'Good Bones' Season 2 Finale: The Little House on Lexington
Mina and Karen take a financial risk on a house in an established historic neighborhood but, with structural issues and zoning restrictions, soon find they may have landed themselves in a historic hot mess.
The season finale of Good Bones finds the ladies restoring a 845-square-foot house in Indy’s historic Fletcher Place neighborhood. Like many homes in the area, the house comes with elements of charm but, though the house is tiny, this particular renovation comes with at least three big challenges.
Number one is getting rid of the mountain of trash left inside the house by former tenants. Number two is dealing with a seriously compromised foundation. Number three is updating the house to make it buyer friendly while, at the same time, meeting the requirements of the city's historic preservation commission – since the house is vintage and located in a designated historic neighborhood.
The purchase price for the house was $65,000, relatively high compared to many of Karen and Mina's other renovations — some of which involve homes that would otherwise be destined for the wrecking ball and are purchased for as little as $5k. This house, though, is in an older and more established neighborhood that’s been zoned historic, so the property values tend to be a little higher and more stable than in some nearby areas. The hope is to complete the renovation for around $125,000 then list the house for $230,000 for a potential profit of around $40,000.
This historic house presents a number of big issues. The demo's going to be massive because we've got tons of trash to get rid of. There are definitely some huge structural issues we'll need to fix. And we'll need to work within guidelines of the historic commission, which could substantially add to our costs.Mina
When Karen and Mina pay an initial visit to the house to assess the scope of the project, they find enough trash inside to create a small land-fill, then end up staring down the barrel of two refrigerators filled with rotting food. Needless to say, the demo phase of the project — involving brother Tad and his entourage — will prove interesting. Then there’s an unexpected plot twist involving Mina’s cell phone. And don’t miss Karen’s novel choice of demo-day headwear.
Adding to the challenge for this project is the rigid set of guidelines that must be followed when restoring a home in a neighborhood within a historic overlay. Materials used in the restoration must match the types used when the house was originally built, placement, size and style of windows and doors must remain intact, and no major modifications or additions to the original structure are permitted.
Renovations of this type can be a labor-of-love and an expensive proposition, but the guidelines help ensure that both the house and the neighborhood as a whole retain their timeless, historic character. Big-budget items for this reno include all new wood siding and replacing the original windows with new wood-framed ones to match the original style.
As they often do, our intrepid house-flippers already have a potential buyer in mind who's excited by the prospect of moving to this neighborhood. The question is whether the renovation will match his personal style and fall within his budget.
Mary Ann Carter/Getty Images
Mina and Karen chat up potential buyer Ryan in hopes that he may turn out to be a brand new homeowner — and become their newest neighbor.
The Good Bones episode titled “Historical Hot Mess” premieres August 29 at 10p|9c.
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."
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Bedroom #2, After
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.
"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."
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.
And with Season 2 drawing to a close, this is the last new Good Bones episode for a while. But fear not, followers of Indy’s favorite “Two Chicks and a Hammer” mother-daughter duo. A third season is in the works and scheduled to air on HGTV in March 2018. And be sure to check back here to see more exclusive photo galleries, videos and Good Bones updates.