Scenes: The Reveal

 

Sold!

"Ryan is totally the spark that will give life to this historic house again," said Karen. "This is his house."

Afterword

After taking a considerable risk on the Little Lexington House, Mina and Karen can chalk up another happy victory. After purchasing the house for $65,000, and investing around $200,000 in the renovation (considerably more than their original estimate), they were ultimately able to sell the house to an enthusiastic buyer. "We ended up selling it to Ryan for 285,000," said Mina "which gives us a profit of $20,000, which isn't huge, but part of our business model is renovating homes and getting good people into the neighborhoods, so it was definitely worth it."

One More Thing

The "Little Lexington House" episode of Good Bones is the Season 2 finale. But fear not, fans. Mina, Karen and the whole Good Bones gang will be back for Season 3, scheduled to air on HGTV in March 2018. Meanwhile, keep checking back here for exclusive photos, video and show updates.