10 Things to Know About Jessie and Tina Rodriguez from Vintage Flip

HGTV's newest power couple spills all their renovation secrets. (Plus: Their wish-list BFFs, and what Tina always has in her purse.) 

By: Jessica Galliart
Show: Vintage Flip

Jessie and Tina Rodriguez, HGTV’s newest husband-and-wife tag team, have a serious commitment to finding beauty within neglected vintage homes in Southern California. We first saw the Vintage Flip couple appear on an episode of Flip or Flop, where Jessie and Tarek partnered on a deal for a craftsman home in Santa Ana, California, and the two didn’t exactly see eye to eye.

“When Tarek asked me to be on the show, I was very excited,” Jessie said. “It was fun to see what he and Christina were doing daily. We had fun with me wanting to save the stuff and him wanting to do a more traditional remodel.”

Jessie and Tina’s dedication to saving and restoring vintage homes resonated and eventually led to the conception of Vintage Flip, their first real on-camera experiences.

“I get asked all of the time if filming is hard,” Tina said. “The honest answer is, yes! There are times when Jessie and I do not agree on design and it becomes awkward with people around. We are both so passionate that it is hard to not voice what we want for these homes. So we do it and just have to ignore the cameras!”

What else goes on behind the scenes in the lives of this Claremont couple running a reno business, filming a show and raising two kids? Here are 10 more things you should know about Jessie and Tina.

They met during their freshman year in college while rushing Greek life.

Jessie and Tina Rodriguez from their early dating days while in college. 

Jessie: My fraternity made all the new recruits walk the sorority girls from their nightly events to their cars. A few weeks later I saw her at another event, and when they announced her, I screamed so loud and obnoxiously. I wanted everyone there to know I was interested in her, and it worked. I asked her out, and we dated all through undergraduate and graduate school, then I asked her to marry me.

Tina: We made eye contact, and that was that! (But it did take him one whole month to call me.) I still cannot believe we are only 33 and have been together almost half of our lives.

Jessie studied up for their wedding in the Catholic Church.

Jessie: I was madly in love with her from the beginning, so there was no question in my mind I wanted to marry her. She was a devout Catholic, and I was only baptized Catholic, so I decided to go to the adult Catechism classes so that we could get married in the Church because it was so important to her.

Tina was a marriage and family therapist before she started designing homes.

Tina: I was in private practice before I took a leave of absence to work with Jess. This is a job I can see myself going back to after my kids are in college. I loved this job! Meeting so many types of people and them trusting me with things they had never told a soul was so special to me.

They go on two date nights every week.

Jessie: Tina’s grandmother told us to make sure we always make each other No. 1, even if we have kids, that making time for each other will make us better in all parts of our marriage and as parents. So we have taken that advice seriously and make sure we make time for each other.

Tina: This is so important to us because we can actually talk, complete a sentence and maybe even have time to give a compliment or two!

Jessie went to school for architecture before getting into the mortgage and real estate industries.

Jessie: My dream was to become an architect. Life took me the long way around, but it seems I got to my dream. I may not have the technical education of an architect nor know how to draw plans, but now I design based on my vision and the architect puts my thoughts on paper. I am almost to my ultimate dream of becoming a homebuilder. I want to create communities and neighborhoods.

Tina had (short-lived) Hollywood-sized aspirations as a child.

Tina: I had thought I could be an actress at the age of 11 until I realized I was horrible. My parents took me on countless auditions. I never got a single gig!

They have always lived together in  and they really REALLY love — Claremont, California.

Jessie: It’s one of the few cities in SoCal where you can walk to restaurants, bars and shops. The buildings are older and have such unique architecture. When people think of California, they don’t think of a city like we have. I could not imagine living anywhere else.

Tina: Claremont is such a special city. It reminds me of a city that would be on the East Coast. There are so many trees and older buildings. Living in California, this is an anomaly!

Tina always has candy in her purse.

Tina: I have found it to be a great secret weapon. Every day is about surviving as a mom, and I feel like the odds are in my favor with candy.

Their guest spot on Flip or Flop didn’t go as smoothly as it may have looked.

Tina: I had just had my youngest son, Mason, and basically filmed that sleeping with my eyes open. I remember trying to squeeze in my pre-pregnancy black pants for filming, ripped them, but was too tired to change. I FILMED WITH RIPPED PANTS AND DID NOT CARE. Looking back that was probably a bad decision.

Jessie REALLY wants to be friends with these two celebrities.

Air guitar! Jessie and Tina always know how to have fun while filming. 

Jessie: Justin Timberlake and Mark Wahlberg are on my BFF list. They seem like such down to earth and cool guys, and they both are big golfers. I have been telling Tina for years, “When I make it big some day, I will be friends with Mark and JT.” She laughs at me, but in a very loving way.

Jessie and Tina's Ranch House Reno

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The Rancho Cucamonga Project

Jessie and Tina Rodriguez help bring new life to vintage houses. Here they pput the final staging touches on a mid-century ranch style home they restored in Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.

BEFORE

This 2700-square-foot house was built in 1957 and is a 3-bedroom, 2-bath home located directly on a golf course. Jessie and Tina purchased it for $500,000 and anticipated spending around $50,000 on renovations. Houses in the neighborhood not directly adjacent to the golf course sell for $600,000 or more. Once restored, this one, with it's highly desirable location, is likely to resell at a premium price.

AFTER

Horizontal wood siding in natural finish and dark, and contrasting accents, give this home major new curb appeal. "One-story ranch houses, also called ramblers, are built with low rooflines and large windows," says Jessie. "They typically have a minimalist design with neutral colors, mixed textures and an open floor plan."

Behind the Scenes

Tina and Jessie discuss the design plan as they prepare for demolition to get underway in the old kitchen. The plan includes restoring original solid-wood cabinets and doors, repurposing existing porcelain bathroom sinks and bringing back era-specific cork floors.

Behind the Scenes

 

Kitchen, BEFORE

The kitchen was in need of some functional updates such as new appliances and countertops, but the original cabinets are in good shape and worthy of retaining. Where most modern cabinets are made using MDF and veneer, these period cabinets are solid wood.

Kitchen, AFTER

The kitchen now opens onto the family room via a new pass-through. Upgrades include modern state-of-the-art appliances and new countertops.

Living Room, BEFORE

Most of the architectural and interior features in the house are original, including the natural rock walls, slate floors, wood beams, trim and the cabinetry. Original cork floors were still present but had been covered over with wall-to-wall carpet and somewhat damaged. 

Living Room, AFTER

Jessie and Tina retained as many of the home's vintage features as possible, including the original stone fireplace.

Living Room, AFTER

For the renovation, the carpet was removed and modern cork flooring added throughout the living space as well as in the kitchen.

Living Room, AFTER

"With a mid-century home, you don't want to overstage," says Tina, "so I kept with a minimalist vibe."

Family Room, BEFORE

This awkward space is at a slightly lower level and was likely once a covered porch. It's divided into two areas separated by a sliding glass door. 

Family Room, AFTER

Jessie and Tina opted to remove the sliding doors and open up the space to create one large open floor plan. "I really wanted to highlight the indoor-outdoor living," says Tina, "and I think it was able to do that."

Master Bedroom, BEFORE

The original master bedroom had generous closet space and a connected bathroom, but the dimensions were small for a master by contemporary standards.

Master Bedroom, AFTER

Jessie and Tina opted to revise the floor plan, enclosing what had originally ben a den to create a new and larger master suite which still had access to the closet and bath. This could have the added benefit of increasing the resale price since it takes the house since it adds a fourth bedroom.

Master Bath, AFTER

Two original period bathroom sinks, in a style difficult or impossible to find today, were retained and repurposed, but were re-porcelained in white to work better with the new color scheme and materials.

Guest Bath, AFTER

In the second bathroom, the original wood cabinetry and a built-in hamper were retained, but old tile and countertops were replaced with dark granite and pebble tile in a metallic finish. Old laminate flooring was replaced with tile and a surface-mount sink added.

Back Yard, AFTER

Improvements to the back yard include a new deck for dining and entertaining as well as a golf-cart ramp onto the adjacent golf course.

Retro Perfection

Jessie and Tina celebrate a completed renovation at the open house in the Rancho Cucamonga home. The house ultimately sold for $600,000. With a purchase price of $500,000, renovation costs of $61,000 and closing costs and interest, they realized a profit of $19,000.

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