Carson Kressley and Thom Filica, two of the original Fab Five from Bravo's "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy," have returned to Bravo with their new interior design show, "Get A Room with Carson & Thom," and they haven't missed a beat.
The pair brings an energy and expertise that is often missing from the slew of design and home renovation shows currently on television, and the fact that they're back where it all began makes their return to form even sweeter.
Each episode of "Get A Room with Carson & Thom" shows Carson and Thom take on two separate spaces -- one on the expensive side, and one with a stricter budget -- with a focus exclusively on the interior design of the spaces. This isn't about knocking down walls and creating open-concept floor plans; it's about bringing in statement pieces of furniture and bringing much-needed style to any given home.
AOL's Gibson Johns recently caught up with Carson Kressley and Thom Filicia to talk about all things "Get A Room with Carson & Thom," what makes the pair's return to Bravo so natural and whether or not they'd be open to a crossover moment with one of the Real Housewives.
Check out our conversation below:
Okay, first of all, who came up with the "Get A Room with Carson & Thom" title?
Carson Kressley: About a year ago, we had a dinner with Bravo about “The Untitled Carson and Thom Project,” and we just started spewing names, like, “One Night Stand,” “Sectional in the City,” “Ottoman Empire,” but “Get A Room” may have come out of that. I liked, “Bye Filicia (and Carson).” I had a whole list, but we’re not totally sure where it came from -- we had a lot of martinis.
Thom Filicia: We had a lot of ideas from all camps. It was a back and forth. To be honest, though, I think it came from Bravo. I remember when we first heard it, we loved it immediately. It works. It’s fun and naughty and cheeky. It’s just like our personality, and I love that whenever I tell people the name of the show, they’re like, “That’s cute!”
Carson: And it’s fun to yell at people, “Get a room!”
Talk to me about your decision to come back together for another show now. I feel like this could've gone in a million different directions.
Carson: It’s quite organic, and I think the best shows are docu-series that follow something that’s actually happening. “Queer Eye” was very authentic and real, and everything that we’ve done has kind of been in that space. It’s easier for us to do it this way. I was renovating a house, I was like, "I think I wanted to be an interior designer," and then I realized I don’t know what the F I’m doing, so I turned to Thom.
Thom: It feels authentic. We’re both obviously interested in the space of interior design, we’re both interested in design in general and I always say: Design is design. Plus, we’re both the kind of person that likes to collaborate in general.
Carson: Both of us have worked for major design legends. You become part of a team that you’re supposed to bring ideas to.
Thom: Right. And the interesting thing is that I think you get so much information from people if you create the opportunity for the dialogue to happen. One of the things that Carson and I really enjoy is pushing the envelope enough, but also making sure that people feel comfortable.
Carson: Each episode has a very high-style, elaborate, quite expensive project and then it also has something very approachable that you can watch and be like, “I can do this tomorrow at my house.” Even though it’s high-style, we never want to be snobby about it. I was never snobby about fashion; I’m all about high-low.
Thom: I’ll say, “I need a jacket for an event,” and he’s very practical about it. It’s always sophisticated and stylish, but he’ll tell me if the price doesn’t make sense or if it feels frivolous. That’s part of the design dialogue these days, as it’s all about mixing high, medium and low. That’s where design is in general right now.
Carson: That’s the sport of it, and that’s why it’s fun. People love to go to Century 21 or Bloomingdale’s and mix it all together. It’s the same thing in interiors. I’ll obviously buy high-quality anchor pieces, but also have fun at thrift stores!
Something that a lot of design or home renovation shows try that doesn’t always feel natural is provide tips, but those come across really well on "Get A Room."
Carson: I think it’s because they were truly organic, and they were things that we really needed to do in the space. There may have been others that were edited out, but they were things that came up as we were talking through it, like, “We need a cuter lamp shade, and we have fine minutes. What do we do?”
Thom: I’m not speaking for all shows, but a lot of times the people that end up representing design shows are people that are coming into a space that they are learning about right then and, I think for us, we would have that conversation whether there was a camera there or not.
Carson: Like our West Elm shopping trip when I effed up a space. We went to West Elm in Brooklyn, and it was a whirlwind. We were yelling across the store, and they were like, “Ma’am, quiet down!”
Thom: As we were checking out and carrying things to our car, we were like, “This is really what people should be seeing.” Hopefully, if we have the opportunity to do this again, it would be really fun to have those moments on the fly shown. Thats what people are doing on a Saturday. What’s interesting is that, the way that we’re doing it is that we’re bringing things to the counter and then editing there. We lay things out on the table and by the time we’re done, we edit out a lot of stuff, much to the chagrin of the staff at West Elm. But it was fun for them to watch that, I think.
HGTV has never been bigger and I'd say that, technically, "Get A Room" is coming into a crowded space. But, not only do you guys yourselves set the show apart, but it's also unique in that it's so focused explicitly on interior design.
Thom: One of the things Carson and I talked about in the earliest stages was the fact that nobody is really celebrating, you know, "You have this space, we don’t have to change everything -- let’s move forward and decorate the space." That’s what makes our show feel unique -- it’s truly about decor.
Carson: I watch them all, too, though, like I am sequestered in my apartment in my bed like a shut-in. From Friday to Monday I’m learning about beach houses and people moving to Berlin. We love all of them.
What's also unique about your show is that each episode sees you designing two spaces -- one higher-end and one on more of a budget.
Carson: And it’s very client-driven. That’s the job of an interior designer, is to not make every space look like their own. It’s to find out about your client and what they’re looking for.
Thom: What’s great about it is that every episode is fresh for us. We’re looking at the client, the architecture, and we’re connecting all of those dots. Is it in the city, the country or the suburbs? Why do they live there? Do they have kids? Do they entertain? You find these things out when you go into someone’s house. You have to design for these things.
Carson: Like my house, where kids aren’t allowed. "Hey get away from that outlet with that fork!" [Laughs] But, yeah, New York was also so great. We were both adamant [about it being here], because we love New York, we all live here and there’s such a variety of home styles and architecture.
Thom: And even in people. This is a great place to start. The locations that we were in were so interesting.
Carson: You do get a little bit of real estate porn here.
This show also represents your return to Bravo for the first time since "Queer Eye For The Straight Guy." It must feel like coming home, but Bravo has really evolved since then to become this incredible ecosystem of shows.
Carson: I keep waiting for them to send a cake! The core of Bravo is about pop culture. It’s an escape for people.
Thom: I personally feel like it’s exactly what it was, it’s just matured. The concept has just grown up and at the same time, we have done the same. The concept of where we were at the time, we were like children, and it’s interesting because it still feels like a network that represents, demographically, where we are. The demographics that are interested in Bravo, would be interested in what we’re doing.
Carson: It’s a network with a lot of style. It’s evolved and has a lot of fun.
Thom: And it doesn’t take itself too seriously; it allows itself to be a little raw and a little real. It’s also aspirational. The space that Carson and I are in is all about people learning about something, getting ideas and then elevating it. There’s a way to do that that’s approachable and fun and not too serious. That’s why people liked us on "Queer Eye" originally: We were bringing new ideas to the table, but we were doing it with style and wit and approachability. That's still what we’re doing.
Being back on Bravo also provides a fun crossover opportunity. Would you guys have any other Bravo stars on?
Carson: For sure! A client is a client. Every client is interesting and brings their own story. What’s great for us is that we’re people-people, and we love meeting them and having fun. One person made us pasta and I was like, "Oh my God! You can cook in your home? That’s what that’s for? I used to use that for shoes!" We love getting to know people and hearing their story and translating that story into a space that can make them feel amazing.
Which Real Housewife would each of you have on the show?
Thom: Dorinda [Medley].
Carson: Kameron [Westcott]. She’s my new best friend. She’s a steel magnolia, she’s smart, strong and stunning. We all love the New York Housewives, and we’re friends with Dorinda and Luann.
Thom: Dorinda called me recently and said she was going to redo her house in the Berkshires, but we both got too busy. If we were to do more episodes, it would be interesting because the first ones are a bit of an unknown and they’re kind of pioneers.
Carson: Some of them had a wagon and some old-fashioned hats on…
Thom: But they’re the first ones! Now there are more possibilities and hopefully people will understand that what we’re doing it just about design, and it appeals to everyone. I think that would be really fun to have a crossover moment.
Carson: There are some Housewives that have these massive houses with nothing in them. Like, "B--ch, we have to get you a sofa!"
Thom: People get so overwhelmed with renovating and building a house that by the time they get to the interior design part, they’ve run out of steam -- or money.
Is there something that you would do differently next time if you got a second season?
Carson: We were just so happy to still be alive after this.
Thom: We’re really pleased with how it evolved and the energy of it. Even though we were saying and doing those things, we were like, “I can’t believe I said that.” But I think what we’d figure out is how to make it run more fluidly and efficiently. It was a process because of the simultaneous jobs and getting the product all around, going from Brooklyn to Westchester.
Caron: yeah, like, this week we’ll be filming in central New Jersey and Connecticut. We would have to go into New York City four times in one day. But we had great resources. New York City is the epicenter of interior design, and you can get great stuff.
Thom: And we tried to really highlight that. Having that support is so important, and it’s just a lot of information for people.
Carson: That’s the fun thing about it being high-end. A lot of other shows don’t really show you where they get stuff -- it just appears. But we’re showing where things are coming from.
"Get A Room" airs Fridays at 9 p.m. EST on Bravo