Queer Eye for the Straight Guy may have turned Thom Filicia into a celebrity designer, but he earned his chops at the American style-tastemaking design firm, Parish Hadley. Filicia went out on his own in 1998, but it was that Queer Eye fame that ranked him among America's A-list designers. Since then, he's been quite busy building a small empire: a line of fabrics for Kravet, rugs for Safavieh, furniture for Vanguard and so on. (And this fall, he's opening to-the-trade showroom Sedgwick & Brattle, which will be home to his own collection, products from vetted vendors and one-of-a-kind items.)
His clients range from rock stars to famous actors to swingles and families. They come to Filicia for his easy, relaxed and chic interiors. It's this warm modernism with a classical bent that has attracted megabrands like Delta—he recently finished the new Sky Deck at Delta Sky Club.
Filicia's style is on full display in his upstate New York country house that he renovated and chronicled in his book American Beauty (one of those celeb clients, Tina Fey, wrote the introduction). "It's my weekend house so I wanted it to be relaxing and a retreat," says Filicia. "I wanted the dining room to really have that indoor-outdoor experience and a spot to enjoy the beautiful background for breakfast, lunch and dinner."
This space originally had low ceilings so Filicia removed them to reveal the original atrium peak and added corner boards to connect the ceiling to the baseboards. Filicia kept the pickled vintage floor and the gray wood tabletop bare, demonstrating a careful exercise in restraint. But upholstered walls, an oversize, burlap-wrapped shade dropping from the ceiling, and natural surfaces mixed with painted ones add warmth and a snug, cozy feel.
"It's a great use of earthy and modern and simple and clean, but is still warm with extreme clarity and simplicity. It feels fresh and timely and modern, but also classic and timeless. Its innovation is in the balance," says Filicia. "This room is very much from my aesthetic and my point of view: relaxed but also sophisticated and smart."
· [Thom Filicia]