In this episode, Cara sits down with her diy bestie + Furniture Flip Challenge co-host, Jessie Ecker. They share some of their best tips for flipping furniture, strategies for infusing personality into your project and trying new diy techniques. They also chat about how to leverage DMs on social media to get expert advice from brands and some ways to avoid catching your project on fire.

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in this episode:

✨ strategies for sanding vs using a chemical stripper on your furniture piece
✨ painting furniture flips: milk paint vs latex vs spray paint
✨ tricks for super smooth paint finishes: paint sprayer, flotrol additive, etc.
✨ how to finish pieces: finishing oil vs wax vs furniture butter
✨ designing a furniture piece and customizing it to fit your style – no matter what others think
✨ Furniture Flip Challenge details + how to flip pieces with Jessie & Cara
✨ things that can catch on fire: oily rags, epoxy that is poured to thick, etc


chatting with…


cara & jessie

Cara & Jessie bring fresh eyes and femininity to the diy world.  Cara fearlessly dove into diy after losing her dad to cancer, teaching herself it’s possible to create her dream home on her own terms. Jessie is a military mom of three who took charge of transforming her first home all by herself while her husband was deployed.  These two diy besties are on a mission to empower everyday women to become unstoppable diy-ers and fearlessly create a home that they’re obsessed with. 

get in touch

Jessie: @eyeinthedetail  // let’s diy big:

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…just in case you wanna read

[00:00:00] Jessie Ecker: [00:00:00] Like the biggest advice for furniture flipping or any kind of DIY thing is that you just go for it and you start and you really. Like begin something. So even if you’re intimidated and you’re scared about doing something, I think the best thing to do is just really like, go for it and see what happens, but I feel like you’re never going to learn and you’re never getting it better if you don’t actually try.   

[00:01:04] Hey, it’s Cara and I’m on a mission to help you find your style. Learn to tackle home design without intimidation and unlock the confidence to transform your home. On the show today, I’m sitting down with my DIY bestie, Jessie, and we are breaking down all of our tips for flipping furniture. This episode is way more casual than usual.

[00:01:27] You really are just tuning into a conversation with me and my best friend, as we share tips and hope to inspire you to dive in and flip some furniture pieces with us. I’ll add the link in the show notes to the furniture flip challenge that we are co-hosting. In conjunction with better homes and gardens do it yourself magazine.

[00:01:47] So you can hop over and register to flip alongside us. 

[00:01:51]As we all flip our pieces together, we can share our wins, share our befores, share our struggles and just talk and [00:02:00] have some support. So. We created a Facebook group so if you’d like to join, I will link that in the description as well. Or you can just search, let’s flip it.

[00:02:07] It’s called furniture flipping with Jessie and Cara on Facebook. And get in on that. Cause it’s really fun so far. And then we’re also going to be going live each week of the challenge with the editor, Brian of do it yourself magazine. So we’re going to do a Q&A talk about some of the pieces, talk about our projects.

[00:02:25] And then after the interview, I’m going to break down some more specifics about the challenge, like the two different categories, how you can tune into our live Q and A’s with Brian, the editor of do it yourself magazine and more so stay tuned and let’s dive in.

[00:02:43]Cara Newhart: [00:02:43] Hi, Jesse,

[00:02:44] Jessie Ecker: [00:02:44] Hi, Cara.

[00:02:47] Cara Newhart: [00:02:47] Do you have you back? You are the only three time recurring guests, so

[00:02:51] Jessie Ecker: [00:02:51] I know this is like third time is a charm. I feel like we’re going to kill it this time.

[00:02:55] Cara Newhart: [00:02:55] We are going to kill it so if everyone doesn’t know we are, co-hosting the [00:03:00] furniture flip challenge again, season number two in conjunction with do it yourself magazine. And we really tried hard this year to reign it in with our projects. Do you want to tell everyone what you’re flipping?

[00:03:11] Jessie Ecker: [00:03:11] I am trying to only flip one piece of furniture this time around, which will probably not happen, but life goals, I am going to be flipping my piano and it is like an antique piano. I’ve already painted it once with chalk paint white from like Brown, white. And I think it’s gonna, I’m going to make it like next level.

[00:03:33] It’s going to be so good.

[00:03:34] Cara Newhart: [00:03:34] One piece, so Jessie picked the biggest piece. She

[00:03:37] Jessie Ecker: [00:03:37] The biggest piece of my house. And I tried to really reign it in this year, instead of going around, looking for new pieces, I was like, maybe I’ll just stick with all the stuff that’s in my house because there’s so many things,

[00:03:50]Cara Newhart: [00:03:50] and I did the opposite. I was like, I’m going to do one piece and now I’m doing

[00:03:54] Jessie Ecker: [00:03:54] 25.

[00:03:55] Cara Newhart: [00:03:55] and a table and a whole room to go with it. So

[00:03:58] Jessie Ecker: [00:03:58] Right. I know. I feel like you’re giving me [00:04:00] anxiety. I’m sweating a little bit. Like I’m going to also have to redo the entire room and space, so we’ll see if that happens.

[00:04:09] Cara Newhart: [00:04:09] no pressure, but yeah, I’m going all out. So

[00:04:11] Jessie Ecker: [00:04:11] Cool. Cool. Cool. Cool. Cool.

[00:04:15] Cara Newhart: [00:04:15] Well, we just wanted to sit down and share some of our tips were by no means professional furniture, flippers. I know there’s people that do this for a living, but this challenge really is all about inspiring people that are new to furniture flipping and kind of helping you get plugged into a community and do it really fun and do it all together.

[00:04:33] Jessie Ecker: [00:04:33] I feel like I’m a professional, just so we’re all clear.

[00:04:36] Cara Newhart: [00:04:36] the professional. Okay. Just so we’re clear, Jesse is a professional and I’m here for moral support.

[00:04:42] Jessie Ecker: [00:04:42] right. That feels right. Advice for a beginner DIY or for furniture flipping. Say like the biggest advice for furniture flipping or any kind of DIY thing is that you just go for it and you start and you really. Like begin something. So even if you’re intimidated and you’re [00:05:00] scared about doing something, I think the best thing to do is just really like, go for it and see what happens, hope for the best.

[00:05:07] But I feel like you’re never going to learn and you’re never getting it better if you don’t actually try.

[00:05:16] Cara Newhart: [00:05:16] I like that because today I heard a quote from this guy on clubhouse and he was like, action is how you like beat fear. And I was like, Ooh, that’s good. Cause that’s what we say all the time is like dive in. 

[00:05:27]Jessie Ecker: [00:05:27] Yes, you got to like overcome your fear and just really like, go for it. Cause like what’s the worst going to happen? Like say I messed up my piano. Well, it doesn’t look so good anyways.

[00:05:40] Cara Newhart: [00:05:40] the perk of  flipping is like the piece already looks pretty bad, especially if you’re snagging it for cheap from like Goodwill and you spent $5. Like the worst thing is you waste $5 and you don’t end up keeping the chair and then you send it right back to Goodwill. I’ve done this. out, you send it right back and it’s like, Oh, it’s almost the exact same, but [00:06:00] different.

[00:06:00] Jessie Ecker: [00:06:00] And I think it’s a good thing, stepping stone to get into DIY, because you’re going to use like a lot of your like basic beginner tools to really start your furniture flipping. So I feel like you’re normally used a sander, some kind saw so like, if you really want to get into DIY and doing like rooms and big spaces and renovating, like, I feel like this is where we both started was just like furniture. You

[00:06:25] Cara Newhart: [00:06:25] I just sander grab a cheap piece of furniture and it. Join us for the furniture flip challenge. I’ll put the link in the show notes to sign up, but let’s dive into some tips. So the first category is when you get a piece, a lot of times you have to strip it down or sand it. So how do you know when to strip it versus sand it?

[00:06:45] Do you have any tips for that?

[00:06:47] Jessie Ecker: [00:06:47] Well, you have to figure out if it’s wood or if it’s veneer and then you’re going to go from there. For me, normally, the way I tell is like the weight. So if it’s pretty like substantial [00:07:00] and heavier is normally wood versus like a veneer like MDs boards and stuff. And then like, you can always like stand like maybe the back and just kind of like get a little bit in and then see what happens when you get that first layer off. And you can kind of tell if it is like, cause you’re obviously going to hit that MDF board pretty quick with your sander. And then if you do, then you gotta start stripping.

[00:07:27] Cara Newhart: [00:07:27] Gotta start stripping. Yeah. If you hit past the grain into a board that looks like, well, like either particle board or not wood, you’ve gone too 

[00:07:37] Jessie Ecker: [00:07:37] like a drywall on us. It’s like a paper

[00:07:40]Cara Newhart: [00:07:40] Yeah. So in some of it’s like personal preference, I know even real wood pieces. Some people prefer to strip instead of sand, because sanding really, it does take off like a layer.

[00:07:50]And then if you have certain things like that are more ornate strippers really better because some stuff you can’t sand, like I know your dresser from, or your nightstand from last season had that really intense, [00:08:00] like pretty wood. That was kind of crazy.

[00:08:03] Jessie Ecker: [00:08:03] that was super crazy, but I took, so for that piece, I actually ended up taking off the like actual link detail of that wood. Piece because I couldn’t strip it and I couldn’t like sand it, like, there was like nothing I could do to get the pain off. And so then I had to remove that and actually just like paint over that.

[00:08:24] Do you remember that? Because it was like,

[00:08:27]  It turned out so good. I still have another one that I have never finished, so that’s awesome. Non-matching nightstands typical. 

[00:08:37] Cara Newhart: [00:08:37] And then another thing a lot of people wonder about sanding is kind of what grits to use and I’ll save the secret magic bullet for you to share with everyone what we love. But just in general, you kind of have two grits. So you have your shaping grits. So that’s going to be lower numbers, like 8,060, and those are going to be to kind of shape the wood.

[00:08:56] And then you have your smoothing grit. So that’s higher numbers like [00:09:00] one 20, two 20, and that’s going to smooth out your wood before a finish. So usually if you have paint that you’re just trying to strip, you can start with 80 or a hundred. You don’t really need to go lower than that. And then you work your way up.

[00:09:11]If you want to paint, you can stop around two 20, but if you’re finishing your wood, what is our magic secrets?

[00:09:18] Jessie Ecker: [00:09:18] Our magic secret that we just found out about from getting our amazing sander, our mirka sander  was that this, if you use 320 grit  the 320 is like, I never realized you should like go above 220. And the 320 is like next level. Like it’s just so smooth. It feels like.

[00:09:43] Like butter for real. I mean, every time I finished something and it’s with the three 20, I’m always like, ah, man, I wish people could actually feel this because it’s like nothing you thought before. I don’t know. It really is like such a game changer to use that 320 [00:10:00] on all  the pieces.

[00:10:01] Cara Newhart: [00:10:01] Yeah. And we did just discover it cause Mirka like sent us the sandpaper, but it’s funny. Cause like watching YouTube videos, it was like all these little old men in their garages, like telling you what to do. And all of them like tell you to stop at 220, they’re always  like, there’s really no reason to go above 220and then  do.

[00:10:18] And you’re like, Oh, but there is, it is

[00:10:21] Jessie Ecker: [00:10:21] Oh my God. And it’s, it’s like for real, it’s definitely a game changer and it makes every piece that I’ve done. I always do the three 20 now. So nice.

[00:10:36]Cara Newhart: [00:10:36] that’s funny. Cause we talked about like in a different episode with Katie, you know, Katie who like loves to carve things and make furniture. She was talking about how like, furniture is something you experienced. Like you touch it. When you see furniture, you kind of go like run your hand across there, you sit on it.

[00:10:50] And so to have like a finish, that feels good is kind of how you take your piece next level.

[00:10:55] Jessie Ecker: [00:10:55] Yeah, every time I touch any, that three 20 is it’s where it’s at, for sure.

[00:10:59]Cara Newhart: [00:10:59] So let’s [00:11:00] dive into changing the shape and function of your pieces. So there’s a lot of way, ways to do this. And you can like reinvent your piece all the way. I know we saw some really cool pieces happening last year, there was like a lockers that turned into a bar cabinet. There was a desk that turned into a kitchen Island.

[00:11:17] So you can really go all out with this, or you can just do simple things to make it fit your space better. I wrote down examples. Oh, one example is like sawing off the legs and catching some new ones. Just to change up the height. Do you have any, any pieces that I don’t know you want to talk about or you change the shape and function?

[00:11:37] Jessie Ecker: [00:11:37] So last season, what? I changed, like the function of something, I made a coffee table and I took like a spool, like an actual like wire spool, like from my grandfather’s farm, literally, and turned it into a coffee table. So it was definitely like a piece of trash that actually, you know, was like a [00:12:00] functioning thing on a farm.

[00:12:01] I mean, you should’ve seen those farmer guys. When I was rolling that piece to my car, they were like, she is so crazy. Right. I was like, it’s going to be amazing. Just wait for it. And so I ended up turning that into a coffee table and I added like fluted trim all around the edges. So, I mean, yeah. I feel like you can get super creative with your pieces, whether it’s like what you said, you can take off the legs, add legs.

[00:12:29]I know you did that dresser that you turned into like a miter solid table. Like, so there’s so many options. To really like, make things a different like function and you know, able to use them for something completely different

[00:12:45] Cara Newhart: [00:12:45] Yeah, for sure. I love old dressers as anywhere you need drawers, like a built-in or for me, it was a miter saw. Yeah, because you don’t have to build the drawers. Cause drawers are challenging when you’re first starting, they really have to be straight to work.

[00:12:57] Jessie Ecker: [00:12:57] I was going to say, when you first started, I think [00:13:00] ever  like,  they have to really line up. I mean, it’s definitely a learning curve for sure.

[00:13:08]Cara Newhart: [00:13:08] Yeah. So thinking of ways to reinvent old pieces, I think is really relevant now because I mean, coming out of like staying at home for a year, we’ve really seen like what is not working in our spaces. So to be able to use that, let’s like, Oh my gosh, this is not functioning well. And then use that information to like transform your pieces.

[00:13:29] That could be a good place to start.

[00:13:30] Jessie Ecker: [00:13:30] Yeah. I feel like everybody started really realizing what it works in their house, what doesn’t like, what kind of spaces you really need to like function better in your actual home.

[00:13:43] Cara Newhart: [00:13:43] You have to live there all the

[00:13:45] Jessie Ecker: [00:13:45] Like when you can’t leave in your traps, you’re like, okay, well, what else can we do to make this space more like functional?

[00:13:51]So yeah, I feel like finding a peace in your actual home should be pretty easy right now because right. Like, [00:14:00] I feel like we’re all aware of what is not working in our houses.

[00:14:04] Cara Newhart: [00:14:04] That’s perfect then. Cause you’re doing a piece you already have. And I am running around all over the place, finding new pieces, which has been an adventure I’ve had to drive all over Houston because Houston is like a driving city where people don’t mind,

[00:14:17]Jessie Ecker: [00:14:17] cars. You love driving. So that works out well for you.

[00:14:21] Cara Newhart: [00:14:21] Oh my gosh. If I could outsource one thing in my life right now, it would be a driver.

[00:14:25] I

[00:14:25] Jessie Ecker: [00:14:25] I could

[00:14:26] Cara Newhart: [00:14:26] someone drive me

[00:14:27] Jessie Ecker: [00:14:27] totally be your driver. I’d be so good.

[00:14:30] Cara Newhart: [00:14:30] You move here and you be my driver. That’s okay. Next up is paint. So last season, I only painted one piece of furniture. I feel like you painted everything to now.

[00:14:45] Jessie Ecker: [00:14:45] I’m like sitting here and I’m like, did I paint anything? I painted just like details. Oh yeah. I, well, I did 52 projects. I’m slightly remit remembering right now I did a bed frame, the desk. And then I did like a storage [00:15:00] tray inside of the desk. Is there anything else we did? Yeah.

[00:15:05] Cara Newhart: [00:15:05] And your coffee table,

[00:15:07] Jessie Ecker: [00:15:07] I confident there’s many, many things.

[00:15:09] Cara Newhart: [00:15:09] your nightstands, you did like four projects.

[00:15:11] Jessie Ecker: [00:15:11] I think it was more than that, but I don’t remember what else it was. Yeah, I did paint. I used the real milk paint for all of my projects this last season. And I did that. I did that bed. Remember I got it from marketplace. It’s like a cane that, and it’s. Just painting it. Cause that’s literally all I did for that piece, like took it like next level and then made it, it was like night and day.

[00:15:39] And then everybody always asks me, like, where did you get that bed frame? I wanted like all this stuff. And I’m like, I got it on the marketplace for $25. Like those people are probably like, I think if they saw it now, they’d be like, ah, man.

[00:15:55] Cara Newhart: [00:15:55] all it took was painting the parts

[00:15:58] Jessie Ecker: [00:15:58] Right.

[00:15:59] Cara Newhart: [00:15:59] And it [00:16:00] literally looks so on-trend right now, it’s like ridiculous.

[00:16:03] Jessie Ecker: [00:16:03] no, that worked out really well. So yeah, paint, just even simple painting. Cause that’s all I did for that one thing. And it made it like a completely different piece.

[00:16:12] Cara Newhart: [00:16:12] Yeah. So then like different types of paints. So I know like we love real milk paint. I specifically like it. If, if it’s raw wood, I think it works so well because it really is soaks in. But other things, sometimes it, it can’t bond as well. Like I know I tried to do a suitcase and it did not stick

[00:16:30] Jessie Ecker: [00:16:30] Right.

[00:16:30]Cara Newhart: [00:16:30] So when do you use like spray paint versus like paint, paint, like a latex paint.

[00:16:36] Jessie Ecker: [00:16:36] Hmm. Well, I would use spray paint. I normally only use spray paint. It’s just like a personal preference, but I only use it for like metals, like, so I would use it for like my hardware. I get here that suitcase that you had, I’m not quite sure what material that is, but that would be, I think, right. I feel like plastic-y like, I would definitely use a spray paint for that as well.

[00:16:57]Cara Newhart: [00:16:57] That’s true, like plastic or metal I’m when I’m [00:17:00] spray painting, I’m spray, painting everything gold. And the gold literally only comes in spray paint. So that’s all the tenant for me is like either it’s gold or I’m using latex.

[00:17:10] Jessie Ecker: [00:17:10] And the spray paint, you’re going to get that clean finish on your hardware that you would not get using your latex paint. And vice versa. Like I don’t, I wouldn’t do a piece of furniture using spray paint because I wouldn’t get the finish that I would get with the latex paint. You know,

[00:17:27] Cara Newhart: [00:17:27] Right. Yeah. Furniture just gets weird when you spray paint. It

[00:17:31] Jessie Ecker: [00:17:31] yeah, I’m not a fan of straight, but I mean, like I’m not also a professional spray painter, I’m sure some people can do it and it looks fabulous.

[00:17:38]Not me. It’s like streaky and a hot mess.

[00:17:43] Cara Newhart: [00:17:43] like the real sprayer, like you’re really into the one where you pour the paint in. Like you would buy latex  paint from the store, you pour it in the little jug and then you can spray it

[00:17:53] Jessie Ecker: [00:17:53] Yes. I love to use my sprayer for anything that I can use it on. Cause it’s, you’re going to definitely get that clean, [00:18:00] smooth finish. It looks absolutely professional. And you’re going to do, like normally I just have to do one coat, you know? And one coat versus like five where you’re like sanding in between each code and you’re like doing all sorts of stuff.

[00:18:15] So the sprayer it’s definitely, if you can afford a sprayer or if you want to invest in that, like, that is definitely a tool that I feel like it’s used quite often, for me, at least even like things that I didn’t think I would use it for.

[00:18:33] Cara Newhart: [00:18:33] Right. Like you were like spray paint, trim, and like all kinds of

[00:18:36] Jessie Ecker: [00:18:36] Oh, yeah. Everything, all the things.

[00:18:40] Cara Newhart: [00:18:40] all of the things, and then if you don’t want to invest in one, or if you want to not have to clean it, I know for me, that’s why I never want to use it because cleaning it. I find that annoying, even though it’s like, not that hard for some, it’s like a mental barrier

[00:18:53] Jessie Ecker: [00:18:53] Well, so I’ve had like five different sprayers now. And the one that we just got from Rockler [00:19:00] is  the easiest one to clean by far. So it is like my favorite. Like I literally left it like in my fridge. I told you this the other day for like a month, like, and I was like, I broke it. I know it. Cause this is what’s happened with several of my sprayers.

[00:19:15] I’m like, I don’t clean it. I leave it. And then it never works again. And I’m like, well, that was a waste. Yeah. But Rockefeller, that one is so easy to use. And then Like the sprayer nozzle, like everything gets cleaned out so quick and easy.

[00:19:30]Cara Newhart: [00:19:30] Well then maybe I’ll try mine

[00:19:32]Other hack is Flotrol. So if you want to eliminate brush strokes, you don’t want to use a sprayer flow tool can be really good,

[00:19:38] Jessie Ecker: [00:19:38] Yeah. The food truck was amazing and sometimes like, I can’t use my sprayer, like. In the winter, like I can’t go outside. Like the temperature is too cold or if it’s like too windy, so, and you don’t have any other options. That is a good, good option.

[00:19:53]Cara Newhart: [00:19:53] for sure. I don’t know what that is. It’s like a paint additive where you can add it to your paint and it thins it [00:20:00] out and it kind of like helps eliminate the brush strokes. So as you’re putting the paint on it kind of like self levels and smooths a little bit, and overall it kind of works for almost any paint type and it doesn’t change color too much, sometimes.

[00:20:14] Not at all, but on the darker colors, I think sometimes it changes

[00:20:18] Jessie Ecker: [00:20:18] I might go to color, you know, is like, I normally use like black magic and it definitely changed it a little bit enough to where, like I painted the walls one color, but then I used that for my cabinets and there was like a noticeable difference, like side by side. So. If you’re going to put it on it, put it on everything.

[00:20:42] Cara Newhart: [00:20:42] All the same color.

[00:20:44] Jessie Ecker: [00:20:44] Don’t be stingy with the flotrol

[00:20:48]Cara Newhart: [00:20:48] So another option to paint is also to add fun patterns. And I feel like furniture used to be like furniture flipping everyone kind of thought of it as just painting your furniture. [00:21:00] There was sometimes patterns involved, but it was very like colorful, like colorful furniture used to be very in.

[00:21:06] And now I feel like we’re moving towards. Like neutral and adding texture. So with pattern, it could be like a crazy fun wallpaper, or it could just be like a texture.

[00:21:16] Jessie Ecker: [00:21:16] yeah. Year to that, like grass, cloth, wallpaper. That’s so cool. Definitely like a neutral for sure. I’ve also seen a few things that I like absolutely love where they leave the drawers or vice versa, like the frame. And it’s like, they leave that like the wood and then they’ll paint the other one. And I feel like that looks super cool.

[00:21:38] I’m very into that lately.

[00:21:40] Cara Newhart: [00:21:40] I do like that because it kind of frames it out and actually like some cheaper furniture pieces will have the drawer. Fronts will be real wood,

[00:21:48]Jessie Ecker: [00:21:48] Huh.

[00:21:48] Cara Newhart: [00:21:48] parts of the frame of the dresser will be like that MDF or like fake wood. So you can just paint and then leave the real wood as

[00:21:56] Jessie Ecker: [00:21:56] And like what that like grain and stuff show, and then you have that [00:22:00] extra, like texture on the furniture that you want. I like

[00:22:04] Cara Newhart: [00:22:04] Yeah. And then with wallpaper, it’s fun because you can kind of, you can like have a temporary option. Cause we use we’re using like the peel and stick. That’s a temporary paper for our project. So you can put it on and try it out. And if you don’t like it, you just peel it off later and you don’t really have to commit

[00:22:21] Jessie Ecker: [00:22:21] Which is pretty amazing because we have a hard time committing to anything,

[00:22:28] Cara Newhart: [00:22:28] Great. Any project idea at any time I

[00:22:32] Jessie Ecker: [00:22:32] right. Or like our style is now completely different. Take that wallpaper off.

[00:22:38] Cara Newhart: [00:22:38] Right. and then would you say like stenciling is like out, I know it was like huge, but is there like a stencil you would use to make it modern and like trendy for right now?

[00:22:52] Jessie Ecker: [00:22:52] I don’t know. You think, I mean, I think like, it just depends on your personal style. So to say something like [00:23:00] is completely out, like, you know, I feel like you have to like, love your piece. So if you want to stencils, you know,

[00:23:10] Cara Newhart: [00:23:10] Right.

[00:23:10] Jessie Ecker: [00:23:10] for it. But yeah, I, I’m not really feeling stencils lately, you know?

[00:23:15] Cara Newhart: [00:23:15] Me neither. I was just wanting to give you the opportunity to like sell it for anyone that was excited about it.

[00:23:21] Jessie Ecker: [00:23:21] that’s what I was saying. Like how, where I led that in, you know, so nobody feels bad, but if you love it, like, and I’ve seen some that look absolutely cool where they do do those, like wood tone and then they’ll do like white, like a whitewash kind of like stencil overtop

[00:23:36] Cara Newhart: [00:23:36] like an inlay look versus like a

[00:23:38] Jessie Ecker: [00:23:38] Right. Yeah. And I feel like I’ve seen a few of those that have looked like super cool and definitely like more modern and more on trend kind of things. I don’t know. What do you think? Like maybe like some kind of pattern,

[00:23:55] Cara Newhart: [00:23:55] Yeah, I’ve seen. So I just saw somebody use a stencil  for stain. And I [00:24:00] hadn’t seen that before and it kind of gave it this like textured, inlay look of like a carved piece sort of but you could still see the wood grain, so it wasn’t like a. Geometric really bold color on color pattern. It was more of like a subtle texture vibe.

[00:24:16] I really liked that. I don’t know how hard it is to stencil with stain, because stain is so thin. It feels

[00:24:21] Jessie Ecker: [00:24:21] I feel like that would be very difficult. So if you can do that, like good for you, I’m sure you have to like, do an adhesive to your stencil before you do that

[00:24:34] Cara Newhart: [00:24:34] Yeah. Or some

[00:24:35] Jessie Ecker: [00:24:35] to stay in it. Yeah. Like maybe like a decal. Right. And let us know.

[00:24:41] Cara Newhart: [00:24:41] we’re very interested, but unwilling to take the risk of

[00:24:46] Jessie Ecker: [00:24:46] Well, I know that would not work for me. So I’m just. I’m going to pass 

[00:24:49] Paris, 

[00:24:50] Cara Newhart: [00:24:50] going to pass. Okay. So let’s talk about, if you’re not going to paint, you can kind of just finish the wood because I know people are very [00:25:00] opinionated about painting furniture.

[00:25:02] Jessie Ecker: [00:25:02] Yeah. I get very angry about painting furniture. It’s a little intense, a little scary. And I’m always like, this is mine. Piece of furniture that I got from the thrift store for $5 that would probably get thrown away. So like about ill do  me, you do you

[00:25:23] Cara Newhart: [00:25:23] Right. If there is one takeaway, I guess from this episode, it’s like, do what you love. Like if you see something you love do it and people might come for you. They come for us all the time when we’re painting stuff. And it, you just got to like deflect that and be like, you know what? This is my piece of furniture.

[00:25:38] I got it for $5 and I’m going to do.

[00:25:43] Jessie Ecker: [00:25:43] And that is it. And I mean, I understand certain things. Like I have a whole bunch of vintage furniture from Europe and I, I get it. Like, you’re like kind of like painting over like a piece of history. You’re like ruining like the wood and all this stuff. But I [00:26:00] also think like, it’s your furniture? So. If you want to paint it, like go for it.

[00:26:07] Cara Newhart: [00:26:07] Exactly. Yeah. I was in like a Facebook group the other day. And this lady is like showing off this desk. She’s like, it was my grandma’s and I think I want to paint it white. And the comments section was just like, don’t put it into furniture. And so I popped in and I was like, I think you should paint it if you love it.

[00:26:24] I was like, don’t these people tell you. And she was like, Oh, my gosh. Thank you.

[00:26:29] Jessie Ecker: [00:26:29] Thank you so

[00:26:30] Cara Newhart: [00:26:30] I was like, you can strip it off later. Like, will it ever be the same? Maybe not, but like you can get it back down to wood , you know, if you really want to,

[00:26:39] Jessie Ecker: [00:26:39] Well, even like those, those nightstands that I did or the one, cause they didn’t do both, you know, that would be hard. Those are from Europe too. I think I got them in like Belgium. Right. And they were painted and I was very clear that I did not paint them. Cause I was trying to make sure nobody was coming for me.

[00:26:53] Cause I, I didn’t, I bought them like that and it was like a whitewash paint. I did get under all of [00:27:00] that paint and found – do you remember like the woodgrain it was like so beautiful. It was like two toned, so cool. And I couldn’t believe that anybody had ever painted over that, but I mean, it’s, it’s their furniture

[00:27:14] Cara Newhart: [00:27:14] style, you know, like

[00:27:15] Jessie Ecker: [00:27:15] and things come in and out.

[00:27:17] Yeah.

[00:27:17] Cara Newhart: [00:27:17] Yeah, it’s also fun for you to be able to discover like what a fun surprise.

[00:27:22] Jessie Ecker: [00:27:22] Oh, my gosh. I was so shocked. Yeah. It was like, definitely like the highlight of my furniture flip. I was like, Oh, what is this? Like, the more I got under, I was like, Oh my goodness. Yes.

[00:27:35]Cara Newhart: [00:27:35] Yeah. But if you do want to skip the paint and finish the wood, you have so many options.

[00:27:39] Jessie Ecker: [00:27:39] options. Yeah.

[00:27:41] Cara Newhart: [00:27:41] have a favorite brand currently.

[00:27:43] Jessie Ecker: [00:27:43] We walrus oil

[00:27:46] Cara Newhart: [00:27:46] so what’s your favorite, like non paint finish to just like seal and kind of walk in the woodgrain.

[00:27:52]Jessie Ecker: [00:27:52] I really like the Waller soil, the butter, that seems like a very nice, [00:28:00] smooth, clean finish. And then we used, what was it? The oil like their –  guess it’s just furniture finish oil , right. That works really well. And then sometimes though, like I don’t, I know people are really into the grain changing, like colors, as soon as you add like that oil or wax.

[00:28:23] And sometimes I want it to still just be that like natural finish.

[00:28:28] Cara Newhart: [00:28:28] Like ashy look almost like raw versus like shiny and

[00:28:32] Jessie Ecker: [00:28:32] Right. And so for that we always use, what do we use?

[00:28:36] Cara Newhart: [00:28:36] like a matte polyeurethane – yes. Yeah. So walrus oil has like kind of three different options mainly. I mean, they have a ton of different products, but there’s like the oil, which kind of just see wipe on it, soaks in there’s the wax and wax is actually sit like, kind of on top of the furniture.

[00:28:55] Jessie Ecker: [00:28:55] of like hardens.

[00:28:56] Cara Newhart: [00:28:56] is like their weird, not weird is there in-between [00:29:00] product where it’s like a little bit of oil and wax.

[00:29:02] Texture together. So there is like some soaking in, and some that sits on top. So that’s my favorite too. That’s what I used to seal my old record player. And I love, I used it over the real milk paint and it soaked in, and that finishes so hard and durable.

[00:29:20] Jessie Ecker: [00:29:20] Yeah.

[00:29:22] Cara Newhart: [00:29:22] Yeah, but then the mat polyurethane is so good for like locking in that raw look, but giving it some like water protection.

[00:29:30] Like I know on my spice rack I wanted just that like raw red oak look and I put the mat polyurethane on it and it’s like waterproof, but it did not change the look like it didn’t make it bright orange or bright

[00:29:42] Jessie Ecker: [00:29:42] right.

[00:29:43] Cara Newhart: [00:29:43] and make the grain pop, which that’s just preference.

[00:29:46] Jessie Ecker: [00:29:46] Total preference. Yes, yes.

[00:29:49] Cara Newhart: [00:29:49] into more like a light wood.

[00:29:51] Jessie Ecker: [00:29:51] Because it is cool to see the wood grain change for sure. But if you are not wanting that look and that happens, you’re just kinda like. [00:30:00] Oh, my gosh.

[00:30:00] I just said to this for like hours, they’ve told me to use 320, I even did 320  and now,

[00:30:07] Cara Newhart: [00:30:07] and now it’s yellow. Perfect.

[00:30:10] Jessie Ecker: [00:30:10] but yeah, I guess it’s just personal preference, you know, like everything.

[00:30:14] Cara Newhart: [00:30:14] And you can always test it out if you’re not sure, like go in a little corner and just kind of test your

[00:30:18] Jessie Ecker: [00:30:18] Yeah. 

[00:30:19] Cara Newhart: [00:30:19] And then there’s other ways to turn your would kind of more ashy. I know I’ve used like a  cerusing wax which  is like a white wax that kind of goes on and fills the grain a little bit.

[00:30:29] And so you get like that look, but it kind of gives you like a. I dunno, it lightens up the yellow and the orange tones and it makes it look more like sort of whitewashed, but you’re getting a lot more grain versus like a white stain or a white wash. So I like that a lot. Oh, and then when you’re doing that, you just kind of want to, like when you’re using the oils or the waxes, or even staying, you want to wipe it with something that’s dust free. And then in some cases you buff it  like if you’re using a wax, you kind of want to buff, which just smooth the wax [00:31:00] surface. So it’s not like bumpy at all, which I found out the hard way.

[00:31:04] Cause I let my wax dry all the way. And then I tried to go back. I had to like sand,

[00:31:08] Jessie Ecker: [00:31:08] Yeah, it’s always fun to learn things. The hard way.

[00:31:14] Cara Newhart: [00:31:14] almost learned the hard way about the oily rag fiasco. Do you

[00:31:18] Jessie Ecker: [00:31:18] I was going to say something about that. And I was like, I don’t know if I can say it about the rag

[00:31:24] Cara Newhart: [00:31:24] Can you want to tell the story?

[00:31:27] Jessie Ecker: [00:31:27] about you leaving the rag. Where’d you leave it in the trash can. And the pile of trash and rich was not happy about Cara’s husband.

[00:31:37]Cara Newhart: [00:31:37] I didn’t know that these finishes like are oil-based and therefore combustible. And if you store them in a trash bag, like for some reason they can catch on fire. So I literally was in bed. I had like used the rags, just thrown them away, like usual, like my stain rags, and then like read the can or you read the can somehow found out that you’re not supposed to [00:32:00] throw them away cause they can catch on fire.

[00:32:02] And then rich was pretty panicked. We had to go dig them out. And I think I set them  like in the driveway

[00:32:08] Jessie Ecker: [00:32:08] think it was like on the curb. Yeah. Like,

[00:32:12] Cara Newhart: [00:32:12] want them in the garage. I was so panicked. so yeah, that’s something to be mindful of. I wouldn’t be overly concerned, but definitely know that that’s

[00:32:20] Jessie Ecker: [00:32:20] like wrap it up in a plastic bag and throw it in your trash can, might not end well for you.

[00:32:25] Cara Newhart: [00:32:25] I think the correct disposal is like a bucket filled with water, which I like a metal bucket, which I don’t have. So,

[00:32:33] Jessie Ecker: [00:32:33] Me neither. I was sitting here thinking about, yeah. Where

[00:32:36] Cara Newhart: [00:32:36] you know, driveway works to just throw them

[00:32:38] Jessie Ecker: [00:32:38] on the side of the road. I mean, I don’t know. We’re obviously professionals.

[00:32:44]Cara Newhart: [00:32:44] and then another fun finish is epoxy  which did you put that in your tray

[00:32:50]Jessie Ecker: [00:32:50] I don’t think so. Epoxy, you know, kind of like intimidates me.

[00:32:54]Cara Newhart: [00:32:54] Well with good reason that can catch on fire

[00:32:56] Jessie Ecker: [00:32:56] Right. Like, I mean was just, yes, but you’re super good at an [00:33:00] epoxy and mixing it and doing all those fun things.

[00:33:03] Cara Newhart: [00:33:03] Yeah, I think a proxy is so fun, cause it really like, it adds durability and it like, so last year on my piece, I put down the peel and stick wallpaper and then I poured a proxy over it. Like a clear, like hard plastic is what it turns into. So it makes the piece look really finished and it kind of helps the pattern pop. And it saves the pattern from getting scratched. So like the paper we had was temporary, so it’d be really easy to scratch it. So I love epoxy and we have a whole little video on how to mix it up too.

[00:33:36] Jessie Ecker: [00:33:36] No, I mean, cause basically we are professionals I guess,

[00:33:39] Cara Newhart: [00:33:39] we are professionals,

[00:33:40] Jessie Ecker: [00:33:40] I agree. I feel like that a proxy really made it look more like professional as like a different like element completely.

[00:33:47]Cara Newhart: [00:33:47] for sure. But yeah, you do have to be careful with the poxy too. So people. We’ll come for you if you don’t wear a mask because it is like not a good substance to breathe. So be sure you have your safety gear

[00:33:58] Jessie Ecker: [00:33:58] Great goggles. I [00:34:00] wear.

[00:34:00] Cara Newhart: [00:34:00] definitely goggles. You don’t want in your eyes. And then different epoxies you pour two different depths.

[00:34:06] So like a tabletop epoxy, you have to pour it pretty thin. So like a fourth an inch . And then deep, poor epoxy, you can pour real deep, so real thick, but if you pour. Like a tabletop epoxy, too thick. It like will overheat. It’s the weirdest thing you can literally like feel the heat. It gets so hot.

[00:34:23] It’ll like burn your hands. And in some cases that can catch on fire. So try not to

[00:34:28] Jessie Ecker: [00:34:28] I feel like that’s the moral of this whole, everything can catch on fire.

[00:34:36] Cara Newhart: [00:34:36] the moral of the finishing touches segment. Don’t let it.

[00:34:40] Jessie Ecker: [00:34:40] Right. Like be mindful, be cautious and don’t let it catch on liar. Oh my gosh. We are 

[00:34:49] Cara Newhart: [00:34:49] everyone, dont be intimidated though, available for DMS. If you’re like doing a project for the first time and you don’t know what to do, like we can guide you in the right direction. I would say your best bet [00:35:00] is to watch a lot of YouTube. and just kind of get comfortable with people that are like experts telling you what to do.

[00:35:07] And also don’t be afraid to DM the brands. So this is my hack for what I need to know, because I feel like some of your projects are like so specific. It’s hard to know how the safety information applies to you, or even how to use the product on your project. So, I just like to DM them on Instagram and tell them all about what I’m doing and ask for tips.

[00:35:27] And honestly, like they get so excited and like invested in it’s actually like real milk paint. They’re so sweet.

[00:35:34] Jessie Ecker: [00:35:34] I was going to say real milk paint is  really good about like getting you and they even have somebody think directed me to somebody last season who is like a real nail paint expert. 

[00:35:45] Cara Newhart: [00:35:45] I remember that. And he like totally showed you like all kinds of tips, but they were really good about like connecting you to other makers that like knew how to give you tips too. So it’s like a community, like get plugged in,

[00:36:00] [00:35:59] Jessie Ecker: [00:35:59] And you’re right. Like the brand is going to know more about that product than anybody else. So if you have a question and if it is a safety question, I mean, please don’t ask me.

[00:36:12] Cara Newhart: [00:36:12] can point you in the right direction for sure.  

[00:36:15]Jessie Ecker: [00:36:15] That is a really good suggestion to go to the brand because they are going to have like the best Knowledge and information.

[00:36:21] Cara Newhart: [00:36:21] label, but yeah. Yeah,

[00:36:23] Jessie Ecker: [00:36:23] And they’ve seen everything too. Like, you know, normally if we’re doing something like that, a lot of our stuff is like, we’re just like, it’s the first time we’re doing it.

[00:36:31] So we’re like learning as we go too. So that, and there’s always something that occurs,

[00:36:39] Cara Newhart: [00:36:39] Oh yeah. Always some kind of hiccup or problem

[00:36:42] Jessie Ecker: [00:36:42] something fun that we learned that, you know,

[00:36:44] Cara Newhart: [00:36:44] rags can light on fire.

[00:36:46] Jessie Ecker: [00:36:46] right.

[00:36:46] Cara Newhart: [00:36:46] learned that 10:00 PM laying in your bed.

[00:36:51]But really it’s like a balance of like being unafraid to dive in and being unafraid to learn, but also realizing like that confidence of just do it. [00:37:00] Just dive in doesn’t mean you have to do it yourself. It means you can like ask people and have resources to tap into. So you’re like feeling confident to tackle the

[00:37:10] Jessie Ecker: [00:37:10] Great. And yeah. And when we say like dive in and just go forward into it before I dive in and just go for a project and do it, like, I am definitely reading a ton of stuff. I’m watching a tennis stuff. I am like learning from like the best people that are like the best in that kind of like trade. And it’s okay to like, I mean, that’s what you want to do.

[00:37:32] You want to learn from other makers and you really want to be. You know, better at what you’re doing, but if you just, you know, it’s better to know as much as you can going in ahead of time as well.

[00:37:45] Cara Newhart: [00:37:45] and feel informed. And I think that’s been one of the coolest pieces for us is like, we do have so many friends that are like very specific, like have a craft that’s super specific. So we know like who to go ask, like, if I’m doing the scroll [00:38:00] saw project, I’m going to go ask Lizzie from the house, the timber, if I’m doing a poxy amassing Jess Crow there’s so many different people.

[00:38:08] Like we can like point you in the direction of as well. So we’re happy to connect you if you DMS, but safety first

[00:38:15] Jessie Ecker: [00:38:15] Okay.

[00:38:17] Cara Newhart: [00:38:17] So good. Well, okay. What are you most excited about for the challenge? 

[00:38:21] Jessie Ecker: [00:38:21] So what I am mostly looking forward to the season is everybody else’s projects. Like I loved watching a community build around the challenge and everybody cheering each other on and everybody helping each other out. And I loved seeing. You know furniture you can get so creative with.

[00:38:39] So it’s really cool to see what people like imagine in their heads. And then it just like comes out in these pieces. So I’m super excited to see what everybody else is doing. And I’m just praying that I stick to my one piece of furniture and just, you know, watch everybody else.

[00:38:57] Cara Newhart: [00:38:57] you can just do one and [00:39:00] maybe change the light fixture and call it a space.   

[00:39:07] Jessie Ecker: [00:39:07] What are you most excited about?

[00:39:09] Cara Newhart: [00:39:09] Oh, good question. Thank you for the question. I’m excited, I guess, to kind of just do the P my pieces. I’m excited for my project in short, I’m excited to redo a whole space kind of show like.

[00:39:26] Jessie Ecker: [00:39:26] Oh my God. It’s so good. Okay.

[00:39:28] Cara Newhart: [00:39:28] But I’m doing all flipped furniture. So I hold breakfast and every piece of furniture is going to be something that I flip. So I’m excited to show off a space where it’s like old stuff and Ikea hack and how to like really make a pretty modern space with like old stuff, old used gross furniture that I’ve procured all across Houston. Driving around. 

[00:39:53]Okay. Well, everybody’s signing up for the challenge. You can find us on Instagram, Jessie, or really find [00:40:00] you on

[00:40:00] Jessie Ecker: [00:40:00] You can find me on Instagram @eyeinthedetail . And then don’t forget. Let’s DIY big.

[00:40:05]Cara Newhart: [00:40:05] Let’s stay on my bed. Yeah. So let’s do my big is our DIY community.

[00:40:08] That’s where we really like to showcase everyone’s projects and really kind of build that community. So where our own platforms are a little more about like us and what we are doing and teaching let’s do by big is really about community and helping you find friends. Cause it’s way better

[00:40:24] Jessie Ecker: [00:40:24] It’s so much better when you have somebody to bounce ideas off of, and like, to really like get invested in your project as well. It makes it so much more fun.


[00:40:34]Time for some details about the furniture flip challenge. So this is a three week challenge put on by the builders challenge and hosted by Jesse and I, you get three weeks to flip a piece of furniture, and then you can enter your piece to be judged by the editor of do it yourself magazine, Brian Kramer.

[00:40:54]You will be awarded prizes. If you win from some amazing, amazing sponsors, like seriously, the [00:41:00] prizes are so good. And then you also might get the chance to be featured in the magazine last season, they featured all of the winners and their finished pieces in the print magazine. So, if you are more of professional furniture flipper, you can enter to win and get visibility with do it yourself.

[00:41:18] And then if you’re a beginner and you just don’t know what you’re doing at all, you just want to dive in and you want to get started. Jesse and I are really here to help you and flip our pieces alongside you so we can inspire you. Just to dive in and have fun and not worry about the fact that it’s a challenge.

[00:41:34] Honestly, it’s just so fun to have like a community around us. As we all flip our pieces together, we can share our wins, share our befores, share our struggles and just talk and have some support. So. We created a Facebook group so If you’d like to join, I will link that in the description as well. Or you can just search, let’s flip it.

[00:41:54] It’s called furniture flipping with Jessi]e and Cara on Facebook. And get in on that. Cause it’s really fun so far. [00:42:00] And then we’re also going to be going live each week of the challenge with the editor, Brian of do it yourself magazine. So we’re going to do a Q&A talk about some of the pieces, talk about our projects.

[00:42:12] So that’ll be really fun tool to tune into. We’re going to try to live stream those. Into the Facebook group. So hopefully there’ll be just available there. Otherwise you can just keep an eye out on social media. I’m over, it neverskipbrunch and to find out when those are, because that’s going to be really cool to be able to hear from him each week.

[00:42:31] And then there are two categories. So the first category is restoring a piece. So this is more, if you have an antique piece, that’s beautiful that really, you just want to restore back to it being in really good condition. So for this category, it has to be at least 75% wood. So not really the painted furniture.

[00:42:50] Category. And then the other category is flipping. So if you’re flipping a piece, you’re painting it, you’re decorating, you’re changing it up, changing the function doing [00:43:00] whatever kind of colors do you want. So there’s kind of more of the restoration route and then kind of more, the fun flipping route.

[00:43:05]They also, the builder’s challenge is partnering with this amazing furniture store named grant, and he is kind of in their stories showing off different techniques for restoration. So if you want to dive in more to the serious woodworking, like really getting good at restoring pieces. He has some great tips for that.

[00:43:25] If you just want to be creative and play around and flip your junk furniture or your Goodwill furniture or change the function of a piece you already have, that’s kind of why Jesse and I are here. We have very different projects, so we’re going to be hopefully showing you some different processes.

[00:43:40] You can try offering tips and support, and we are so excited. And then with the flip category, they’re actually focusing on a specific theme this season and that theme is modern farmhouse. If you guys listen to the show, you know that I am no, by no means a purveyor of farmhouse. I don’t like it. It’s not [00:44:00] my style, but.

[00:44:02] With the partnership with do it yourself magazine. They are focusing on this because it’s still on trend. So many people love it and have really found a way to beautifully incorporate it in their home. And it really is a perfect fit for flipping furniture because a lot of furniture that you’re flipping is in a style that works very beautifully with modern farmhouse.

[00:44:22] So we’re kind of focusing on giving that trend a fresh twist versus kind of how it’s been so popular the last few years. So the challenge really is to find a way to freshen up farmhouse and incorporate the parts of the style that are right for you. Right. And I also have the opportunity of having Brian from do it yourself magazine on next week.

[00:44:44] And we’re going to break down the modern farmhouse style, talking about the trend where it’s been, and what’s up next for modern farmhouse, some ways to keep it fresh and interesting coming from the editor. So he’s really seeing this trend evolve and I think he has some great insight. [00:45:00] So whether you love farmhouse, whether you don’t like it, but you might want to adopt.

[00:45:03] Pieces of it. Like I do for my space. That’ll be a really fun episode to tune into as well and give you some more specific guidance for what he’s looking for as the judge, as well. As some ways you can have the trend play out in your furniture flip or just in your everyday spaces. After you register, you’ll be able to get the actual rules for the challenge.

[00:45:24] There’s like six guidelines that kind of describe what kind of pieces count how to enter what you have to include. So be sure to go follow the link in the show notes to register so you can get all of that info. And the easiest way to find out everything that’s happening honestly, is to join the Facebook group.

[00:45:42] There’s like an announcement post with every single link you could possibly need. And we’ll hopefully be streaming the lives into that group as well. So that’s kind of the go-to Homebase. Plus you can make friends and show off your pieces and ask questions. So it’ll be super fun. Hop over to that group and join.

[00:45:58] Just go to [00:46:00] or find the link in the show notes. We’re so excited for you to join us. We hope these tips were helpful and we cannot freaking wait to see her before your process and your after photos of these furniture flips.

[00:46:15]Cara Newhart: [00:46:15]    if you’re not already, you need to get it together and follow me on Instagram. That’s where the party happens. Every day, it’s where you can see me do all of my projects and DM me with your questions and your spaces and all of that fun stuff.

[00:46:29] So hop over to Instagram type in neverskipbrunch and follow me so we can be friends there and talk more than just once a week.

[00:46:40] OUTRO: [00:46:40] thanks for listening. If this is your first time listening in, be sure to hit that subscribe button so you can stay in the loop with the newest episodes. If you’re a subscriber and you like the show, be sure to rate, review or screenshot and share your favorite episode on social.

p.s. This post may contain affiliate linking for your convenience. These links don’t cost extra for you to use + I always share my honest opinion.

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I'm Cara, the designer & diy queen behind Never Skip Brunch. I'm a color & prints obsessed DIY queen who's here to help you create a beautifully lived-in life through home design advice and chic DIY tutorials

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