HGTV has clearly emphasized the “home” in “Home and Garden” in recent years by showcasing a handful of real estate superstars, including brothers Drew and Jonathan Scott (Property Brothers), the iconic Chip and Joanna Gaines (Fixer Upper), and Ben and Erin Napier (Home Town), to name a few examples. And of course, there is the quirky mother-daughter power duo, Karen Laine and Mina Starsiak-Hawk. Their top-rated show, Good Bones, follows the two women and their company, Two Chicks and a Hammer, which renovates fixer-uppers in their hometown of Indianapolis, In.
A sweet thing about these familial-based shows is that fans get a peek into these stars’ lives, and in Good Bones, viewers have watched the Hawk-Laine family grow throughout the years. And boy, fans adore Karen, who brought a lot of spunk and laughter to the show before her retirement in September 2019. Not to mention, the former reality star is a top-notch DIY professional.
Although Karen is no longer a central cast member on Good Bones, there’s still so much more to learn about this talented woman. Keep reading to find out all of the fun details.
Karen Laine's first profession might surprise fans
Before launching Two Chicks and a Hammer in 2007 with her daughter, Karen Laine was a defense attorney with a degree from Indiana University, Cinemaholic noted. And even more impressively, Laine was juggling some clients while filming Good Bones during its first few seasons. “I am still a practicing lawyer, I am sorta on sabbatical,” Laine confirmed to POPSUGAR in 2017. “I’ve gotten rid of most of my clients, but I still have a few left.”
Some people might not expect a lawyer to morph into an expert DIYer, but Laine didn’t need a degree for this gig. In fact, she and her daughter taught themselves everything they know. “We read books, we watch YouTube videos, and we read directions. That’s key — it’s amazing what you can learn when you read the directions,” she told IndyStar. The duo discovered their love for home renovation when Hawk purchased a home that needed a lot of TLC, and once they finished their first house, they got hooked. From there, they renovated a few homes each year between their day jobs, as Two Chicks and a Hammer‘s website noted.
Laine’s interests don’t just stop at law and DIY projects, though — as it turns out, the HGTV star has plenty of hobbies to keep her talented hands busy.
Karen Laine's list of post-retirement hobbies is long
Karen Laine retired from Two Chicks and a Hammer in September 2019 after 12 years in business with her daughter, noting that it’s important to let the next generation run things once you’ve had your fair share. “A crucial thing for a founder to know is when is it time to step back and let the kids do what the kids are going to do,” she explained to Pop Culture. “You get to a point, and one of the things you’re supposed to be doing is generativity, which is, you’ve created something, and now you can move on.” It is important to note, though, that she is still on Good Bones helping her daughter with design and smaller projects. Retirement doesn’t necessarily mean time to rest for the spirited mother of four. In her departure blog post, Laine noted all the things she has to look forward to, including spending time with her husband (pictured above) and mother, fishing, sailing, camping, and watching the sunrise on the beach, to name a few plans.
Mina Starsiak-Hawk was super supportive of Karen’s retirement, posting a photo on Instagram of them sitting in chairs smiling after what looks like a long day of hard work. She gushed, “I can say, without a doubt, it wouldn’t have been possible without her and not nearly as fun.” Aww.
Speaking of the mother-daughter team, keep reading to learn how they maintained a tight bond under pressure.
Karen Laine's bond with her daughter can't be broken
Karen Laine and her daughter are so close that they live next door to each other, IndyStar reported. And although that might seem like a lot of contact for some, Mina Starsiak-Hawk told the outlet that their work and home life flows easily because the two are “friends as well.” Who doesn’t want to live next door to a dear friend, right?
However, just like many familial work relationships and the homes they renovate, the ground is not always level. After the first season of Good Bones wrapped, Hawk joked to Indy Star that she and her mom had to learn to like each other again. Laine had an assuring response to that remark, stating, “That’s the value of being mother and daughter though — she’s not going to lose me. I’m always going to love her and think she’s awesome and have her back.”
As for the fans who worry that Hawk is rude to her mom on the show? Laine says she welcomes her daughter’s feistiness. “They should know from seeing me on the show that I can handle it, and when my kids sassed me, I never, ever got mad at that — that’s a sign of their intelligence,” she told Pop Culture. It seems like there’s not a nail in the wood that can come between these two beloved redheads. Speaking of love, Laine has a lot of it to share.
Karen Laine wants to pay it forward
The only rule that Karen Laine wants people to follow? Don’t call her a “house flipper” because, although she and her daughter make a good living, the point of their business, Laine asserts, is to revitalize their community. “We truly are rehabbing neighborhoods,” she told the IndyStar. These houses need a good 12-step program.”
In addition to bringing life back into homes that others would have bulldozed over, Laine is thankful to provide work in her community. “We have this opportunity for local people to apply their trade and grow in their chosen career, which is a beautiful thing to watch,” Laine told POPSUGAR. Hawk added that the spotlight they have directed to their hometown gives small businesses a chance to grow, too.
Despite the booming business the two have created, Laine stays humble by remembering where she started. “No one thought we were going to be able to pull it off, including us, and we did,” she admitted to the Indy Star. “Also, a lot of people think when you do this on TV, you get everything paid for. They didn’t give us anything for free.” Laine and Hawk started rehabbing homes as a labor of love, and it seems like their philosophy is drilled into their business for good.
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