It’s the end of an era at Jeff Lewis Design – and for Flipping Out. Last night, we saw Zoila Chavez make the life altering decision to leave Jeff’s employment – forever – and despite her surly ways, I have to admit I shed a wee tear seeing the entire mess play out in living color. Her departure wasn’t good, but it was, in the end, inevitable.
After Gema, Jeff and Gage Edward’s eighth nanny, was fired last week, the household is reeling from a text the ex-nanny sent. She accused Zoila of working against Gage and sabotaging her at every turn regarding how she cared for Monroe. When Jeff questions Zoila about the specifics of Gema’s accusations, though, Zoila rails against the investigation. Since Jeff is too uncomfortable to actually face Zoila’s shadiness head on, he diffuses the situation by holding an impromptu mock trial. Megan Weaver, Jenni Pulos, Gage, and Jeff all laugh while they read the guilty verdicts one after another. Even the housekeeper, Laura, piles on. Although she initially laughs the game off, Zoila’s mirth quickly turns to anger.
“I will fix the problem in this house, Jeffrey,” says Zoila. “I quit.” Jenni and Jeff have heard Zoila threaten to quit at least fifty times over the years, but this time seems different. Maybe it’s the Gema text? Maybe Zoila finally got caught at her own game? Or maybe it’s just time she climbs out of the drama-den once and for all, even if the damn drama is of her own making. In the car afterward, Jeff writes Zoila’s threats off as empty. But he does admit that she probably did manipulate Gema – not to mention countless others. Jenni wonders when this dysfunctional pattern will end? Jeff is sick of it, but he’ll never be disloyal to Zoila. Never.
At the wall covering store, Jeff guides his client, Heather, through endless wallpaper books to choose patterns for different rooms – rooms which are nowhere near done. Then he tells Heather about losing Gema, and about the dramatics that followed. Heather sympathizes, but wonders what the real truth behind Gema’s text might be? Jeff wonders too, but something tells me he’ll never find out. Jenni aptly titles this complicated domestic dispute the Telenovela of Monroe, which kinda does have spinoff potential!
In a meeting later, Jeff and his team meet with clients Liat and Trevor, good friends of Jenni who are looking to build a home in Calabasas – right next door to Khloe Kardashian, in fact. Oh my. We’ll go the No Comment route on that front. The project is huge – a $7 million build, 14,000 square feet, elevator, gym, courts, pool, huge grounds. We get the picture. The architect and Jeff advise Liat and Trevor on the benefits of subterranean parking and man caves, which are essentially rich people problems. But Jeff welcome this sort of #RPP into his life because, hey! He can make a sweet chunk o’ change off of this project too.
At 5:30 the next morning, Jeff and Gage attempt to soothe Monroe in the myriad of fruitless ways every new parent tries. Of course, nothing works. And now there’s no nanny to relieve them, so it looks like they’ll learn this parenting thing the hard way. But trying and failing, then trying again – just like we all do. Come, join us on this nightmarish carnival ride! Everyone’s a little sick, but we’re all hanging on (barely). 😉
Over at Jenni’s house in Encino, the family is getting ready for their new baby girl! Their daughter, Alianna (who is a doll!), is also getting a new big girl bedroom in preparation for her new role as big sister. Jenni gives us a tour of her backyard, which is looking very Jeff Lewis-designed. It’s sleek and clean and modern, and perfect for entertaining. Oh, if only we could all have Jeff on call to design our own backyards! (Again, the invitation stands for you to come over and insult literally everything I own, Jeff! Me, my mixed woods, and my threadbare throw rugs are waiting patiently for your arrival! I will alphabetize the contents of my fridge in advance!)
Press pause on that sweet scene for now, though, because back at Jeff’s house the Telenovela continues… Gema has apparently called Laura to tell her that Zoila’s been talking smack about her too. When Laura relays this info to Jeff, Zoila overhears, but refuses to address it. Jeff is confused – aren’t Zoila and Laura good friends? Maybe not, according to Gema. Wait – what the actual f–k is going on here?!?
Laura’s feelings are hurt, but Zoila just writes it all off as Gema seeking revenge. Maybe, maybe not. It sounds like Zoila is, at the very least, jealous of Laura receiving a designer bag from Jeff recently. Note to Zoila: You’ve received cars and plastic surgery from this man in the past, despite your grouchy behavior. So, maybe tone down the petty purse comments a touch, eh?
When Zoila refuses to apologize, Jeff begs her to reconsider. He knows Laura’s feelings are hurt, and he can’t stomach losing more household staff at this point. But lose more he will! Because now Zoila is REALLY, TRULY ready to leave. Clothes hangers in hand, she blows right past Laura and Jeff – and their protestations – claiming that everyone is just out to make her look bad! She then abruptly tells Jeff that she’s leaving for real this time, depositing her keys on the foyer table before driving off.
“Thank you so much for everything, and if there’s something of yours I have, let me know,” she says through angry tears before walking out the door. Jeff barely registers the gravity of the situation, expecting Zoila to come back to him in the end. She pulled a similar stunt last year, after all (and who knows how many times before). And she absolutely lives for the drama, as we all know. Even Jeff can’t handle this level of theatrics though, especially with Monroe to focus on now.
Laura can’t handle it either, and frankly says she’ll leave if Zoila comes back. Gage and Jeff don’t want to see Laura leave, and they’re rethinking taking Zoila back, should she even want to return. They need loyal, responsible people to help out with the baby, and enough is enough. Essentially, a baby changes everything – especially priorities.
The next day, Jeff, Jenni, and Gage head to Calabasas to look at Liat and Trevor’s lot. Their plan is to construct a 1930’s inspired classic Spanish-Hollywood mansion, but the architect, George, doesn’t quite understand this. He wants to recess the windows only two inches, which doesn’t create the 10-inch recess this style requires.
“It looks dated,” notes George, who obviously doesn’t grasp the concept of making something look dated on purpose. Exasperated, Jeff just wants George to stay in his lane, which is code for: Please shut up. George obliges – for now. Jeff and Gage can hardly wait to work with poor, baffled George for the next year and a half on this multi-million dollar project! Groan.
At lunch with Liat and Trevor later, Jeff reminds her that George doesn’t quite understand the process of building a classic home. Jeff needs to police him and wants his clients’ permission to do so. They agree. Jeff sets up meetings with Liat for the following three weeks to get phase one started. Apparently, it will involve panic rooms and cat towers. Again, #RPP.
Later on, Jeff checks in on Lea Black’s bar installation. He guides her through design options, gently steering her away from Miami sleek and more toward classic wood and marble. Lea finally agrees, as long as it doesn’t get too heavy. She’s suddenly all about compromise, this one. Good for her!
But all is not well on the Calabasas front. Red alert! Red alert! Liat and Trevor have decided not to move forward with Jeff Lewis Design after all. Hmm. Does this have something to do with George, the architect? Yeah, probably. Jeff and Jenni are shocked to hear the news when Gage relays it over the phone. Moreover, why did Liat break the bad news over email rather than a phone call? No one understands what exactly happened here, and Jeff feels like he’s been betrayed. All of the work they’ve put into the project thus far was for naught. Weird. I say we blame Khloe Kardashian!
Jeff and Jenni call Zoila next to see if she’ll come over to talk later. She agrees, but when their conversation actually happens, it doesn’t go the way Jeff expected. Jeff doesn’t think Zoila’s job could be made any easier; he’s basically been keeping her around as a mother figure more than an employee. But Zoila is just done, plain and simple. She doesn’t want to work anymore, even if the work is technically easy. (And let’s face it, working for Jeff in any capacity could never exactly be considered “easy.”)
She’s been feeling stressed and is ready to retire. Jeff wonders why Zoila hasn’t come to talk to him about this before? Zoila claims she has, but he hasn’t exactly wanted to hear it. Ultimately, Jeff accepts Zoila’s retirement wishes. “She stayed for me,” he admits, “But I’ve been holding this woman hostage.” The only reason she stayed for the past six months was because of Monroe, but now she’s got to go – and, ultimately, Jeff has to let her go.
Crying, Zoila says she’s upset to be leaving Monroe (and Jeff), but Jeff swears that she’ll always be in their lives. And I believe him. Despite her messy ways, Zoila is family. And family doesn’t quit.
Goodbye, Zoila! Enjoy your kids and those grandbabies of yours! (And please come back to torture Jeff every once in a while on camera, okay? We’ll be waiting.)
TELL US: ARE YOU SAD TO SEE ZOILA GO? DID SHE STIR THE SH*T WITH THE HOUSEHOLD STAFF, OR IS GEMA EMBELLISHING EVENTS?
Photo Credit: Bravo