Our Story

James Thomas was founded in 2003. Our Chicago-based interior design studio runs because of the vision, passion, and energy of a team of very talented designers, a dedicated business manager, and our darling rescue pup, Teddy.

To date, we’ve completed 400 design projects. Will yours be next?


To enter the design studio of James Thomas is to be transported to a place where life just seems a little bit better.

A perfectly steamed cappuccino appears in front of you. A playful Lab mix named Teddy snuggles on a couch nearby. And Tom Riker and James Dolenc sit down with broad smiles and kind eyes – ready to listen. If it feels like life is easier in these four walls, it’s because it is. Tom and James share their natural sense of hospitality with the people that they meet and the homes that they design.


A sense of effortless elegance has long been a James Thomas signature.

They are known for colorful, textured spaces that are innately welcoming and always, in their own way, communicate timeless design elements such as warmth, generosity, and affection.

“We believe in laughter and making our work together, fun.”


Wanderlust is a major source of creativity at James Thomas.

The two nurture their shared love for travel with regular trips around the globe. Recent trips to Paris, Ireland, and Africa have all imparted inspiration through the people, the culture, and the landscape.

For James – half the fun is getting there. “I am an airplane junkie. To see how an airplane or a train car creates luxury and opulence in small cramped spaces never fails to inspire me. Airplane seating charts are my favorite vice.”


A well-rounded life is as important as a well-appointed one.

When James and Tom aren’t traveling abroad, they are spending time at their Glenn, Michigan summer home, biking, entertaining, and enjoying the beauty of Lake Michigan.

At James Thomas, we specialize in designing your perfect welcome home. Let’s get started.


900 N. Franklin St, Suite 800, Chicago, IL 60610
1380 Wildflower Ln, Glenn, MI 49416



900 N. Franklin St, Ste 800, Chicago, IL 60610
1380 Wildflower Ln, Glenn, MI 49416