For expert advice on home renovation and reuse of materials, we turned to Karen E Laine of the hit HGTV show Good Bones. Known for her passion for rescuing old clothes, fixtures, and building materials from the demo dumpster, Karen offers, “In every job, there is always something to reuse or recycle. Whether it is for reuse or to make recycled art, there is someone who wants what you have. ”
Now entering its third season, the popular TV series follows the down-to-earth mother/daughter duo Karen E Laine and Mina Starsiak Hawk as they buy and renovate dilapidated old houses in their hometown of Indianapolis. Focusing on the Fountain Square, Bates Hendricks, and surrounding areas, Karen explains, “We want to revitalize neighborhoods. We know we’ve done well when we can’t afford to buy a house in a neighborhood anymore.”
Karen and Mina found their passion for rehabbing houses in 2007, shortly after Mina graduated from Indiana University. After a few successful home transformations, Karen left her job as a defense attorney to join her daughter to co-found Two Chicks and a Hammer, Inc. While many home improvement shows focus on the quick flip and high profit, the pair demonstrates that they care more about revitalizing their community and minimizing their impact on the environment. They save the neighborhoods, the houses themselves, and whatever they can from inside.
In many shows, Mina lovingly, but proudly, teases her mother about salvaging anything reusable: old clothes, windows, grates, doors, architectural elements, lighting fixtures, and more. Some of these items are donated to charity, but many go straight into a storage area referred to as Karen’s Corner, where they are resurrected for reuse in future remodels. “It takes time and thoughtfulness,” notes Karen, “We must all start to have a conservation mindset.”
Karen is not only dedicated to making a difference in her community, she wants to model for others the importance of salvaging and recycling, “Our resources are finite. How we act today has an impact on the lives of others for generations.”
Photo courtesy of Two Chicks and a Hammer, used with permission from Karen E Laine