Posts Tagged: Thom Filicia


11,500,000 square feet of exhibition space,  2000 vendors representing 100 countries, and 180 buildings in 4 days…

See what caught my eye at High Point Market.

Catherine M. Austin Interior Design/ 214 Modern Vintage

Every spring and fall, the design industry makes its bi-annual pilgrimage to High Point Furniture Market. This year marked my 25th trip to the furniture mecca and this market certainly did not disappoint!  My first stop is always 214 Modern Vintage, a collection of great dealers with incredible eyes for everything from fine art and lighting to mid century furnishings and accessories. I could linger here for hours and it is always inspiring to see the authentic pieces in person before heading out into the world of furniture market interpreting these designs.

Catherine M. Austin Interior Design/ 214 Modern Vintage





Natural Curiosities blew my mind at this market! All of their introductions looked incredible in the new exhibition space complete with its own “ArtBar” where you could watch the artists at work on site. These silkscreens from the Planetary are created by mixing colors during the screening process, resulting in abstract, blended forms. The simple shape and coloration evoke the image of distant planets and no two are alike allowing the viewer to create their own unique universe.



Natural Curiosities also introduced a gorgeous furniture line consisting of luxe shapes in stunning colors to complement their art collection. Specimen art has always been a specialty for this company.  The past few collections have been exploring the power and journey of flight with various compilations of feathers. This work entitled “Daedelus” is made of 3000 hand painted feathers that are gathered into a unified form, creating maximum impact. They describe the shape as “a shield and channels the intrinsic magic and awe of nature.” According to Greek mythology, Daedelus built the labyrinth for King Minos and then was imprisoned in a tower to prevent his knowledge of the labyrinth from spreading to the public. His only way to escape was in the air so he fabricated his own set of wings.  He also created a pair for his son Icarus, but warned him not to fly too high because the heat of the son would melt the wax on their wings, nor too low because the sea would soak their feathers.


This beautiful specimen circle is made of naturally colored magnificent pink shells…


Taken from French textile designs, the Pignier series is a mix of botanicals, patterns and handwritten details.

Athens based artist Carol John’s work brilliantly adorned the new Hickory Chair showroom. Her work expresses her love of color, language and pop graphics. It was a such a pleasant surprise to meet the artist in person…she is just as delightful as her paintings!

Trowbridge Gallery featured a gorgeous collection of vintage Gudri jackets using 1930s Parisian designs. Each handmade work is one of a kind and floated in a shadow box frame.


Alexis Walter’s space sang with all of her ethereal new paintings.  Her pastel palette of abstract works and smaller watercolors possess her distinctive look layered, tactile, and beyond extraordinary.


A new find this market was the handmade works by Crystal Brooke McCann. Known as a “creative visonary extraordinaire,” her collection includes hand painted silks and leathers, hides, as well as hand made paper and furnishings.  This paper mural is 11 feet long and the delicate detail is divine.



Hunt Slonem debuted his wallpaper and fabric collection at the new Kravet showroom. Using multiplicity as a motif, Slonem has created an iconic body of work that is sought after around the globe. The much anitcipated collection will allow everyone to have a little piece of the world of this enigmatic artist.


For the neutralists, the work of Carol Benson-Cobb was breathtaking. According to the artist, her work “reflects a feeling created within a color palette with an emphasis on the way the colors touch, layer and affect one another…My intentions are never to fully define a scene but to lead viewers in the use of their imagination and own life experiences to fill in the gaps.” In the work below, she has taken a detail from one of her original paintings and book matched and repeated the pattern.


Trowbridge Gallery used the power of scale to take a fingerprint, an everyday yet unique image, and elevated it to a work of abstract art in metallic inks.


This series from Thom Felicia’s collection for Soicher Marin perfectly illustrates his design aesthetic…”classic simplicity with an unexpected, modern flair.” 12 different abstract sketches would make a great graphic punch on any gallery wall.


Please contact the design studio if you are interested in design services or any of the works seen here…Please check back this week for more High Point Highlights on trends, lighting, accessories and furnishings.

For more of my design inspiration, please follow along on Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter  and subscribe to Bespoke Banter….Thanks for reading!



I am still overwhelmed with inspiration and information from my recent trip to New York. The Kips Bay Showhouse was the perfect way to kick off Blogfest 2012. It was such a pleasant surprise to meet several of the designers that created the spectacular settings at the Aldyn.  They were all extremely approachable, friendly and willing to share their inspiration behind their interiors.  Here are a few favorites…

Jamie Drake and Admirer (Moi!)
Photo courtesy of the New York Times

The “Library” was designed by Jamie Drake. There were so many incredible decorative details in this room. The ceiling was covered in a hammered silver wallpaper. One side of the room was anchored by deep emerald painted bookcases and the other included a seating area with the focal point of the painting, “Winter Gate,”  by Andy Harper from Danese. Mr. Drake pulled the colors out of the painting to uses an accents around the room repeated in the sofa pillows, books and flowers. A collection of sleek art deco side tables, a contemporary cocktail table, 1930s ceramics and a mid century desk made by Jules Wabbes completed the room.

Brian del Toro’s “Study” was magnificent. At first glance, the walls appeared to be covered in peacock blue wallpaper, but were actually a custom painted finish using 2 shades of paint in two different sheens to achieve the panelled effect. The shamrock green upholstery fabric from Schumacher on the parchment deco chairs popped against the peacock blue background. The sculptural mirror above the sofa reflected light all around the room. The mixed media collages, black and white abstract and and deco furnishings were sophisticated, modern and timeless.

Photo courtesy of the New York Times

Bryant Keller set a dramatic tone with this wallpaper designed by Flora Scalamandre in the 1940s. In his New York times article, Guy Tribet explained the significance of selecting this particular wallaper,

“That the wallpaper was a visual trademark of the late lamented restaurant Gino’s is itself a knowing wink to the profession, since it was to Gino’s or else the Isle of Capri on the Upper East Side that decorators of yesteryear typically repaired after a grueling day gathering samples at the Decoration & Design Building on Third Avenue, slipping off their Belgian loafers under the table and fortifying themselves with strong drink.”

“The Cabana” by Scott Sanders was by far the most vibrant room in the showhouse. The split pea grass cloth by Phillip Jeffries was the perfect backdrop for the artwork and turquoise fabrics and finishes he used throughout the space. We visited the showhouse on such a dreary day and when you walked in this room, it made you feel like the sun was shining and lifted everyone’s spirits.

Holly Hollingsworth Phillips, Thom Filicia and Yours Truly

Ever since Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, I have had a huge design crush on Thom Filicia. His “Gallery” for the showhouse must have been the most challenging room to design of all of them.  It was situated right in the middle of the space with an opening on each of  the four walls.  There was very limited wall space to make an impact, yet he still managed to do so with the his creativity.  The walls and ceiling were lacquered in emerald green (a recurring color in this year’s showhouse).  The walls were so shiny that you could see your reflection. He treated each of the openings with portieres which added softness to the space and filled very vertical space with artwork. All fabrics and carpet were from his own collections for Kravet and Safavieh.

Photo courtesy of the New York Times

Adjacent to Thom’s gallery was the “Dining Room” by Todd Alexander Romano.  This room was quite the showstopper.  Its double height ceiling and lack of architectural detail must have been impossible to work with, yet Todd pulled it off beautifully.  The aubergine walls are stunning and the apple green silk on the dining chairs visually connect to Thom’s gallery. The Murano glass chandlier  was from the 1950s. The dining table was made of smoked glass and tied in with the aubergine walls.

Guy Tribet of the New York Times describes Mr. Romano’s space, “The narrative that suggested itself to Mr. Romano involved a gallery. He would treat the ungainly dining room as a space well suited to die-hard Manhattanites of a type that, as Marlene Dietrich once noted, tend to be hungry for everything except food.” 

He would alter the proportions and the mood of the too-tall room by painting the walls a nocturnal hue, a color he called aubergine.

Aubergine, of course, is French for eggplant, and one of the enduringly charming traits of those in the decorating trade is that, being in the fancying-up business, they seldom prefer a dull English word when a swanky-sounding foreign one is ready at hand. (Take, for example, that Louis XV armchair — uh, fauteuil.)

Mr. Romano knew instantly, or semi-instantly, that he would cover the walls with big modern paintings by Rachel Hovnanian and Marc Van Cauwenbergh and hang a faceted poison-green 1960s Italian mirror, and that he would place in the middle of the neutralizing sisal rug an octagonal Alessandro Albrizzi table, with room to seat six to eight people, an ideal number for dinner because, he said, "Less is boring and with more you get no general conversation."

He would arrange around the table French Empire chairs because, he said, referring to himself in the third person in a way that somehow seems unstudied, "there will always be a French chair in a Todd Alexander Romano room."

He would borrow from Guy Regal at Newel Antiques an immense 42-arm 1940s Venetian chandelier, using it to anchor the space. He would add a pair of ivory “Bunny” porcelain lamps from Christopher Spitzmiller atop a white-painted, 19th-century English console table. For an added touch of whimsy, or possibly madness, he would mount a monumental brass giraffe bust by the Mexican sculptor Sergio Bustamante high on one wall.

He would accessorize the space with amethyst geode cathedrals and a bomb-sized hunk of terra cotta in the shape of a pineapple and, when he was finished with all that, the imaginary family Mr. Romano conjured up to inhabit the room might feel when dining as if they were appearing nightly in a remake of “Boom” and not merely sitting down to General Tso’s chicken eaten straight from the container.

THIS, perhaps, is the place for a reporter to declare himself. I love decorators. I love the idea of their odd, now struggling profession, with its famous lineages (Parish-Hadley, McMillen Inc., Colefax and Fowler) reminiscent of circus dynasties (think Flying Wallendas).

I admire their skills, their professional lore, their gifts as psychologists and mind-readers called on to enter strangers’ houses and help those strangers feel somehow more at home. It must take moxie to convince others you have better taste than they do, since taste, after all, is little more than habit and can be acquired.

There is something else. The decorators of this city, people tend to forget, keep thousands of local crafts and tradespeople employed, not the least of these the woman who lives in Far Rockaway and makes by hand the paper lampshades Mr. Romano places in the houses of clients around the world.”

Photo courtesy of the New York Times

Chuck Fischer created the charming Chinoiserie sketch in the top photo for the decorative painting he would use his his room.  Chuck is not only an interior designer, but a decorative painter and muralist as well. The lightness of his hand is evident is the execution of the painting.

All photos by Bespoke Banter unless otherwise noted.


Next week design blogs will be blowing up with editorial commentary from Blogfest 2012.  The event has been organized specifically for interior design bloggers by host sponsors Kravet, Lee Jofa, and Brunschwig and Fils. The fabric houses have partnered with the industry’s top design magazines to plan 3 days of programs in stunning settings with today’s interior design icons.

Architectural Digest’s Editor in Chief Margaret Russell welcomes the designers to Blogfest at the Kips Bay Decorator Show house.  I do not know if I am more excited to see the show house or to meet the charming Ms. Russell!  I became a huge fan of hers during her early days at Elle Decor and more so watching her as a judge on Bravo’s Top Design with Kelly Wearstler and Johnathan Adler.

This year marks the 40th Anniversary of the show house which benefits the Kips Bay Boys and Girls Club. Typically the show house takes place in a townhouse or brownstone. The 2011 show house will be in two 6000 plus square foot penthouse units above the Penn Station rail yards at the Aldyn overlooking the Hudson. The designers have been faced with the monumental task to turn these empty rooms with little architectural detailing and massive windows into aesthetically pleasing and breathtaking spaces. In today’s New York Times, Bunny Williams, the show house chair and design guru, comments that visitors come to see the show house, “for the fantasy, the playfulness, and the flair of artistry.” Guests can escape the reality of everyday life and appreciate the time and talent these designers have donated all to raise money for a wonderful cause.

After the kick off event at the Aldyn, we will then head to SoHo to Savant to have cocktails with the dashing Thom Filicia. Thom designed their massive showroom which integrates Apple based technology into beautiful room settings as seen below. As a self diagnosed I-Phone and I-Pad junkie, I cannot wait to see how this technology can streamline everything in the home from the lights and thermostat to becoming a personal media player and sound system.

The evening wraps up with an after party at Savior Beds, started by London’s Savoy Hotel in 1905. This luxury brand has only recently established a presence in the US after opening showrooms in Paris, London, Berlin and Shanghai. These bespoke beds were the favorites of Sir Winston Churchill, Giacomo Puccini and Marilyn Monroe.  Then, we are literally off to bed to rest before the festivities the next morning….More to come on Day 2 tomorrow!