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Monday, May 14, 2007

Time For Decorating From the Floor Up!

Not only is Thom Filicia a 'psychologist with a swatchbook' [see Come Decorate From the Floor Up With Thom Filicia in Boston], he's also a Sherpa guide intent on demystifying design for all. And, based on reactions to the Boston event, he's extremely talented at both!

Lis Calandrino [featured in
What Consumers Really Think and Lis Calandrino: Tips From The Trade] pictured here with her friend, Tony, attended the Boston event and contributes the following:

As a 20+ year consultant in the flooring industry, I find myself more on the teaching side than the learning side of design. One of my flooring friends in Minneapolis called me last week about an event offered by Karastan Carpets and hosted by Thom Filicia, from the show "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy", being held on Saturday afternoon at the JFK Library in Boston, MA. Since Boston is only 3 hours from my home, I convinced a friend to go with me and off we went to Boston.

I didn't realize how much fun I was in for and how much I would learn. First of all the JFK Library is a magnificent building, on the Boston waterfront, designed by the famous architect, I.M. Pei [wikipedia article or official biography]. The weather was magnificent as was Thom Filicia who was charming, funny and informative. I received a lovely little 'designer" pink and chocolate tote bag from Karastan, filled with shelter magazines and a bottle of water -- a cute touch. It was also nice that part of the proceeds was being donated to Susan G. Komen For the Cure.

Even more important, I was amazed to see a room filled with over 100 people, mostly consumers, asking great questions about color, style and design.It just seems like everyone was hungry for ideas. I particularly liked Filicia's ideas of "timely and timeless." According to Filicia, design is about combining "what's in" with how we live today; modern, clean lines combined with comfort.He brought several participants from the audience onstage to help him with colors and design. It was obvious that he has quite a consumer following.

After the event there was a "meet and greet" with Filicia where he continued to be charming and no worse for wear even though he had talked for two hours straight. He signed autographs, took pictures with the guests and gave more design tips.

[Note: Thom graciously got down to my daughter's level for this photo. She was impressed that he created 'fashion girl' rooms - her notion of really hip and beautiful - but didn't want him to know that. During the presentation, she stepped on a plastic cup that broke loudly, stopping Thom mid-sentence. We couldn't hide: we were in the front row. Nonetheless, he sweetly addressed her, commented on her colorfully dressed mother and moved right along! We are pictured here with my friend, Ronda who went home with many ideas.]

I hope there are more of these events. Hats off to Karastan for starting the ball rolling.

My friend Tony, much to his surprise, also enjoyed the event. He said he liked the idea of pulling "color splashes" from the rug to help design the room. He also mentioned that he wished there were more "design" rules for men so the whole process could be "more exact". Despite the lack of rules, I remember him saying that he thought he would go home and start rearranging his living room.

Thank you, Lis.

So, there, you have it! Thom had valuable tips for everyone [check out this article which offers additional "Thom Tips": HomePortfolio's Designer Dish - Thom Filicia] and we all left impressed with the inspiring yet common-sense advice. Consider: you have a layout where you want to have wall-to-wall carpet throughout, but not the same color/style in every room. How might you unify the effect? Per Thom, within the different rooms create a 'border' from the common hallway carpet and insert the other carpet selection in the middle [i.e., similar to placing an area rug on a hard surface].

Worried about mantelpiece design? Go for balance rather than symmetry.

Hanging pictures? Hang them low. If near a lamp, hang them below or above the top of the lampshade.

Imagine if these were the kinds of suggestions that flooring retailers routinely offered their flooring consumers. Wouldn't that create a radically different retail experience! Consumers might even change their flooring more frequently....

Thank you, Connie Berry and Dennis Thiets from Karastan [pictured here with Thom] for generating so much enthusiasm and discussion around Decorating From the Floor Up. And stay tuned for the next stops in Thom's national tour!

[Per Wikipedia, Thursday 5/17 is Thom's birthday. Happy Birthday, Thom!]

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