Friday, August 3, 2007

Jeff Lewis is Flipping Out

SELLER: Jeff Lewis
LOCATION: 3427 Ben Lomond Place, Los Angeles, CA
PRICE: $1,349,000 (reduced from $1,525,000)
SIZE: 1,989 square feet, 3 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms
DESCRIPTION: Tastefully renovated 2-story character Span w/ 1920s charm. Great floor plan w/ 3 bds, 3 bths w/ Ann Sack tile, hdwd flrs, original stained glass windows. Step-down lvg rm w/ fp, beamed ceilings, built-in plasma tv, French drs. Formal dng rm w/ beamed ceilings. High-end kit w/ bkfst rm, honed granite counters, custom cabinets & Viking range. Outdoor space incl pool, fountain, new landscaping granting privacy. New systems incl central a/c & heat, plumbing, electrical seismic bolting & roof!

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: By now y'all know that Mister Jeff Lewis is the psychic loving and excessively neurotic house flipper with huge bee stung lips that is featured on the Bravo TV's new reality program Flipping Out. If Your Mama is being honest, we're a tad reluctant to discuss this property. Why? A couple of weeks ago we were approached by some of the PR people for the show who asked us to plug the show on our little blog. For free.

Naturally, we were pissed. Don't get us wrong. We love Bravo TV. Your Mama and the Dr. Cooter spend far too many hours sitting in front of the boob tube staring at Bravo's long line up of reality programs. We mention their bloody shows week after week after week on this blog, and then they have the nerve to ASK us to plug their new show for free. FOR FREE!

Well don't you now that we got ourselves all in a snit screaming to the neighbors and any stranger who would listen that if Bravo TV wanted to plug their show on this blog they should BUY some damn advertising. And we still think they should buy some advertising. But, despite our inner turmoil and ongoing seething, we got down off our high horse and decided to discuss one of the houses that was featured on the premiere episode of the program.

Mister Lewis, who is the poster boy for obsessive compulsive disorder, is a highly leveraged, stressed out and slightly delusional parody of a classic Los Angeles freako who consults psychics on business decisions, employs an "animal integrator," whatever that is, and sends his cat named Monkey to acupuncture. Despite treating his employees like children, Mister Lewis purchases their companionship through wages which may in fact be the only way that people will tolerate his sometimes bizarre and pedantic behavior.

And what a dysfunctional little family he and his employees are. How many people does it take to clean the cat box at Jeff Lewis' house? Five. One to put it on the "to do" list (Jeff), one to refuse to do it (Jenni, the dry witted and acronym loving first assistant), one whose list the task is NOT on (Zoila the housekeeper, even though that's the obvious person to do it), and two more male assistants to squabble over who is going to scoop the cat poop.

Mister Lewis purchased this house in June of 2006 for $975,000. Located in the flats of Los Feliz, the Spanish style house sits on the up slope of a very small lot that leaves little room for a yard. From the photos shown on the television program of the house pre-renovation, the house was a T.D. (total dump) when he bought it. Let's figure he put $200,000 into renovations (max) and another $50,00o in carrying costs, Mister Puffy Lips stands to make a couple hundred thousand clams even after he pays the real estate fees. This is a lot of money to make on a flip property until you consider how fast $200,000 goes when you have several other high end properties to carry costs for, and half a dozen employees who you pay to do everything but wipe your ass.

Your Mama appreciates that Mister Lewis does a much better job renovating, landscaping and decorating the properties than to do most house flippers. We commend that he uses finer materials (ie Ann Sacks tiles) and takes care of some of the big structural stuff (ie seismic bolting), But here's the thing. Even though we like the way the houses look, they are a bit generic feeling and each one feels just like all the others that he flips. Sort of like McDonalds or Starbucks, you always know exactly what you're going to be getting when you go to a fast food joint.

We don't mind so much the generic interiors, because really, that's easily changed with a red rug or a great painting from one of our artist friends. But Your Mama is concerned with that backyard pool. Nobody, and we mean nobody, appreciates a backyard swimming pool more than Your Mama and the Dr. Cooter. But this pool takes up just about the entire yard leaving only a small sliver of space for outdoor living and chaise lounges. Not too mention that the walk spaces around the pool are so narrow that only the sober and those with very, very good equilibrium are able to successfully navigate the area without tipping over into the pool.

The positive side of the swimming pool issue is that the new homeowner will save many thousands of dollars on their landscaping and gardening bills. Just a few potted plants to water back and the occasional trimming of the privets. But then again, how would one trim those privets behind the swimming pool? That shit looks like a landscaping lawsuit waiting to happen. We can see it now, "illegal immigrant drowns in pool while trimming privet hedges." Please.

Anyhoo, whether Bravo TV (wisely) decides to buy advertising on our little blog or not, we confess we'll be tuning in to watch the Flipping Out shenanigans every week. Because Your Mama loves a train wreck, and if you saw the show then you know it's just TGTM (too good to miss).

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