At Home With Moe Razi
Dolce caught up with design sweetheart Moe Razi in her lavish Toronto penthouse to discuss her new role in motherhood and how her family is the most beautiful accent in the interior designer’s abode
One can never really predict what experience awaits on the other side of an interior designer’s front door. Such is the case for me as I take the slow ride up to a lower penthouse suite in north Toronto, the abode of Moe Razi, Toronto- and Los Angeles-based design darling. Having previously flipped through the archive of her past works, which range from a Tuscan-inspired seaside summerhouse to an ultra-modern, Asian-themed mansion previously rented by Jennifer Aniston, I’m not sure what to expect when the elevator comes to a stop.
Ding. The doors draw back to reveal a space that fuses Victorian-era chic with modern, youthful luxury, a sight that would have any design fanatic swooning. But it’s not the flawlessly thought-out décor that has my attention: it’s the designer’s apparent thing for pictures. They’re everywhere. Stepping into a luminous entryway, there’s a mantel to my right covered with framed pictures of the smiling faces of her sun-kissed loved ones, particularly her two-year-old daughter, Audrey, and her husband, Truestar Health founder Tim Mulcahy, with whom Razi splits her time between Toronto, Beverly Hills and La Jolla. To my left are two large sketches hung side-by-side on the wall, one of a woman and one of a man, both professionally dressed, with their bodies twisted in wild dance — movement that’s reminiscent of letting go.
When I find Razi in Audrey’s room fluffing pillows and shifting furniture in preparation for our photo shoot, she greets me with a friendly “Hello!” over her shoulder as she works away at the pink and white décor, which she says her daughter helped select before she even spoke her first words.
“I hope you don’t mind me doing stuff as we talk,” says Razi, motioning for me to follow her down the hall toward a sunlit den and dining room, the pièce de résistance of the penthouse. We pass another wall of framed photographs on the way, and I note a particular black-and-white shot of a very pregnant Razi caught in mid-laughter, striking a hilarious pose.
The main room of the suite boasts floor-to-ceiling windows that offer a sweeping south-facing view of the city. The ’scape has served as a backdrop to Razi’s summertime months for the past two years since she and Mulcahy purchased the penthouse just after their intimate La Jolla wedding. I soon learn that in a matter of weeks, the family will say a bittersweet goodbye to the suite and move a short distance to a new home, a place with backyard and more growing room for Audrey.
“I promise I’ll sit down in a minute,” Razi says, shuffling some of the loose photographs that are scattered across the table in what I guess is a scrapbook-making session cut short before moving into the connecting den, where I spot a chic high chair with soft, baby-pink cushions, a candy-coloured assortment of kids’ playthings and a designer backpack that surely holds all the essentials of a style-savvy mother with a schedule to keep.
Razi is unafraid of faster paces not only because of her trade and international clientele, but also because she’s spent most of her life following her sense of wanderlust — a trait she inherited from her diplomat father, who took her on his globe-trotting excursions when she was growing up. Now a parent herself, Razi plans on passing on the gene to Audrey, who has already joined her and Mulcahy on jet-sets to Italy and more of the couple’s favourite European destinations.
In fact, becoming a mother has given birth to something of a juxtaposition in Razi’s life: as much as her daughter has altered her day-to-day — “It’s become all about her,” Razi says — being a parent hasn’t changed who she is.
“Even though my life has changed, my lifestyle hasn’t really changed that much,” says the designer, who’s involved in an array of children’s charities across the United States and cancer-focused organizations in Canada. “I find that a lot of people, when they get married and settle down, they give up on life — they give up on themselves. But this should be a time in your life when you work on bettering yourself as an individual.”
While Razi did temporarily hit “pause” on her career after becoming a mother, she’s managed to not only maintain her independence over the past two and a half years, but to feed it. Seeing the restrictions of motherhood as less of a burden and more of a good challenge, her ability to have fun has been honed, and during her brief hiatus from the design realm — to which she’s finally returning this season — Razi also whipped up the concept of a hush-hush new business she’s excited to be launching in Toronto this winter.
It’s becoming clear to me that Razi won’t allow herself the chance to take a seat for very long. Her daughter arrives, all ready for the photo shoot in a pint-sized nautical dress and sparkling shoes, luring her mother away from our interview to pose and giggle together at the flashing camera. But that’s just Razi’s style: up and active, yet never rushed, this travelling designer intends on savouring the small, sweet snapshots in her dolce vita. And with bright plans in her foreseeable future, I’m sure the next wall of framed family memories will fill up in no time.
“Hey, I love beauty. I love to create beauty in everything I do,” Razi says. “But I’m okay to live without it, too, as long as I have my family.”