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New Rochelle Woman 'Flips' Over HGTV Show

Melissa Panszi Riebe of New Rochelle with Ken Dingledine. The two appear on HGTV's "Flea Market Flip." Photo Credit: Submitted
Melissa Panszi Riebe of New Rochelle, middle, with teammate Ken Dingledine, left, and the couple they competed against in HGTV's "Flea Market Flip." Photo Credit: Submitted

Westchester plays a prominent role in an upcoming edition of Emmy Award Winning HGTV's Flea Market Flip .

That's because Melissa Panszi Riebe, a New Rochelle resident, was a contestant, along with her friend Ken Dingledine. The two best friends never thought they'd get on -- Riebe says it was a five-page application and her Skype interview with the casting director wasn't a great connection.

So it was a surprise -- and a delight -- when they were cast and had to (for those who've never seen the show), compete against another team of two to spend the least amount of money at a flea market, repurpose the items and then re-sell them.

That's where New Rochelle comes in. The mom of two who works in the non-profit sector for New Rochelle Public Library Foundation and also makes jewelry under the line, A D’Zine, has always been big into repurposing and decorating and turned to local businesses to help her with the HGTV project.

Among those she relied on: Ramos Upholstery, Ottavio's Furniture, Modern Paint and Consign it on Main.

And though the New Ro resident can't reveal much more -- the show (Season 11, episode two) should air late September/early October -- she will say she now looks at flea markets in a whole new way.

"I've always looked at items with a sense of story," she said. "Flea market finds, in particular, have a whole background and connection behind them and that's what Ken and I tried to look at when competing on this show."

It was, she said, a lot of fun though all the haggling, selling and repurposing was more tiring than she thought. She and Dingledine, who lives in Brooklyn, taped the show in April and June and are as anxious as everyone to finally see it.

Said Riebe: "I"m not allowed to say much more until it airs."

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