Fulmer House Allows Local Contestants to Breathe New Life into Old Items
According to Jennifer Fulmer Vinson, the Fulmer House Flip came about four years ago when the Fulmer crew was looking at items they had for sale on the porch area that “had seen better days.”
Vinson noted that she and her parents, Elisabeth and Bill Fulmer, are all fans of the Flea Market Flip television show and also fond of not throwing away items that could be restored or reimagined with a bit of attention and creativity.
“Inspiration struck,” Vinson said.
They decided to host a special “flip” of their own, utilizing items for sale at the Fulmer House and making it a competition for local artists and crafters.
For a $10 registration fee, contestants can pick from specially-marked items and take them home to work their magic. Once their projects are finished, they send in “after” photos. Vinson then creates the “before and after” for each submission and posts them on the Fulmer House Facebook page and the voting begins. Anyone can visit the Fulmer House Facebook page and vote on their favorite project.
Many times, the contestants will also describe the vision they had and the work that did to achieve the transformation, allowing those viewing the posts a peek at the work behind the magic.
“We love seeing what new life people can breathe into something some people might have put in the dumpster,” Vinson noted.
The top three “vote-getters” receive gift certificates for the Fulmer House.
“And, of course, they also now have a wonderful creation to keep,” Vinson added.
“All of the submissions are amazing, and the community really seems to enjoy seeing what was done.”
This year’s winners were First Place Eric Funk Jr., Second Place Taylor Banner, and Third Place Olivia and Jean Keltz.
“I have been friends with the owners of the Fulmer House for years, so I was familiar with the flip contest since they started,” Funk said.
While he was familiar with the competition, he hadn’t been in the area for it for several years due to attending a music program in California. However, this year, he remained in Clarion due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and decided to make an entry.
“I have been refurbishing furniture for a few years for family and friends. I love bringing things back to how they would have been originally. So, my goal is always to preserve history, and if I can’t do that, I at least make it functional again.”
When he went to check out the items available for the Flip, he found an item that suited him perfectly.
“I have had a passion for all things Mid-century, so when I went to pick my piece, it was a no brainer.”
A bit of time, love, and elbow grease, and his project was ready for judging.
“I changed the wheels, sanded, and stained the entire thing. I then measured and inlaid a new piece of wood over the original fiberboard top, keeping it as original as possible.”
As much as he loved the item he restored, Funk said winning the contest was still a surprise for him.
“Everyone who entered was so amazing, so it really was just an honor to be apart of something that included so many talented people. I’m really thankful that so many people liked it.”
He also noted that he hopes the Flip will serve as an example to others.
“I hope that people look at this and realize how easy it can be to make something that’s a little drab beautiful again. We are so wasteful nowadays, discarding things that aren’t perfect when all you need to do is put a little elbow grease in to make it even more beautiful than it was before.”
Funk noted he would like to participate in the competition again in the future if he’s still in the area and hopes to see lots of other entries in the future, as well.
“I want to thank the Fulmer House for giving people the opportunity to make beauty out of what would otherwise be overlooked. I plan on using my winnings to go back to the Fulmer House and find some new treasures to work on.”
Second Place winner and local art teacher Taylor Banner is not new to the Flip. Both she and her mother have been participating since the first year of the event.
“I was interested in the event because it was an opportunity to use my creativity in a different way. Now I look forward to the creative challenge every year.”
Banner said she specifically looks for a piece that speaks to her, something she can envision bringing back to life.
“It’s not about winning or placing. For me, it’s all about the creative process. As an artist and educator, it’s a lot of fun to step outside that comfort zone and try something new.”
Banner noted she also enjoys seeing the other project entries, as well, and also hopes to see more participants in the future.
Mother and daughter team Olivia and Jean Keltz were first-time entrants in the Flip this year who were also inspired by the Flea Market Flip show.
“I knew it would be a fun project to do together,” Olivia Keltz said.
Once she decided she was interested, Olivia FaceTimed her mother, Jean, who resides in Bradford, to show her the options and pick something out together.
“We agreed on the item that would be most useful for us. I thought the wicker chair was perfect because my mom is a great seamstress and could make beautiful new cushions.”
Olivia said that the project became a great mother-daughter bonding experience.
While the pair were excited about placing in this year’s Flip, Olivia said it really meant far more to them.
“It was great to be recognized for our hard work. However, it was more about the experience than winning.”
Olivia said they hope to participate again, and Jean is already getting lots of ideas from the Flea Market Flip show.
“We look forward to the Fulmer House Flip 2021,” Fulmer said, noting it will likely start in September with the voting being held during the Autumn Leaf Festival.
“With interest in the competition continuing to grow, we hope to see many more beautiful projects in the future.”
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