'Good Bones' and the Case of the Forgotten New-Build Home

Mina and Karen head back to Woodlawn Ave. to rescue a partially finished new-construction home that was abandoned halfway through completion.

Mina Starsiak Hawk and Karen E Laine of HGTV's Good Bones

Show: Good Bones
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Sometimes you just need to start with a blank slate. Case in point: the new episode of HGTV's Good Bones wherein mother-daughter home renovation gurus Karen E Laine and Mina Starsiak Hawk get just a little outside their comfort zone — in this case with excellent results.

The duo, who usually specialize in resurrecting practically-beyond-repair vintage homes in Indy's historic neighborhoods, this time take a renovation of a slightly different sort. For this project on Woodlawn Avenue, in the East of State neighborhood near downtown, they purchase a partially finished new-construction house for $45,000.



At first glance, it's a plain, boxy, nondescript home on a narrow lot, with a boring exterior and unfinished framing. But Mina and Karen found that, in its current state, it offered real potential with lots of space to get creative.

We're going to take over this project at the perfect time to do everything right.

The area where the house is located is a transitioning, up-and-coming neighborhood near the popular Fountain Square. The area offers promise, but resale can be tricky, so Mina and Karen have to be judicious in how they budget and in the scope of their undertaking.

Though it didn't come with the storied history that some of their other renos possess, at least this time they didn't have to worry about a crumbling foundation or a failing roof. (Though, as it turns out, plumbing is another story.) That freed them up to concentrate on things like designing a kitchen from scratch and planning an outdoor space for entertaining with a deck and water feature.

The home’s original layout, left as it was by the former contractors, was less than ideal. But with Karen and Mina's help, and some assistance of their contractor, specialists and rag-tag demo crew, they manage to take what had been a chopped-up, awkwardly divided first floor and transform it into a breathable open-concept space that combines living area and kitchen and features high ceilings and beautiful new hardwood flooring.

Upstairs there's room for a spacious master suite, plenty of closets and two guest bedrooms. The decorating theme for the whole house employs contemporary furnishings and a color palette of blues, turquoise, green and coral, creating a fresh, fun feel and evoking a somewhat coastal vibe. It was designed with a particular potential buyer in mind, a young professional who works from home and was eager to move to the inner-city neighborhood.

Not only is this fulfilling because we built a really cool-looking house, 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.

In the end, after a renovation outlay of around $135,000, Mina and Karen were able to realize a profit on the project of around $40,000 – and chalk up another victory in their incremental mission of revitalizing homes, neighborhoods and communities in their fair city.

The Good Bones episode titled "Abandoned Partially Built Home Gets Rescued" premieres June 6 at 10p|9c. And keep checking back here for more new photo galleries, exclusive video clips and show updates.

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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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