The HGTV star tells PEOPLE what it’s been like merging her own eclectic style with the rapper’s big ideas
Lil Jon Wants to Do What? — the HGTV series that marries the title rapper’s over-the-top ideas with interior designer Anitra Mecadon’s professional training — returns Monday. And Mecadon tells PEOPLE the upcoming season is “insane.”
“It's big. It's wild. It's a lot of us,” she says. “But I think we run the gamut. We're doing a houseboat and there's a giant basement that we basically turn into a nightclub and a bowling alley.”
In each episode of the renovation show, which premiered in 2022, Mecadon and Lil Jon collaborate to transform clients’ spaces. And while parts of Lil Jon’s process might seem unconventional — such as taking tequila shots with homeowners — Mecadon says the partnership works.
“I think that he's super creative and has no fear,” she says. “He's really loud and he's really out there when he's being Lil Jon. And by being Lil Jon, he gets to travel the world, and so he brings some really creative ideas back home.”
“I studied art my whole life,” she adds. “And so his wild ideas mixed with what I'm classically trained to do, I think that's a pretty great marriage.”
The families’ reactions to the resulting rooms, she says, have been “amazing.”
“Everybody's been blown away,” she says. “They come in with a little bit of an idea, and then between the two of us, we're launching creative bombs. And it can be overwhelming for your average person.”
The pair’s relationship goes back more than five years. After a pipe burst and flooded Lil Jon's Atlanta home, he contacted Mecadon for help while binge-watching her show Mega Dens.
Mecadon, who also rescues animals with her husband and business partner Adam Bret, describes her own design aesthetic as “furniture rescue.”
“It's very eclectic. It's very collected. Everything's special and looks traveled,” she says. “Most things in my house, I paid nothing for and reinvented . . . You see that thing that once had potential and you breathe new life in it.”
Mecadon, who started out in theater set design, adds, “I call myself a maximalist because I'm the girl that wants to go into her grandma's jewelry box and put it all on along with some bandanas and leather.”
Still, her latest show presents some unique challenges. The biggest, she says isn't bringing Lil Jon’s suggestions to life, but funding them.
“Jon's ideas are so big,” Mecadon says. Past home features the duo have cooked up include a two-story slide and a movie room built to resemble a private jet fuselage.
That’s where Bret’s business background comes in. “He helps us make Jon's ideas attainable,” Mecadon says.
“We've always worked together and he understands how much I needed boots on the ground,” says Mecadon, who shares a 7-year-old son, Nash, with Bret. “And so he's fine taking the reins on the phone, making stuff happen while he's got the kid on his hip. We're a really great team, and we've been together almost 20 years.”
Mecadon credits their success mixing marriage and work to the fact that they were friends first before things turned romantic.
“I think that's a huge part of it,” she says. “I don't ever play the blame game . . . It's never like, ‘Shame on you.’ And Adam's the same way. And I think that's a huge part of it. Mutual respect, friendship, laughter, all of those are key."
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The couple’s son has also formed a “very cute” relationship with “Uncle Jon,” who Mecadon says is “wonderful with children.” She adds that Nash “loves his music.”
The series, of course, includes plenty of references to Lil Jon’s many party jams, like “Yeah!” and “Turn Down for What.” But Mecadon says the song that gets the biggest response is his 2003 crunk hit “Get Low” — thanks in no small part to its HGTV-friendly lyrics “To the window/to the wall.”
“Everybody says we missed the mark with the name of the show,” she jokes. “We could have called it that.”
Lil Jon Wants To Do What? premieres on HGTV Feb. 12 at 10 p.m. ET.
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