Flea Market Flip: Workshop Day.

Are you ready for more behind-the-scenes action of our Flea Market Flip episode? If you’re just joining me, I wrote about our experiences first here and then here.  Today I will be focusing on our Workshop Day which was the day we refurbished/reinvented the items we bought at the flea market.

We had about a month between our Buy Day and our Workshop Day which was great because we had time to really plan our flips.  Melissa and I bounced so many ideas back and forth and by the time this day arrived, we were beyond ready to see our pieces again and get going.

Unlike the Buy Day, only 1 episode is taped at a time for the Workshop Day.  The workshop/studio is located in Connecticut, near NYC and looks like a warehouse on the outside. You would never know the TV show was taped inside!


The majority of the set is a real, working workshop complete with tools, paint, lumber, fabric — everything you need to rehab your finds.  We were given $100 to buy any additional items we needed.  Melissa and I used the money to buy fabric for our stools, barnwood for our industrial cart, and the metal legs for our coffee table.

I was so excited to see Lara again when she came to the workshop for about an hour to tape our segments.  Her commentary about our projects was real; she truly offers advice about our flips and I was excited to hear her feedback.  She knows what she’s talking about and although Melissa and I had plan, we were willing to change course if Lara suggested we did. Fortunately, she loved our ideas (even the stools, finally!) and she was a great resource. Melissa and I had a few fabric choices for them and based on Lara’s input, we were able to make our final decision.


Dave helped me cut out the seats for our stools and I was so nervous I would make a mistake especially with cameras catching my every move and John taunting me in the distance.


I love how our stools turned out.  By cutting off the backs that screamed 80’s and making new seats out of this beautiful wood we stained, Melissa and I knew these would sell. Because we needed to include fabric in this project, our producer suggested we make removable seat cushions which increased the functionality of the stools.  Melissa meticulously covered plywood rounds with foam and this fabric we found at Hobby Lobby. We also added a felt backer so that they wouldn’t scratch the top of the stools.

See ya’ later ugly cushion and dated back! Hello industrial stools!

Our next project was the industrial cart turned bar cart/kitchen island/console table. Melissa and I both knew when we saw this piece looking forlorn and unloved at the flea market that it had such potential.  Seriously.  I wish I could have kept it.  We bought barnwood for a steal from one of my students and brought it with us to the workshop. There, Alex helped us piece it together, level, and sand it to create a stable surface for the top and the shelf below.  John made some snarky remark on the show that we just “threw some wood on top” but it was so much more than that.  Maybe he was just intimidated by our mad skills? Anyway, see for yourself.  The wood is gorgeous.




And paired with the industrial base, it’s a winner!

Did I mention I love this piece? Oh and check out the wheels! I love the wheels which makes this piece even more functional!

Our last project for the day was our last minute purchase — the coffee table.  If you remember from my previous post, Melissa and I were initially pretty bummed with this last piece.  We just didn’t know exactly what to do with it.  It was an awkward height, the legs were kind of boxy, and it seemed homemade and hum-drum.  But, it was solid, the top was a good size, and as we started brainstorming, we realized that if we ditched the legs, we could turn this tired table around.  Because our other 2 pieces had the farmhouse-industrial appeal, we wanted to add a more modern finish to this piece and that’s why we created the sexy metal legs.  A former student of mine crafted them for us and they turned out perfectly.  I love the contrast of the metal with the wood top.


Dave, Alex, and Mark attached the new legs to the table for us. Although Melissa and I were up for learning new tricks on our Workshop Day, some things are better left to the professionals especially since this was the last project we worked on that day and we were running out of time!

We were also concerned about the orangey-wood top which had to go; we wanted more of a bleached wood look to go with our modern legs.  We carefully tested several different types of finishes after sanding in order to maintain the look we were going for.  That extra time was totally worth it because this coffee table exceeded our expectations.  Lara loved it too and commented that she wished she could buy it! Score!!



Can this come home with me too?!?

All of the craftspeople were so fun to work with — patient, kind, and willing to teach us what we needed to know — which was a lot! Melissa and I never would have won without them.  Our husbands might not know much about design, but they know how to use power tools and that edge would have smoked us.

Thank you Alex!

On air, I may have criticized the husbands’ door turned into a shelf, but I secretly loved it. In person, it looked even better — the finish was fabulous.  Originally John and Rich planned to strip it down to its original wood but as they uncovered the paint beneath, Cija, a master craftsperson who works on the show, convinced them to embrace it and keep the weathered finish.  The husbands then constructed shelves to insert in the door panels they removed, and with the help of Cija, replicated the paint finish on the new wood.  Cija told us that she began her career designing, constructing and painting stage sets in college. She is so talented!





It was a very busy day at the Workshop , but I still had time to fraternize with the enemy. He was hard to resist!




The husbands’ second project was the chest turned coffee table.  The coffee table needed a little love — some sanding and stain to make it shine again.  They added legs that Rich welded himself (see?? I told you they had skills) which helped to elevate the chest to a proper coffee table height.



John may have threatened to bury me inside it but since I won, I am choosing to forget that!

Here’s a pic of the finished piece.  Looks super sharp.  I also love that I am behind it, carrying my sewing machine.  I didn’t end up using it, but, you never know! I’m glad that a part of my mom and my grandma Ada made the trip with me even though I didn’t need it.


The husbands final project was the headboard turned into a bench.  I loved this piece too and was surprised it didn’t sell. Lara loved the fabric they (me!) selected and their finishes were impeccable.  It was also a great shape+size.  Some shoppers at the flea market commented that they wished the bench had storage. Who knows? A different day and a different outcome, right?




It was another long day taping and working but it was so much fun!  As I said earlier, the set is mostly a working set — the tools and supplies are actually used.  But this area, where the pieces are taped for their before and after shots, is purely a set.  It’s separate from the workshop but in the same warehouse.


This piece is from another episode that was ready to be packed up for the Buy Day.


And this is more of the crew, outside the studio/workshop walls, monitoring the taping that’s going on inside those double doors on the right.


At the end of the day, we finished all of our pieces and were excited to get ready for our last day of filming: the Sell Day.

I can’t thank John enough for stepping outside his comfort zone and agreeing to be on the show for me.  John and I have done many home improvement projects together and we each bring our own areas of expertise.  I’m usually the idea giver and John’s the executor; he gets the job done.  Competing against each other forced us to work differently and it was a challenge.  We both had awesome partners but they too, work like us.  Melissa is the visionary and Rich is the worker bee.  But this dynamic made the show interesting and thank goodness our husbands agreed to play along!

You would never guess the set for Flea Market Flip was just inside these doors.  After a long day, it was time for the 3 hour drive home!

2 down, 1 to go! The last installment, the Sell Day is coming up this Sunday. Thank you so much for reading!



Add yours →

  1. I love the inside look at a favorite show. Plus the photo bomber in the pic of you and John shows what fun the crew really is.


  2. Angie–loved reading all about the workshop day! 🙂 Awesome flips!! 🙂


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