The living room of an art-filled New York apartment designed by Thom Filicia.
Photo: Nick Johnson

Thom Filicia Crafts a Moody Manhattan Apartment with a Head-Turning Collection of Art and Design

The famous designer pushed the limits of scale to create a welcoming family home that features an ethereal James Turrell Skyspace

A large-scale artwork by Michael DeLucia overlooks the living room that's furnished with a Verellen wing chair and side tables and lamp from Sedgwick & Brattle. Photo: Nick Johnson

When designer Thom Filicia’s clients purchased a massive apartment in New York City for their active family, they wanted to be sure that it not only offered space for entertaining and displaying their sizable collection of art, but also captured a sense of place. “It’s a really beautiful, majestic space that’s almost like a gallery,” says Filicia of the 6,800-square-foot dwelling, quite large by Manhattan standards. “There’s an excitement to the scale of it as well as its location in the heart of SoHo, but what most people quickly realize when they have these kinds of spaces is, how do you make it livable, comfortable, and inviting while still keeping that art-loft vibe and making it family friendly but not too austere?”

Architecturally, Filicia sought to preserve much of the existing floor plan. “We didn’t reinvent the wheel because, from a layout perspective, it was quite nice,” he says. Instead, he set about renovating the kitchens and baths, adding a guest room, and updating the dated finishes.

In the kitchen, a pair of studded vessels from Sedgwick & Brattle contrast the island's richly veined marble from ABC Stone and silk flooring from Artistic Tile. The pendants are by Apparatus.

The cavernous interior offered plenty of elbow room for the clients to host fundraisers for up to 100, but it also needed to be just as inviting during quiet family movie nights. Filicia set to work giving the rooms soul while maintaining a feeling of airiness. “They didn’t want it to look fully decorated,” he says of the design plan. “They wanted to create a balance between keeping the authenticity of what it was and making it feel beautiful, livable, stylish, and sophisticated.”

To that end, Filicia commissioned custom furnishings such as the Agustin Hurtado dining tables that can be pressed together for one long seating arrangement or separated and stored when it’s just dinner for six. The clients gravitated toward a mix of vintage furnishings and contemporary pieces, including examples that played with scale, including the robust Marcel Wanders floor lamps in the living room and oversize ottomans from Filicia’s collection that extend beyond the boundaries of a pair of console tables in the dining room.

Graceful dining chairs from Dennis Miller New York, upholstered in a lilac leather, animate the dining area that's outfitted with a pair of custom Agustin Hurtado dining tables, M2C drapery, and a sweeping artwork by Guillaume Gentet. Photo: Nick Johnson

In the dining area, a pair of tufted ottomans from Filicia's collection with Sedgwick & Brattle echoed the curved lines of two vintage fiberglass plaques from Antony Todd Home. Photo: Nick Johnson

Further removing the gallery-esque atmosphere was the designer’s expert use of color and textures to bring warmth into the rooms. The apartment’s floors were replaced with a visually compelling slate-blue option, while the main bath was sheathed in an arabescato corchia marble from ABC Stone, imbuing the neutral envelope with personality. “It was painterly in a way, so it feels very artful,” he says of latter. “Again, it was that game of making the space feel lofty, but giving them a soul. It was a real exercise in restraint.”

Elsewhere, bedrooms are enveloped in tactile Phillip Jeffries wall coverings, and custom beds made with Schumacher and Holly Hunt fabrics are dressed in linens from Eastern Accents. Plush rugs by Crosby Street Studios pair with creative drapery made using M2C Studios textiles. “My main goal was to create a main suite that wasn’t overwhelming but it still felt intimate and warm,” he says. “It’s kind of simple and modern but also classic and timeless while creating opportunities for a mixture of art.”

A guest bedroom features a sumptuous carpet from Crosby Street Studios, Holly Hunt sconces, and textural Élitis wall covering.

Indeed, artworks punctuate both private areas and more public gathering spaces. In the living room, a vibrant Mariana Bushiro canvas animates an otherwise subdued grouping of furnishings, while the dining room boasts a constellation of sculptural forms by Guillaume Gentet. Perhaps the home’s most captivating work of art is a James Turrell Skyspace in the office. “It was really cool to come into a project with that level of art and something that was so interesting and subtle but so dramatic at the same time,” says Filicia of the hypnotic installation. “When you’re bringing in so many different artists, it’s really important that you create these spaces that are simple enough to accept these collections.”

The hallway serves as a light-filled gallery for works by Ellen Salk (left) and Janice Griffin (right). The Oho bench is by Sheryl Furniture while the geometric planter is by Sutherland. Photo: Nick Johnson

In the office, a James Turrell Skyspace surmounts a pair of custom sofas in fabric from John Rosselli & Associates on a rug by Matt Camron Rugs & Tapestries. Photo: Nick Johnson

Now that the residence is complete, Filicia is working on a second property for the family in the East End that will undoubtedly have the same “barefoot luxury” as the urban residence. “It has an easiness and an approachability and that’s what I love to do with design,” he says. “You want spaces to be exciting and interesting and dynamic, but at the end of the day, design is for people so when you have children, families, and all of the things that come along with that, you have to create spaces that are not so one-dimensional. Key for them was it needed to feel warm. It needed to feel like a home.”

Cover: The living room of an art-filled New York apartment designed by Thom Filicia.
Photo: Nick Johnson


Sign up to receive the best in art, design, and culture from Galerie

Thank You
Your first newsletter will arrive shortly.