Get to Know the Boys of 'Good Bones'
Tad, Cory, MJ and Austin are mainstays on the show, helping round out the Good Bones cast and doing a whole lot more. Here's everything you never knew about them.
Mother and daughter duo Karen E. Laine and Mina Starsiak might be the two most prominent faces of Good Bones and Good Bones: Risky Business, but if you’re a longtime viewer, you know four other faces pop up in practically every episode.
Enter the guys of Good Bones: Tad Starsiak, Cory Miller, MJ Coyle and Austin Aynes. Each one has a key role, not just on the show, but in Mina and Karen's renovation business, Two Chicks and a Hammer. If you’ve been wondering who these fellas are, we’re here to help. We sat down with Tad, Cory, MJ and Austin — all of whom were born and raised in Indianapolis, just like Karen and Mina — to learn more about their day-to-day responsibilities, as well as what makes them tick when the cameras aren’t rolling.
Tad Starsiak is Mina's half-brother — and you may also know him as "the demo dude." While he undoubtedly has a way of wrecking old structures to make way for Karen and Mina’s beautiful renovation concepts, he also plays a vital role in pulling each project together.
“I’m the in-house general contractor,” he tells HGTV. Basically, it’s Tad's responsibility to find and manage subcontractors, troubleshoot any issues that arise and maintain the budget. And that’s just for the show and Two Chicks and a Hammer. Earlier this year, Tad branched out on his own and became a licensed realtor, so now he renovates and remodels homes and sells them.
When he’s not working and filming, Tad strives to expand his knowledge and give back. “I’m bilingual in English and Spanish, conversational in French and I’m learning Polish,” he reveals. He also owns a clothing line called Love Heals — which was inspired by his time at a 2-week Colorado retreat (run by Hindu monks and nuns) that he attended after his mom passed away.
“[The retreat] changed my life,” he admits. “These strangers loved me in a way that allowed me to heal some really painful stuff, and I decided I want to be that in the world. So I started with positivity apparel. That’s what Love Heals is.”
Unsurprisingly, Tad isn't stopping there. In 2023, he plans to continue to spread positivity — this time through construction. “If a [disadvantaged] homeowner needs a ramp installed or a mom adopts two kids and they need another room, we’ll do projects for little-to-no cost,” he says.
When asked what’s at the top of his bucket list, Tad began by tapping into his philosophical side. “I want to die with no regrets ... meet death peacefully, because it would mean you did everything you wanted to,” he shares. “My more materialistic [bucket list goal] would be to own a home with a built-in steam room and one of those gorgeous, gorgeous libraries with 15-foot ceilings, every wall covered in books and an incredible chair to read them in.”
Cory Miller is the project manager for Good Bones. His signature tinted aviators often mask his gaze, but he always has his eye on what’s next. “I do walk-throughs with Mina; floorplan meetings with Mina; demo; projects with MJ; projects with Karen; landscaping with Karen; random cabinet installs requested by Mina — yeah, I do a lot of it,” he laughs. “I do a lot of whatever we do.”
But Cory isn’t all work and no play. “I like to tinker, and a lot of people don’t know that about me,” he shares. “I do a lot of outdoor work in my yard. I like to work on my motorcycle, the boat and stuff around the house. I’m forever extending my backyard deck. I’ve got like three add-ons to it now.”
“I’m living out my bucket list every day,” he says. “I literally can’t think of one thing that I haven’t done that I’d wanted to by now.” With that said, down the line, Cory hopes to buy a second property on a lake somewhere once he retires.
If you've ever swooned over the furniture and decor in a finished Good Bones home, you have MJ Coyle to thank. As the show’s lead designer, he has his hand in every creative project. “I do a little bit of everything," he tells HGTV, "from the exterior paint colors to the interior paint colors. I come up with different design beats and shopping beats. I get creative with Cory, Tad and Austin. I mean, you name it, I do it, pretty much. Mina and I work really, really well together in that capacity.”
Something he doesn’t do, though? Label his design style.
“My style is super eclectic. I like mixing pieces that don't necessarily go together and making [the final look] as fluid as possible,” he says. “I don’t like to stick to any kind of style, to Mina’s chagrin because she’d love to be able to label every home. I blend [them all] together.”
MJ also taps into his creative side with art. "I'm a painter," he says. Some of his pieces have even ended up in finished Good Bones houses. (Talk about a special touch!)
He loves his job on set, but MJ says as soon as a project wraps and the cameras turn off, he’s out of there. “I try to get out of the city as quickly as possible on Fridays,” he shares. “I do a lot of camping. We have a cabin. We do lake and weekend trips. I try to get out of town.”
During downtime at home, MJ spends ample time in the kitchen. “I cook a lot,” he reveals. “I like to explore different foods and cultures. I like to explore food that I’ve not tried before.” Mediterranean is at the top of his list of favorite cuisines.
As for MJ's ultimate goal: “I'd like to launch a furniture line. There are so many times when I’m out sourcing, and I know exactly what I want but I just can’t find it. I'd like to create some kind of furniture line or something for the more practical designer."
When there’s a demo going down on Good Bones, Austin Aynes isn’t far off. In fact, he’s usually in the center of it.
That’s not all he does, though. “I’m mostly the bookkeeper now [and] I deal with all the city communications,” he says. “I also get thrown into small-scale projects with Karen, plus fill in here and there on handyman status.”
When he’s not working, Austin (who reveals his party trick is that he can do the splits) fills his time with loved ones and sports. “I’m big into football, basketball and hockey. Recently, I’ve been getting into combat sports (like MMA). I’ve also been watching sumo wrestling, which is pretty sweet,” he says, adding that he’s tried to get the other guys into it with no avail.
Above all, though, he loves Notre Dame college football. “Me and probably seven or eight people get together and watch every game, every season, on Saturday,” he says. “Every year, we try to make a trip up and watch the game.”
When asked what’s at the top of his bucket list, Austin said he didn’t have anything, but then the guys reminded him of his love of the Indy 500. “[I’d love to] wave the flag at the Indy 500, but I know I won’t be able to do it,” he says. “I’ll manifest, but unless I become Matt Damon or someone who’d normally get to do that, I don’t think it’s gonna happen.” (Hey, Doug Boles! Want to make a dream come true?)