If you caught our last interview with HGTV‘s most stylish cast member, Rizwan Malik, then you know the Senior Vice President of Sales at Sotheby’s International Realty and co-host of Hot Market‘s true loves are fashion and interior design.
To help us celebrate our first-ever Home Week, Malik was kind enough to give us an inside look at the beautifully decorated and immaculate living space that he calls “home” in Toronto.
In the exclusive interview below with STYLE Canada‘s Digital Editor Anastasia Barbuzzi, you’ll learn about what “home” truly means to Malik and how the concept is reflected in the workings of his sky high condo.
AB: While in lockdown, what does your WFH setup look like? Anything you can’t live without?
RM: While in lockdown, I have been working at my dining room table where I have plenty of space. We’ve become a huge paperless society (even when it comes to agreements and document signings), so for my WFH setup, I now only need my laptop, cellphone, ring light, a big glass of water and depending on the time of day, an alcoholic beverage!
I can’t live without my ring-light though. It’s proven to be super effective, especially while I’m conducting TV segments, office meetings and client meetings virtually. It brightens up the shot. It’s great!
AB: Everything about your space is super sleek and elegant. Do you have a favourite spot in your home?
RM: In my home, I absolutely love my main living area and my bedroom, I think they’re both wonderful. But my favourite spot would have to be my main living area. It has a ton of space, natural light, and it makes me very happy. I have a great big sectional where I can rest and relax after a long day of work. I also never go back into my bed once it’s made, so I always lounge on my big, cozy sectional!
AB: From what we’ve seen of your space, blue velvet, gold accents and classy marble all make appearances. There’s seems to be a theme going on… How would you describe the inspiration for your interior?
RM: When it comes to design, I like big, bold colours and I like making big, bold decisions. In my powder room, I have koi wallpaper on the walls, everything is painted jet black, and there is black tiling and even a black toilet – it’s a very dramatic space. I like making bold choices when it comes to design, but at the same time, I don’t want the space to be too overwhelming.
If you stand in my foyer and look into my living room, you will see a big, nine-foot floor-to-ceiling navy blue kitchen, but to balance that I do have a nine-foot marble fireplace on the opposite wall. I purposely chose a stone that was predominately white with one black vein running through it so that the fireplace holds its own but isn’t competing with the kitchen.
AB: We’re all about setting the ‘mood’ – lighting, scents, and music are just a few things that make us feel at home. Can you describe what your daily essentials look like? For example, what’s your routine like in the morning to make you feel relaxed in your space?
RM: My daily essentials are definitely fresh flowers, music and candles. Setting the mood in my home is very important to me. Every day I wake up and the first thing I do is make my bed. I then come to the living room where I connect to my speaker system to play music while I have CP24 on mute in the background and have at least two glasses of water. I then head to my island and take out my laptop where I sift through my important emails and flag anything that’s urgent. Once that’s completed, I go take a shower and then come back and start my workday.
As I move throughout the day I always have music playing in the background, unless I’m on a call or in a meeting. I also always make sure to have a fresh floral arrangement each week to add an element of life and freshness to my space. It also provides a beautiful punch of colour. In the evenings I like to light candles throughout the house to give the space that extra warmth.
AB: What is one thing you could absolutely not live without in your space?
RM: One thing I absolutely can’t live without in my space is natural light. I live on a very high floor with an unobstructed view to the West of Toronto and so much natural light shines through my windows throughout the day. The natural light just makes everything better. I need natural light in any space I live. It’s a necessity for me.
AB: What’s on your bedside table that you could not go to sleep or wake up without?
RM: I cannot go to sleep or wake up without my cellphone on my bedside table. I need my cellphone for work, family and personal reasons. I just think it’s important to have access to my phone at all times. I want my clients, friends and family to know that I’m always reachable. I also always keep a box of tissues on my bedside table – especially during these cold winter months!
AB: Let’s take it to the kitchen – what items do you use the most?
RM: In my kitchen, the one item I definitely can’t live without and use the most is my kettle. I don’t drink coffee, but I’m an avid tea drinker, so my pastel blue SMEG kettle is always running! It is the greatest appliance investment I’ve made, and I use it multiple times a day, everyday.
While that kettle is the one kitchen item I can’t live without, there is my wine fridge that ranks a close second.
AB: What about the bathroom?
RM: The item I use most in my bathroom is my Dyson hair dryer. I’m obsessed with it! As a relator, I’m always seeing people, whether it’s through Zoom or for a safe socially-distanced showing. Now with masks, your hair and eyes are what people notice more than ever before, so it’s important to put in the effort and do your hair.
I always use my Dyson hair dryer to make sure my hair is done and I also follow a strict skin care routine, which is comprised of various products from iS Clinical and Vintner’s Daughter. I’m obsessed with Vintner’s Daughters’ Active Botanical Serum. It’s an incredible face oil that I use every day to give my skin the nourishment it needs.
AB: Your space is impeccable, just like your wardrobe. When it comes to organization, is there a method or product you use to keep things clean?
RM: When it comes to organization, my method is to make sure everything is put in its proper place. Whenever I come home, whatever I wear (unless it needs to be dry cleaned), I make sure it’s put away immediately. I don’t just throw clothing down and let things pile up.
The moment I get home, I put my shoes into my walk-in closet. Then I go ahead and take my suit off and if it needs to be dry cleaned I put it into the necessary dry cleaning bag and if it doesn’t, my suit jacket, pants and shirt are all hung up immediately to ensure they don’t get wrinkled and are kept their best.
When it comes to my home itself, everything is clean, and I make sure it’s well kept. Blankets are neatly folded, chairs are pushed in, everything is in its proper place. Especially now, I want to make sure my living and working spaces are all organized and clean. It is one way I can introduce structure back into my life considering current events.
AB: If you could define the concept of ‘home’, what does it mean to you?
RM: To me, ‘home’ is a feeling. And this is why I believe that whenever someone walks into a property, they can tell if the place feels like their home or not from the moment they walk through the door.
Home to me, and I think home to almost everyone, is this warm feeling. A warm fuzzy feeling that you get in your stomach. Every day I get up and walk around my place with a wonderful feeling inside knowing this is home. I am home.
*All photos throughout courtesy of Rizwan Malik.
Last modified: November 3, 2022