Good Bones: The Big House on Sanders Street

Mina and Karen take on their biggest project yet — literally — when they decide to renovate a 4300-square-foot house in Indy's historic Bates-Hendricks neighborhood. It's a formidable challenge, but the mantra for this ambitious flip is "big house, big potential."

Show: Good Bones
Related To:


The Big Sanders House.  Karen and Mina purchased this four-bedroom, four bath, 4300-square-foot house on Sanders Street for $50,000. "'I'm so incredibly excited about this house," said Mina prior to the renovation, "but also absolutely terrified because it's massive." The house came with a formal parlor and living room on the first floor and a third-floor attic space that could easily be converted into a large bonus room. Some of the downsides: extensive termite damage and rot on the front exterior and deteriorated siding on the back.


The Big Sanders House. The exterior gets a facelift with a fully rebuilt porch with stained bead-board ceiling, new roof and guttering and improved landscaping. To help maintain the home's vintage charm, the original wood siding was retained and painted in soft gray with white trim.

Living Room, Before

This view is from the original kitchen, looking into one of the home's front rooms. The new first-floor design plan calls for knocking down some existing walls to create a more open and free-flowing living space on the first floor.

Living Room, After

The remodeled living room has a spacious feel and opens onto the new kitchen and dining nook. Some of the home's original features, like operational pocket doors, were retained and incorporated into the new design. 

Living Room, After

The original hardwood floors were damaged in places so, once old carpeting and laminate flooring were removed, new flooring in dark finish was installed throughout the first floor for a uniform and sophisticated look. New drywall is painted in pale, powder blue, offering a pleasing contrast with the dark floors and stained trim around the cased opening. Mina and Karen staged the interiors with contemporary furnishings in a palette of grays and blues, with orange and bright floral accents.

Living Room, Detail

In homage to the home's history, Karen created this custom china cabinet using original third-floor windows salvaged during demo.

Kitchen, Before

The house had been vacant for some time, and this nondescript space was identified as the former kitchen simply by the plumbing connections.

Kitchen, After

The newly enlarged and updated kitchen features a gray tile backsplash, large island and dining nook with bay windows.

Kitchen, After

Mina and Karen went with contrasting upper and lower cabinets — with the lower cabinets in dark gray and ceiling-height uppers in bright white. "We like doing a darker base and a lighter upper," says Karen, "because it grounds the room without making it feel heavy."

"This house is a little bit more traditional," adds Mina, "so we've gone with a slightly more traditional, detailed cabinet door. But doing the two-tone makes it fresh."

Kitchen, After

Other kitchen highlights include twin sconces above the island, undermount sink, new stainless appliances and white granite countertops with veins of green and brown.

Dining Room, Before

Dining Area, After

This new dining area, adjacent to the remodeled kitchen, has an eastern exposure and looks out into the side through large bay windows.

Stairwell, Before

Demolition revealed the original spindles on the stair railing, which previously had been covered over with drywall. The wood of the stair treads was also well preserved since, for years, it had been covered over with carpet.

Stairwell, After

The main staircase was reconfigured within the downstairs living space, flipping it around aand creating a new landing and a wall nook suitable for a small console.

Stairwell, After

Both the upper and lower stair landings include doors that opens onto storage closets.

Bathroom, Before

This is one of the home's four original bathrooms. All were awkwardly placed, tight and in disrepair.

Master Bath, After

One of the newly remodeled bathrooms, this en suite bath features a double vanity and full tub and shower.

Master Suite, After

In the new floor plan, this is one of two separate master suites, each with full en suite bath. One master suite is on the ground floor; this second one is upstairs.

Master Suite, After

Mina and Karen staged this master bedroom with new window treatments with white linen sheer curtains and a king-sized bed with caned headboard.

Upstairs Bedroom, After

On the second floor, the basic floor plan was kept intact, with the three existing upstairs bedrooms retained but updated. An awkward, narrow upstairs bathroom was modified to make way for the addition of closets for two of the bedrooms and a half-bath.

Upstairs Bedroom #1, After

This upstairs bedroom could serve as a kid's rooom or guest bedroom. 

Upstairs Bedroom, Detail

Upstairs Hallway, After

Upstairs Bedroom #2, After

"We like to try to furnish our houses with a specific buyer in mind," says Mina, "so this house really is designed for [prospective buyers] Eric and Jessica. We've made it really kid-friendly — pretty much we've made it look like they already live in the house."

Upstairs Bedroom #2, Detail

"In every single room, there's something fun," says Karen, "something which is saying to a young family, 'I may be stately, I may be 100 years old, but you can come live here and you can have fun.'"

Bonus Room, After

The home's attic was finished out to create this expansive third-floor bonus room.

Bonus Room, After

Technically this could serve as a fifth bedroom, but Karen and Mina furnished it as a bonus living space with seating areas and activity/game area for the kids.

Bonus Room, Detail

Bonus Room, Detail

Backyard, Before

The wood siding at the back of the house was badly deteriorated and would need to be replaced.

Backyard, After

A new deck, outdoor furniture, privacy fence and play equipment make for a family friendly backyard.

Backyard, After

Behind the Scenes

During demolition the rear of the house, which had previously included an enclosed back porch, gets taken down to the studs.

Behind the Scenes

Behind the Scenes

Lead contractor Lenny is ready for demo day.

Behind the Scenes

Behind the Scenes

Behind the Scenes

Behind the Scenes

Mina, Karen and Lonny inspect termite damage.

Behind the Scenes

Behind the Scenes

Behind the Scenes

If you enjoyed this Good Bones renovation project, we think you might also like this one:
A Beacon in Bates-Hendricks.

And keep checking back here for more new galleries, updates and exclusive video.

Next Up

'Good Bones' Season 2 Finale: The Little House on Leton

Mina and Karen take a financial risk on a house in an established historic neighborhood but, with structural issues and zoning restrictions, soon find they may have landed themselves in a historic hot mess.

'Good Bones' Season Two is Headed Your Way

Those mighty Indy women, Mina and Karen, are back for a second season of home renos and rescues in their city's historic neighborhoods.

Peak Mother-Daughter Moments Seen on 'Good Bones'

Now that's what we call a constructive relationship. (Sorry. We couldn't help ourselves.)

8 Reasons Why We Can't Wait for 'Good Bones' Season 2

Good news, fellow Good Bones fans: The show will return for a second season! Let us count the ways we love Mina, Karen and their colorful fixer uppers. 

10 Adorable Childhood Photos 'Good Bones' Star Mina Doesn't Want You to See

You won't believe the cuteness in these throwback photos mom and fellow Good Bones star Karen shared. 

Do You Want to Be on House Hunters Renovation?

House Hunters Renovation is now casting in Boston, Denver, Los Angeles and Palm Springs  If you're house hunting in one of these cities and plan immediate renovation, we want to hear from you. 

Budgeting Your Bathroom Renovation

Projecting the cost of a remodel often depends on how many big-ticket items you're replacing and who's doing the work. Here are some guidelines.

Starting a Kitchen Renovation

Get tips for choosing professionals and hiring contractors for your project