“I DON’T KNOW WHY I CANT KEEP EMPLOYEES”: JEFF LEWIS IS “FLIPPING OUT”
The most famous real estate speculator Jeff Lewis is back for Season 5 of his creative, smart and sometimes cringe-worthy “Flipping Out.” Michael Cook spoke with Jeff – who has reportedly flipped almost 50 homes in his career – and his angel of an assistant Jenni Pulos about one of the summer’s best reality shows…
Michael: Jeff, I hear that we will finally see some of your personal life this year.
Jeff: Well you won’t see sex or anything! (laughs). The show is a workplace dramedy; I never wanted to dig too deep into my personal life. This year, it would be almost impossible to film around my partner Gage, since he is such a big part of the business now, and I didn’t want to lie. So Gage is a new person on the show you will meet this season.
Michael: Speaking of romance Jenny, will we be seeing any of your personal life this year?
Jeff: You totally avoided that question, you know that right? Jenni is dating someone right now. He’s a nice guy, this one at least has a job, which is an improvement on the last one.
Michael: I hear that there are a number of staff problems this year at Jeff Lewis Designs?
Jeff: I really don’t know why I can’t keep employees. I know it’s not me, that’s for sure. The problem really is the kids coming out of school; so many of them come out of college very entitled and want to be V.P in three weeks It takes years and years to be successful, which is part of the reason Jenni and I have been together for so long.
We have two employees fired this year; one, as you see the season progress is expected, the other is completely out of the blue. It’s literally turned the office upside down. We’re still filming and I’m trying to fill their slot.
Michael: Jenni when can we expect your children’s rap album? I love your “Watch What Happens Live” theme songs.
Jeff: Oh God, please don’t ask her about her “rap career.”
Jenni: My children’s rap album is coming soon, and I just got news on something big that is happening with me. I can’t reveal it yet, but trust me when I say, it’s big news!
Jeff: She’s a one hit wonder.
Michael: What exactly is Jeff Lewis’s design aesthetic?
Jeff: Very contemporary, very streamlined. I’m not a fan of over-accessorizing at all. When you see those home magazines with all of those accessories everywhere, designers are marking up everything that they’re buying for the home, and I mark-up nothing. What the customer should do is work out an hourly or a flat fee with the designer, that way they won’t be surprised.
I will tell you though, I love “Million Dollar Decorators” (also on Bravo). It’s total “real estate porn for me”. I love the fantasy of it in terms of the design, that show is great!
Michael: Any tips on summer design updating?
Jeff: Right now it seems like the popular colors are gray, charcoals and white. People are doing white with gray accents, polished chrome, white accents, things like that. People are doing what I would call right now a contemporary blend.
Michael: How would you both describe your relationship?
Jeff: It’s like any relationship; it has it’s ups and downs. We’ve been through a lot in bad and stressful times. We have great communication and always hash it out. We may be dramatic and raise our voice, but we get it out and work it out!
Jenni: I think Jeff wants a straight shooter; he may get upset, but in the end he respects my directness.
Michael: Of all of the “Real Housewives of New Jersey’s” homes, whose would you redecorate?
Jeff: Oh that’s easy… all of them!
Season 5 of “Flipping Out” premiers Wednesday, July 6 at 10 pm on Bravo. Click here for more info.