The housing bust had a direct impact on "Flipping Out" star Jeffrey Lewis, who found his business -- and the theme of his Bravo show -- disappearing along with potential buyers."There were times when I thought, why is this happening to me? And sometimes it takes years to figure out the lesson. But getting knocked down was one of the best things to ever happen to me," Lewis admitted during a press tour panel discussion.
Enter "Interior Therapy," Lewis' new show debuting later this year. Now working as an interior designer, Lewis and assistant Jenni Pulos move in with couples who need home decoration help, usually revolving around personal dilemmas ranging from hoarding to merging belongings following a marriage. "I don't think I could have done this show five years ago," Lewis said. "With [house flipping] it was really about my own taste and my own design. I did what I wanted to do, and if someone didn't like it there were four people lined up to buy the house anyway. Now I can really get into clients' heads and put together a design that would suit their tastes and needs, not just mine."
Being forced to set aside his own preferences to cater to clients has had a dramatic impact on Lewis, according to Pulos. "I've been working with him for 11 years, and he has really grown a lot through this show," she said. "He's a little, and I mean a little, less of a control freak. I think this show forced him to grow and to deal with people. Having to work for people, he couldn't just blow up over things."
Not that "Interior Therapy" has softened Lewis' prickly nature. "We're spending so much time with the people on the show, you can't help but become connected," he said. Still, "I didn't always like them, and sometimes I wanted them dead. We didn't always have nice people to work with, and there were times I just wanted to go over to the neighbor's house to see if there was something we could do over there instead... Some of these people, they were just as miserable when we left as when we walked through the door. We reached a good six or seven people out of 10. But some people are lost causes. I can't help them."
He might not have to help them for long in any case. "The flipping market is back," Lewis said. "I just might get back into it this year. There are so many great deals... and there's a great market for done houses. There wasn't for a while, though. I couldn't give those houses away."