The home renovation pair are filming the third season which will air in March.
As owners of the Indianapolis construction company Two Chicks and a Hammer, Karen Laine and her daughter, Mina Starsiak Hawk, have busy jobs.
Now, as stars of the HGTV show “Good Bones,” they have another profession.
“When we started the show, we were naive and thought the camera would just follow us around,” Starsiak Hawk said. “But we quickly learned that running a business is a full-time job and doing a TV show is another full-time job.”
Laine, 57, and Starsiak Hawk, 33, got a taste of home renovation in 2006 and 2007, when they overhauled their own houses in Indianapolis’s Fountain Square neighborhood.
In 2008, they formed Two Chicks and a Hammer, which focuses on renovating neglected homes in the Fountain Square and nearby Bates-Hendricks neighborhoods. Laine closed her law practice to concentrate on the company while Starsiak Hawk got a real-estate license to help the company buy and sell.
Four years ago, a production company approached the women with a surprise suggestion: Would they be interested in filming a pilot for HGTV?
The 2015 show was a success, leading to the first full season of "Good Bones" the following year. Laine and Starsiak Hawk are filming the third season, which will air in March.
"This is where we’ve gotten our stride and figured out how to mesh our business and show and keep it going," Starsiak Hawk said.
The show's formula remains largely unchanged, chronicling Laine and Starsiak Hawk as they buy, renovate and sell extremely neglected, often uninhabited, homes.
“I don’t like to be called a flipper,” said Laine. “That’s not what we do. We’ve chosen a neighborhood that's down at the heels and needs a lot of work. We buy the homes no one wants. We stay in one small area. It's our neighborhood, too.”
Unlike other home-improvement shows, "Good Bones" tackles homes that are often "sinking into the ground," as Starsiak Hawk puts it, damaged from rotted framing, stripped interiors, water-soaked roofs and months of critter infestation.
Laine and Starsiak Hawk have brought about 60 such skeletons back to life, and have thrown in the towel on only one.
"We had to tear one down in season three," Laine said. "The roof leaked for so long that the floors were all destroyed and the joists were starting to be destroyed. There just wasn’t a way to save it."
Despite the challenges, the pair say they've made money on all the homes (although one netted only about $2,500 in profit), but acknowledge that it's getting harder. A booming housing market coupled with investors' efforts have made it more difficult to find homes in their target range of $50,000 or $60,000.
"In Fountain Square, there’s rarely a property we can afford, but that’s good," Starsiak Hawk said. "It’s not good for us but it’s good for the neighborhood."
The women say the show is going well, and hope it will continue. But they are planning the future, with or without television.
They are considering opening a warehouse store to build upon the line of "Two Chicks and a Hammer" merchandise they now offer. They envision a Two Chicks and a Hammer real-estate company, and maybe a landscaping business to build on Laine's master gardener background.
In the meantime, they'll keep the two jobs they now have.
"We’re both in agreement that as long as the network wants to do the show, that works for us," Starsiak Hawk said. "After that, we’ll just keep doing what we’re doing, just at a more normal place."
— Jim Weiker writes about real estate and housing for The Columbus (Ohio) Dispatch. He can be reached at email@example.com or follow @JimWeiker on Twitter.