Austin Aynes gained fame for his inclusion in the home improvement show “Good Bones,” on HGTV. He was one of the demolition crew who took apart old rundown houses, so they could be transformed into someone’s dream home. His easygoing personality made him a fan favorite, most noticeable for his big frame, so many are curious about his health and weight loss journey.
- 1 “Good Bones”
- 2 Get to know Austin Aynes
- 3 Austin’s weight loss and health update
Karen E. Laine and her daughter Mina Starsiak Hawk owned Two Chicks and a Hammer, and their work was featured in HGTV’s reality TV show, “Good Bones.” Their company’s mission statement was to ‘Revitalize Indianapolis One Property at a Time.’ They took it upon themselves to rehabilitate houses that most would not dare touch, as the damage was quite extensive, which meant that it would require too much work and cost too much. However, for these two, no house, no matter how rotten or nasty, was beyond hope.
The first step in the process was to assess the extent of the damage to the house that they bought. A demolition crew would come in next to rip the house apart, until they could see what was underneath all the dirt and mess. Mina would put to paper her vision for it, including the proposed design and then they would begin the work to make it happen. Finally, a potential buyer would come for the big revelation of the newly renovated and fully furnished home.
How did it come about?
Upon watching the series, it was quite obvious that Karen and Mina were enjoying themselves with the work that they were doing – nobody would have guessed that they only got into the business by some quirk of fate.
After Mina graduated in 2007 with a bachelor’s degree in general studies from Indianapolis University, she was undecided on what to do next. Working as a part-time waitress paid the bills, but she wanted to do ‘grown-up things’, as all her friends were already doing, but she also knew early on that working nine to five in some office cubicle was not for her. In the meantime, she did what she considered to be a grown-up thing to do, which was to buy a house. Her mother, who was working as a litigator, co-signed for Mina’s home loan.
Lacking the necessary funds to hire someone to fix her place, Mina had no choice but to do it up herself, with her mom’s help. The two didn’t know much about renovating, such as installing the flooring but they were very determined. Mina shared that they followed instructions from manuals, and watched videos online. They learned almost everything along the way, as they went through a lot of trial and error. Having enjoyed the process and being satisfied with the result, they established “Two Chicks and a Hammer”, but the two kept their day jobs until their company took off, with work coming in to make it financially feasible to commit to it full-time.
Since they were all about reviving a community, they set out to buy as many houses as they could in the same neighborhood, and rehabilitate them. Soon, more businesses in the area were opened and the value of the properties increased. They started with homes in Fountain Square, then followed by those in Bates Hendricks and nearby areas.
Becoming reality stars
The mother-daughter duo had been in the business of renovating homes for seven years before the production company that worked on several projects for HGTV reached out to them. Mina believed that someone from High Noon Entertainment chanced upon their company’s Facebook page, on which she posted photos of the houses that they were working on, or had finished. When they were first contacted about the possibility of making a TV show, they thought it was a sca, and only believed it was for real after doing a Skype interview, with background checks that ensured they were talking to a legitimate talent scout for the company.
They had one condition before they agreed to do the show – that they wouldn’t be required to manufacture drama. Mina told the producers that with the things that naturally occurred on site, there would never be a need for them to fake anything to create drama or tension. True enough, when the producers came to check on the house they were doing, the materials that were delivered were all wrong, and a painter fell off the roof, so an ambulance was called.
In the beginning, since they didn’t really know what the production needed from them or what exactly the show was going to be like, they filmed everything; once they realized what could get cut from the footage, they became more efficient, and only filmed what was required. They filmed 10 months out of a year, five days a week – Austin said that the hardest thing about filming was doing things over and over to get the right angle, or having to stop what one was doing due to some background noise, such as cars driving by. It was said that if whatever was making the noise wasn’t caught on camera, or didn’t make sense in the show’s concept, then it shouldn’t be aired and so they had to re-shoot scenes.
A HUGE thank you from our entire cast for making yesterday our best Good Bones Meet & Greet to date!Thank you for…
The pilot episode aired in May 2015, with the show called “Two Chicks and a Hammer” after their company. It was received well by viewers, and HGTV ordered more episodes and also changed the ntitle to “Good Bones.” By July of that year, they were filming the first season, which premiered on 22 March 2016.
Meet the cast
Aside from Karen and Mina, the prominent faces in the show were part of the demolition crew, such as Austin, Tad, Cory and MJ. However, these people, also wore many hats in the company.
Thadeus “Tad” Starsiak, whose Instagram handle is ‘the demigod,’ led the demolition crew. He’s also the project manager and the in-house general contractor, responsible for finding and managing the sub-contractors as well as troubleshooting the issues that crop up. Since he became a licensed real estate agent, he sold houses as well.
Cory Miller worked as a project manager, and was involved in floorplan meetings, walk-throughs, repurposing projects, and landscaping; he knew Mina way back in high school and they were friends. MJ Coyle was the lead interior designer, and his style was super eclectic, as he liked to mix pieces that didn’t usually go well together, but still somehow made it work.
In watching the show, viewers would get to meet the rest of Karen and Mina’s family, as they gave the fans a peek into their lives before they went to work. Some of them had their houses renovated, and others worked for Two Chicks and a Hammer. The two women even made a video of their complicated family tree and dynamics, which was uploaded onto the HGTV site.
Karen and her first husband, Casey, had three kids including Mina. After their divorce, Casey married Cheryl, and they had Tad. Tad was 12 when his mom passed away, and since he didn’t get along well with his father, Karen welcomed him into her home and her life. Tad had said that it was love that made them a family – he’s close to Mina, and they looked out for each other. Mina married Steve Hawk in 2016.
When Casey and Cheryl divorced, she married her ex-husband Lenny, who was the company’s head contractor, and he appeared in the show until season three – the women no longer used his company’s services, as they became too expensive for them
Get to know Austin Aynes
Austin is an Indianapolis native, who traveled a lot but always felt the pull of home and knew there was no other place he would rather be. Admittedly, he was a town traitor, as instead of attending high school in Speedway where he was born and raised, he went to rival school Cardinal Ritter High. He graduated from Butler University with a bachelor’s degree in Biology and dreamed of going to a physical therapy school afterward. However, having to retake calculus and skipping a social psychology test to take part in the show were strong indications that his aptitude and real interest lay elsewhere.
Joining “Good Bones”
He acquired some skills and experience in doing demolition work during his college days, to earn rent money. So when Tad, his friend and schoolmate in Cardinal Ritter, invited him to be part of the demolition crew for the filming of the pilot episode of the reality show, he didn’t think twice and was eager to do the work. It could not have come at a better time as Austin needed a job, and wasn’t getting any response from any of the job applications he’d previously submitted. At that time, he was back living at his mom’s house, and wanted to have the means to fend for himself. He then worked in construction full-time for the company of Tad’s sister, but it was seasonal work, so when winter came, he had to find another job. This time, he was able to use his degree, but it only lasted for a couple of years, as he realized that it wasn’t for him. Apparently, he had more fun demolishing houses, even if it involved a lot of dirt, soot, and horrible surprises that one could only find in abandoned, decrepit structures. Since Two Chicks and a Hammer was expanding, he went to work for them again.
During the very first day of filming for “Good Bones,” Austin came not knowing what to expect. At the back of the house that they would be working on, there was a garage that was not well built and somewhat shaky. The crew rented a bobcat to knock it down, but Karen said there was no need for it as she brought her own, pertaining to Austin – she had previously approached him to run the joke by him. Although it was never aired, it appeared that the guys called him Bobkat for the rest of the year – Mina said that his nickname had to be spelt with a “k” to avoid getting into trouble for copyright issues. However, Cory said that Austin failed to live up to the name, after the latter drove a bobcat and things didn’t work out that one time.
Taken to the Emergency Room
Before a house could be renovated or remodeled, it needed to be rid of the rotten or damaged parts, sometimes until it was down to its bare frame. Doing demolition work was dangerous, because anything could go wrong when dealing with a house that was old and dilapidated. The hazards they had to watch out for would include the collapse of a structure, falling objects, and exposure to harmful chemicals or material. No matter the precautions they took, accidents happen; in Austin’s case, as he jumped to pull something down, it seemed that his arm got caught in a wire, ending up with a long slice on his arm, and bleeding a lot, which warranted a trip to Emergency for receive treatment. This happened in 2016, during filming “Good Bones.”
Has color blindness
When Austin said that he was color blind, some thought that he meant he wasn’t good with colors rather than not having the ability to see them or distinguish one from another. During a spring candle challenge he had with MJ, who’d won the challenge against Mina in the past, he claimed that having color blindness enabled his other senses to become better, particularly his sense of smell. This made him a serious competitor, although he admitted that his biggest flaw was not knowing the name of various scents. He only guessed one correctly, which was the scent of grapefruit mangosteen, but his fans needn’t feel bad about it – the winner only guessed two scents right.
Austin’s hard work paid off, as he was promoted from being one of the demolition guys to project co-ordinator, and in charge of public relations. That said, it didn’t mean that fans wouldn’t get to see him doing demolition work anymore, because he would still do that. It was just that his responsibilities at the company extended to other aspects of the business. One of them was monitoring their supply inventory, which didn’t seem like a hard thing to do, except that they were scattered in various places, making it a tad inconvenient for him.
Dancing for a cause
Austin then announced via his Instagram that he was to participate in a dance competition called Reason to Dance in 2020. Many were surprised by this, as although his fans knew that he was heavily into sports, dancing hadn’t been mentioned. Apparently, he was doing this to raise money for the Riley Hospital for Children, but it was postponed because of the pandemic and only pushed through in 2021. Austin gave it his all, and impressed everyone with his moves; he even managed to do the splits. Although he didn’t become the grand champion like Karen E. Laine in 2018, and Tad Starsiak in 2019, he didn’t feel that he’d lost at all. He had fun that night, and more importantly, raised $16,000, saying ‘The competition raised a ton of funds that are going to make tangible differences in the kids’ lives. And to be a part of something like that was special.’
More of Austin on HGTV
Karen worked on an HGTV special called “Good Bones: Better Yard,” which showcased her skills in transforming outdoor spaces into some kind of retreat or oasis for a homeowner. As she had to deal with a yard in very bad shape, she naturally called on the boys including Austin to assist her. Her daughter Mina went solo as well, as she starred in her own six-episode series, “Good Bones: Risky Business.” She took on the challenge of turning a 6,000-square-foot eyesore in the community into a bed and breakfast. She was supposed to work on it with a new team, but problems cropped up, and she had to call on her reliable crew to help out. Both shows premiered in 2022 along with season seven of “Good Bones.”
How to Watch 'Good Bones: Better Yard' Premiere on Roku, Apple TV, Fire TV, and Mobile https://t.co/hCW32shfSR
— The Streamable (@TheStreamable) November 15, 2022
Austin’s weight loss and health update
Austin rarely, if ever, talked about his weight issues on the show. While his size might be a concern to some, because of its health implications, it didn’t seem to hinder him from living his preferred lifestyle. Based on his Instagram posts, anyone could see that he enjoyed an active lifestyle. When not working, he’s out biking, ice skating, and playing basketball. He also watched NBA games to cheer for the Indiana Pacers and the races at the Indiana Motor Speedway. At home, he would tend to his cacti and succulents, referring to these as his kids.
Austin had come a long way from living with his mother to owning his first home in 2020, as he proudly shared on social media. As busy as he was, he found time to construct his patio and stairs with the help of his friends. All the great things that had happened in his life couldn’t have come to a better person.
Tad, his partner in crime, described him as one of the kindest and most helpful people he knew and was most grateful for their friendship.