Southington business owners win craft competition on “Flea Market Flip”

Southington business owners win craft competition on “Flea Market Flip”


SOUTHINGTON — A Friday episode of the reality TV show “Flea Market Flip” featured two local sisters and their one-of-a-kind furniture.

Darlene and Paula Charneco own the home goods store 2 Sister’s Design, 780 S. Main St. in Plantsville.

On “Flea Market Flip,” they channeled their passion for do-it-yourself projects by revamping old furniture found at flea markets and selling the items at an upscale outdoor market.

The episode aired Friday morning on HGTV. It will rerun on the Great American Country channel at 8 p.m. on Aug. 27.

The Charneco sisters grew up in Wallingford and now live in Meriden. Darlene Charneco graduated from Lyman Hall High School in 1996, and Paula Charneco graduated in 1990.

They opened their 4,000-square-foot location two years ago as Paula’s Unique Consignment.

“We love people, do-it-yourselfers,” Paula Charneco said. “We want you to buy our products and do it yourself.”

They sell painted furniture and home decor, and offer services like interior decorating, home staging and party planning.

“From day to day, we sell different things,” Paula Charneco said. “Today we just sold décor.”

Before that, the hot items were “fixer-upper furniture and tons of paint.”

They carry Dixie Belle Chalk Mineral Paint from a small business in Florida, which they used on the show.

“Since we were little, we were super crafty and artsy,” Darlene Charneco said.

Paula Charneco began honing her “picking” skills at the Redwood Flea Market in Wallingford at a young age.

“I’ve been (shopping at) flea markets since I was 4 or 5,” she said.

Their father, Oscar Charneco, a jack-of-all-trades woodworker, would take her along. She still remembers one of her earliest finds.

“I fell in love with this beautiful, Portuguese, vintage decanter” during an early trip to the Redwood, she said. “Back then, it was five bucks… It sat in a special place in our house for years.”

Oscar Charneco is now the store’s handyman. The store is a family-run, with parents, siblings and cousins all helping.

For “Flea Market Flip,” they had to complete a four-page application and submit photos of past rehab projects.

After a Skype interview with a casting agent, they learned the day after Christmas they would be on the show.

The sisters competed against another two-person team, a husband-and-wife duo. Filming was split into three segments; one day for buying, one for rehabbing and one for selling.

They shopped at Stormville Airport Flea Market in New York’s Hudson Valley on April 29 for items to create three projects in the categories of art deco, drab to fab and two-in-one.

“You go out and you have your flip list,” Paula Charneco said, “and you purchase everything. You meet with their design people and let them know what you want to do.”

The teams are given embellishment money to buy supplies before the rehabbing day on May 23. They created their projects during one grueling day in Stamford.

“We definitely took huge chances,” Darlene Charneco said, like choosing to try a decal for the first time.

“And that’s what (host) Lara Spencer said,” Paula Charneco said.

“But it definitely paid off because we won,” Darlene Charneco said.

On June 3, they sold their items at the LIC Flea and Food market in Long Island City, New York.

A set of end tables went to Dillon Chan, a YouTube vlogger. The tables can be seen in his video about unboxing a mattress.

The episode was true to life, depicting a process that was “long and stressful,” Darlene Charneco said.

The rehabbing day filming took 12 hours. Everything had to be completed in one day.

“It was nonstop,” Paula Charneco said. “It was high pressure.”

For those wishing to be on the show, “go into it with great personality and ready to work,” Darlene Charneco said. “It’s super stressful, but I’d love to do it again.” 203-317-2212 Twitter: @LCTakores

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