On “Good Bones,” Mina Starsiak Hawk and Karen Laine are used to renovating one home, but four?
Four years earlier, this mother-daughter team had bought a building with four condos in Indianapolis, thinking it would be a good investment. It’s taken a while to get this fourplex into shape, but it’s almost finished in the latest episode, “Tiny Condo, Big Reno.” There’s just a small one-bedroom unit left in need of some finishing touches.
This condo cost about $30,000 four years ago, and Starsiak Hawk and Laine end up pouring $70,000 into the renovation to give this small space tons of personality. Here’s how they pull it off, with plenty of lessons that might inspire some upgrades around your own abode, too.
Mix fake plants with real for low-maintenance curb appeal
Starsiak Hawk and Laine have already made many improvements, including renovating the other three units and painting the exterior bright white. So the building already has good curb appeal—but Starsiak Hawk and Laine want to add a little greenery to make it look more homey.
However, plants can require a lot of upkeep, so Starsiak Hawk comes up with a low-maintenance plan that she swears by.
“I am the queen of fake plants,” Starsiak Hawk says. “It’s all I have in my house. They don’t need to be watered, and they don’t need to be transplanted.” Who would have guessed?
The key is in the mix: She plants real flowers in highly visible areas, while adding some fake hanging plants above, where they’re less conspicuous. They look great, and upkeep is easy!
“It’s just another way to add a little pop of green to the outside and make it feel a little fun,” she says.
Use wallpaper on your stairs for a chic (and cheap) upgrade
This condo is on the second floor, so the front door opens to a set of stairs. Starsiak Hawk and Laine know that a boring staircase isn’t the most welcoming sight when coming home, so they decide to add some style to these steps.
“Wallpaper was a cost-effective way to give the staircase a little bit of style,” Starsiak Hawk says. “We chose a pattern similar to the tile upstairs, so it feels like a little preview of the space as soon as you open the front door.”
It’s an inexpensive project that makes a big impact for this condo. Plus, as Laine explains, with pre-cut, peel-and-stick wallpaper, it’s an easy way to upgrade.
Dark floors can help hide stains
Starsiak Hawk wants to keep the wood flooring in the home, and at first, she plans to refinish them in a light blond color that will brighten this small home. However, she soon runs into a problem.
“We’re keeping the original hardwood in the living space and bedrooms, but they’re pretty stained,” Starsiak Hawk says. “I think we need to go darker to hide some of the stains.”
So, instead of brightening up the condo with light flooring, they refinish the floor in a warm, dark brown color. These floors didn’t end up looking the way Starsiak Hawk had planned, but they end up not only covering flaws, but also adding a dramatic flourish.
Add art deco wall paneling for some personality
Starsiak Hawk wants to give this small home big style, so she decides on an art deco aesthetic. One way she brings this look in is with paneling on the bedroom wall.
“Art deco is a pretty ornate design, full of geometry and textures,” Starsiak Hawk says. “And I really think that this bedroom wall paneling is going to play into that really nicely.”
They use thin wainscoting to make squares on the headboard wall, then give the entire wall a white-on-white paint treatment. The bright paint acts as a great contrast to the other dark walls—and is an inexpensive upgrade that really improves the space.
Medallions can add style without adding clutter
Decorating a small space can be difficult. Starsiak Hawk and interior designer MJ Coyle don’t want to clutter this condo, but they know they need to bring in enough design features that will make this home look exciting.
So Starsiak Hawk and Coyle find decorative medallions to go on the ceiling over the chandeliers. They install these chandeliers and medallions in each room, providing an additional statement piece without taking up valuable floor space.
The medallions add to the art deco style and give this home an extra touch of elegance.