BUYER: Jeff Lewis
LOCATION: Los Angeles, Calif.
SIZE: 3,872 square feet, 3 bedrooms, 4.5 bathrooms
YOUR MAMA’S NOTES: We’ve now heard from no fewer than three helpful real estate snitches that L.A.’s sassiest reality TV starring house flipper Jeff Lewis has shelled out $2.484 million to reacquire a multi-story residence above L.A.’s Sunset Strip that he owned and overhauled more than a decade ago. The designer-decorator and budding paint entrepreneur, whose show “Flipping Out” was picked up earlier this year for an eighth season, purchased the property with his former house flipping partner, decorator Ryan Brown, in the last days of 2002 for $860,000. They gave it a thorough spit and polish and sold it in September 2003 for $1.75 million to a gentleman who sold it not quite three years later for $2.45 million. The not-famous buyers had it on and off both the sales and rental markets for nearly five years before Mister Lewis came along on his real estate white horse — or, more accurately, in his black S-Class Mercedes — and took it off their hands for $1.09 million more than he paid 13 years ago but just $34,000 above what they paid — or arguably over paid — almost a decade ago, at the peak of the early- to mid-2000s real estate bubble.
Listing details from its most recent sale make some hay of the fact that the house was “completely remodeled by Jeff Lewis with a contemporary flair while emphasizing the original details” and indicate the mullet-style house — it’s a low-profile single story situation at the front and a three-story affair at the back — was originally built in the mid 1920s on a steeply sloped and downright diminutive 0.1-acre parcel. At the time of its sale the house was configured with three bedrooms and 4.5 bathrooms in 3,872 square feet.
It’s but one or two short steps across a wrought iron-fenced entry courtyard to the front door that opens all but directly and, in our humble and utterly meaningless opinion, much too inelegantly directly into the dining room. The quatrefoil-shaped terra-cotta pavers — or terra cotta-like pavers, possibly — continue into the adjacent living room, where a fireplace is being punished with what we see as an uncomfortably incongruous minimalist-minded chimney breast sheathed hearth to ceiling with monochromatic beige stone tiles. Listen, kids, nobody appreciates a strong, minimalist gesture more than this property gossip, and perhaps in another room in another house that slavishly blah chimney breast treatment would be a revelation, an absolute miracle of decorative restraint. But in that room? Meh. (Don’t get all pinch-faced and apoplectic, Mister Lewis. You know we’re on point with that.) More lovely and appropriate to the original architecture, however, are the super-sized 18-pane windows at opposite ends of the rectangular room that drop decadently to the floor and reach almost to the barrel-vaulted ceiling. A wide archway joins the entry/dining room to a sky-lit and, well, harmlessly dated center island kitchen with vaulted ceiling, jet black raised panel cabinetry, thick slab marble countertops and the customary collection of high-grade stainless-steel appliances. The adjoining breakfast nook has wood-framed glass doors to one of several tiled terraces and balconies that offer long, slightly oblique city views.
A spacious, step-down family room on the lower, middle level has glossy, medium brown wood floors and floor-to-ceiling windows that open to a wrap-around city view terrace. A medium-sized guest/family bedroom has a built-in desk space, Juliet balcony and attached bathroom tiled in beige tumbled stone while, on the other side of the family room, one of the house’s two master suites has an unusually roomy sitting room, walk-in closet and attached bathroom tiled in beige tumbled stone. On the lowest level, an office/den with built-in desk space, bookshelves and Juliet balcony connects through frosted glass doors to a second and equally oversized master suite with an unusually roomy sitting area, walk-in closet and attached bathroom tiled in beige tumbled stone.
In addition to the cascade of tiled balconies and terraces on the upper levels that allow convenient outdoor access from almost every room, the puny property manages to accommodate a supermodel slender strip of red bricked backyard set well below the house and jam-packed with swimming pool, spa, red tile roofed dining gazebo and a built-in barbecue station.
Since we don’t really know a ladder from a hammock we really can’t say if Mister Lewis simply pounced on what he hopes will be a great real estate opportunity for money making or if he sees his repurchase of the property as an opportunity to right past design wrongs. Whatever the case, iffin Your Mama were the betting type — and we are most certainly not — we’d bet the proverbial farm, regardless of whether he moves himself and Gage and Zoila and etc. into the house, the professional house flipper will stay true to form and flip it back on the market almost as soon as the paint — his brand of paint, we can all be certain — dries.
As some of the children probably already know, this is not the first time Mister Lewis has repurchased a property he previously owned and renovated. In the spring of 2004 he paid $1.265 million for a house in Los Feliz that was originally designed by vaunted architect Wallace Neff and built in 1937. He gave it his signature overhaul and sold it in June 2006 for $2.795 million to a couple of not-famous gentleman who, apparently, didn’t keep up with the mortgage and lost it to the gaping maw of foreclosure in the fall of 2010. The following July (2011), Mister Lewis (re-)acquired the house from the bank for $1.625 million and once again gave the whole place a complete makeover, a rather expensive one as he often complained on past seasons of his show. Despite the televised protestations of his carefully groomed man-mate and employee Gage Edwards, Mister Lewis put the house up for sale in July 2013 for $3.195 million and, after more than a year and a half on and off the market, finally sold it in late January of this year for $2.895 million to another couple of not-famous gentlemen.
Listing photos: Sotheby’s International Realty