Introducing Rai Christoforou, a handsome Cypriot businessman and fashion icon known for his successful ventures and his passion for art & décor and his fabulous fashion events held in his magnificent abode. Here, Rai chats openly about his lavish and comfortable lifestyle which just happens to suit him down to the ground.
— By Lorrain Eyre
Rai, could we start with you telling me a little about Limassol and the neighbourhood where you live. What do you like about the area? How long have you lived in your present home?
Limassol, to me is one of Cyprus’s treasured cities. It offers a cosmopolitan lifestyle along with a laid back beach/after sun feeling. The best of both worlds if you ask me! I am lucky to have been living on the outskirts of Limassol for the past 5 years, in the Fasoula area, only an eight minute drive from downtown. The area offers peace and quiet along with coziness yet also the convenience of being in the vibrant city whenever I please.
I believe your beautiful home has already been featured in a variety of magazines, including Madame Figaro, Livingetc, Vivendi and Syntheseis where it was featured more than once and in a special issue of the 24 best houses. What do you think makes it so interesting for readers?
My house is my creative canvas – a reflection of me. Unfortunately, in Cyprus, houses are built and decorated with a commercial and mainstream look. They all have the same features and seem to all look the same. My house, on the other hand, resembles a Spanish hacienda. Cypriot structures are usually two or three storey so my one storey residence with its pool, garden and outdoor areas is rarely seen.
Home for me means my nest. I can come in at any time of the day and leave the world outside on my doorstep. My house is a form of escapism. It allows me to create, process and reminisce on good memories. Because I have a hectic lifestyle with dinner parties, fashion shows and charity events, my house seems to balance my hectic program and provides a place of relaxation and serenity.
How would you characterize your personal style and does it reflect in the way you have decorated your home?
I am extravagant and over the top at times. As my good friends say ‘it’s never too much’ and I firmly believe in this. My affluent life, my home and the elegant decor is full, just the way I enjoy living. After all, you only have one life, so why not make the best of it? Each decorative segment of my house reflects a truly memorable experience or a nostalgic memory and of course it is for me a vivid one!
Where did you find the inspiration for the colour schemes, fabrics and floor coverings etc?
When travelling, I keep my eye open for anything that is worth buying and I manage to always find a spot for it in my house. A carpet, a painting or a vase can easily give a nice twist to any corner or wall.
What techniques do you use to make the seasonal changeovers, like from winter living to summer? How much time do you spend outside around the pool and in your lovely garden? Do you maintain everything yourself?
Since Cyprus is a Mediterranean island, we only have two seasons, winter being the shorter of the two, so the house is in summer mode for most of the year. At the beginning of every summer season, I tidy up the garden, plant new flowers and plan the outdoor area in preparation for summer fashion and charity events that I host.
So you do spend a great amount of time socializing at home?
As I previously mentioned, the summer season is a busy one and I enjoy soaking up the sun during quiet weekdays and then entertaining on the weekend with summer BBQs or cheese and wine evenings amongst friends.
Which is your favourite room or part of your home and why?
My favourite corner is that of the living room. I can relax on the couch with a glass of fine wine and look out over the garden and the colours of the pool alongside the greenery. It has a very soothing and relaxing effect on me.
I see a number of art and décor books in your home. Can I take it that this is a passion for you?
Art and decor are one of many passions. I appreciate both contemporary and classic art and I am always interested in seeing new pieces and ideas.
On a more personal note Rai, you have been described as being on the cutting edge of style and a most eligible bachelor, so do you accept advice and tips from women in your life regarding the decoration of your home or your own personal style for that matter?
Since I am a perfectionist and a firm believer in my own individual style, I am always open to hearing other people’s opinions, but I rarely heed them. I define myself and people who know me well enough appreciate my personal style and who I am even though they may not like it.
Do you enjoy a luxury lifestyle? Tell me more about the things in your life; your hobbies and of course your lovely dog Hermes?
I am fortunate enough to be able to live a full life of luxury. I travel to refresh and absorb new ideas, enjoy good cuisine and company, and overall I am lucky to be in a beautiful social circle. My hobbies include gardening, swimming, shopping and of course constant reading for research on fashion. My golden retriever ‘Hermes’ enjoys the same kind of relaxed lifestyle as myself; he’s my best friend and a big part of my life.
Rai, although you have a very public persona, I’d like you to tell me something that people don’t know about you and would perhaps surprise them.
All I can say is don’t judge a book by its cover!
If you could be anywhere in the world right now where would it be?
I am perfectly content where I am, in my home, my country and my life.