Former 'Queer Eye' designer Thom Filicia lends his touch to new condo in Edgewater

These days Thom Filicia is designing condos. We caught up with the former Queer Eye for the Straight Guy star at the sales center for Edgewater condominium Biscayne Beach.

The sales center, located on the 200 block of Northeast 30th Street, is a small simulation of what potential buyers can expect for the 51-story condo, which will be completed in 2016. Filicia lent his designs to the center, giving it a sleek, beachy theme that shifts away from Miami’s “party” moniker. He chats with about his latest projects.

Talk about the overall design of Biscayne Beach? 
This feels very different asthetically than, I think, a lot of things you see on the Beach. There’s an earthiness to this, it’s a little bit more relaxed, a little bit less self-conscious, it’s a little bit more homey versus party. It’s mixing water with city, with art, with home, I think it’s just multi-layered and I think that, in general, I think that’s what Miami is communicating to the world.

Why did you sign on to do a project like this?
The reason I really was very excited to be apart of this project was a couple of things: one is I love the idea of being a pioneer in an area that’s kind of developing. It’s fun be apart of that process and that movement. I think, you know, part of it was the people, really excited about the people, excited about the city and excited about the idea, or the opportunity, to help define what’s new and what’s next in Miami. To me, this feels like it belongs here.

How is residential design at this level different from what you’ve done before?
I think that anytime you get into this level of product, the owners of the units generally want to come in and do maybe their own paint colors, or their own wall coverings, or they want to change some of the light fixtures. And people are spending X amount of dollars or they’re buying a penthouse, they’re looking to customize and personalize the interiors. But the goal was to give people something that was really well thought out and beautiful so they didn’t have to do that.

Are there any “green” and/or eco-friendly elements to the building?
We’ve used reclaimed wood. All of the upholstery is all recycled springs…I have rugs that are eco-friendly that we’re using in the building. It’s a variety of things that we can bring to the table.

Beyond Biscayne Beach, what else are you working on?
We’re doing a hotel in Turks & Caicos. I’m doing a house in Colorado, two in Connecticut, one in the Hamptons. I’m doing two houses in upstate New York, about four apartments in the city, a townhouse in the city. It’s a design firm so we have a multitude of different projects. Right now, I think we have about 16 or 18 active residential projects and three active commercial projects. We’re also in talks right now with networks about doing a couple new television shows. One of the themes of one of the new shows is really about commercial design, which is interesting. I can’t talk much about it because we’re in negotiation, but it’s about the design that most people have access to.