Fur­ni­ture Flip­ping Fe­males

Dorchester Star - - Front Page - By MARY BARGION

CAM­BRIDGE — If the name doesn’t cap­ture your at­ten­tion, the con­tents of this very ac­ces­si­ble store in Cam­bridge, will. Two lo­cal gals are breath­ing new life into older pieces past their prime, trans­mut­ing Eastern Shore “has-beens” into vin­tage col­lectibles.

CAM­BRIDGE — If the name doesn’t cap­ture your at­ten­tion, the con­tents of this very ac­ces­si­ble store in Cam­bridge, will. Two lo­cal gals are breath­ing new life into older pieces past their prime, trans­mut­ing Eastern Shore “has-beens” into vin­tage col­lectibles.

Terri Col­li­son and Susie Creighton ac­quired a fol­low­ing (they’ve moved lo­ca­tions three times) af­ter both re­tired from long ca­reers in the field of den­tistry. They like their new hobby that em­braces rein­ven­tion where an or­di­nary sew­ing ma­chine ta­ble can be­come a party server with space for wine and ap­pe­tiz­ers, and a slice of bowl­ing al­ley lane the top of a sturdy butcher block.

Here is a floor lamp made from an up­turned chick­en­wire bas­ket — “Chicken farm­ers love their chicken bas­kets,” said Creighton. Across the room a pair of wa­ter­man’s nip­pers hang from the ceil­ing. Some 1,500 pieces have gone out the door since the women turned their at­ten­tion re­pur­pos­ing things for sale.

“Some whisk out the door, oth­ers linger,” ex­plained Col­li­son. Un­like many an­tique stores where things are thrown to­gether in “pickup-sticks” fash­ion, items are ar­ranged in at­trac­tive set­tings with home dé­cor in mind. “It’s eas­ier to imagine a ta­ble or col­lectible in your liv­ing room or gar­den if you see it con­text,” she said.

For ex­am­ple, what looks like a rus­tic, made to or­der 41-inch-long tri­an­gu­lar­shaped cof­fee ta­ble of warm­toned wood, is ac­tu­ally an old-fash­ioned dough ta­ble cut down to serve a new pur­pose. To fill their shop with in­trigu­ing mer­chan­dise, the own­ers rely on fur­ni­ture dealers who reg­u­larly stop by to do a lit­tle hag­gling — as well as on their own ex­ploratory trips.

“We go to es­tate sales, to coun­try sales,” said Creighton. Many of their “picks,” as they call their buy­ing ad­ven­tures yield great finds, such as a visit to an old shed in Tyaskin. “It must have been be­low sea level be­cause the mud was over our flip-flops,” said Creighton.

But they hung in there and found shut­ters, man­tles and door knobs. They had a won­der­ful time but weren’t quite pre­pared for the ex­er­tion. “We thought we’d do a lit­tle buy­ing then have a nice lunch,” said Creighton, “but we were so ex­hausted we had an English muf­fin at McDon­ald’s and went back to Cam­bridge.”

Old chests with carved fit­tings have been found in down-in-the-mouth homes that are no longer liv­able. Fun ac­ces­sories for the gar­den or porch are also on dis­play, such as crab-pot buoys or a con­trap­tion to toast bread at a camp­fire.

Some­times hus­bands are called on for the heavy lift­ing and sons and daugh­ters are pressed into ser­vice. Many buy­ers are lo­cals – “ever y time that bridge goes up four or five cars have to stop and look at us,” said Creighton. Busi­ness also comes from de­voted cus­tomers in the nearby con­dos who want to soak up the Eastern Shore “look.”

While both women have ac­tive imag­i­na­tions, Col­li­son said she is more the artist and Creighton is the builder. It was Creighton who put to­gether the butcher block, and she can take one look

at a sal­vaged door, and the next day it’s on the floor as a cool en­try­way piece.

The process is or­ganic and cus­tomers never know what they’ll find. If a vis­i­tor walks around the shop — which was once an up­scale re­tail tile store — she can catch a whiff of tur­pen­tine em­a­nat­ing from the back work­room.

“A woman came in and saw that Terri had painted a bureau sil­ver for a client,” said Creighton. “So she brought hers in and wanted it done the same way.”

New to the store’s col­lec­tions are small to­kens from 1915 to 1932 that work­ers in the can­ning fac­to­ries were paid, each dis­played in an in­di­vid­ual box. And they just got a num­ber of brightly col­ored graphic-print la­bels from orig­i­nal can­ning com­pa­nies, such as Tal­bot Trad­ing Pack­ing & Press Com­pany that look re­ally good framed.

The new store­front is lo­cated at 503 Mary­land Ave. in Cam­bridge and is open from Wed­nes­day to Satur­day, or by ap­point­ment by call­ing 443-521-0838 or 443-521-0794. Find them on­line at fur­ni­ture­flip­pingfe­males.org/ or on Face­book at www.face­book. com/Fur­ni­ture-Flip­ping-Fe males-171733592998197.

“There are a lot of trea­sures here,” said Creighton. “They just have to find you.”

PHOTOS BY LAURA WORMUTH

Fur­ni­ture Flip­ping Fe­males

PHOTOS BY LAURA WORMUTH

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