Working All the Angles
Candi and Fernando Girardi of Urban Wall Design
By Devon Hocker • Photos by Leigh Anne Rowe
Meet Candi and Fernando Girardi, the sweetheart couple behind Urban Wall Design who you may have seen on HGTV as guests on Hidden Potential or already follow on Instagram.
This husband and wife team are south Orange County locals who live in Rancho Mission Viejo with their 6-year-old son Kai, but that wasn’t always the case. Fernando grew up in Brazil and Candi was born in Camp Pendleton and moved around Southern California throughout her childhood. The Girardi’s are an adventurous couple who share a love of surfing, mountain biking, camping and all things outdoors. They initially met through a casual set up attempt by friends here in Orange County. They became friends at first with plans to meet up again on the tail end of Candi’s solo surf trip to South America, however Candi endured an unfortunate set back when she came down with Dengue Fever that sent her to hospital before finally being able to meet Fernando in Brazil. It was that eventful trip, which was nearly derailed, where sparks flew and they were married within months.
In the years that followed, Fernando continued to travel between Brazil and Orange County for his work at his family’s business which coincidently manufactures traditional interior doors, while Candi worked here as a Calculus Teacher at La Paz Middle School and now Laguna Hills High School.
With their work history, you’d think that Fernando was the force behind Urban Wall Design and their creative doors, but he’s not. It was Candi, his petite wife, the creative calculus teacher with a penchant for power tools and an eye for an upscale contemporary, urban aesthetic who built a door for their own home in Rancho Mission Viejo – and people took notice. Soon Candi was getting requests to make doors for others and with each completed project her design skills and confidence flourished. She named each new door design for the client who it was built for and orders for the “Farrah” or the “Chloe” were quickly coming in. Candi began designing contemporary walls and niches and casings in homes and businesses, in addition to her doors and that’s when Urban Wall Design became much more than a side hustle. After images of her designs caught fire on social media and their popularity grew Fernando left his job at his family’s business to work with Candi to help build their own family business and set up shop in a commercial space in Laguna Hills.
When looking at some of the intricate angles and patterns that fit so perfectly in Candi’s designs, you can imagine it takes a calculus teacher to get all those angles to add up. It’s no surprise that Candi is the primary designer, but it’s often a surprise to people to learn that she’s also the builder as well.
The Girardi’s enjoy the element of surprise when new clients see it’s her high up on the ladder with power tools rather than Fernando as you might expect. Although Fernando doesn’t work on wall projects, he does help to construct their unique doors now in order to keep up with demand which has only increased after their appearance on HGTV’s Hidden Potential and they were asked back to filming another upcoming which will air in 2019.
When asked if they would like to have their own show on HGTV, they smile and look at each other with a chuckle. “I’m probably too shy for to that” Fernando says, I don’t know if I could get comfortable talking on camera.” Candi agrees that would be a challenge for sure and not likely, but somehow, we get the impression it could happen despite their reluctance.
When asking Candi what she might design next, “Flannels” Candi says with a giant smile knowing that was a completely unexpected answer, “I live in them and love wearing them so I want to design Urban Wall Design flannels too.”