Flipping Out

Flipping Out (Courtesy Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)

Flipping Out is a reality television series that debuted on July 31, 2007 on Bravo in the United States and HGTV in Canada. Subsequently, it debuted on cable network Arena in Australia on September 4, 2009. For the first season it also re-aired on sister network CNBC. The show is centered on designer Jeff Lewis in Los Angeles, California, his entourage that consists of his project manager Jenni, housekeeper Zoila, business manager and boyfriend Gage and his other assistant(s) and helper(s).

For the first season the show revolved around Lewis' flip projects as he renovated homes and re-sold them for a profit. As the housing bubble popped in 2007, Lewis started to focus more on his home decorating consulting business and less on flipping houses, though in season four he considered moving back into flipping small projects on the side. The show finished its 6th season on November 27, 2012.


Current cast members

Jeff Lewis

(Season 1-6)
Lewis born on March 24, 1970 in Orange County, California, and is a 1988 graduate of Mater Dei High School. He attended both the University of Southern California and Chapman University where he was Pre-Law and Political Science major. After graduating from college in 1993, Lewis began working for a real estate agent. In 1999, Lewis began his current occupation as a real-estate speculator and interior decorator. He purchases properties, sometimes for over a million dollars each, and then renovates them to sell for a profit. Jeff is openly gay, and formerly had a relationship with his ex-business partner Ryan Brown. The New York Times called Jeff "a man balancing multiple mortgages like bricks on a noodle". In 2008, he started "Jeff Lewis Design" and in 2009, launched a line of home furnishings he designed on QVC.

Lewis speaks openly about his living with obsessive"compulsive personality disorder, and the show often highlights how this is evident in his business dealings. Lewis is shown obsessing over his three dogs and two cats, has several psychics and mediums, including a pet psychic, and performs exorcisms for his houses. He sees a therapist and does "scream therapy" to release stress. He is a demanding boss who has been accused of unprofessional narcissism and a tyrannical treatment of his subordinates, counting on his talent to overshadow his personality defects. He admits to being "a great narcissist"; in fact he likes working in front of a mirror. He stated that he had filler put in his lips in 1999 and prides himself on having just the "perfect amount of botox".

Jeff's youngest brother Todd is married to Carrie, Jeff's realtor. According to Jeff, the two knew each other before she became one of his realtors. Carrie's younger sister Sarah was one of Jeff's design assistants beginning in Season 4.

Jenni Nassos

(Season 1-6)
Nassos (née Pulos) was born in Portland, Oregon, and grew up in Scottsdale, Arizona. She played tennis competitively in high school. She attended the University of California, Los Angeles as a Theater & Film major and a Political Science minor. Pulos intended to play tennis for UCLA, but later invested her time in acting. Pulos considers herself to be an actress, voice actress, and rapper. She married another one of Lewis' assistants, Chris Elwood, and was referred to as 'Jenni Pulos Elwood' throughout the first two seasons until the two divorced. Pulos has had many minor roles in television, including Monk, Charmed, and Moesha.

Pulos refers to herself as Lewis' executive administrative assistant and often refers to Lewis as "crazy" due to his obsessive-compulsive tendencies, but also admits that many geniuses are crazy. Pulos has complained that Lewis treats his animals better than his assistants. Lewis often gives preferential treatment to Pulos and considers her his best assistant, evidenced by the fact that she has only been suspended once. Lewis says that "she is really the only person that stands up to me," and he apparently respects that. Her one-time husband Chris worked for Lewis before Pulos was hired, but she quickly rose up the ladder. Since the start of the first season, Pulos has maintained that a good portion of her job is to entertain Lewis; some of her first footage on the show is of her dancing foolishly in the driveway to make Lewis laugh.

Lewis and Pulos share a platonic friendship. Pulos refuses to tell Lewis where she lives because she fears he might track her down and invade her privacy, which Lewis admits he would. When Pulos withholds information about her private life, Lewis says worriedly that his "first reaction is that she might break up with me". According to Lewis their relationship has been strengthened.

He was concerned about her welfare during the previous months that recall Lewis' firing of Chris Elwood during episode 205, "Tear Down" and his later discovery that Pulos and Chris were getting a divorce. According to "Closer Inspection," "Tear Down," the season reunion special Lewis believed his undeniable proof of Chris' disregard of his duties would hurt not only Pulos but Lewis' relationship with her. He agonized over what decision he should make.

Jenni married partner Jonathan Nassos, which was broadcast on episode eight of the sixth season. On January 6, 2013, Andy Cohen confirmed that Jenni is expecting her first child.

Zoila Chavez

(Season 1-6)
Zoila was born in Nicaragua and lived her early life there. She never married and raised three children. When her daughters had grown up, Zoila divorced her husband and moved to the United States in 1987. She began cleaning Lewis' home, then was persuaded to become his live-in housekeeper. Zoila became a citizen of the United States in 1996 and lives here with several of her brothers and sisters.

In addition to Jenni, Zoila is Lewis' other favorite employee, and serves as a surrogate mother to Lewis. Zoila has shown patience and humor with Lewis' eccentricities. She became more firm with Lewis once she gained her citizenship. As of 2009, she was attending school, which Lewis sometimes fears inhibits his control.

Zoila often asks for time off but never gets it. Even for her birthday, she was denied the weekend off. Lewis' infamous reaction, which was replayed on various media shows including The Soup was, "Didn't you just get off for Christmas? Now you want another holiday off?" and, in a talking head, "She wanted all of Saturday and she wanted all of Friday. Well, what am I going to do? Who's going to do my laundry? Who's going to make me breakfast? She's so selfish." Rather than the weekend off, as she preferred, and postponing her birthday for another weekend as Lewis preferred, she was given an oil painting of herself which was decidedly unflattering. The painting later went up for auction on Bravotv.com, and was sold for over $10,000. Zoila received the proceeds from the sale. Lewis was subsequently given another oil painting of Zoila done by artist Nagy which he has hanging in his home. Lewis was generous in subsequent birthdays, taking her to New York for her birthday one season and giving her the plastic surgery of her choice in the next, and even bought her a Mercedes SUV in the most recent.

On an episode of Watch What Happens: Live that aired December 5, 2012, guest Carmen Electra revealed that she and Dennis Rodman had once employed Zoila for a short time.

Gage Edward

(Season 5-6)
Gage joined the cast in season 5 and is Jeff's business manager and boyfriend. Gage is 14 years younger than Jeff.

Former cast members

Sarah Berkman

(Seasons 3"5)
Sarah is Jeff's sister-in-law's sister; she joined the cast in season 3. Sarah was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area and moved to L.A. when she was 18. She is shown as being very personable and a client favorite but very forgetful. After much consideration about the possible impact on Jeff's brother and his wife's family, Jeff fired her in the fifth season due to her constant mistakes.

Ryan Brown

(Seasons 1"3)
Ryan grew up in Oxnard, California and attended school at the University of California, San Diego where he majored in neuroscience, intending to one day go to medical school. He later changed his plans, moved to Europe, and became a fashion photographer. Upon returning to Los Angeles he entered the interior design business. Besides running an interior design firm, Ryan also engages in full-scale residential development, as well as the restoration and refurbishing of homes in the Los Angeles area.

Ryan and Jeff went into business together while in a relationship. Although the relationship soon dissolved romantically, the two remained partners in business, continuing flipping and redesigning houses. Ryan is currently in a long-term relationship with chef Dale Monchamp, with whom he has a daughter born through surrogacy. Brown's daughter is often featured on Flipping Out, primarily in season 3, in which Jeff admits to sharing a close bond with her as he has no children of his own.

At the end of Season 3 of Flipping Out, mounting anger between Jeff and Ryan culminates when Jeff confronts Ryan, accusing him of stealing clients as well as showing no regard for his financial situation in the failing economy. Ryan responded by calling Jeff paranoid and stating that the success of his business was due to his body of work over the years as a designer, not Lewis' name.

By season 4, Ryan is no longer listed as a cast member on Bravo.com. Jeff only addresses the situation briefly in the first episode of season 4, saying he is deeply saddened to have lost someone he considered family; he also states they two no longer speak.

Chris Elwood

(Seasons 1"2)
Chris was born in Columbus, Georgia and after graduating from high school moved to Atlanta, where he began acting. To further pursue acting, he later moved to Los Angeles. Chris is mostly recognized as one of the wingmen on Ashton Kutcher's MTV show Punk'd and How High, in which he played Bart Dooster. Chris commented on the series that, while most people expect him not to be doing the kind of work he's doing for Jeff, he needs some extra income to supplement his acting career.

In Season 1, Chris is effectively referred to as the "Trash Guy" or the "third house assistant". It is his job to clean up the job sites. In Season 2, Chris is the "House Manager", meaning he sees to it that Jeff's residence is in working order. Every day, he is given a long list of tasks, which he and the "second house assistant" must complete. Throughout both seasons, Chris's standing responsibility is to take care of the animals and to maintain security around the house.

As Chris is in the acting business, he often pushes aside his duties in favor of acting opportunities, which subsequently gets Jeff upset. Jeff has fired Chris multiple times, but has always re-hired him.

Near the end of Season 2, Jeff officially fires Chris. Shortly after his firing, Jenni and Chris divorced.

In the season 5 reunion, Jeff mentioned that Chris had recently remarried.

Chris Keslar

(Season 2)
Keslar joined the cast during the second season to replace Steve Bowman, who had an antagonistic relationship with Lewis. He is the brother of Project Runway 3's Angela Keslar and a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania. Keslar stated in the first episode that he wanted to break into the design and real estate markets, and that he viewed working for Lewis as a type of apprenticeship. However, Keslar often found himself the butt of Lewis' sense of humor. He was once instructed to take a Los Angeles public bus home after taking Lewis' car to the autobody shop. On another occasion, after forgetting to ask a takeout restaurant for guacamole for Lewis' lunch, Keslar was instructed to climb over a fence and steal avocados from a neighbor's trees so that maid Zoila could make guacamole as a replacement. During a three-month review, Lewis' employees stated that Keslar was dedicated, proactive and a hard worker. Lewis himself stated that Keslar had a nice personality, which was often the kiss of death when working for him. Keslar resigned in the last episode, in part because of the poor treatment he received and in part because there was no hope of job growth. At the meeting wherein Keslar resigned, Lewis responded that in order to work for him, a person needs to be dysfunctional. He told Keslar that he thought Keslar was just "too healthy" to work for him.

Trace James Lehnhoff

(Seasons 3"5)
Trace was brought on as a design intern in season 3. Upon graduating in season 4, he became a full-time employee at JLD. Jeff fired him in season 5 because he discovered Trace using time at work to design a personal closet for his residence, a task which Jeff indicated requires three hours to complete.

Jett Pink

(Season 2-5)
Jett joined the cast in the second season finale. He was the first person interviewed to replace Keslar and was hired almost immediately after being asked a series of peculiar questions by Pulos and Lewis; e.g., Pink was asked whether or not he uses the bathroom frequently, and whether or not he can admit he is wrong, even if he knows he is right. Lewis says he hired Jett because he was the first good-looking person to walk in the door and the only one who had no real interest in the business. Lewis said he realized it wasn't fair to hire people in that position who were interested in advancement to a design role (as Keslar was), because the position only requires animal caretaking, household chores and errand-running for Lewis. He decided after Keslar that he would only hire people in that position who did not have other aspirations.

Pink is almost never shown exhibiting emotion of any kind. He never disagrees with Lewis on the show. In a rare moment on the show, he once joked with Jeff at lunch. Their remarks upset Zoila, who left the table to cry in her room. Jett came to her room and apologized profusely. He has asked Zoila to take walks with him while he walks the dogs, but Zoila said she prefers to watch telenovellas instead.

In Season 4, Pink cut off his ponytail and now has a short haircut. He is also a new father, and his infant son is sometimes at the Lewis house while Pink is working. Lewis has added maintenance at different properties to Pink's responsibilities to justify his salary.

Andrew Coleman

(Season 6)
Andrew joined the team in Season 6. He was openly gay and very flamboyant, but was a hard worker. He claimed that his parents were wealthy, but wanted him to find employment as a condition if getting his trust fund released to him from his parents. He also said he had a boyfriend named Chris, who was never shown, who was in the military or a Broadway producer. His habit of telling lies in the office, made him at odds with Gage, who wanted him fired. During the season, Andrew quit after Jeff confronts him about why exactly Andrew lies. He later returned in the next episode asking for a second chance which Jeff gave him. On an episode of Watch What Happens: Live, that aired December 4, 2012, Jeff Lewis told host Andy Cohen that Andrew no longer worked for the company. Lewis explained that he had fired Andrew who had issues with subordination. Andrew, who is 10 years older than Vanina, did not particularly like answering to a supervisor who was younger than him.

The pets

Lewis has three dogs and two cats that frequently make appearances on the show. The pets are treated quite well contrasted to the employees on the show. For instance, the animals are seen getting acupuncture, massages, therapy, visits with pet psychics, and one of Lewis' assistants is always there to attend to their needs.

  • Monkey " Lewis' first pet, a cat, seven and a half years old. He was a gift from Ryan while he and Jeff were dating. He is a rare Blue Point Peke-faced Himalayan. Jeff describes him as a mischievous prankster which the best sense of humor of all the pets. Jeff's pet psychic says he's very imaginative and creative, and as a result, holds the delusion that he is an outside cat. Monkey is very valuable so Jeff won't let him outside for fear of petnappers. Monkey is very sickly so Jeff treats him to a variety of expensive medical attention, including Holistic medicine; at least fifteen to twenty thousand dollars has been spent on Monkey's physical ailments. The kitchen sink is left constantly running in a slight stream so Monkey may drink from it. Monkey was euthanized in the finale episode of season 6.
  • Stewie " Lewis' second pet, a cat, six years old. He is Seal Point Peke-faced Himalayan whose personality is the exact opposite of Monkey's. Lewis says that he is the least friendly of all the pets and is very selective with his affection. The cat will only let Lewis touch him; assistant Steve Bowman was often forced to use a broom to push the antagonistic cat from one room to the other. Lewis compares Stewie to Garfield because he is lazy and eats and sleeps all day rather than playing like the other animals. Stewie often defecates in the sink or bathtub, and Jeff has asked his staff to keep the sinks and tubs at Valley Oak filled with water to try to prevent this behavior.
  • Casey " Lewis' third pet and first dog, is a pit bull mix. Casey is not as well house-trained as Oliver and often has accidents in the house, which the delegated pet assistant, formerly Chris Elwood, sometimes fails to notice. Lewis said he found her in a pet adoption center while driving around, and when he returned to see her at the end of the day, all the pets had been adopted but her; Lewis feels that there is a definite reason why but cannot decide whether the adoption was fate or a mistake. Jeff says that Casey is spoiled and slow to learn; it took three years and seven thousand dollars for her to learn to sit.
  • Oliver " The fourth pet and second dog in the Lewis household. He is a stray dog of unknown breeding, possibly a Corgi mix, which Lewis found at the dog park and took in. Jeff's pet psychic says that Oliver's previous owner loved him very much but had to let him go to give him a better life. Jeff says that Oliver is the most affectionate pet and was already perfectly house-trained when adopted; according to Lewis, he is also apparently best friends with Casey.
  • "Little" Chris " Chris is the newest pet and the third dog, and was adopted after the first season. He was named after Chris Elwood. He is not house-trained and often comes in conflict with the other dogs, particularly Casey.


Ben Lomond

Lewis purchased the 3 bedroom, 3 bath, Ben Lomond property in Los Feliz for $975,000. Renovation costs were $275,000. Initial sale price was $1,500,000, but was later reduced to $1,250,000 due to the market slowdown. The Ben Lomond property eventually sold for $1,400,000 after Lewis had lowered the price drastically after failing to sell the property for months. Lewis moved in to Ben Lomond at the end of the first season of the series and lived there between the first and second seasons.


The Commonwealth property is a three-bedroom, two-bathroom house located in Los Angeles. Lewis originally paid $800,000 for the house. The house was featured during the end of the first season and beginning of the second. Lewis bought the house after other real estate speculators had failed to improve the property after finding serious structural deficiencies. Renovation costs were $425,000. Lewis lived in this house during the taping of the second season of the series. The house was eventually sold for $1,595,000.

Hancock Park (Lorraine)

The Lorraine property is otherwise known as the Dorothy Chandler Mansion or where the late philanthropist lived out the last few years of her life before she died. The house was also once known as the "Western White House". As Lewis states in the second season opener, he had worked on this project as a consultant, earning himself and Brown a salary of $25,000 a month to supervise the remodeling of the mansion. The mansion was purchased by Joe and Courtney Handleman for $8,070,000. Lewis got fired after a disagreement about hiring contractors in the second episode of the second season.


After Lewis quit the Hancock Park job, he was brought on as a consultant to remodel a home in Encino.


6 Bed/7 Bath w/Guest House 5,000 sq ft The Nottingham property was purchased for $2,290,000. It was the first project on Flipping Out, and is the largest house that Lewis has flipped. Brown lived in the house after he won a bet with Lewis over selling their other properties that would determine which of them would live there during renovation. The property sold for $4,500,000.

Valley Oak One

The Valley Oak One property was initially featured as the first property that Lewis lived in during the series. The house was purchased for $1,700,000 and after being renovated for $500,000 by Lewis it was initially listed at $3,195,000 and then reduced twice until it sold for $2,595,000.

Valley Oak Two

The Valley Oak Two property was featured in Season 2 of the series as the second property that Lewis "flipped" on Valley Oak Drive in Los Feliz. Lewis purchased the house for $1,710,000 in March 2007. Valley Oak Two was notable on the series, because the owner that Lewis had purchased it from had refused to vacate the premises after the transaction took place. Lewis began demolition even while the former owner was still living there. After completing the renovation, the property was put on the market at $3,195,000, reduced to $2,995,000 and then eventually taken off the market. Lewis lives at Valley Oak Two in Seasons 3 and 4. He sold Valley Oak Two for $2,325,000 on October 12, 2010.


According to the episode, "Looks Like New," Jeff has a fifty percent stake in the house, which has five rental units.


This property was purchased by Jeff on the Season 2 finale for $1 million. He joked during the inspection that Zoila would be sleeping in the basement, where the gas valves are located. It was listed at $1,395,000 and sold in early January 2009 for $1,300,000.


Jeff decided at the conclusion of the Season Two finale that he would become a renter, something he always said was "against his religion," for at least four to eight weeks. This gave him stability as well as what he called a vacation. During his interview with the landlord, Lewis lied and stated he had no pets.

In the same episode, Jenni said Jeff's move was great for Jeff, since he wanted to slow down a little bit.


Jackie, the client, hired Lewis to remodel this 1960-70's era Spanish house in Bel Air, California in Season 3. The budget was $100,000. After many problems with Jackie not paying on time, Lewis paid the contractors out of his own pocket until she could come up with the money. Jackie and Lewis exchanged heated words over payment, and at times Lewis was uncertain she had the money she claimed. The remodel was eventually completed, and Jeff and his workers were finally compensated.


This is an ongoing $750,000 remodel for Chaz Dean's salon in Season 3. The project consists of three separate bungalows. Lewis said he hopes if these are completed to Dean's satisfaction, he will additionally be awarded the contract to build a new salon for Dean in New York City, and Lewis expressed concern that the bungalow project was taking longer than it should.

In Season 3 during the remodel of one of the bungalows, a homeless person named Spirit who had lived in the backyard of the property with Dean's permission for 10 years passed away. Lewis had planned to construct an area with a shower and rest room for Spirit's use in one of the bungalows, but due to Spirit's death it was never started. It was mentioned that Dean referred to Spirit as female even it though it was believed she was a male, so that people would be sympathetic to her.

Las Palmas

2 Bed/2 Bath Duplex 1,756 sq ft Purchase Price: 625,000 Est.Selling Price: $999,000 Sold for $990,008

Series overview

Season Episodes Season Premiere Season Finale
1 7 July 31, 2007 September 11, 2007
2 9 June 17, 2008 August 12, 2008
3 11 August 18, 2009 October 27, 2009
4 10 August 10, 2010 October 12, 2010
5 11 July 6, 2011 September 13, 2011
6 12 September 4, 2012 November 27, 2012

See also

  • House "flipping"

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