The Very Best of 'Vintage Flip' First-Season Projects
No neglected old California home is safe from Jessie and Tina Rodriguez, whose passion for both era-appropriate restorations and thoughtful modern updates is beautifying the Golden State one vintage home at a time. Here are some of their most dramatic before-and-afters — and the one-of-a-kind details that make their homes sing.
Jessie and Tina found this stove in disrepair in a long-abandoned guest house. It cost a whopping $3,500 to re-chrome and bring back into working condition, but the results speak for themselves: This appliance is now a piece of living history. Tina chose the kitchen’s pastel hexagonal tiles, in turn, to reflect its original Roaring Twenties color scheme.
Lugubrious Tudor, Before
This 1929 home is a shadow of its former self, thanks to ill-advised "updates" that mask its original character. Who added that horrible plastic awning?
Modern Classic, After
Half-timbering and a new, cleaner stone façade restore a bit of fairy-tale charm to this Santa Ana property. The bold dark green paint, in turn, makes it a neighborhood standout.
Lifeless Living Room, Before
This space’s high ceilings and original floor have the potential to be selling points, but they’re both in need of some TLC.
Picture-Perfect Framing, After
The fireplace is now a focal point, thanks to a one-of-a-kind, live-edge mantel and bespoke molding that complements the built-in bookshelf and window and door casements. Better yet, the eye now travels up every inch of that beautiful vaulted ceiling.
Closed-Off Kitchen, Before
In the 1920s, home builders segregated food-preparation areas so guests wouldn’t have to look at them. These days, the kitchen is a gathering place — and this walled-off space is no longer functional.
A Warmer Welcome, After
Hosts and diners can now flow freely between the eating and prep areas in this much-more-modern pair of rooms. You’re history, teeny-tiny kitchen doors.
Cluttered Yard, Before
This Echo Park bungalow is an architectural gem, but you’d never know it from the curb. Cheap siding, an awkward awning and seriously overgrown landscaping render it almost invisible.
Hillside Gem, After
The original exterior can shine again, thanks to a high-contrast paint job and a much-needed front yard makeunder. Now that a wall separates the property from the street, the patio space is an intimate outdoor dining area.
Wasted Space, Before
A neglected, trash-filled hillside is no place to enjoy a million-dollar view of downtown Los Angeles.
Custom Deck, After
This build-out cost just $5,000, but its effect on the overall property is almost incalculable. With a handsome, multi-level deck, the bungalow’s new owners can take advantage of their huge lot and entertain guests in high style.
Jessie designed this one-of-a-kind piece to separate this home’s stairs from the rest of the living room without blocking visitors’ views of the dramatically restored kitchen.
Stuffy Space, Before
This kitchen’s tilework is original to its construction. Unfortunately, it doesn’t appear to have been cleaned since its construction. No wonder those curtains are closed.
Light at Last, After
The removal of a wall lets this space breathe (and floods it with sun). While the modern flooring and fixtures are a far cry from the pieces they replace, the stove Jessie salvaged from the guest house restores a sense of history to the room.
Upland Bummer, Before
This Victorian bungalow was built to house the families who came to town to work in the orange groves at the turn of the century. It’s a perfect starter home, but which of those front doors does one use?
Victorian Details, After
Though the crisp gingerbreading and corbels are brand new, they’re a perfect fit for the home’s original look. Simple landscaping and a coat of bright yellow paint turn up the curb appeal (and direct guests to the correct door — on the left).
Turn-of-the-century cottages had heavy iron utility sinks to keep water warm for washing clothes. Tina found this one for $250 at a salvage yard and repurposed it for a Victorian home’s guest bathroom. While resurfacing would have destroyed the piece’s well-earned age marks, a fresh yellow exterior that ties in with accent tiles on the floor is just right.
Clever Bedroom Windows
The drop windows in this space are an architectural gem: Instead of opening up or out, the panes actually disappear downward into the wall. Jessie and Tina had to scramble to meet modern building codes (which require windows to be low enough to use as exits in case of an emergency), but preserving the rare feature was worth the trouble.
Clunky Craftsman, Before
This Claremont, Calif., home’s Arts and Crafts bones are barely visible beneath overgrown landscaping and miscellaneous junk. Was the lamp on the porch salvaged from a local pizza parlor?
A Well-Deserved Makeunder, After
Diminutive container plants are a much better match for this classic exterior, and a combination of accent colors draw attention to its elegant architectural details.
Hodgepodge Kitchen, Before
The cabinetry and countertops in this Craftsman are a rogues’ gallery of terrible trends.
Thoughtfully Eclectic, After
The kitchen still offers a variety of finishes, but these are far more appropriate to the era in which it was built (and complementary to one another).
This Claremont, Calif., home’s gorgeously restored hardwood floors and handsome new built-in seating and storage area reflect its Arts and Crafts heritage.
Antiseptic Bathroom, Before
This uninspired powder room is a better fit for a hospital than a family home.
Luxury Stunner, After
Now we’re getting somewhere! The wooden countertop and reclaimed tile framing the sink are spectacular accents for this once-faceless space (which now echoes the Spanish-Revival spirit of the rest of the home).
Not-So-Hot Fireplace, Before
A hearth is a lovely detail for a living room, but this one looks like an afterthought.
Spanish Flair, After
Now there’s the soul this room was lacking! Alcove shelving, colorful tiles and a graceful new body give the fireplace much-needed character.
Flavorless Ranch, Before
This Whittier kitchen lacks oomph. And a refrigerator. And something — anything — that isn’t beige.
Country Cool, After
Who says rustic accents have to be kitschy? The subtle use of chicken wire in the hanging cabinets and equestrian-inspired hardware pay homage to ranch style without feeling like parody.
Stained Glass and Martini Glasses
This jaw-dropping built-in bar is new, but it looks right at home in this Craftsman on Retro Row in Long Beach, Calif.