Carson Kressley and Thom Filicia are back. The famed BFF’s behind Bravo’s iconic hit series, Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, have returned to television to grace viewers with their signature charm, penchant for design, and endearing synergy once more. The fashion and interiors experts of the original ‘Fab Five’ join forces in their new show, . They're fighting the ubiquity of American homes across the country, transforming two very different spaces each episode with authenticity, personality, and an impeccable sense of style. The show premieres Friday, October 19, at 9PM ET/PT.
“It’s all about design, high and low, and taking people’s aesthetics to the next level,” Thom tells ED at his . The episodes feature a wonderful diversity of clients, with different styles, budgets, and overall goals. Still, each project is unified under the same general principal–creating spaces that are beautiful and unique–tailoring them specifically to each client. While these arbiters of design work fiercely to create dream homes, there’s never a shortage of hilarity, sass, and an unpretentious playfulness that fuels their relationships with the homeowners and each other. “We really speak the same language, and the most important thing is that we’re having fun working together,” Thom says.
While Thom’s professional design acumen facilitates smooth sailing through each of the projects, the “non-professionals” tuning in can join Carson on his journey to mastering the art of interiors, one project at a time.
“Design, like fashion, is about color and texture and silhouette and scale. This show is really about an authentic journey, and I hope that the people watching will learn along with me. It’s a really cool world, and we are creating spaces that speak to each individual's personality and style, with a final product that looks different than anybody else’s,” Carson explains.
Fifteen years may have passed since the premiere of their first Bravo show, but the decades-long besties haven’t lost an ounce of flair or energy. Carson and Thom sat down with ED to talk design, friendship, and the quest to make America chic again.
ELLE DECOR: Carson, you’re not an interior designer by trade, so what was it like working on these projects from that non-professional perspective?
CARSON KRESSLEY: In any business, you look at things from the outside and think “Wow, that is so glamorous. I would love to do that, and it can’t possibly be that hard.” But by the third day I was like “WAIT! You need to know how to do math for this?” There’s a lot of aesthetic and beauty but a big part of it (besides the art) is the science. That’s planning, having a floor plan…you know, things like making sure your sofa fits through the front door.
ED: Thom, what was it like to work with someone who isn’t a design professional?
THOM FILICIA: The reality is that designers tend to be a little kooky, so having Carson on board wasn't that bizarre because he’s also a little kooky. Carson loves design, he loves people, he loves architecture…he loves all of the components of what we were doing. It’s fun to see Carson take ideas and run with them. Sometimes it’s a success story, and sometimes there’s mossy balls.
ED: In filming the show, have you discovered or developed any client-related pet peeves?
TF: They come up with really bad ideas and try to make us do them. For the most part, there is a psychology to working with clients, understanding the clients, and trying to give them what they want even when it isn’t really ideal. We try to extract the positive from their ideas, finding that little nugget and weaving it into something that actually works for them. That’s how you get to the point where it feels very bespoke, authentic and personalized for them in their life.
CK: Even worse, clients will do something behind the designer’s back and end up saying, “You know what, can you fix this?”
ED: Do you have suggestions for clients and designers on how to best communicate goals of a project?
TF: Be open, be honest, be straightforward. That’s for both the designer and the client. Sometimes clients aren’t transparent about how much they want to spend, or will wait for designers to share their ideas before expressing their own. Things happen more effectively when you are open, and prevents projects from dragging out.
CK: Any designer’s job, whether its interior design or fashion, is to inspire people to step out of their comfort zone and give them something that’s even better than what they thought they wanted.
ED: Thoughts on Netflix’s new Queer Eye?
CK: Both shows are groundbreaking in their own ways. In the first show, we gave permission to people to care about how they looked, how they dressed, and how they styled their homes, but we didn’t have as much of a political agenda. The new show is very similar, but the world has made great strides and changes and the show has adapted. People are still, to this day, having important conversations and getting to know gay people and realizing that we are a lot more the same than we are different.
ED: What were some of your favorite parts about working on this show?
TF: Working with Carson has been the highlight for me–sharing the responsibility of the design, having fun, enjoying the process–it’s really great when you work with someone who has confidence but isn’t cocky, has fun but isn’t ridiculous. It’s a good balance.
CK: There’s such a wealth of great design out there. It was the same as Queer Eye in terms of sharing our expertise and “spreading the gospel."
ED: Anything we should expect from Get a Room with Carson & Thom?
TF: Expect the unexpected, expect amusement, expect great ideas. A goal of the show was that each space should be able to be photographed for a magazine, and we achieved that.
CK: You’ll see very beautiful, very stylized design that is at a level that isn’t really on TV at the moment.