Oct 8

I Brake for Yard Sales.

I am obsessed with HGTV. I could literally watch it all day.  It’s a good thing I don’t have a TV anymore, because if I did, I would not be blogging, I would be watching HGTV. I love it more than Breaking Bad. I love it more than the first season of CSI. I love it more than animal documentaries. I don’t watch Orange is the New Black, but if I did, I’m sure I’d flip the channel in a heartbeat if I knew Design on a Dime was on.

Don’t judge my lifestyle.

Sometime in April, I received a call that basically fulfilled one of my life-long dreams. My dear friend Sue was producing an HGTV show about home makeovers using only furniture from yard sales and flea markets and she wanted to know if I was interested.  I asked myself, “Jen, do you really want to spend the entire summer in a warehouse sorting through filthy used furniture, drowning in fabric swatches, and inhaling noxious paint fumes?” Uh…YEAH!

00pin it!The show is new, the brainchild of Good Morning America co-host Lara Spencer. She is a design aficionado and a yard sale-ing guru. Her passion for furniture hunting is unwavering and unsurpassed. She wakes up at 3:45am for Good Morning America, hosts Flea Market Flip, writes books, decorates homes, has 2 kids, 3 dogs, and still manages to go to yard sales ALL THE TIME.  She even wrote a book about it.

51CbQPyjyNLpin it!

Back in April, we found the perfect workshop to base our operations. It was large enough to house the set of both Flea Market Flip and I Brake for Yard Sales. There was a paint booth, a loading dock, plenty of storage, and proximity to excellent pizza. Only problem was that it looked like this:

01pin it!Since Lara is ridiculously busy with her 5 jobs, I came on board to help spruce up the place.  I couldn’t have done it without my main squeeze, Aaron Montgomery who happens to be a designer/builder of awesome furniture.

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03pin it!He built the metal table, shelves, and desk from scratch. All of the furniture turned out mucho sexy, and I hope to have everything in this office replicated in my future warehouse/design studio. It’s gonna be glorious. Everything black and grey and greige and white and wood because I’m allergic to color.

Book-Review-I-Brake-For-Yard-Sales-Kathy-Griffin-Living-Roompin it!You know who’s NOT allergic to color? Lara Spencer. Even though we had functional, industrial furniture that fit the warehouse environment, we wanted the room to feel chic, fun, and bright, which would reflect Lara’s style. (She designed the room above.)

05pin it!We painted the grimy walls bright white and the door citron yellow.

06pin it!The furniture was designed to fit the space exactly.

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A wall of flats separates the I Brake for Yard Sales studio from the Flea Market Flip workshop.

08pin it!We brought in piles of fabric books, antique frames, design magazines, added a sprinkle of Jonathan Adler accessories and voila! A preppy/industrial design office was born. The crazy orange credenza was a team effort. It’s actually made of 3 IKEA kitchen wall cabinets and we added chunky wall moulding around each door. I used brass doorknockers as handles.

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10pin it!The top of the desk is actually an IKEA kitchen countertop.  I’ve always liked the taupe color of this laminate top and the faux wood edge is modern and interesting.  It never seemed like a material that I would want in a kitchen, but I think it works perfectly as a work surface.  The slab came exactly that length and it happened to fit perfectly against that wall. Destiny? I think so. Also, can we take a moment to admire the white lacquered chairs? SWOON. I got these at Build it Green (which is basically a donation-based junk yard) for $15 each!!!  They didn’t have seats at the time, but who cares! Nothing that a little plywood, foam, and fabric couldn’t fix.

11pin it!Alex built the Greek key screen which is actually covering a massive gaggle of electrical cords and a giant circuit breaker.

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It just so happens that the annual Jonathan Adler warehouse sale was the week of our warehouse makeover. Christine and I waited for 90 minutes in the pouring rain to snag this golden turtle dove.

13pin it!Left to right: Alex Gurrero, Sam Knapp of Tiger Lily’s, Lara Spencer, me, Cija Johnson.

Millions of thanks to Christine L., David D., Jay A., and James D. for helping pull the studio together in record time. Lara, thanks for including me on your furniture-saving adventure.  Can’t wait to do it again!

And Sue, you are my hero!

We designed and decorated 8 rooms, so more blog posts to come….

Watch I Brake for Yard Sales Friday evenings at 9pm on HGTV.

Posted by Jen at 1:02 am
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  1. Marcella says:

    It looks great Jen! And I’m so happy for you. Congrats!!

  2. Gina Lin says:


    I am impressed again, as always, by your work.

    It is really amazing to see so much talent put together. Human’s ability to achieve anything is shown over and over in the projects you involve.

    It is so true that “Sky is the limit” with you-well, maybe not any more. You have outreached into space.

  3. Aleasa says:

    I love it Jen. Probably for the last ten years I though, ‘Jenny needs to be on HGTV’. And YAY your life is awesome! Congrats!

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