Good Bones: Rescuing the Forgotten New-Build

Mina and Karen head back to Woodlawn Ave. — in Indy's East of State neighborhood — to rescue a partially completed new-build home that was abandoned halfway through construction.

High Concept

Mina and Karen took on a project of a different sort in this home on Woodlawn Avenue. Instead of a vintage home, they purchased a partially finished new-construction house. It offered great potential with lots of space, but the planned layout was less than ideal. What had been laid out as a chopped-up, divided up first floor got transformed into this breathable open-concept space combining living area, dining room and kitchen with high ceilings and beautiful hardwood flooring.


Karen and Mina were able to purchase this house, left unfinished midway through construction, for $45,000. The outside still looked like a construction site, but it had a good foundation, new roof, partial framing. Essentially the house offered an exciting opportunity as a blank slate for Mina and Karen to work with. "We're going to take over this project at the perfect time to do everything right," said Mina.


The house is in the East of State neighborhood, adjacent to the popular Fountain Square area near downtown Indianapolis. It's a transitioning, up-and-coming neighborhood that offers promise, but resale can be tricky. Karen and Mina bolstered the home's curb appeal, giving it a distinctive look with a new covered porch with columns and railing, privacy fence and a neutral gray exterior with green accents and white trim.

Game Plan

Prior to the remodel, Karen meets with a contractor to hash out some modifications in the new room layout. 

Behind the Scenes

Mina gets hands-oun with installation of the new hardwood floors.

Behind the Scenes

Behind the Scenes

Karen gets serious on demo day.

Behind the Scenes

Behind the Scenes

Tad and Karen work together on clean-up in the side yard where a new privacy fence and water feature are being installed.

Behind the Scenes

Rear Exterior, Before

The house sat on a narrow lot with a long, narrow side yard and rear access to an attached garage.

Rear Exterior, After

A new privacy fence in the side yard creates an enclosed space that's an ideal pot for a new deck.

Deck, After

French doors open from the main living space onto this private deck with outdoor furniture and umbrella table for outdoor dining and entertaining.


The the two-story house is 2300 square feet and was laid out for 3 bedrooms and 2.5 baths, with the downstairs planned for living spaces and all bedrooms upstairs. A narrow hallway that ran the length of the house on both floors made for a floor plan that Mina and Karen felt was awkward. (Besides, Karen has a general aversion to hallways.) 


In addition to the new open-concept living area, the downstairs would also accommodate space for a home office, half-bath and laundry room.

Kitchen, After

The new kitche features ceiling-height cabinets, white subway tile backsplash, butcher-block countertops in dark finish and open shelves in a matching shade.

Kitchen, Detail

Living Room, Detail

The new living room has high ceilings, hardwood floors in medium stain finish, contemporary furnishing and updated lighting that includes two globe style chandeliers.

Downstairs Powder Room, After

This downstairs half-bathroom was finished out with pocket doors, new vanity and wallpaper simulating wood planks in various colors and finishes, tying in with the natural wood and color palette used throughout the home.

Upstairs Landing, After

Decorations in the upstairs loft area include this contemporary console and enlarged photo print of one of the fountains in Indy's historic Fountain Square district.

Upstairs Landing, After

Karen and Mina work out the staging in the custom built-in shelf unit in the second floor loft.

Guest Bedroom #1, Before

Guest Bedroom #1, After

One of three upstairs bedrooms, this guest room features hardwood floors, high ceilings and tall windows that bring in lots of natural light. 

Guest Bedroom #2, After

The color palette in this second guest bedroom, and throughout the house, incorporates teals, turquoise, blues, greens and bright oranges, creating a fun, fresh feel with hints of a coastal vibe.

Finishing Touches

Karen finishes up some of the staging in the remodeled master bedroom.

Master Bedroom, After

The upstairs master suite features a spacious bedroom with a relaxing spa-like feel, contemporary furnishings and a vintage area rug.

Master Bedroom, Detail

Master Bedroom, After

Fashion Statement

Karen fashions headwear out a fiber art wall-hanging during final staging.


After an investment of $45,000 for purchase of the house, and renovation costs of $135,000, Karen and Mina were able to sell the Woodlawn house for $230,000, realizing a profit after closing costs and realtor fees of around $40,000. 

"Not only is this fulfilling because we built a really cool-looking house," said Mina, "but we also have this awesome young professional who's going to move in and love it and give back to the neighborhood... And that's the whole goal. We're rehabilitating a neighborhood one house at a time, and this is one more awesome house with an awesome homeowner."

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