Here’s the premise: two teams of two are given a limited amount of time and 500 bucks to buy three pieces of furniture at a flea market. They take one day to completely rehab them and transform them, according to a rotating set of assigned design themes, into something creative and new, and then try to make the biggest profit by reselling them at a flea market the next day. Whoever makes the biggest profit wins a cool $5000 prize.
Sound interesting? It is! If you’re design-obsessed like me, HGTV’s Flea Market Flip provides an excellent opportunity to relax with a glass of wine in your hand, and spend 30 minutes alternately shouting at the TV (and your watching partner) about what you would do differently, or about how awesome something looks.
If you’re looking for new HGTV shows to watch after you’ve cycled through every episode of Fixer Upper and Property Brothers, then I highly recommend FMF. Over the years I’ve seen most of the episodes, and even though the narrative follows the same basic formula over time, the creative details mean I never get bored as a viewer. And if you’re already a fan of the show, you’ll definitely want to hear some of these secrets and juicy tidbits I dug up about the previously untold truths of Flea Market Flip.
Host Spencer also co-hosts Good Morning America
The host and executive producer of Flea Market Flip, Lara Spencer, is not only a great designer in her own right, and a warm and compelling HGTV host, she was also a major national TV personality even before the show. Spencer was promoted to the coveted role of Good Morning America co-anchor along with Robin Roberts, and George Stephanopoulos. Previously, she was the show’s “lifestyle anchor,” and even before that, she worked with Good Morning America as a national correspondent between 1999 and 2004. She’s certainly no stranger to the camera.
Besides her lengthy experience in TV journalism, Spencer is also a self-styled expert of the furniture flip, and is the author of two successful books on the topic: I Brake for Yard Sales: and Flea Markets, Thrift Shops, Auctions, and the Occasional Dumpster published in 2012, as well as 2014’s Flea Market Fabulous: Designing Gorgeous Rooms with Vintage Treasures.
Most of the teams are married or related
No, there’s no rule that the people on the competitive teams of two need to be married or related, but they almost always are, as you can see on the HGTV website’s episode guide. With some exceptions, like “childhood best friends” on season eight, episode one, or flight-attendant co-workers on season six, episode four, most teams are couples in real life, sisters, brothers, mother and daughter, or father and son.
It’s just speculation, but maybe that’s because you have to be pretty close to start with, in order to really trust and work well together in such a fast-paced, high-stress challenge!
The host’s favorite flip involved an antique bicycle
In an interview with SheKnows, host Spencer responded to a question about “the craziest item she’s seen flipped,” by saying she was once “completely blown away” by contestants who purchased an antique bicycle and completely rehauled it in one day into “the most fabulous tavern table.”
You have to respect that kind of creativity, even if few people are clamoring to buy a bicycle table. “It was one of a kind. It was so chic, totally unique, and I would’ve never thought of it,” said Spencer. Well, I say anyone who can transform a bike into a piece of furniture deserves to be on TV.
The scenes aren’t always filmed in order, so sometimes contestants fake it
Contestants on this HGTV favorite may get to flaunt their acting skills as well as their flipping skills. Like I mentioned before, multiple episodes and multiple team pairings are all being filmed on the same days, so the host and camera crews aren’t always available to catch something key while it happens live. That means contestants, and even buyers, need to be prepared to “reenact” what happened for the cameras.
For example, former contestants and co-owners of the design blog, Plaster and Disaster, wrote that their entire selling day had already come to a close, and that they were sure they had lost by the time host, Lara Spencer could shoot footage with their team, writing, “…our post-selling interview was very down.” Their post explains: “Lara arrived to shoot her scenes with us and we were feeling bummed, but we had to perk up and film all of the scenes for the day, including getting set up and pretending the day hadn’t happened yet.” Spoiler alert: They had actually won!