With a thriving design firm, fabric and furniture collections and careers in both TV and publishing, Thom Filicia is a busy man. On a whirlwind trip through DC in March, he breezed into the Kravet showroom for a talk about his career, signed copies of his newest book, American Beauty—about the redesign of his vacation home—and was gone within hours. Happily, Home & Design caught up with him for a short chat.
Describe the workspace where you feel most creative.
Maybe because I travel so much, I find that when I’m sitting in an airplane or car where there are no distractions, those moments can be very good for me creatively. I take inspiration from wherever I am and I’m inspired all the time. Sometimes just seeing design that isn’t successful inspires a dialog about why, and that is helpful.
Are humor and a sense of the unexpected important in residential design?
I find the same attributes you look for in a friend are those you look for in your interiors. Humor and pleasant surprises are things we look for, or anything multi-layered. They mean the space has a personality and a soul.
What advice would you give someone about to embark on a design makeover?
Find a designer you trust and are excited about. Really understand the architecture of your project and where it’s going. Authenticity is very important; create something that’s an honest and comfortable expression of who you are and your point of view.
You wear many hats. What role is closest to your heart?
I’m a true designer. I love that just yesterday, I was creating layouts, designing furniture and sketching interior architecture. I feel very fortunate that my business is a diversification of interests within the umbrella of interior design. It’s a wonderful learning experience.