Flea Market Flip

A couple of months ago I got a phone call from a friend inviting me and the hubs to go on a road trip to Canton Texas.  My friend explained that she and her husband had caught the “junkin” bug after watching HGTV’s Flea Market Flip and were wanting to find their own treasures on a dime they could refinish and/or repurpose; and Canton, Texas’ monthly First Monday Trade Days was the perfect place to go hunting.  Personally, I try to make the 5 hour pilgrimage to Canton at least once a year, but the Mr had never been.  You see, Rory is a buy the clothes off the mannequin, in-and-out in 15 minutes, 1-2 store limit per outing kind of shopper; NOT a dig thru the fields, thru 1000s of vendors junk, from sun-up to sun- down kind of shopper.  But with another couple around to help entertain him, I thought this would be the perfect time to introduce my husband to one of my favorite places on earth.    The trip was on!!!

To spice up the excursion, we decided to have our own flea market flip competition modeled after the HGTV program.  For those that have never watched the show I’ll let HGTV.com explain how the flip works:

Flea Market Flip puts two teams to the test–challenging them to find diamonds in the rough to rescue, recycle, and re-invent into decorating gems and resold for a profit. Hosted by Good Morning America Co-Anchor Lara Spencer, a flea market fanatic, the teams are given 500 dollars and a limited time to hunt for pieces with potential and haggle for the lowest prices. Once purchased they’ll head to the workshop to rebuild, refurbish or completely re-invent their finds, in hopes of creating treasures that will bring them a bigger profit. Then it’s off to the next flea market, where the buyers are now sellers, trying to flip their finds in this winner take all competition. Whichever team makes more money with their re-imagined design pieces wins a cash prize.

In our version each husband and wife team had a budget of $150 and exactly 3 hours to find 3 specific items that would meet the following 3 challenges provided by an impartial 3rd party:

1) Use a found item and incorporate it into a piece of wall art.  You may add your own construction materials and artistry.

2) Find an item that can be repurposed or refinished for storage.

3) Turn something that is not a seat into something that is a seat.  Finished product must incorporate some type of upholstery.

Once we found our 3 items we would have a little under 1 month to get our treasures ready for resale at the quarterly antique show hosted at our city’s expo center.

Well let me tell you, this little competition was more challenging then I thought it would be.  It was so hard to stay focused on finding items to meet our 3 challenges when we were amongst so much glorious junk.  I’d catch myself shopping for Sister instead of the challenge items, or we would find something that might work but would be afraid to purchase it for fear we might find something better.  In the final 15 minutes of the challenge we were in such a panic to find our last item that we ended up paying much more then we would have normally paid outside the competition.  But by noon o’clock both teams had all 3 items and we were able to slow down and enjoy the next day and half we spent scouring the flea market.

Now at this time I would love to show you some jaw dropping before and after transformation of both teams 3 challenge items but I can’t. I can’t because number 1) I forgot to take before pictures of all our finds (Rookie Blogger mistake); and number 2) the majority of my 3 challenges completely flopped, failed, flunked.  Here is what I can show you:

Team Thompson

1) Wall Art: An old pull down world and US map.  This is the item I found in the final seconds of the competition.  I had originally planned to get all crafty on this vintage treasure by painting over one of the maps with chalkboard paint and then painting on a skeleton map of the USA- very Restoration Hardwareish…in my head.  But once I got it home I got nervous that the paint would cause the paper to crack PLUS when I looked up similar maps on ebay I saw that these babies sell for anywhere between $60-$300 as is; so after doing some quick math in my head I decided 0 work + a little profit = the obvious way to go.  So the only change this find got is a slight change in price tag.  Wha Wha

Antique Show Price: $75

2) Storage: Ok this was the one project I already had a plan for before I hit the flea market.  I had recently visited a high end boutique where I had seen a ridiculously priced over sized wicker basket that was set on casters so that it could be rolled around.  Of course when I saw the basket the wheels on the casters weren’t the only thing turning- I was thinking I could easily recreate the same look and then I would be the one collecting a ridiculous amount of cash- (it all seemed so easy in my head….). So when 30 minutes into the competition I found a large wicker laundry basket complete with a lid, I thought I struck gold!  Fast Forward a week later I discovered that some ideas are best left in my head.  It just looked stupid- sorry for the foul language but there is just no other way to describe it.  Not only did it look stupid, it acted stupid by tipping over when pushed- sigh!  So if you were hoping to purchase a ridiculously priced basket on wheels at this weekends Antique Roadshow your out of luck from this vendor.  The only thing this basket got was a cute burlap ribbon weaved in and out of the wicker- another sigh.

 mid-tilt on casters- boo!

Sitting stationary on the ground.

Antique Show Price: $20

3) Seat: ahhhh! This project had the potential to cause the most grief but in the end it is my one source of pride and glory. Even though I had no idea what it was, I was drawn to this metal contraption with its curvy legs and beautiful blue and grey patina.   The vendor informed me that in its former life it had been the base of an old cast iron stove.  One leg was broken off the base and we had no idea how we were going to reattach it but with the old adage “Where there is a will there is a way” in mind we paid for this beauty and crossed find #3 off our list.

Once home DH informed me that our broken leg dilemma could only be solved with the help of a welder.  Luckily, we have a friend who is quite the talented welder and he agreed to help us out with the  project. After tufting the cushion I left the fate of project #3 in the hands of my friend and his blow torch.  Not only did he manage to reattach the leg he also figured out a great way to secure the cushion to the base.  Thanks to our third party help I am so excited to tell you that our seat challenge was a HUGE success.  I love it so much I’m tempted to keep it for Sister!

Antique Show Price: $225

Team Sewell

I can’t tell you much about the actual transformation process for Team Sewell’s projects but I can tell you the finished products look amazing!  Once again, I regret I don’t have any before photos but here are the after shots of their 3 challenge pieces:

1) Wall Art: Pretty quick into our treasure hunt team Sewell picked up this great old chippy window.  To add to the vintage loveliness they added an old black and white poster with a pop of red white and blue.  I’m thinking Sister would look mighty cute with this sitting on her mantle around the 4th of July, hmmmm.

Antique Show Price: $50

2) Storage: Ok, I have to admit Team Sewell knocked it out of the park with this one.  I am in awe of the transformation- trust me, this dresser was R-O-U-G-H when they found it.  But look at it now!  Don’t you just love the curvy lines and the teal blue stencil detail they applied down the side.  They also found the perfect mirror to complement the dresser and painted it a teal blue to match the stencil.  Super cute!
Antique Show Price: $275
3) Seat: In the seat challenge the Sewells took an ordinary box and embellished it with a removable upholstered cushion top and ornate metal handles to turn it into a super functional stool.  This little beauty will more then likely go quick once the doors open for business because I heard several oohs and ahhs from neighboring vendors as team Sewell was setting up.  
Antique Show Price: $75

So there you have it- 2 teams, 3 challenges and 3 days of stiff competition!  And guess what? You can get in on the fun.  Come by and mention that you read about our challenge on Two Story Sister and you will receive 10% off any item in team Thompson and/or team Sewell’s booth!  Here is a quick sneak peak into our booths as we were getting set up for this weekends big show:


Team Sewell was just starting to set up when I was snapping pictures so I was not able to capture all they have to offer for your viewing pleasure.  They were just unloading some really cool lighting fixtures when team Thompson left for the night.

We couldn’t be in a better spot for the show.  We are surrounded by some of my junkin heroes- I share a booth border with Waterhouse Market whose home will soon be featured in a national home magazine, and just down the aisle is the Seed Box Antiques booth- both Ah-M-A-Z-I-N-G! Oh! and then there is my new friend, Tina’s booth that is overflowing with fun stuff; and my neighbor has a booth with the coolest piano bench/coffee table that she painted.  I’m telling you- you won’t want to miss it!

Jenifer’s Antique Show
@ the Conway Expo Center
Friday, July 26- noon – 7pm
Saturday- 9am – 5pm
Sunday-11am – 5pm
Admission: $5 for adults (good for all weekend)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s