Jeff Lewis is back and busier than ever.
Flipping Out returns tonight with Lewis recovering from an unexpected career change, renovating — and living in — his own house and preparing for a baby with his partner, Gage Edward.
But Lewis, 46 — who is known for having a bit of a short fuse — isn’t ashamed of sharing his setbacks during difficult times.
“I don’t always look great,” he tells PEOPLE. “But that would be boring if I always looked great.”
The ninth season picks up with Lewis making a comeback from his surprising termination from the furniture company Living Spaces, which left him scrambling to keep his head above water.
“It certainly stung, and I felt it in a big way,” Lewis says. “So I grieved a little bit. Then I brushed myself off and got up and realized, ‘Well, I gotta go make a living.’”
Although that led to months of scarce work for Lewis, it also allowed the reality star to get back to doing what he does best: “Flipping is my dream job and it’s so fun to be doing that again.”
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One of his major projects this season: his own home. And yes, the whole crew — including Jenni and Zoila! — is working there, too.
“In hindsight it was a very bad decision for me to live in the home while I was doing the work,” Lewis says. “Maybe because so much time has passed since the last time I had done that, I forgot about how truly horrible it is.”
But the team still keeps a positive attitude, with Lewis noting the silver lining of the renovation. “It’s happening quicker because if someone doesn’t show up on time, I’m on the phone calling them over and over and over again like a stalker,” he jokes. “So it’s actually moving quickly and the quality of the work is very good.”
And as if his hands aren’t full enough, Lewis’ personal life is also about to undergo a major overhaul, as he revealed exclusively to PEOPLE in May that he and Edwards are expecting a daughter via surrogate this fall.
“We decided that we were going to quickly redo the nursery,” says Lewis. “I am waiting for that room to be finished so I can start loading it with everything we need. I’m very organized so for me this is kind of torture that last-minute stuff.”
Although he’s is very excited about the baby, the ups and downs of this past year have led Lewis to seek out therapy for guidance on how to handle all the changes.
“I hadn’t been there in a long time and I think I probably should have gone to therapy a little sooner,” he says. “Some of it comes at you so quickly and there’s so much that it’s a little overwhelming, and I felt like I needed a little extra help.”
But at the end of the day, Lewis is ready to share the good, the bad and the extremely stressful with his viewers.
“A lot can change in just a 12 month period, and this has just been one of those incredible growth years,” he says.
Flipping Out returns with a two-night premiere tonight at 10:00 p.m. EST and tomorrow at 9:00 p.m. EST on Bravo.