Risky Business, Episode 1 – Indianapolis Monthly

Carriage house as seen on Good Bones: Risky BusinessEpisode 1.Photo by High Noon/Discovery+, courtesy Two Chicks and a Hammer

Have a good first day! good bones is heading for a six-week hiatus as Mina Hawk’s new show, Good Bones: Risky Business, resumes the time slot while waiting. Your recaptors, Editor-in-Chief Megan Fernandez and Art Director Kristin Sims, discussed with Mina before the premiere aired. Here’s what happened in the first episode.

Risky business is all about getting real. It’s grittier and more dramatic than good bones, a feature of spending six weeks on a house instead of editing a one-episode project. This house is also the largest renovation ever undertaken by Two Chicks and a Hammer.

For Mina, it’s a passion project. The house has stood empty for many years in her own neighborhood, Fountain Square, and she wants to create a special place for both the city and her family’s legacy. Plus, it can unleash design skills that we don’t see when renovating homes to put on the market.

All of this brings out Mina’s alter ego: “Mina Risky Business Starsiak Hawk, no hyphens!”

Megan: So we’re looking at 23 rooms on 5,500 square feet in a three-story main house and 2,500 square feet in a shed with shed. The vision is for this to become an event space with five suites in the main house and three more in the coach house.

Christina: She walks around with Rod Collier of Rottmann Collier Architects, their regular consultants, explaining that this once-grand family home was destroyed by squatters and a fire. But you can still see enchanting details, including a turret and a dental cast. Mina calls it her castle.

Megan: The house also had a living room and a library. Mina envisions a speakeasy in the basement. Somehow, Mina looks at the charred, toppled walls and sees “so much charm” there. Do you?

Christina: I think the whole thing is charming. If I had $600,000, I would try. You know I’ve always wanted a bed-and-breakfast.

Megan: And I was an Airbnb host. It will actually work like an Airbnb, not like a traditional bed and breakfast. In fact, it is already fully booked in October. If you don’t mind a spoiler, you can see list of houses here. It rents for $1,200 a night for the whole house and the shed, or $800 for the carriage house only.

Christina: But don’t look! Unless you want to book it, then you better. Otherwise, the show will reveal the house space by space. This week they start with the discount. Mina wants to open it as an event space in eight weeks so the property can start generating revenue.

Megan: Yes, it looks like she emptied the coffers of the company to finance this project. It uses a general contractor rather than the usual good bones Demo Boys on his payroll because they’re too busy. If the house doesn’t start generating income, Mina could pay the salaries out of her own pocket. Is the money the scary part?

Christina: I think it’s scary, scary to get into a project that Rod says is “easily $600,000,” and at first glance, anything could go wrong. In fact, before we know it, work on the carriage house has been halted for weeks because of permits. The eight-week target seems unlikely.

Megan: I think we’re going to say goodbye to the speakeasy. It’s so secret that it doesn’t even exist!

Christina: Oh, clever!

Megan: MJ and Mina go on a reconnaissance mission to the Biltwell Event Center, southwest of downtown. It’s a huge industrial reuse, and the owner gives them a tour and some trade secrets. The Biltwell has ample parking, while the Victorian is in a neighborhood. Where will the wedding parties park?

Christina: Another good question. Where will Airbnb guests park, let alone event guests? I wonder if they own land adjacent. Maybe we need to do a drive-by!

Megan: I actually went there. I interviewed Mina on set for a story in the spring of 2021, which tells you how long this project has been ongoing. I don’t remember an empty lot, but I’m sure they’ll be fine. Meanwhile, they come up with cool ideas at the Biltwell, like a rolling wine glass wall that makes it easy to dispense drinks. What would you call it?

Christina: It looks like a moving wall filled with wooden wine glass holders, supported by faux greenery. Good idea, and it’s probably useful unless someone puts their mind to it.

Megan: It’s the Farmers Insurance Hall of Fame. Mina and MJ love that Biltwell puts a couch in his huge service elevator for pictures. What they don’t like is that another week goes by with no progress in building the shed. But Mina is done waiting. She decides to start demonstrating the front yard of the house with her site superintendent, Thomas (new alert).

Christina: She gets into an excavator and starts tearing up the concrete and the sidewalk. But, oops, Thomas points out that she doesn’t have a contract for that. It’s not on the demo plan. Mina has big problems.

MJ watches Mina remove the concrete in front of the Risky Business house.

MJ watches Mina remove the concrete in front of the house.Photo by High Noon/Discovery+, courtesy Two Chicks and a Hammer

Megan: It seems there was a communication breakdown between her, the general contractor and Thomas over what exactly to break up and move on. This becomes irritable, Thomas talking about Mina on the phone with his boss. Finley, Two Chicks’ chief of staff, interferes and tells Mina it could cost $15,000 in fines. Mina’s point is that all the concrete needs to be replaced somehow, and now they have the excavator, so might as well.

Christina: Why would you hire an excavator when you know you’re waiting for permits? My first thought was, “Would Mina be so heartbroken if she were a man?” But then I sided with Thomas, because he’s just doing his job. Overall I didn’t like the way Mina and new guy Thomas were talking to each other.

Megan: Real fights are not part of good bones, but I bet whims happen a lot in home renovation. It makes me admire everything Mina has accomplished working in a male-dominated industry. At the very least, Thomas isn’t getting a charity mount.

Christina: It was as if something must have happened before any concrete disagreement because it was a big, fast escalation.

Megan: While Mina and her husband Steve take a tattoo break at The Rue Morgue studio to get their daughter’s name inked, Finley sorts out the concrete debacle and adds it to the plan without paying $15,000. The crew is back to work.

Christina: She said they didn’t pay $15,000, but they might have to pay $14,999.

Megan: You sound like a lawyer. Have you just passed the bar? No more problems: The overhead garage doors Mina wants on the shed’s event space are out of stock for 18 weeks. She keeps saying, “No. No no.”

Christina: Ironically, her son, Jack, is with her in this scene – usually it’s toddlers repeating “no”.

Megan: I wonder how much Mina has to put her foot down and force things to happen when entrepreneurs aren’t as invested in results as she is. Leaning on other people, especially older men, has to be one of the hardest parts of this business. Why are there no female entrepreneurs?

Christina: There are. They’re just all on HGTV. Alternative answer: Because no one will listen to them.

Megan: Iron Timbers always acts with respect. They can’t fit those garage doors?

Christina: I guess not, but in the season preview, it looks like they’re making some cool stair railings.

Megan: Steve, Mr. Risky Business Starsiak Hawk also gives men a good name on good bones. He and Mina take a walk in the shed while she explains the vision – and that she wants to name the whole place Charlotte Hall, after their daughter. Steve rocks! He’s lost his mother, father, and sister over the past few years, putting into perspective how important Mina, Jack, and Charlotte are to him. He is so touched to have a legacy to pass on to the children.

Christina: These kids have big shoes to fill.

Megan: Mina explains to Steve that the window openings on the second floor will be Juliet’s romantic balconies with French doors, but in the next scene she finds Thomas installing windows instead. When Mina says they’re not going, Thomas kicks her up and says, “Yeah, they’re going.” They are on your drawings. Cut to footage of general contractor agreeing to balconies going to this location. Broken. Maybe.

After shot of a carriage shed with the second floor removed.

After shot of a carriage shed with the second floor removed.Photo by High Noon/Discovery+, courtesy Two Chicks and a Hammer

Christina: Or maybe just miscommunication. Thomas can only do what he has plans for. I’m trying for you, Thomas, but the condescending tone isn’t helping.

Megan: This tone. Mina must be forced to log out.

Christina: But again, and listening to episodes from a few weeks ago, how can things go as far as expected? Windows take time to order, to arrive, to install – and no one had even cut Juliet’s balcony bricks at this stage. How does the miscommunication extend over this time frame?

Megan: I can’t blame Cory this time. He is not there.

Christina: This is where the first ends. The preview shows Thomas saying, “Here’s what’s going to happen. We will stop work. And he leaves. He wears the same shirt, by the way. Do you think he owns another shirt?

Megan: Well, now I have to defend Thomas. Actors often have to wear the same clothes day after day for editors to have continuity. After a hard day’s work, they all have to go home and do the laundry.

Christina: In another clip from this season, an old man says to Mina, “I was doing this before you were even born.” Pleasant. I bet she gets a lot of mansplaining. But the old man didn’t do like Mina!

Megan: No. And we know his method works. Even when it’s risky. See you next week!

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