Color. That’s what Christi Jordan wanted more of in her home when she and her husband, Richard, decided to give it a facelift this past year. “I like things that are bright and happy, and I wanted that reflected in our home,” said Christi.

As a local hair stylist and owner of CA Looks salon in Visalia, Christi’s world seems to revolve around color – blending, mixing, dying, highlighting, tinting; you name it, she’s done it. So when it came to their living space, Christi and Richard felt it was time for a cheerful change.

The Couple collaborated with local interior decorator Annie Gilles to bring some sizzle to their space. For Annie, it all started with a painting she came across that she thought epitomized Christi. The rare serigraph by Itzchak Tarkay depicts a tall, dark-haired woman dressed in vibrant clothes from head-to-toe, surrounded by a burst of bright and warm colors.

“Christi told me that if I ever found something that had some color, to get it,” said Annie. “I saw this, and there was just something about it that reminded me of her; she has great attitude.”

Along with the painting, Christi had a set of orange armchairs that she wanted to fit in with the rest of the family room décor. Christi and Annie then selected several colors from the painting that they thought would work well throughout the room. A mix of teal and red throw pillows, an orange throw blanket, and vibrant curtains tie together the look expressed in Tarkay’s art piece, which now hangs above the couch. The addition of several large potted palms also bring out the tropical feel reflected in the painting.

Annie made sure that same theme flowed effortlessly into the kitchen as bold colors are purposefully scattered throughout; the kitchen table chairs were painted lime green, the stool pads were reupholstered with vibrant orange fabric, and a variety of colorful ceramics sit happily on the counter tops and shelves.

“The space was all very heavy before,” said Annie. “I didn’t feel it reflected her personality. Like she said, it just needed a facelift.”

Much of Christi and Richard’s love for bold, tropical colors comes from their travels visiting exotic countries around the world; places like Cambodia, Thailand, Bali, Australia, Belize, Singapore, China, Hawaii, and the Caribbean are just a few of the destinations they’ve traveled to. And with Richard’s sister living near Rosarito, they try to visit Mexico at least once a year.

While the Jordans aren’t big collectors, they have established the tradition of purchasing a mask from every country they visit. Over the years, these masks have been incorporated into their décor as they sit on the dining room wall, overlooking a custom-made, travertine table.

“You know when you go on a trip, you always feel like you have to buy something to bring back home,” said Christi. “Well, I don’t really like nic nacs, but we started collecting the masks and we needed to put something in the dining room anyways. We think it looks cool, and they’re kind of like pieces of art.”

This year, Christi and Richard plan to add several more masks to their collection, as they are currently on a three-week trip exploring Vietnam, Dubai, China, Thailand, and Singapore. Richard’s daughter, who travels all over the world, told them that Vietnam has one of the most beautiful coastlines she’s ever seen. As lovers of tropical destinations, architecture, and history, they decided to make the trip a reality.

“I’ve always loved geography and history, and I just enjoy checking things off my bucket list,” said Richard.
Richard and Christi have been checking destinations off their bucket lists together for more than a decade, and plan to continue well into the future. In fact, they met for the first time while in Mexico, thanks to Richard’s sister.
“When I was moving my salon from Mooney to Main Street, Richard’s sister was the opposing realtor,” said Christi. “She and I became good friends, and I was single at the time, so she was always trying to set me up. He lived in San Diego, but we met in Mexico while his sister was building a house down there.”

After many months of sitting in traffic while traveling between San Diego and Visalia to see each other, Richard made the decision to retire and move to Visalia for Christi. The same perks of smaller town living that originally brought Christi to Visalia proved to be a good fit for Richard as well.

Almost 28 years ago, long before they met, Christi decided to make the move from San Jose to Visalia with two young children in tow, despite having no job and no family members nearby. When she first arrived, she rented a single room from her friends and lived there with her son and daughter, who were one and four years old at the time.

“I had two small children and I just wanted to raise them in a smaller town; I knew Visalia was a growing community,” said Christi. “I had one close friend from high school who lived here and we used to come visit. I always thought it was a cute town, so I thought we’d try it.”

Though difficult, the move would prove to be one of the best things for Christi and her children. She came to Visalia in May of 1989 and by November opened up CA Looks salon, which has since grown into a thriving business.

“I looked around for a job when I got here, but most of the salons were booth rental,” said Christi. “Because I managed a salon for so many years and I didn’t know anybody here, I thought, I’ve got to do something myself. So I got a shop on the corner of town and did $8 haircuts, and I just went from there.”

But success didn’t come to Christi over night; she dedicated years of hard work and sacrifice to keep the salon afloat. For the first several years she worked very long hours, went to every local Chamber of Commerce meeting, brought her kids to work with her, and did a lot of coupon shopping to pay the bills.

“The first few years were very hard,” said Christi. “I was a single mother of two kids with no family here. I just had my friends that would help me, but a lot of the times the kids came to work with me. There were some months when I thought ‘this is it,’ but with hard work and determination, I just did whatever I had to do.”

Now, nearly 30 years later, Christi has a large staff working at her salon with some of the most talented hairstylists in the region. She instills in them the same values of hard work, dedication, and professionalism that got her to where she is today. Many of her staff members have even moved on to open their own salons around California.

“I’ve watched a lot of people become very successful,” said Christi. “Some people will leave mad at me, but a lot of people will call back later thanking me for teaching them the business side – being responsible, showing up for work before your client gets there, keeping your station clean, and looking professional. It makes me feel very proud.”

When Christi first moved to Visalia, she knew that it would be a stepping-stone to greater things, but she never quite imagined she’d be where she’s at now with a beautiful home and such a successful business.

Unlike in San Jose, here Christi was able to establish roots, raise a family in a safe and clean neighborhood, own her own business, and have a beautiful house to come home to at night.

“I knew I would be ok,” said Christi. “I mean, I could never own a home like this in San Jose. That’s one reason why I wanted to move to Visalia; I could own a home, have roots here, and make something of myself.”

When Richard and Christi were looking for a home they could call their own, they spent a long time seeking out just the right fit for them. They even purchased a lot in The Lakes, but decided to search for a home in a more private setting. While Richard was still living in San Diego, Christi came across a Mediterranean oasis in the Cobblestone neighborhood and knew right away it was the one. After seeing the home’s large doors, open floor plan, spacious patio, four-car garage, and smooth white stucco exterior, Richard was on board.

Because the home was just 45 days away from being complete, Christi and Richard didn’t get to pick out the materials used inside the home. But, they added their own touch to the back yard, which Richard designed himself. He even brought up 18 different species of palm trees from San Diego.

“We put more than 100 yards of dirt in the backyard; it was totally flat before,” said Richard. “We put in the ‘spool’ too – we both hate cold weather and we’re not swimmers, so we can heat that thing up pretty quick.”

When Christi and Richard planned to have their wedding in the backyard of their new home, they purchased a bar at the Visalia Home Show, which added to the tropical atmosphere. The orange base of the bar and colorful chair cushions complement the outdoor bed that overlooks the “spool.” With a trickling waterfall, countless palm trees, a fire pit, and plenty of outdoor seating, the backyard is a true island oasis.

While the couple designed the outdoor look themselves, it flows perfectly with the interior colors and creates a succinct look, bringing the outdoors in.

“The exterior patio is very tropical, so it seemed like bringing the outdoors inside was just kind of a good idea,” said Annie. “There is continuity there, and I like that.”

Christi and Richard had a vision for creating a brighter space, but they needed Annie’s help to make it happen in a way that worked with their home’s existing materials while complementing their personalities and interests.

“I have a hard time putting stuff together as far as decorating,” said Christi. “I told Annie I wanted something different and colorful, so she came in with some new ideas, and now it looks clean and put together.” Annie added, “It was a lot of fun to work with bold colors, which I don’t get to do too often. I feel, as an interior designer, it’s our job to make people think outside of their box. I call the look of their home ‘happy.’”