Death of Flip

I was always afraid of the day when I would see one of my flips on the side of the road.  Sadly that day was yesterday, and it was my own doing.

You may remember this wonderful lego table.  It was very cute and I thought for sure someone would want it.  I had it at the flea market all last summer and although kids liked to play with it, no one bought it.  So when I moved into the new indoor space in November, I thought surely someone would buy it as a Christmas present.   But no.DSCF1814    lego

The other day I decided to take it out of the booth to make room for some other things.  I decided I was going to donate it to a shelter for homeless families or abused kids. As I was loading into the van on a windy day, I dropped it and broke it.  It was beyond anything I could repair.  So yesterday I put it out on the curb with the hopes that someone else would come along and rescue it.  Maybe they could repair it or turn it into something else.


It was a sad moment seeing one of my “babies” left abandoned.  Yes, I know I get too attached and sentimental about things.  But when I came home last night I saw it was gone, so hopefully it’s gone on to another new life.


New items for the new space!

Sunday is the big move day!   As I mentioned in the previous post, I’ve rented a space in a collective of other vintage vendor types.   I don’t know how it will work out, but I’m anxious to try!!  I’m also anxious to have my dining room space back, even though I don’t really use it!

So here are a few of the new pieces I’ll be displaying:


Here’s the before of this sad table/ wall clock. And then…
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I decided to give it a nautical look and changed out the clock hands.  Much less sad looking now don’t you think?

teletab teletabaft

This telephone table (?) was a pretty easy flip.  I just reupholstered, cleaned it up and gave it a light retouch of the stain to give it a richer look.

You might remember this piece, it’s one that has had a serious identity crisis!  It’s a 19th century Aesthetic mirror frame, minus the mirror.  I didn’t want it but Gus gave it to me and I had a hard time figuring out what to do with it.  First I hung picture frames from it, but I didn’t like the way they dangled.  Then I put in a cork board, and covered it with fabric, but frankly, it was cheap and fell apart.  It sat in my apartment all summer until now.

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o here’s the latest incarnation:


It’s a chalkboard with a small piece inserted on top for push pins.  I like it!

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Another piece I didn’t do much with.  The lower left leg was missing the veneer so I just filled it with wood fill and painted it.  It doesn’t look great up close, but it looks fine from a normal vantage point!  Another good cleaning, and fresh coat of stain.  The biggest change was the painting of the metal handles.  Ugly non-discript metal, now a shiny silver! It’s a pretty cool piece!

This table was one a pair I had a couple of years ago.  Originally it had a glass top, but unfortunately I dropped the glass…   I couldn’t figure out what to do with it, but then I had an idea to just put a piece of wood in and decoupage!  How about a map!  Everyone needs a map in their living room, you can plan trips!

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And a couple of stools!

So there are the latest pieces!!  I’ll be sure to post photos of the new space, and I may start a new page on this site.  So I hope to see you again soon!!


This just in…. Flips by Phipps will begin a new chapter soon!!   Within the next couple of weeks you will be able to visit my “shop” in Danvers, MA!  I’ll be joining a collective market space of vendors selling and retro, vintage antique items, etc.     I’m very excited so stay tuned for more info.  This will also mean I get my dining room back!!


End of the season

As most of you know, I don’t flip furniture full time.  It’s a hobby I started a few  years ago as something to keep me busy, with a creative outlet, rather than just sitting around watching TV.  I like to call this a “self-sustaining hobby”  although that isn’t really true either.  It’s been a very disappointing and disheartening summer at the flea market for me.  I’m not sure if I’ll keep this up for next year.  Not only did I not make any money this season, I only broke even once this.  I’m glad I don’t have to rely on that income, but what ever I make at the market is my summer spending money.  Not too this year.  Anyway, besides that, it’s hard to do on my own, and in my space.  So I’ll have to make some decisions over the winter as to whether or not to keep it up.  But you don’t come here to read about my woes, but to see what I’ve been doing, so let’s look!!

This Sunday is the last market for the season. I have LOTS of nice things for sale!!  Here are the two latest flips:

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An ugly wine rack that need a little more pizzazz.


There was once some sort of shelf on the bottom, but not when I found this piece, so I had to put a new shelf in.  Then instead of painting I did a little decoupage. Wine First?  Well of course!!

winerack top

And the top needed some wine labels!  Just in case someone wasn’t sure what this item is for!

My neighbors convinced me not to paint the whole thing because of the woven detail on the sides and top.  I agreed, but painted the body of the piece which made the weave stand out that much.  Beyond that I just cleaned it up and re-stained the area holding the wine. Which by the way holds 24 bottles.  I like the way it turned out and hope it will sell.

harlqb4 harlequin table aft

This table didn’t need too much.  A bit of wood glue and new pizzazz!  I love the way it turned out.  It has a very rustic look when you look closely (not distressed).  I wish I’d thought to take a detail photo of the pattern.  Maybe later. It’s one piece that I wouldn’t mind keeping but I really have no place to put it.  If it sells, it sells.  If not…

Tonight I’m trying to re-flip another piece.  This one might be called a TRIPLE back flip.  I had one version:

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I liked it okay, but the frames weren’t stationary and the movement made me crazy. So I tried another idea:


I added a cork board with fabric.  Nice idea but it was flimsy and fell apart.  So tonight I’m working the third version.  I HOPE I can finish it by tomorrow before I have to load up after work.  I’ll be tight but I’ll try!  I’ll post photos if  make it!

So there you have it! The last pieces for the season!

Blood, spillage and death

Flipping furniture is a fun and creative hobby.  But there is a dark side too.


Injuries happen.  Luckily I haven’t cut off a finger or nailed something to myself by accent; I’ve not burned off skin with the sander or with chemicals;  I’ve not had saw dust or paint chips fly in eyes.  But I did have an injury last weekend while loading up the van for the market the next day.  As you may know, I work out of my second floor apartment so every time I get ready for market I have to up and down the stairs carrying furniture.  It IS like moving every weekend–twice.  Anyway, it’s a miracle I haven’t incurred any of the injuries listed above and it’s a miracle I haven’t fallen down the stairs.  But fall I did right off the curb and onto my knees. Luckily the ottoman I was carrying caught my fall so I didn’t go face down onto the street, just straight onto my knees.  OOOOUUUCH!!!


This is just one knee, both were badly banged up and bleeding.  I felt like such a child.  Now I’m walking around with bruised and scabby knees…isn’t that attractive?  Needless to say, I’ve been wearing long skirts to work this week!!


It’s another miracle that I haven’t had a huge spill and disaster in the room that I work in. I don’t have a good work environment at all.  The space is crowded and yes, a mess.  Working in there is a huge challenge.  A couple of weeks ago, when I was getting ready for work I went into the work room to get something and I saw it…a nearly full can of new, read paint.  What a mess!!!  And oh, that beautiful paint that I had just used once….


I wasn’t sure if Mia had knocked it over or if I had the night before when I was putting a large table into the room.  The paint had clearly been there for a while, the edges were drying, but luckily the paint didn’t seep through the carpet and onto the hard wood floor!  Another miracle!  It seems the flipping muses are watching out for me!


Yes, death comes to flipping.  I have now killed not one, but two sanders.  I don’t know what their life spans are supposed to be but I clearly am hard on them.


RIP sander #2.

So now you know the “flip side” of the flipping!  LOL!  That was pretty funny if I do say so myself!    Enjoy!


Well, that’s my opinion at least!

I’m happy to show you a couple of things available this Sunday at the Someville Flea.  Come by if you’re local…or even if you’re not!

So you may remember the world’s ugliest chairs that I found this summer at a thrift store.  No? Let me refresh your memory. Brace yourself, it’s not pretty!


Horrible!!  They had been spray painted silver and had and stand of faux silver tacks around the edge.  What can I say about the ugly upholstery?  Ugh.


This flip was one of the hardest and most time consuming because of the various layers of paint, some of it oil based, spray painted, and some sort of goo that was nearly impossible to sand off!  I thought this would a quick flip–sand, paint and re-upholster.  No!!  But I’m happy with out they turned out.  What do you think?


The blue turned out a little brighter than I thought it would be, but I like it!!

On to another ugly to beautiful:

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This is another that ended up taking much more time than I thought it would.  Five layers of paint!!!

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The photo on the left shows the first two layers, but as I went I found black, pink and red!!  I have to admit, at one point I found myself  thinking the multiple layers looked kind of cool.  There was something very graphic about the colors — sort of destressed graphic.  Or maybe I’d call it shabby graphic?  I don’t know there was something that reminded me of comic book artwork.  Well, I decided not to keep it and keep sanding.  And the final result???

Ta daaaa!

reddresser1 reddresser3

I’m now obsessed with the idea of using two tones of one color, so yes you are seeing two shades of red.  I think this is my new favorite piece.  I want to keep it but I know it will sell.

So those are the two BIG dramatic make overs…or rather flips.  I’ll post a few other soon.

Thanks for checking it out!

Happy 100!!!

Happy 100 to me!!  I realized last night that I had reached the magic number of 100 sold flips!!  That doesn’t count clocks, boxes, lanterns, etc, only furniture.  And I also counted pairs as one, so technically I’ve sold over 100 items since I started selling three years ago.

market 9.6
The scene of the event.

What was the luck 100th piece?

This baby!

DSCF2086 70s table after

What made it even better was that it was the one piece I REALLY wanted to sell yesterday.  It’s a big, ol’ heavy, awkward-to-carry  1970’s end table.  I REALLY didn’t want to have to take it home and carry it up the stairs only to have to take it back to market next week. I priced it to sell, and sell it did!  PHEW!

It’s hard to see but the glass doors are dark yellow which is why I went for the yellow color.  How many of you grew up with similar pieces of furniture?  I know I did!  My mother bought a set which include a coffee table and two side tables–one of them in the shape of a hexagon.  No glass doors though, wood.  Ugh.

I found it on the side of the road and it had three feet, one was missing.  I tried to see if I could find another one to make the four, but no such luck.  So I opted to just remove the feet all together.

70s feet

70s in progress
A work in progress.

I’m glad it found a good home. The girl who bought it was excited and luckily her roommate’s boyfriend was there and was given the job to carry it back to the apartment.  He was a big guy so I’m sure he no problems.

She also bought this little cutie.

 DSCF2064blue lace after
It didn’t turn out exactly the way I wanted but that’s okay.  She liked it and it has a home.

I’ll post more later and share with you the story of the horrible people who came into my booth.  Stay tuned!

They’re HOT!!! And so am I…well it IS hot in my apartment!

I have a flea market this Sunday so I thought I’d share a few of the pieces available.  If you want and need them, and if you’re local  me know!  OR come see me at the Somerville Flea!

How about a great little side table?

 flowersb4   floweraft

Before…. and after!

Or maybe a cool mid-century coffee table?

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I love this bookshelf.  It has a very cool design.  I decided to give it personality with decoupage.  Same color, but all different patterns.

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coolshelfaft2 a little side view.

And finally for today’s sampling… ugly chairs.  They aren’t the “Ugliest Chairs Ever,” I’m still working on those, so keep any eye out.  But these were a close second!


And now…


But wait!  There’s more!!  I don’t have just two of these chairs, I have four!!  All you need is a table and the room!  I think they turned out really well!

Let me know what you think!  More is coming!

Why do I do this? Some personal insight.

Not long ago I was emailing back and for with my friend Amanda who was trying to do a little flipping herself. We both have museum backgrounds and I think I made a passing comment that by flipping, it taps into my inner conservator.  We talked about how we both had once wanted to go into art restoration and conservation, but that meant too much science!

As an undergraduate student I was an art history major and during a semester in Italy I took a class in art restoration.   The professor said that artists who go into the field of restoration often have a hard time because their artistic desires and creativity often get in the way.  That made sense.  Rather than trying to restore a piece of art back to the the way it originally looked –the way Leonard da Vinci originally painted it, some would try to make it look the way THEY thought it should look, for better or worse.  There is difference.  While taking the class and thinking about that, I realized the advantage I had was that yes, I have artistic abilities, but I never thought of myself as an artist.  I was always copying pictures and photos as a kid but when I tried to create something out of my own imagination it was awful!  So I thought I would be great as a restorer/conservator…or forger!  Unfortunately, as I said I discovered that to follow that professional path, I would need a lot of science and chemistry!  YIKES!!!  I never even took chemistry in high school so I knew I would pretty much have to start over again in a field I really don’t think I have any aptitude for. So I never did pursue that interest.

I’ve realized that by flipping these pieces of furniture and the occasional object, I am doing my very one UN-SCIENTIFIC form of restoration.   Below is an old 19th century metal candelabra that my friend Gus gave me.  It was in a few pieces but it didn’t look like anything I couldn’t do something about.  I thought I could put it back together, clean it up, paint and make it nice again. It just needed some love



Did I mention “un-scientific?”  For anyone out there reading this who IS a conservator, please forgive for what I have done.  I obviously don’t have the correct training, tools, or cleaning materials to do this properly, so to scrape off some of the gunk that had accumulated around the base where the metal and marble meet, I used a flat head screwdriver.  The marble could use more cleaning, but I didn’t know exactly what to use, so I just used a  green product to clean it up as best I could.  Marble is also much softer than I expected so I had to be careful in what I did so that I didn’t damage the it.  In terms of cleaning the metal, it could have used a good strong bath with some sort of chemical solution to get off the grime and layers of gold paint.  Again, I just scrubbed the best I could with what I had.


There are three pieces to set in place where the small candle holders would be screwed in.


One of them, had the center piece broken off.  It should have been soldered back on, but all I have is a strong glue.  I’m pretty sure, if down the road a professional wants to tackle this piece than do so easily.  One of the things I do know about restoration and conservation, is to make sure everything you do is reversible!

Once everything was cleaned, as good as it was going to be, I looked at it a little closer and realized that there were small holes all around the three oval pieces.  Of course!!!  There had once been crystals hanging to catch and multiply the candle light and sparkle.  So once I’d decided on the painting the piece blue, I had to replace the missing crystals with new ones.   Rather than buying antique pieces or REAL chandelier crystals, I opted to make my own.


In the end, I think the final result is quite pretty.  I know not everyone will want or need a navy blue candelabra, but the one person who does, let me know!  I think the blue makes it more fun and somehow less formal.  It would be great accent piece any room.


Here it is on display a the flea market.


So in my own little way, I guess I did end up in restoration work.  It’s my way of saving and keeping a bit of the past and history alive and beautiful a little bit longer.  Maybe some one will keep one of my flipped pieces for a long time and pass it on to a friend or family member. Maybe some dec arts restorer will find it and redo everything I did.  That’s okay, as long has it has life.  I do dread the day when I see one of my flips at at thrift shop, or on the side of the road.  Will I pick it up and give it life again??  Probably.  I think I have a strong nurturing side that never really got to be used since I never go married or had kids.  I can take care of and love my cat, and I can take care of and love the abandoned pieces of our lives.  Everything wants to be wanted and loved, even a table or blue candelabra.


After two rained out Sundays, I finally was able to get to my first flea market showing of the season!

I’ve said it many times, my flea market days are the hardest day of the week for me.  My day off starts Saturday afternoon after I get home from work.  I pick up the van then load it up so that I’m ready to go Sunday morning.  I get to the Somerville Flea by 8:00 a.m. and spend the next two hours unloading and setting up to be ready by 10:00 a.m. Then I spend the rest of the day sitting around, talking to potential buyers, and trying to sell.  We close at 4:00, so then the clean up and load up starts which usually takes me about an hour.  Once I get back home to Salem, I have unload everything again, and carry it all back upstairs.  When that exhausting task is complete I take the van back to the rental place and walk home.  It ends up being about a 12 hour day.  No wonder  I have no energy to do anything Sunday nights!  Last night I was particularly tired; probably because it was my first day back.    A friend pointed out that this is like moving every weekend… TRUE!!!!  I hadn’t thought of it before but that’s exactly what it’s like.

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It was a picture perfect warm, sunny, summer day.  Unfortunately, it seems that not too many people were looking to buy small pieces of furniture, although I did see large pieces being sold.


Oh well.  My first day out was a disappointment but I’ll be back next week and will try again.  I have plenty of pieces ready to be sold, and several more waiting to be flipped.

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These four pieces sold, plus a small mid-century table on wheels that I did nothing to other than cleaning it up. So farewell my little beauties.  I hope you have good homes now!

Looking forward to doing it all again next week!