Good Bones: Mina Starsiak's Family-Focused Forever Home

Mina Starsiak, along with her mom Karen, are known for rescuing and renovating at-risk properties in Indy’s historic neighborhoods, transforming them into stylized homes that appeal to the city’s forward-thinking urban pioneers. In a special episode of 'Good Bones', Mina gets to put her experience and expertise to work for herself and her husband Stephen, creating an all-new home that’s ideally suited for starting a new family.

Mina, Stephen and Friends

Mina and her husband Stephen have had plans for some time to build their own custom-designed home. Now things are about to get real as Mina, with help from mom Karen, gets to work on designing a family-oriented dream home – not forgetting canine cohabitants Sophie, Frank and Beatrice.

Tabula Rasa

Earlier, Mina had bought this lot right next door to her current home with ambitious plans for a ground-up new build. "I bought the empty lot next door in Fountain Square," says Mina. "This is the neighborhood that Mom and I do a lot of our renovations in, it's where we currently live, and the neighborhood is our home. I really can't imagine living anywhere else."

Pen to Paper

The new home is planned as a three-story new build with 2900 square feet and a design inspired by the old-style architecture of Mina and Stephen's favorite vacation city — Charleston, South Carolina — where Mina's family spent summer vacations for years. "I'm a planner," said Mina. "I've had these floor plans in the works for almost as long as we've owned the lot. Now I just need to fill Mom in so we can get started on construction."

A New Home Takes Shape

Now I get to take all of things I have learned and all the things I like and create the house of my dreams. I just want to make sure it's perfect.
—Mina Starsiak-Hawk

The "Taj MaMina"

The finished home — dubbed Taj MaMina by Karen for its grand scale and meticulous planning — brings a touch of the Old South to Indianapolis's Fountain Square district. "We wanted to bring in a southern feel," said Mina, "with big columns, large balconies, porch fans and black iron fencing."

The Entrance at the Starsiak-Hawk Estate

The ornate ironwork fencing and gate adds a classic and distinguished look to the home's exterior, as the bird-of-prey ornament on the front gate pays homage to Stephen's family name.

Coming Attraction

During the course of Mina and Stephen's new-home build, Mina surprised Stephen with this housewarming gift — a visual confirmation that a new Starsiak-Hawk family member was officially on the way. (Check out the video.) Now it's truly a family affair. And the pressure's on. The challenge now is to complete the build and get the new home completely ready before baby Jack's arrival.


The View From Here

The finished home has a large balcony that spans the full width of the house and features white columns, black window trim, ceiling fans and outdoor furniture. 

The View From Here

The balcony also comes with three stylized porch rockers — one for each family member.

Grand Entry

The foyer features an impressive stairway highlighted by a single massive vintage column. "Mina and Mom spend their days creating forever homes for other people," said Mina's sister Kelsy. "So it's really nice that Mina gets to be on the other side of things, this go-around."

Dining Room

The main dining area, with dark-stained table and blue velvet-upholstered chairs, has a formal feel but an open-concept design so that the spaces feel connected and are suited to large family gatherings. The flooring is highly durable engineered vinyl plank (EVP) laid out in herringbone pattern.

Dining Room

The open space — and plentiful seating both indoors and out — is designed to accommodate up to 35 guests.

Living Room

Muted blues, reds and soft pinks form the color palette for the living room.

Living Room

Highlights in the living room include a blue velvet sofa in modern design, a pair of matching wingback chairs and a statement chandelier.

Hung by the Chimney With Care

Stephen's special request was that the house have a fireplace and mantel for a proper Christmas-stocking display.


The kitchen features ceiling-height cabinetry and custom vent hood painted in white, brushed stainless appliances and a chandelier in a style similar to the one in the living room.


The massive kitchen island provides plenty of prep space as well as seating for five.


The island countertop and backsplash are Carrara marble in solid pieces.

Kitchen, Detail

Kitchen details include a farmhouse sink in white porcelain and fixtures in brushed nickel finish.

Kitchen, Detail

The backsplash is made from solid pieces of Carrara marble for a continuous surface and no grout lines.

Master Suite

The palette in the master bedroom is purely Mina-esque and echoes that of the living room, with pale blues, pink and white grounded by natural wood tones.

Master Suite

A sectional sofa in off-white linen and clean, straightforward design makes for a nice corner-nook for reading or relaxing.

Master Suite

The new master bath features a twin vanity with gray marble top and matching sconces.

Master Suite

The large walk-in shower features two rainfall showerheads, glass doors and floor-to-ceiling tile in a striking Moroccan style design.

Master Suite

The master suite incorporates this massive walk-in closet with integrated modular closet system.

The Nursery

Chandeliers are a theme throughout the home's decor, including in the new nursery that will soon be home to baby Jack. The nursery has a warm and inviting feel with neutral tones, soft fabrics and pale blue window treatments.

Nursery, Detail

Coat hooks just outside the nursery spell out the name of the newest family addition, and colorful fabric tassels in pink, white and blue continue the established color theme.

Kids' Bedroom

Looking further down the road, the floor plan includes additional bedrooms, including this one that's decidedly stylish but also cozy and well suited for youngsters.

Doggie Spa

Perhaps the most distinctive touch in the new home is the luxuriously appointed dog bath located in the attached garage — complete with marble tile surround, recessed lighting and brushed stainless shower fixtures.

Home Gym

Another dream-home amenity is this home gym, fully outfitted with a variety of fitness gear including free weights, bench press and rowing machine.

Home Office

The top floor maintains plenty of open space and includes this home office for Steve as well as a kids' play area.

Picture-Perfect Backyard

The backyard is strictly utilitarian and low-maintenance, with artificial turf, Adirondack chairs and window boxes for a bit of floral color.

Picture-Perfect Backyard

Kid friendly amenities include a white canvas teepee tent... 

Picture-Perfect Backyard

... and a kid-sized three-leg table with a tabletop made from a timber cross-section..

Picture-Perfect Backyard

The back-porch dining area has a large outdoor dining table with seating for 10.

Forever Home

With the home-build complete (and baby still on the way), Mina and Steve pose for some pics in the home office of their newly completed home.

Forever Home

"This is our forever home," said Mina, "because we're not going anywhere."

Forever Home

"I just feel so grateful that Mina took all this time and effort and energy into this house for our new family," said Stephen. I feel like [she] thought of every detail...It's perfect."


Completion of the house was finished just in the nick of time. Just one week after this photo was shot, Mina, Stephen and Karen would be introducing baby Jack to his new home.

Introducing Baby Jack

Watching my daughter become a mother has been one of the most wonderful things in my life, so I'm glad we'd even been able to play a small role in creating this new home for Steve, Mina and the baby.
—Karen E Laine

(Do you know baby Jack? Go here to read more about his illustrious arrival, see baby pics and watch exclusive videos.)

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