Good Bones: A Stately Home on Sanders Street

In one of their biggest restorations yet Mina and Karen take on a 2800-square-foot historic home with a grand foyer and some exquisite original woodwork -- but some problematic latter-day upgrades that had robbed the home of much of its original charm.

May 15, 2019

Photo By: Zack Arias/Usedfilm Studios LLC

Photo By: Mary Ann Carter/Verbatim Agency

Photo By: Mary Ann Carter/Verbatim Agency

Photo By: Mary Ann Carter/Verbatim Agency

Back in Action

Mother-daughter team Karen E Laine and Mina Starsiak-Hawk kick off the fourth season of HGTV's Good Bones with the renovation of a massive four-bedroom turn-of-the-century home in the historic Bates-Hendricks neighborhood of Indianapolis.

Fanciful Dreamer

For the duo's home reno and house-flipping projects — aimed at rescuing dilapidated old homes and, over time, enhancing entire neighborhoods — Karen brings legal expertise and a can-do attitude to the partnership — along with a penchant for historic preservation and, on occasion, some really out-of-the-box ideas.

No Nonsense

Daughter Mina, with her astute investment instincts and real-estate know-how, always keeps her eye on the prize — and the financial bottom line — for each new project. She provides a grounding counterpoint to Karen's highly imaginative and whimsical bent. And she's not afraid to get her hands dirty.

Wild-Card Tad

Mina's half-brother Tad, who has helped out with the heavy lifting and dirty work on many of Mina and Karen's projects thus far, is back again this season — and unpredictable as ever. Good Bones fans know that things seldom get boring when Tad's on the scene.

Before

This sprawling three-story home on Sanders Street comes with four bedrooms, two baths and a large bonus space on the third floor. It has some captivating historic features inside, though some of the rooms are in rough shape or have been compromised by misguided earlier updates. The brick exterior, front porch and overall structure are in good shape but, with the dull brown brick and dated replacement windows, the outside is lacking in curb appeal. "Most of the houses we buy are in shambles," said Mina, "but this one on Sanders has some really cool original detail...The downside of its awesomeness is it's just massive. It's really big. This is gonna be a big project."

After

The exterior gets all-new siding and windows, and the damaged sidewalk and retaining wall have been replaced. The brick is painted in bright white, and the new gray siding is highlighted with blue accent for the upper gable and ornamental relief. The new, brighter palette makes the home exterior shine and visually highlights the architecture and detail.

Rear Exterior, Before

The rear of the house and add-on porch were in rough shape and the backyard was messy and overgrown. In contrast to many of the other newly restored homes on Sanders Street, Mina referred to this one as "the last ugly house on the block".

Before

The walls and ceiling adjacent to the front stairs were water damaged and cracked. The original ceiling in the living room and other spaces had been replaced with acoustic tile which was damaged and deteriorating.

Before

In this first-floor bathroom off the kitchen, the ceiling was collapsing and, in an unusual design choice, former owners had covered nearly every surface in the bath with river rocks embedded in mortar — including the vanity top, walls and shower surround.

Foyer, Before

When Mina spoke of the distinctive original detail, this is what she was referring to. The front foyer features an abundance of impressive woodwork in classic Victorian era style — including stairs, rails and bannisters, paneling and trim. Ornate wood columns separate the foyer from the spacious living room, though the wood base supporting one of the columns had damage to the corners, likely from a dog chewing the wood.

Foyer, After

The foyer’s wood paneling, columns, staircase, railing and all the wooden ornamentation get restored, re-stained and refinished. Damaged portions of the column bases were professionally repaired by a trim carpenter using oak replacement pieces to match the original wood.

Foyer, Detail

When we first got here, all of this beautiful woodwork was in pretty sorry shape, but it's so much part of character of this house. We just thought we had to bring it back to its former glory.
—Mina

Foyer, Detail

The restored original woodwork, with all its detail and scrollwork, is a visually arresting highlight in the renovated home. 

Foyer, Before

The foyer was carefully protected and preserved while the full down-to-the-studs demo was taking place in the surrounding spaces throughout the first floor.

Foyer, After

The detailed craftsmanship in the foyer reinforces the home's elegant vibe and, in dark stain, stands out sharply against the newly painted pale blue walls.

Living Room, Before

The walls in the living and dining rooms had been sponge-painted in a mottled brown and white pattern (an effect Karen described as “tragic”), and the trim and baseboards painted in reddish brown.

Living Room, Before

The living room included an original, though no longer functional, fireplace with green antique-tile surround.

Living Room, After

For the fireplace, Mina recommended keeping the original green tile but adding a new Carrara marble hearth and a new mantel that matches the original trim.

Living Room, After

Mina and Karen's staging for the living room included an antique style china cabinet, Persian area rug and a leather Chesterfield sofa with blue, white and gold accent pillows. "The wood paneling in the entryway has an antique feel to it," said Mina, "so we wanted to mimic that in some of the [living room] furnishings. We've got a blend of traditional and eclectic pieces."

Living Room, Detail

After some creative differences between Karen and Mina over fireplace and brick chimney, Mina suggested covering the worn mortar and brick with fresh drywall, then painting it in white and installing trim to create a frame-and-panel effect known as judge’s paneling. The new look is in keeping with the period of the home and the classically elegant feel of the space.

Dining Room, Before

The dining room had an original built-in hutch with glass-front doors. Karen and Mina’s original plan was to restore the salvageable portions of the unit and paint the drawer fronts. Much of the front face, however, had been water damaged from a chimney leak.

Dining Room, After

Unfortunately, the dining-room built-in was too far damaged to be repaired. However, a new bookcase is added in its place, painted white to match the trim. The bookshelf is actually on a track and moveable so it can be slid to one side to reveal a hidden serving bar behind.  It’s surrounded by blue and white wallpaper, installed by Mina and her sister Kelsy, with an Arabesque pattern and subtle metallic highlights.   

Dining Room, After

The combination of the shelf unit and wallpaper creates a visually striking accent wall, and well-chosen area rug in the same colors and similar pattern helps create a unified look. 

Kitchen, Before

The kitchen – the victim of an unfortunate earlier update – had walls painted in chartreuse green, black cabinets and trim, stone floor-tiles for the backsplash and countertops, and dated graphic wallpaper borders.

Kitchen, Before

As in the “offbeat” adjacent bathroom, in the kitchen rocks had been attached with mortar to the backsplash and cabinets to fashion a border.

Kitchen, After

The kitchen gets wraparound countertops and a large island painted in muted blue. Barstool seating at the island provides informal dining space in close proximity to the more formal dining room. Large windows provide plenty natural light into the now bright and contemporary kitchen. The tile backsplash in a white and gray pattern extends all the way to the ceiling.

Kitchen, After

The hammered-copper farm sink is perhaps the kitchen’s most distinctive standout feature, and the white granite countertops and white lower cabinets make the piece even more of a visual standout. "Mina and I decided on a copper farm sink in the kitchen," said Karen. "I love that it has a sort of weathered patina that makes it look like it's been part of this old house for years."

Kitchen, After

I went with tall white cabinets to really make it feel open, but added some warmth with bronze appliances, a copper sink, and the brushed gold hardware on the blue island.
—Mina

Master Bedroom, Before

In the reconfiguration of the second floor, this blue bedroom with sun-and-moon border gets incorporated into the newly defined master suite. 

Master Bedroom, After

Two bedrooms at the rear of the second floor are combined to create this large master suite with a new full bath and a huge walk-in closet.

Master Bedroom, After

The new master suite has a midcentury feel with a king-sized bed with modern iron frame and with a cool blue, white and gray palette playing off the dark of the hardwood flooring.

Master Bedroom, After

Generous windows provide plenty of natural light for the master suite, and the bedroom is furnished with stylish but masculine touches.

Master Bath, Before

The upstairs bath was in partially demoed and another casualty of an earlier update – turquoise tub, pink tile with black border, and mirror wall-tiles in lieu of a vanity mirror.

Master Bath, After

The new master bath features a double vanity and large walk-in shower with integrated window, glass surround and pale gray tile. The floor has the look of hand-painted tile in an ornate gray and white graphic and a slightly distressed finish giving the impression that they are of the same era as the house.

Guest Bedroom, Before

The renovated second floor retains two existing bedrooms at the front of the house, including this one.

Guest Bedroom, After

The new guest bedroom features enlarged windows, walls in cool blue-gray, a contemporary bed and a color palette playing of the US flag — with red accents set against navy and white furnishings and a dark blue area rug with starburst pattern.

Third Floor, Before

The third floor had was bonus or storage space with sloped ceilings, wood paneling and a lot of square footage.

Third Floor, After

The attic is turned into usable and functional space with new drywall, fresh paint and two separate rooms that are suitable for either home office or additional bedroom. 

Third Floor, Before

Third Floor, After

So we were able to take what was essentially just the attic and turn it into really usable space including a bedroom which adds both function and value to the home.
—Mina

Third Floor, After

The third floor also has a new bath as well as additional common space left over in a central area.

Before: A Risky Proposition

"We're taking a big expensive risk with this huge house," said Mina prior to the start of renovations, "and I'm a bit concerned about getting our money out of it." 

"Mina and I are in complete agreement," added Karen. "There's no skimping on this dignified old house, but spending this much money is not for the faint of heart."

 

After: A Stately House on Sanders Street

No longer "the last ugly house on the block", this vintage home has been transformed and modernized but in a manner that managed to retain and accentuate the home's grandeur and period appeal. After purchasing the house for $65,000 then, by the end, spending around $300,000 for renovations, Mina and Karen listed the house at $409,000. It sold for the asking price, netting proceeds of around $44,000.

Another Win for the Team

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