Thom Filicia has an organic bone to pick with environmentally friendly interior design.
“People think green design has to have that same minimal, clean look,” says Filicia, star of Bravo’s “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy” and author of “Thom Filicia Style,” a book coming out in October. “Even green cars all look like spaceships. They don’t have to. I set out to prove that green design doesn’t have to look like hemp world, that it can be luxurious and elegant with personality
Working with the Sheldrake Organization, who developed the LEED-certified Platinum Riverhouse condominium in Battery Park City, Filicia transformed a three-bedroom apartment on the eighth floor of the building’s east wing into one of the most modern examples of how to design interiors using nothing but environmentally safe and sustainable products.
There’s a lamp made of a recycled wine jug, with silk cords running electricity and wool strings for a shade. (Filicia designed that himself.) Benjamin Moore Eco Spec paint is used throughout. Linen-wrapped orange bed tables surround a bamboo-based sheet set and an organic mattress. The edges of antique frames come together to form a dresser in the guest bedroom.
In the dining area, recycled jet airplane parts compose a chandelier. Plumbing parts, such as nozzles and pipes, make a floor lamp. Ceramic side tables add stability to a multicolored wool and silk living room rug made of remnants of rejected carpet samples. There are no plastic or volatile organic compounds (VOCs) anywhere to be seen, or inhaled.
At the Riverhouse, Filicia used recycled nails on the custom-made furniture. There’s certified woods in the sofa and low-VOC adhesive for wallpaper glue. The dining room table is constructed with paper stone — recycled paper hardened with resin. Sea grass and bamboo combine to form the window treatments.
“Some things in the apartment tend to be more green than others,” says Filicia, whose new television show, “Dress My Nest,” airs on Wednesdays at 11 p.m. on the Style Network. “But that’s part of the decisions you have to make when designing green. You have to go as green as you can where you can. That’s all anyone can ask.”
The Riverhouse already counts as one of the more sensational green residences in the country. Actor and environmental activist Leonardo DiCaprio owns a large penthouse with Hudson River views and a private green roof. Tyra Banks also bought in the building. Twenty percent of residents have moved into the apartments, which average in cost around $2.5 million.
The Sheldrake Organization carefully chose Filicia for the project, hoping his visibility and green philosophy would come through. With a reported budget of a couple of hundred thousand dollars, Filicia delivered.
“Our buyer can afford high-end design,” says J. Christopher Daly, owner of the New York-based Sheldrake Organization. “We met Thom [Filicia] at an open house at the building that he came to on his own. His work here shows that excellent design seamlessly blends into the green lifestyle our buyers are looking for….