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Reality Realty: A happily uncoupled pair flips homes in Nashville

Reality Realty: A happily uncoupled pair flips homes in Nashville
Page Turner and DeRon Jenkins transform dilapidated Nashville homes into stunners on HGTV’s "Flip or Flop Nashville." (HGTV / HGTV)

Building a winning business flipping houses with one’s ex could be a dicey proposition. One couple’s gamble has paid off, however: Page Turner and DeRon Jenkins spark passionate deal-making chemistry on HGTV’s “Flip or Flop Nashville.” The second season premiered Jan. 3.

The pair met more than a decade ago and dated for about five years.

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“We’ve always said we work well together, we just didn’t work well together,” said Turner, a real estate broker who hunts down homes on the Music City-based show. As a licensed contractor, Jenkins reimagines the dilapidated properties.

“Flip or Flop’s” most notable exes are the duo who started the franchise in 2013: Tarek and Christina El Moussa, the Orange County-based couple who split in 2016. In a December Newport Beach wedding, Christina El Moussa married Ant Anstead, host of the British series “Wheeler Dealers” — think “Flip or Flop” for classic cars.

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We caught up with the happily uncoupled Turner and Jenkins as they drove through Manhattan on a press tour.

The booming Nashville market has cooled. How are you faring?

Page: We got spoiled in Nashville having always had a pretty loose market. Now that it’s so tight I had to go back to literally calling people to ask their aunts, cousins, mothers –– anybody in their family –– who might need to get rid of a house. We had to go old-school and find the pocket listings, use wholesalers, be unconventional.

In Los Angeles, building with brick has been problematic given earthquakes, and some view it as an unexceptional choice, visually. How about in Nashville?

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DeRon: Actually the great thing about a lot of older homes in the Nashville area is that they’re brick. That’s really cool because it gives us an opportunity to go in, tuck-point the brick, paint it and bring it back to life. Brick never goes out of style –– not in the South.

DeRon’s the one to reimagine the properties that you serve up to him, Page. He seems skilled at vibing them out.

Page: I always find properties that are a hot mess. Every single time. He shakes his head like, “What in the world is this?” And I say, “I don’t know, you figure it out.” I frustrate him to no end. But give him a few minutes and he can envision the house brought back to life. But he always says, “It will never work!” But then it always works.

Design-wise, flipping homes often calls for neutral choices that appeal to a wide market. Do you ever break this rule?

DeRon: In the half bathroom –– because the half bath could be anything. It could be funky. It could be crazy.

Page: In a 100-year-old house where we included some traditional aspects, we used modern Art Deco wallpaper in the half bath that had gold faucets and light fixtures. Bold wallpaper — dark bluish gray with gold accents — and it was beautiful.

What’s been the most dramatic renovation in Season 2?

DeRon: Overall we’ve had problems with two or three houses that had foundation issues. That can be devastating to a renovation. And sometimes you don’t see it until demo day.

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Page: We bought one house –– they let the dogs live on one side and the humans lived on the other. It was awful in there, a 1950s Craftsman duplex we bought for $190,000. It’s going to be a brand-new house when we’re done with it –– a real Southern charmer with a big porch.

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