Motherhood has not stopped Mina Starsiak Hawk from renovating homes on “Good Bones,” as we see her bringing her baby, Charlotte, to work—aka her latest construction site.
But it’s all for a worthy cause: In the season 6 episode “Big Build, Big Risk,” Starsiak Hawk and her mother, Karen Laine, are tackling a huge project that requires all hands on deck. Back when Starsiak Hawk was still pregnant, they’d bought this four-bedroom, 2.5-bathroom home in Indianapolis for $100,000. But this new-construction house was only half-finished, so there’s still a lot of work to be done.
While Starsiak Hawk and Laine had planned to spend $200,000 on renovations, they end up going $50,000 over budget. This means they’re are all in for $350,000.
Here’s how this mother-daughter (and granddaughter!) renovation team builds off this home’s good bones, with plenty of tips you might be inspired to try on your own abode, too.
Black upper cabinets make a kitchen look modern
Starsiak Hawk and designer MJ Coyle want to give this kitchen a laid-back lake house aesthetic, so they go with lots of soft tones, including natural-finish lower cabinets and blue-gray upper cabinets. However, once the kitchen starts to come together, Starsiak Hawk visits (with Charlotte in tow) and notices a big problem: The blue cabinets blend into the wall.
“The two colors are so similar, but they aren’t the same,” Starsiak Hawk says. “It just looks like one of them is a mistake.”
Coyle suggests painting the upper cabinets black, and while it doesn’t exactly follow the original light and breezy design, it’s a lot better than the too-similar blue.
Once the cabinets are repainted, they look much better. The darker color doesn’t weigh down the design—in fact, it helps give this kitchen some dimension and makes the space look a little more modern.
Repurposed furniture adds character
Since this home is a new build, it doesn’t come with the antique charm of some of Laine and Starsiak Hawk’s other renovations. But Laine remedies this by installing old church pews in the kitchen.
“Because this is a midconstruction takeover, and we didn’t do any demolition here and there was nothing to save, I’m bringing in something old from somewhere else,” Laine says. “These pews came from a church in Richmond, IN. A friend of mine is the pastor there.”
Installing church pews as benches for a kitchen nook is a great idea, but Laine runs into some trouble when she trips holding a pew and breaks it in half. Luckily, the team is able to glue the piece back together and safely install it in the house.
It’s a good thing this bench is salvageable, because the breakfast nook ends up working perfectly in this kitchen. It’s a beautiful dining space and a great reminder that an older piece can bring priceless charm to any home—especially a new one!
Floating stairs add style
Starsiak Hawk and Coyle decide to give this house a stand-out feature: floating stairs.
Right away, it’s clear that the chunky blond oak that they pick will look amazing in this space, but Starsiak Hawk knows she needs a good railing to finish the look. She chooses a simple yet elegant metal railing, pointing out that the stairs are the real focal point for this design.
On installation day, Starsiak Hawk is pleased with the look.
“In the stairway and catwalk, we have a beautiful black railing going in, which adds a really sleek modern touch to this space and makes it feel really high-end,” she says.
Add flooring to the ceiling
Coyle and Starsiak Hawk choose beautiful hardwood floors for this home, but before the flooring is even finished, Coyle makes a surprising suggestion: Add the wood flooring to the ceiling, too.
“The flooring on the ceiling will add a pop of warmth and actually accentuate how high the ceilings are,” Coyle says. “And it adds another layer of organic, natural lake house vibes to the space.”
At first, Starsiak Hawk is hesitant, but when the ceiling is finished, it proves to be a beautiful feature.
“The wood ceiling accent ties to the modern lake house vibe perfectly,” Starsiak Hawk says. The panels bring attention to the tall ceiling while also warming up the space and making it feel a little more homey.
Lay typical tile in a new pattern
In the main bathroom, Starsiak Hawk wants to try something new with shower tile. In a design meeting with Coyle, she describes it as L patterns in oversized Carrara subway tile.
“We haven’t tried it before, so I thought it’d be cool,” Starsiak Hawk says.
When Coyle sees the pattern he says, “So if it was on the ground, it would almost be like a herringbone!”
Starsiak Hawk’s idea makes this everyday tile look fresh, proving that you don’t need a unique or expensive tile to make a bathroom look special.
How do this home’s ‘good bones’ turn out?
While this beautiful four-bedroom could certainly fetch a high price in many cities, Starsiak Hawk knows that location might be an issue. She describes this house as “probably the biggest and the fanciest new build” in the area, which means it could be outpriced for the neighborhood.
This mother-daughter team lists the house for $389,000, which would leave them with a profit of $39,000. A few weeks later, they receive an offer for close to list price—amounting to a modest profit that still keeps this renovation team well in the red.