Following months of renovations and numerous designs, HGTV’s Good Bones stars Mina Starsiak and Karen E. Laine are back Tuesday night with another season full of dilapidated houses in need of a drastic overhaul.
As the mother-daughter duo buy crumbling Indianapolis properties and gut them down to the studs for gorgeous, functional homes, Starsiak shares exclusively with PopCulture.com what fans can expect this season, including the emotional episode that captures her race to finish the “forever home” she shares with husband, Stephen, ahead of welcoming their first child, Jack.
“After drywall, we 100 percent actually kicked my husband out,” Starsiak laughed, adding how the whole project took 10 months to complete. “He did not get to see it until he walked through for the reveal, which was tough because we live next door for one, but also he couldn’t help.”
The 31-year-old adds that while it would have been “nice to have him around hauling furniture,” she was quite pleased with having him wait it out for the big reveal. After all, Starsiak worked on the floor plans for years, managing to get every design element she could imagine in their home.
“Getting to reveal that to him was really fun because he obviously trusts me and getting him to be able to finally see everything and the special places that I made for him, it was cool,” she said.
The episode, which will premiere among the 15 set for this season, is not the only standout in their fourth year at HGTV. In addition to taking on the “nastiest houses” to date, Starsiak and her mother are amplifying their distinctive style with the aid of an in-house designer by the name of Michael Jeffrey, whom the Indianapolis native touts as “incredible.”
While Starsiak and Laine have consistently worked with designers in past seasons since running the business and filming the show are both full-time responsibilities, the two decided to take over design completely this season in a move that will add signature spunk to every renovation.
“It used to be a designer that the network hired and provided for us that was out of state. [But] MJ is local — we’ve known him for a while, and he’s just wildly talented. It took about half a season for him to meld minds with mom and me,” she laughed. “We would give him a couple of words like, ‘This house is kindergarten chic,’ which means nothing to most people, [but] he would know exactly what we wanted, and find the things and make it, ‘kindergarten chic.’”
While Jeffrey might have melded with Starsiak and Laine, don’t think that means after three seasons, the mother-daughter team are now also one in the same.
“We’re still very different minds. Mom’s mind is a crazy place and that’s why she comes up with all these awesome, creative things. My mind is crazy in a different way. We definitely need to keep our craziness separate,” she laughed. “[But] we do know each other’s strengths and weaknesses so much better now. Like, I know I can make this decision because mom’s going to be on the same page, or I know if I make this decision, she’s not going to be happy about it, so there’s definitely that kind of mind meld that goes on.”
One of the aspects Starsiak stresses the two maintain is that “Indy glow” in every home they renovate and refresh within the Bates-Hendricks neighborhood.
“We’ve been asked a lot of times to do renovations elsewhere, are we ever going to move, [and] I don’t know if it’s because I haven’t ever lived anywhere else, but I just have no desire to,” she said. “Indy has always been home, it’s the perfect size for me. Most of my family is here — I wish they all were, but we’ve got a couple San Francisco people — but [Indianapolis] is the biggest small town. Everyone knows everyone and everything, which sometimes is no fun, but for the most part, it’s awesome.”
While Starsiak is an Indy girl, through and through, she does have an admiration for distinct design elements that embody the state of Indiana, with the two traveling far and wide to bring in unique components — something she admits they will continue to do.
“We get to work with so many cool, local, and semi-local craftspeople,” she said, adding how she and Laine traveled to Shelbyville this season for an episode that called for reclaimed ceiling beams, as well as a small town that sells antique sofas and loveseats. “It’s fun getting to feature all these small, local companies [and] hopefully it will drive business to them, which is our goal — make the neighborhood better, and now it’s more business to local businesses and hopefully all good things.”
With Starsiak admirably putting a spotlight on community, she admits she is blown away by the feedback from Hoosiers who express their happiness over the refreshing renovations.
“It’s [been] positive from the people who we’ve actually renovated homes and sold them to, and the community organizations we’ve worked with,” she said. “All the people who have actually really been involved, it’s amazing.”
However, Starsiak admits there is a “small group of people” who don’t really know the mother-daughter duo’s goals, nor “like the idea of gentrification” due to its negative impacts on an area.
“People who have been there for a really long time, it’s great because we’re increasing their property values. But with an increase in property values, there’s an increase of property taxes, typically [and] they see it overall, not as a positive thing and we’re the cause of it,” she said. “So, there’s a bit of that, and I think part of it is misunderstanding or not really knowing us and all the positive things that we try to do.”
Since the start of their series Good Bones in 2016, Starsiak and Laine have done plenty to give back to their community, including donating two horses to the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department patrol, partaking in neighborhood cleanups, and doing “as much positive social things” as they can.
“[But] gentrification, we don’t have much of an impact on unfortunately,” Starsiak said. “There is legislation to grandfather people in that we’ve been publicly supportive of, but it’s very slow moving. The idea is if you’ve been in your home for at least 10 years, and have no back taxes and no health and hospital liens, or anything like that, your taxes will not increase, is the broad strokes to it.”
Starsiak hopes the legislation is taken into law, “so it will take that small negative part of the gentrification out of the equation for people.”
With the new season finally here, Starsiak has had her hands full as of lately. Not only is the mother-of-one spending time with her sweet baby Jack, whom she welcomed last August, but she is also celebrating homecare and landscaping in a collaboration with Lowe’s this spring.
“It’s like a sign of spring,” Starsiak told PopCulture.com of the easy, inexpensive DIYs she worked on, which ranged from building boxed planters to vibrant front porch refreshing that included her new favorite mulch. “In all the neighborhoods, and entry ways, it’s just like this is what you do. You put a fresh layer down, it’s a nice, clean slate, and it just feels good.”
While Starsiak is excited about the collaboration, she is also looking forward to her upcoming project alongside fellow HGTV co-stars, the Property Brothers and Jasmine Roth to renovate the Brady Bunch home in A Very Brady Renovation premiering this September — something she considers surreal.
“It is so weird, I think because it’s season four and we’ve been doing it, it has gotten routine,” Starsiak laughed. “[But] definitely every once in a while, I’m like, ‘Oh okay, yes, people, you want to talk to me?’ It’s very cool. With the show, I’ve been able to do so many cool things.”0comments
Good Bones airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. on HGTV
Stay tuned to PopCulture.com for more with Starsiak, including everything to know about the upcoming A Very Brady Renovation coming this fall to HGTV.