The rolling hills, crisper air and each home showcasing its unique character, these are just a few qualities of the Bakersfield Country Club neighborhood in northeast Bakersfield. To natives, this northeast neighborhood is a hidden gem and to the newcomers, it’s a pleasant surprise as they make their way toward the renowned golf course situated at the top overlooking the city.

As two millennials beginning our careers and family together, we never thought living in such a neighborhood would be possible at this stage in our lives.

So when we started to search for our home in 2015, we looked everywhere in town. For an entire year, there wasn’t a house on the market we didn’t know about. But with each open house and walk-through tour, all signs pointed to the hidden gem in northeast Bakersfield.

The question remained however: How could we find the right home for us in this neighborhood? Every updated house was either out of our price range or not for sale.

Well, at the risk of sounding cheesy, into our lives entered HGTV and more importantly, “Fixer Upper” – Joanna and Chip Gaines taking old houses in the nicest neighborhoods and fixing them up into dream homes.

There was our answer.

After binge watching the entire series, we changed our search and began looking for a home we could renovate and truly make our own. If the home had character and good bones, it was on our radar.

Now, we would be lying if we said we found our home because of our diligent search. In actuality, we stumbled upon it through good fortune.

It was a February afternoon in 2016, we finished another house tour and were feeling a bit discouraged as it was not the home for us. We got into the car and decided to drive through the northeast neighborhood, dreaming of the day we could walk these hills and enjoy the late afternoon breeze. We made a turn onto Country Club Drive, looking left and right in admiration, when lo and behold there was a small “Sale by Owner” sign on the front lawn of a white ranch style home.

There it was.

We immediately called the owner, who had placed the sign minutes before. We toured the home, put on our “Fixer Upper” thinking caps and by the end of the evening, we finally had our dream home, or at least its bones.

Over the next couple of months before the move-in, we demoed, sanded, painted, put in new flooring, added light fixtures and replaced appliances. It was quite the learning experience as we may have accidently broken a window or painted the wrong door. But it was also a blast fixing it up together – nothing like sitting on the bare cement floor, clothing covered in paint, sharing a pizza with the one you love.

Two years later, we just finished landscaping our front yard and now refocusing on the kitchen countertops, backsplash, sink and range hood. As they say: Being a homeowner means always having a project and for us, we wouldn’t have it any other way. 

Lotta and Marcos Rodriguez moved from Chicago to Bakersfield in August 2012. Lotta is an international wedding and floral designer and owner of her company Mint Design. Marcos is a local attorney practicing with the Law Office of Sylvia Lopez. They are proud parents of two fur babies, Nala and Chloe. The views expressed in this column are their own.

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