By Stephanie Dolan
If you’re like me, you love reality TV. I know, I know… right away your brain went to a booze-swilling, club-hopping, Kardashian kind of place, didn’t it? The kind of place where couples are on again/off again and the slap-fights going on around the dinner table are the same kind as those found on Jerry Springer.
Well I’m here to remind you that there is more than one kind of reality TV. This kind of entertainment isn’t always low-brow. Sometimes it’s informative, educational and enlightening. Like on HGTV.
I love the “Property Brothers.” I have a mutual crush on both Drew and Jonathan Scott. And there is nothing more soothing than a nice, long binge session of “Fixer Upper.” Team Gaines can do things with shiplap that are both stunning and beautiful. But there is another show that I have a special soft spot for: “Good Bones.”
The mother/daughter stars, Karen E Laine and Mina Starsiak, reside in Fountain Square and own and run Two Chicks and a Hammer. The show follows the business Two Chicks does of renovating homes. It is filmed here, and the pair are double-handedly revitalizing downtown Indianapolis, both on and off screen. At this point, Two Chicks has renovated nearly 100 homes.
“We bought our first house to rehab in 2007,” Laine said. “After rehabbing a few and enjoying it, in 2008 we decided we had a business and gave it a name.”
“Good Bones” aired for the first time on March 22, 2016. In June, the series was renewed for a fifth season.
“A production company, High Noon Entertainment, found our Facebook page,” Laine said. “We went through the process of a phone call, a Skype interview, a sizzle for HGTV and a pilot. After getting picked up for season one, we have just kept rolling. HGTV is a wonderful place to make television; they are like family.”
While the duo complements each other, working closely and bouncing ideas off each other, they each feel quite differently about being on television.
“Everything is strange about being on TV,” Starsiak, 34, said. “I had no idea what to expect. I guess what’s weirdest is being in the dentist office or bank and hearing my own voice on the TV!”
Laine, on the other hand, took right to it.
“I am one of those odd people who don’t mind a camera,” she said. “It didn’t take any time at all to get used to it.”
Laine, 59, a former defense attorney, is likely a little more used to being in the spotlight.
“I started practicing law around 1992,” she said. “I became a deputy prosecutor in 1995. I started my own criminal defense/family law practice in 2005. I went back to the prosecutor’s office for a bit, then left again to run my own practice. I am currently licensed to practice law in Indiana and before the Federal Courts. When we were given our first season, I slowly closed down my practice and now only give non-court related legal advice, or work for the company.”
Starsiak was a waitress at Pizzology before quitting to work full time on the filming of “Good Bones.”
“I finally quit serving when the show got picked up, and I didn’t really have the time to continue working outside of the filming schedule,” she said.
The work that Two Chicks and a Hammer does focuses mainly on homes in the Fountain Square and Bates-Hendricks neighborhoods.
“It is where we built our first office,” Starsiak said. “It is also where we are building out our storefront and will be building our permanent headquarters so it’s home.”
“Bates-Hendricks is close to my own neighborhood, North Square,” Laine said. “It has a wonderful neighborhood organization, and the people are working hard to improve their neighborhood. It is an honor to be a part of that.”
While both react different to being on camera, there is no doubt that the Two Chicks are excited about the direction their business has taken.
“It didn’t seem real for quite some time,” Starsiak said. “Honestly, it still doesn’t. We are just so busy that there hasn’t really been time to focus on how cool this really is.”
What is a typical workday like for Laine and Starsiak?
“There is no such thing,” Starsiak said. “Every day is different, even between mom and I. I manage the business side, so my day typically involves time at the office if I can swing it in between filming and checking in on properties on top of the entire day being filled with calls and texts to troubleshoot with my team.”
Starsiak also said that, even though she is enjoying more opportunities for design, she considers herself more of a builder while Laine considers herself to be a real estate developer.
5 QUESTIONS WITH MINA STARSIAK AND KAREN E LAINE
- WHO OR WHAT INSPIRES YOU?
Mina: My team! They bust butt with little to no glory and keep the wheels spinning behind the scenes!
Karen: For me, inspiration is always a surprise. I really have no idea from where in my brain it comes. What usually happens is I see something, and then I see it in a different way.
- HAVE YOU MET ANY OTHER HGTV STARS AND BEEN COMPLETELY STARSTRUCK BY THE EXPERIENCE?
Mina: We have met a handful, but honestly, they’ve all felt like old friends.
Karen: We have met a few other HGTV (stars). (Drew and Jonathan Scott) are the ones I think of first, but I had hardly any time to be starstruck because they are so incredibly nice. Moments after meeting them, I felt like they were my best, hardest working, most handsome, funniest and intelligent friends. They are excellent mentors! Happy to share their knowledge and help young HGTV talent along.
- WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE TV SHOW (may or may not be HGTV related)?
Mina: Anything on the ID (Investigational Discovery) network!
Karen: I like “This Old House” because I learned so much from them. I also really enjoyed “Trading Spaces” because of the variety of design inspirations that show shared with its audience.
- WHAT ARE SOME FAVORITE LOCAL SHOPS THAT YOU FREQUENT IN OR AROUND FOUNTAIN SQUARE?
Mina: I like City Dog Bakery for the pups!
Karen: You can find me at Vintage Vogue, which is a Goodwill store, my friend Jess’s shop, Nine Lives Vintage, and of course the local small grocery store, Wildwood Market.
- WHAT DO YOU TWO LIKE TO DO TOGETHER WHEN YOU’RE NOT WORKING?
Mina: I’m ALWAYS working!
Karen: My favorite thing to do with my family when I’m not working is hang out at one of their houses, have a cocktail, something to eat and just enjoy their company.