Austin Aynes from HGTV’s Good Bones is a bit of an enigma. The big man who helps Mina Starsiak and Karen Laine take old houses and make them beautiful on Good Bones is certainly one of the show’s most likable characters. But unlike the family members who dominate the series, we don’t know much about the Two Chicks and a Hammer’s construction coordinator past the work we see him do. And though on the surface he may seem like a typical, good-natured, large-framed midwestern construction dude, his life runs a lot deeper.
Austin wanted to be a physical therapist, surprisingly, but his ineptitude at calculus forced him to take a different path. He’s also a pretty good athlete, and can use his strength to do more than tear down walls. Austin even has other jobs with Two Chicks and a Hammer that we don’t always see on TV. Read on for the full truth about Austin Aynes from Good Bones, and learn why he’s a lot more than just another pretty TV face.
Austin Aynes from Good Bones was born in Indianapolis, Indiana
The hit show Good Bones on HGTV takes place in Indianapolis, Indiana. And when it comes to finding the talent to rehab old houses around Naptown, the show keeps it totally local. According to IMDb, star Karen Laine is an Indiana native, as is her daughter Mina Starsiak Hawk (via House Beautiful). And when the pair sought out a construction coordinator, they opted for local boy Austin Aynes. According to The Cinemaholic, Aynes was born in the small suburb of Speedway. He lived there most of his life, only leaving to attend Butler University, which is in Indianapolis proper.
Austin brims with civic pride, too, whether he shows it by posting pictures of the city’s iconic Soldiers and Sailors monument at sunset on his Instagram, or participating in the local Riley Children’s Hospital’s Reasons to Dance fundraiser. He hasn’t announced any plans to leave the area either. And when you’re involved in a famous local TV show, why would you?
Austin Aynes from Good Bones is a big sports fan
Judging by Austin Aynes’ Instagram page, the dude is seriously into sports. Where once upon a time he played competitively (he was both a football player and track star in high school) now he seems to prefer watching sports rather than playing them. Like any good Indiana boy, Austin a big Fighting Irish fan; he posted a picture from Notre Dame’s September 14, 2019 game against the University of New Mexico in South Bend. Before that, he appeared to have some pretty sweet seats at a March 2019 Indiana Pacers game, according to this picture, just a few rows above the court. Austin even traveled to Toronto in 2016 to catch a hockey game between the NHL’s Maple Leafs and the Florida Panthers.
But as is the case in Indianapolis, the highlight of Austin’s year seems to be the Indy 500. He posted a couple of pictures from the 2019 race, the most telling of which was a shot taken from the stands. To demonstrate his abundant joy at the city’s biggest day, he captioned the post, “I can count on this year every day to make me happy.”
Austin Aynes used a connection to get onto Good Bones
Nepotism is one of the great assets in reality television, as the drama you find in a family dynamic trumps anything you could get by assembling a cast of characters. Look no further than Gypsy Sisters for proof of that. So it made sense that producers of Good Bones would follow Two Chicks and a Hammer, a mother-daughter team that rehabs houses with a good dose of family drama. Austin Ayens, however, is not part of that family. According to Pop Culture, Aynes is “one of the few members of the show not related to [Mina] Starsiak and [Karen] Laine.” But he still used some family connections to get on the show.
According to his autobiography for Reason to Dance, Austin worked with Mina’s brother doing demolition during his senior year at Butler. Thad Starsiak was also a high school football teammate of Austin’s at Cardinal Ritter High School, and alerted his former teammate that his sister was shooting a pilot for a TV show. Austin skipped a psychology test and “came out to participate,” and the rest is history.
Good Bones' Austin Aynes graduated from Butler University
Choosing to stay close to home after high school was apparently important for Good Bones’ Austin Aynes, as the lifelong Indianapolis native attended Butler University, according to his Reason to Dance autobiography. He graduated with a bachelor of science in biology, and hoped to attend physical therapy school. And though you could say he’s doing a sort of physical therapy with Two Chicks and a Hammer, it’s not the kind he wanted to go to school for.
In addition to Butler University, Austin was also accepted to the University of Indianapolis. Cardinal Ritter High School thought enough of this accomplishment that it announced it in the school’s January 2011 bulletin, crowing about the young man’s acceptance before delving into a list of students who’d received scholarships. Austin is mum on why he chose Butler over U of I, but it’s always nice to feel wanted, right?
Good Bones' Austin Aynes worked in a lab before construction
Unlike degrees in things like sociology and French literature — which are pretty much only useful as answers to the question, “What did you major in?” — Austin Aynes majored in something fairly practical at Butler University: biology. To that end, after graduation he went to work in a lab right away, according to The Cinemaholic. But, as first jobs out of school tend to do, it wasn’t paying him enough to live independently; Aynes admitted in his Reason to Dance autobiography that he was still living at home with his mom.
Not that moving back in with your parents even raises an eyebrow among Millennials, but Austin was still looking for ways to make extra cash at the time. So he began doing demolition work because, as he says in the bio, “I needed rent money to retake calculus.'” This “side job” is what ultimately led to Austin ending up on Good Bones, as the demo buddy he worked with was none other than Thad Starsiak.
Austin Aynes from Good Bones is a single dad….of plants
Whether it’s parody or for his own entertainment, Austin Aynes posts about his plants the way most people do about their children. On one occasion, he shared a happy birthday post for Little Shaqtus, a pet cactus named after basketball star Shaquille O’Neal. He later added a Buddha’s Temple succulent, giving it the appropriate “welcome to the family” post. Immediately after that, Austin bought it some rocks, announcing he’d gotten his baby a new pair of shoes.
The succulent fun subsequently continued when Austin bought three new succulents to live on his desk. “I like this because I’m making my three new sons compete for my love,” he shared in their birth announcement post. “And whoever is winning I can place on top of the podium stand while the other two look up for motivation.”
Austin took his green thumb out of the office on another occasion, posting a picture of his re-soiling efforts for his extended plant family. “Don’t judge me on the state of some of my children,” he said. “I’m a single dad and it’s been damn hard.”
Good Bones' Austin Aynes started doing demolition in college
The construction coordinator for Good Bones’ Two Chicks and a Hammer has been working in the industry for a few years now. Initially, though, Austin Aynes got into demolition for the same reason many people end up taking jobs that aren’t in their field: he needed money. During college, Austin worked with former Cardinal Ritter High School football teammate Thad Starsiak doing demolition work. “It was casual in the sense of I kind of did it without thinking,” Austin said in an autobiography for Reason to Dance.
This was how Austin was first introduced to Good Bones, as Thad — whose sister is one of the principals in Two Chicks and a Hammer — hipped him to the opportunity. The work was seasonal, however, and though Austin enjoyed working full-time as a laborer, when winter rolled around work stopped. To that end, he got a job that “would use my degree and smarts and all that jazz.” But after two years in a lab, he realized the job was not his jam, and as Two Chicks and a Hammer was growing he joined on with them full-time.
Despite getting a degree from Butler, Good Bones' Austin Aynes had some struggles in school
Just because one crosses the finish line, that doesn’t mean it was an easy race — and such is definitely the case for Austin Aynes. Though in his autobiography for Reason to Dance he says he graduated with a bachelor of science in biology from Butler University, Austin was admittedly not a model student. His first aspiration was to study physical therapy, but failing calculus put a serious crimp on those plans. And though he claims to have saved up money to retake it, it’s unclear whether Austin ever actually passed the subject.
Similarly, when the opportunity to audition for Good Bones came along, Austin confessed he skipped a social psychology test to make it happen. Ultimately, that seems to have been the right decision, though the TV star doesn’t offer up much about his final grade in the class. Despite all of that, Austin managed to graduate in 2015, according to this newsletter from his old fraternity. And with a degree and some TV name recognition, Austin’s future looks bright.
Austin Aynes is also Two Chicks and a Hammer's PR person on Good Bones
If you got a degree in communications, you may want to stop reading this now. Because even though you went through all the painful reporting classes and AP Style exams, you could have majored in biology and gone into house demolition and still gotten a job in the field. Sure, you may have also needed to catch a break and had that demolition company end up on a reality show, but sometimes it’s more about the destination than the journey. At least, it is if you’re Austin Aynes.
Judging by a September 2019 story from WRTV in Indianapolis announcing Karen Laine’s retirement, Austin seems to have added Public Relations Coordinator to his Two Chicks and a Hammer nameplate. A quick search on Zoominfo confirms the new position, dropping the old Construction Coordinator job title completely. That entry, however, was last updated in September of 2019, so it remains to be seen what, exactly, Austin now does on a day-to-day basis.
Austin Aynes is a member of Phi Delta Theta
It shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that a high school athlete-turned sports fan-turned celebrity demolition guy is also a member of a large national fraternity. According to a spring 2014 newsletter from the Indiana Gamma chapter of Phi Delta Theta fraternity, Austin Aynes is listed as a chapter officer, holding the position of Phikeia Educator. And what, exactly, is a Phikeia Educator?
Back in the old days of hardcore fraternity houses, this may have been the person who oversaw the….traditions associated with bringing pledges into the fold. Now, according to Phi Delta Theta’s website, it’s the man “responsible for the execution of a new member education process that is safe, effective, efficient, and in alignment with the Fraternity’s zero-tolerance policy for hazing.” So, long before he was on TV improving houses, he was teaching new Phi Delta pledges the history and customs of the fraternity. And absolutely in no way hazed anyone, ever.
Austin Aynes from Good Bones was likely born in 1992
Though speculations about Austin Aynes’ age abound — and some sites have listed him as being between 30 and 40 years old — he’s actually much younger. Demolition and television fame can age you, apparently. According to this 2008 media guide from the Indiana High School Athletic Association football finals, Austin is listed as being in tenth grade during that year, which would have made him either 15 or 16 at the time.
Delving a little deeper, a newsletter from Phi Delta Theta lists him as being a member of the Butler University class of 2015, which would make him about 22 at graduation; that lines up with the age from the media guide. Additionally, a quick search on AdvanceBackgroundChecks also shows Austin Aynes of Indianapolis, Indiana as 28 years old in January of 2021. So with all of these combined we can deduce that Austin was probably born in 1992.
Austin Aynes from Good Bones played offensive line in High School
Though Austin Aynes never had much of an athletic career after high school, he was apparently a pretty decent offensive lineman at Cardinal Ritter High School until he graduated in 2011. In this 2008 media guide, he’s listed as 6’0, 310 pounds as a sophomore, an impressive size for someone so young. He remained on the offensive line throughout high school, and earned all-state honorable mention as senior in 2010.
Someone thought enough of Austin to invite him to the Indianapolis Colts’ preps pro combine, which he attended in 2009. If you’d like to see him running sprints and doing agility drills, the video is still up on the Colts’ website (though he’s not exactly breaking any land speed records). Despite the all-state honors Austin didn’t play football at Butler, and even though he never made it to the NFL, Austin is still on TV. And probably more recognizable than a lot of guys who made it a lot further.
Good Bones' Austin Aynes also competed in shot put and discus
Of course, football is a fall sport, which means the athletically-inclined Austin Aynes had to find something to occupy himself during the spring. To that end, rather than baseball, Austin opted for track and field. However, since Austin doesn’t exactly have the build of a guy giving Usain Bolt run for his money, the powerful offensive lineman competed in shot put and discus. If you’d like to join Athletic.net, you can catch yourself up on his entire track and field career.
Austin seems to have been fairly competitive at his chosen sports, finishing sixth in this 2011 shot put competition as a senior — a marked improvement over the 27th place finish he had in a 2009 state qualifier. Discus was about the same, as Austin was tenth out of 30 during this 2011 meet. That’s a place he couldn’t seem to crack, as he finished in a similar tenth spot a month later in his hometown of Speedway.
Austin Aynes also likes beer and basketball
One would think spending your entire day demolishing houses would be tiring work, especially when you’re carrying around a decent amount of weight. But young Austin Aynes still has energy to spare, as according to his Instagram he’s a regular at pickup basketball. Last May, he bragged about winning two games and hitting a couple of turnaround hook shots. But he also said he was ready to go back to bed, rhetorically wondering “why do people run games this early on a Sunday?”
When not hooping it up, it appears Austin is a beer fan as well, spending a well-deserved day off at Daredevil Brewery in Indianapolis in 2017. Additionally, his Instagram has no shortage of pint glass shots, and even includes a memory from a pedal bar outing with his co-workers from Two Chicks and a Hammer. But despite his reality TV fame and affinity for craft beers, Austin still knows what’s good, and isn’t afraid to down a 40 of King Cobra during a hot dog eating competition.
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