Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Jeff Lewis Strikes Again

SELLER: Jeff Lewis
LOCATION: N. Commonwealth Avenue, Los Angeles, CA
PRICE: $1,795,000
SIZE: 1,938 square feet, 3 bedrooms, 2.5 bathrooms
DESCRIPTION: Incredible design, perfectly private. Down a long private drive sits this stunning modern, recently renovated with a Palm Springs influence. Loft-life space with courtyard entry, high ceilings, exposed ducting, and gorgeous walnut flooring throughout. Streamlined high-end kitchen and baths, and new pool-spa. Three bedrooms, 2.5 baths, including master suite with outdoor access. Outdoor space includes a large deck, patios, and two flat yard areas.

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Put down your doobies and put on your thinking caps children because Your Mama wants you to remember all the way back to late July and early August when every real estate freako and house loving homosexual was glued to boob tube while we peered into the wacky world of quirky and balloon lipped house flipper Jeff Lewis and his coterie of actor assistants, pet psychics, the gay daddy ex-boyfriend and a sassy and lovable Nicaraguan housekeeper named Zoila.

Towards the end of the series that aired on The Bravo, Mister Lewis negotiated to purchase a ugly broken down mess of a property on N. Commonwealth Avenue in the Los Feliz area of Los Angeles. Property records reveal that the professional speculator paid just $800,000 for the 1,938 square foot pile of crap. Ever since, Your Mama has been on pins and needles waiting to see what sort of speculation magic the complicated perfectionist would work.

This time around, according to the listing, Mister Lewis chose a "Palm Springs influence." But children, Your Mama and the Dr. Cooter have spent many a wonderful weekend at The Parker Hotel in Palm Springs, and we don't see it. This place looks nothing like all the low slung Alexanders that litter the desert landscape out there or the fabulous Freys or the wonderful Wexlers, and this certainly has little if anything in connection with a Neutra.

Yes, it does have a courtyard (behind the garage) with a contempo stone fountain (not pictured), and there's a liberal use of frosted glass and lots of high ceilings, which is all vaguely Palm Springs (and Miami and the Hollywood Hills frankly), but Your Mama thinks Mister Lewis, all due respect, is pushing the laws interior decorating decency to throw a few pieces of reproduction mid-century modern staging furniture in a house, paint the exterior door frames a bright (and lovely) shade of orange and call it Palms Springs.

None the less and despite the faux "Palm Springs influence," over all Your Mama is impressed with what Mister Lewis, his big lips and his exceedingly well groomed ex-boyfriend/business partner Ryan have done with this former rat shack that includes 3 bedroom and 2.5 bathrooms. The potty mouthed children can say whatever mean and snarky things they want about Mister Lewis' off-kilter personality and constant state of financial freaking out, and we're certain you will. But be honest. The man flips properties better than 90% of the other professional flippers out there who max their credit cards out buying truckloads of appalling and cheaply made crap at The Home Despot.

The expensive walnut floors were an expected but still delicious choice and a welcomed veer from all that engineered wood crap most house flippers put down. Your Mama always welcomes a shiny suite of high priced kitchen appliances and we are particularly fond of the baby Viking and that gorgeous glass fronted SubZero has us quivering with delight. We know this kitchen isn't blazing any new trails of haute culinary design and it's not going to inspire anyone to be the next Top Chef, but it's a perfectly appropriate and functional kitchen that won't look out of date in six months or even six years. And in a flip property, like it or not kids, that's a prime objective.

They can not be seen in the photo above, but the vaulted ceiling living room has sizable sliders that open to both the entrance courtyard and the swimming pool deck at the side of the house. These sliders allow for turning the room into a big covered porch like area. Nice. However, the prison grey paint isn't working for us, and we're disappointed not to find a fireplace to anchor the room and give it a focus. Of course, seldom is it cool enough for Angelenos to actually need a fireplace to heat the tootsies, but for this price, Your Mama wants the option to dabble in that flaming luxury.

Upstairs we find the sleeping quarters and two of the bathrooms. We do so love a master bedroom that opens to the back yard the way this one does because it's perfect for letting our long bodied bitches Linda and Beverly out in the middle of the night when they're unable to hold their bowels. But Your Mama has some serious issues with the bathroom. We can get behind the essentially masculine taupe and blue color scheme, but we do not care for trough sinks, they look like urinals in sleazy gay bars to us. We know that rain style shower heads are all the rage in bathroom renovations, but have y'all ever used one? They're nice for just standing there letting the water fall on you, but try bathing under one of those nightmares. Your Mama and the Dr. Cooter installed one in our outdoor shower at our newly shingled and modest beach house, and don't you know we ripped that thing out before the summer was over. We can not tolerate those things unless they are paired with a more traditional wall mounted shower head. And lastly, we would have really liked to have seen a tiled bench in this big shower, because Your Mama often needs to sit down and catch our breath after a vigorous body scrubbing.

Mister Lewis and his team have managed to squeeze in an attractive and petite plunge pool and spa into the side yard, and they've terrace a good portion of the back yard creating a fair amount of usable space on the difficult hillside parcel. Yes children, it does all look magnificently manicured with the unnaturally green grass and the dark decking, but Your Mama is concerned that the landscaper will put his back out or suffer a hernia hauling the big Toro mower up and down the stairs to the sod covered terraces. And don't even get us started on the drama, hysterics and shirtless manpower required to mow up that steep hillside.

Although Your Mama would never buy this house–too many stairs in the back yard and we're convinced we'd take out the landscaping and scrape the sides of our big BMW trying to back down that narrow driveway–we sincerely hope that Mister Lewis and his carefully coiffed ex boyfriend/business partner Ryan have better luck unloading this property than they have with their flip on Ben Lomond Place. Poor dears have reduced the asking price of that house from $1,525,000 to $1,349,000 and still no one wants to buy it.

But before y'all weep yer crocodile tears for these pretty boys, lets keep in mind that according to property records the flipping duo recently sold the house on Nottingham Avenue (the big unfinished house on the program that Ryan moved in to) for a whopping $4,350,000. The Nottingham house was purchased in June 2006 for $2,260,000 and it appears they took another $1,050,000 in loans, which means by Your Mama's fuzzy math the sale of the property dumped about a million clams into their well pressed khakis. So it seems they can keep all their employees employed for at least a while longer.

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