Thom Filicia's Latest New York Project Features the Perfect Union of Classic and Modern Design

The decorator crafts an inviting apartment in the heart of the West Village for a Connecticut-based couple.

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Nick Johnson

When a dynamic couple from Greenwich, Connecticut, approached Thom Filicia to design their second home in New York City’s bustling West Village, he accepted without thinking twice. Even though the space had an awkward layout, the acclaimed designer loved that the couple, who are both British, viewed the apartment as “a gift to themselves.” It's a place for them to revel in the luxuries of city living—the shopping, fine restaurants, Broadway shows. And it was an opportunity for Filicia—known for his role on the iconic TV series, "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy" and "Get a Room with Carson & Thom"— to exercise his keen grasp of crafting classic yet modern interiors.

With that in mind, Filicia first set out to overcome one paramount design challenge: addressing the apartment’s long, narrow floor plan. Originally, the dining room was positioned as the hub of the home, so Filicia de-emphasized it to better suit his clients' lifestyle. “We switched it so that the living room really anchors the middle of the space,” says Filicia. "We did not think they were going to use it that often, so we made it into an area that sort of recedes into the living room,” he says of the more appropriate floor plan. "The new layout made the space much more gracious and wide, and based on their lifestyle, it was much more conducive to the type of entertaining they would be doing.”

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The master bedroom.
Nick Johnson

Once this design dilemma was resolved, Filicia directed his attention to putting his decorating signature on full display. Despite their varied cultural backgrounds, the couple still share a similar outlook on design. “It is interesting that their tastes are very similar in that they are classic and timeless,” says Filicia. “They are a bit British in their design approach, but she’s much cleaner and tailored. He likes things that are a little bit more quirky and fun with a lot of texture, color, and pattern.”

Strategic moments of color combined with an abundance of texture—all while adhering to a fresh, modern aesthetic—was Filicia’s recipe for success. In the mainly neutral living room, there's a gray textured wallcovering from Phillip Jeffries, classic armchairs with concrete side panels, ultra-modern custom sofas, paired with a graphic Holland & Sherry rug and Roman shades by Duralee. The space also features a selection of pieces—including lighting, square-shaped ottomans, and a marble side table—from the designer's collection for Sedgwick & Brattle.


The same aesthetic is translated into the elegant dining area, complete with a tufted ottoman, chairs, and artwork from the decorator's collection, as well as a striking dining table with an antique brass base from 1st Dibs. The master bedroom also mirrors this aesthetic. "It still has their touch points, like texture and pattern, but it also feels serene and lets them unwind a bit," Filicia says.

With its custom four-poster daybed and ceiling sheathed in woven grasscloth, the inviting guest bedroom has a cocoon-like feel. Beyond hosting guests, Filicia designed it with a focus on versatility. It's the perfect spot for the couple to spend time with their adult children, curl up with a book, or work on their computer. "It has a British aesthetic, but it's not too literal, and not too modern," Filicia says.

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The media room.
Nick Johnson

Another highlight of the apartment is the media room, a relaxing space with a British flair and, of course, texture galore. Like the guest room, it's suitable for a slew of activities, whether the couple chooses to use the room for movie night or reading. "It also appeals to their British style in terms of the layering, but it is done in a crisp and clean way," Filicia says. "That was a juxtaposition that they were excited about. Just when you thought one thing was going to go one step two far, we edited it."

For the office space, which is outfitted with an eye-catching Julian Chichester desk inspired by a 1950s Danish design, Filicia envisioned a "really, really great hotel suite." It's where the couple can do everything from reading to online shopping. "We wanted them to have that kind of experience, where everything is very thoughtful and there when you needed it—but not a home office," Filicia says.

In the hallway, an art wall—with a display of works from the decorator's collection for Wendover Art Group—steals the show. "It's a sort of gallery space that can be in motion," Filicia explains. " You can add pieces and layer them in. Art is very important in telling the story of the people who live there."

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Detail shot
Nick Johnson


But one of the best parts about the apartment is arguably the outdoor spaces, which will likely be used most during the fall season. The master bedroom, living room, and guest room all have terraces. "We took advantage of those indoor-outdoor moments, making them feel as designed as the interiors," Filicia says. "When you are out on the terrace, it doesn’t feel like you are outside. You open the door and it is almost a continuation of the house. It feels lush, livable, and inviting. It not only makes the apartment feel more interesting, it adds to the experience."

While this project turned out to be a win, Filicia, whose firm is celebrating 20 years in business, still has his work cut out for him: He's in the midst of redesigning the couple's Greenwich estate, too. But there's no chance that he'd ever resist yet another challenge. “I love creating well-balanced moments that are stylish and sophisticated, but also warm, inviting, easy, and not overproduced," he says. "It should feel thoughtful.”

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