Solutions: Home should reflect those who live there

Jeanine Matlow

Though some may know Thom Filicia for his amazing home makeovers on the Emmy-Award winning hit show “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy,” his brand covers everything from residential and hotel design to TV series, books and product lines that include furniture, bedding and textiles.

Filicia refers to this approach as the democracy of design. “It’s more accessible. We do design work at the high end as a lab for ideas and products that reach out to a broader audience,” he says.

On June 17, the founder and principal of New York City-based design firm Thom Filicia Inc. will visit Scott Shuptrine Interiors in Royal Oak where his collection for Vanguard Furniture is sold. There, he will sign his book, “American Beauty: Renovating & Decorating a Beloved Retreat,” for those who have registered for the event.

Despite the fact that his clients range from Tina Fey and Jennifer Lopez to Delta Airlines and W Hotels, he remains incredibly down-to-earth.

Filicia likes to see his products paired with those from major retailers, and vintage and antique pieces. “Great design for everybody is really about bringing it all together and living well,” he says. “The idea of a great lifestyle is to bring all of that into your environment.”

His experience with “Queer Eye” taught him that a home should be a reflection of those who live there. “TV really puts you to the test. It’s something I enjoy doing. I’m good at making quick decisions and making them work,” he says.

For him, authentic design is essential. “It should be something that feels interesting and layered and cool even if it’s clean and modern,” he says. “If it’s traditional, it should have an edge to it.”

Filicia likes to take his clients along for the ride. “If they’re involved in the process, the space becomes a backdrop for a really great lifestyle,” he says.

If not, he says people tend to be a bit afraid of their own spaces.

He describes his personal style as “timeless with an unexpected twist or edge.”

His advice for those who don’t know where to begin is wise. “Before you even look outward, turn inside yourself to ask: How do you live? What are your favorite things to do? How do you entertain, cook and sleep? Use yourself as inspiration.”

The Thom Filicia Home Collection offers a great starting point. “Our furniture warms up a loft or cools down a Georgian. It has the personality of a lot of classic silhouette pieces, but in a crisp, clean way that can be traditional or more timeless. It can be at ease in a modern city apartment or a more classic suburban or country home,” he says.

He looks forward to exploring Detroit. “It’s such an iconic city that’s great for the art scene, food, architecture and design,” says Filicia.

For his appearance, he says, “I’ll sign books, have some food and drinks and a little Q&A and a lot of fun. I’m excited to connect with the design community.”

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Jeanine Matlow is a Metro Detroit interior decorator turned freelance writer specializing in stories about interior design. You can reach her at