If you don’t know what a “man grotto” is or the proper way to pronounce “boujet,” consider getting a room with design expert Thom Filicia and his self-appointed apprentice Carson Kressley.
"We take design very seriously, but we don’t take ourselves very seriously,” Kressley says. "I actually make up a lot of words because I’ve never really been a designer before.”
The “Queer Eye For the Straight Guy” alums reunite — or “rekindle their bromance” — in their new Bravo design series, “Get A Room,” which comes about a year after Netflix replaced them in the makeover show reboot.
“We had a lot of fun,” Filicia says. “When we first started, Carson was saying when we were on ‘Queer Eye,’ it was a lot easier because he would pick out a few outfits. And even though it was a lot of work, it was a different experience.”
The premise: Hourlong episodes take them into the backyards, bedrooms and living rooms of tristate area homeowners in need. The dynamic duo has a mere five days to shop, design, execute and play therapist, before moving onto the next. (Sound familiar?)
“What makes the show different is it’s very high-end design, delivered in a very friendly way,” says Kressley. “We inject it with a healthy dose of fun. I want it to be a pleasant experience for the client, so we have some laughs, we pour some wine and enjoy the process.”
Clearly, it’s the personalities at hand that sets the series apart from its HGTV predecessors. “Get A Room” is more about the journey than the fabulous room reveals (*insert jaw drop here*).
"We really want people at home to feel that same joy when it comes to designing their spaces and not to feel pressured and stressed out,” Kressley says. “We don’t ever want it to be snobby.”
Sans snobbery, the series doesn’t sugarcoat the five-day DIY process, even with design professional Filicia (of the NYC-based Thom Filicia designs) on board. Wonky colored curtains and wrongly measured furniture pop up from time to time, but we won’t point any fingers.
"You have to be prepared and just be able to creative problem-solve as things ebb and flow, which is a nice way to say it gets screwed up sometimes,” Filicia says. “Sofas fall down stairs. If someone cuts a box open, they might slice the seat cushion at the same time. It’s a never-ending calamity of crazy town. And Carson’s really a lot of fun and he’s a team player, which is kind of the most important thing.”
Kressley adds: “He’s never really yelled at me before, but there were some, you know, just some minor mistakes. It was a learning moment and I will say that with air quotes.”
The “crazy” comes into town in the pilot. It takes Kressley and Filicia to two New Jersey homes: one with a family who’s spent four years without furniture and a second involving a clairvoyant woman who says her late mother-in-law is calling the design shots.
Other episodes will take the design duo to New York City, where several Brooklynites struggle with their apartment aesthetic.
“We spent extensive amounts of time working all over Brooklyn, from Prospect Heights to Greenpoint to Bushwick,” says Kressley, who’s lived in NYC since 1991. “There’s just so much cool architecture, so much history and a diversity of living spaces.”
"Get A Room" airs Friday at 9 p.m. on Bravo.
Thom Filicia shares NYC design tips
For a rental space: "We use tempaper, which is like wallpaper that you can put up and take down very easily. You can do textures, or add patterns to one wall. That’s a really great way to give it a sense of personality when you have these kinds of white boxes and you don’t want to paint them because you might not live there long, or your landlord isn’t too psyched about it."
For a small space: "It’s about editing, editing, editing, really figuring out what you need, what you use and what you don’t. I always say when you’re living in a small space it’s about having the key things you need and celebrating those things, and not having extra stuff."
For budget-friendly statement making: "Make a big splash in a small space by having one huge piece of art. It’s easy to travel with, this way you can move on to your next space. Having a big sofa is better than having a tiny sofa and two chairs. Invest in your key pieces."