The turn of the new year is a time to set intentions and look towards the horizon. For Danielle Filosa, a set decoration buyer and director of belonging at Inn Along the Way in Damariscotta, she sought community on skylines around the world until she found her home in New Harbor.
“It was a lot of moving around, which was very intentional,” Filosa said.
After leaving her parents’ home in Los Angeles at the age of 18 and needing a departure from chaos of her hometown, Filosa attended Columbia College in Chicago, Ill. to study art and design and minor in art history. After graduating in 2013, she bounced around from Chicago to Scotland, to Portland, and back to Los Angeles.
What may appear as wanderlust in Filosa’s life may have really been an insatiable curiosity for finding home.
“I kept looking for something I kept not being able to find anywhere,” Filosa said. “Looking back at it now, I was looking for community.”
Filosa said in all the places she lived, she would get glimpses of community, but it never felt sustainable until 2014 when she came to Portland on a whim.
While Filosa felt Maine was the right place for her, the timing wasn’t right. In 2016 Filosa returned to Los Angeles to be able to spend time with her father before he passed away.
“It felt like the right place and the wrong time,” Filosa said.
She vowed to return to the state to buy a home one day, but while she was back in Los Angeles, her work as a set decoration buyer for films, shows, and music videos, took off. According to Filosa, a set decoration buyer is in charge within the art department in the production and design field buying and sourcing anything that is on a set. In layman’s terms, the rooms and sets on shows and movies are what she puts together.
Filosa is credited for work on the popular HBO show “Euphoria,” music videos by Migos, Post Malone, and Nicki Minaj, commercials for Dr. Pepper, Sprite, and even a Super Bowl advertisement.
“You watch TV, you look at that room, everything in that room, is what I would go out and find,” Filosa said. “It’s super creative.”
However, the high-energy life of Los Angeles wasn’t something Filosa wanted long term and she was eager to get out of it. Her work in Los Angeles eventually helped Filosa fund her return to Maine in October 2020, when she bought home in New Harbor from Peter Krauss, the home’s builder. Filosa said Krauss built the sustainable home through the Shelter Institute, which focuses on utilizing energy-efficient building techniques, and created an open concept, south-facing home.
Filosa said she remembers walking into the house for the first time and feeling connected to the space immediately.
“It felt like it had its own soul and I was walking into a piece of art,” Filosa said. “I felt very free when I moved here.”
On top of being a set decoration buyer, Filosa owns her own interior design consulting and vintage home decor shop business, Filosaphy Home, and when she bought her house and started putting together that space, she started getting calls from different publications after posting about it on her Instagram account. Filosa and her New Harbor home were featured in Down East Magazine’s April 2022 edition.
“I always envisioned that one day when I had a home that it would be in a magazine and so when Down East reached out I was like, wow, this is actually happening,” Filosa said.
In 2023, HGTV Handmade, a YouTube channel focused on DIY and crafting, toured Filosa’s home and interviewed her about her process.
Filosa said her taste in interior design and in vintage items was something she’s always had, even as a kid, and while she learned how to be confident in herself, she never questioned the things she liked.
“I’ve never questioned my taste, I’ve questioned myself as a human, but I’ve never questioned my taste,” Filosa said, laughing.
As a kid, Filosa said she would offer to rearrange her friend’s parents’ spaces for $100 and sometimes they’d keep it, but she realized at an early age she had an eye for arrangement.
Filosa describes her taste as one that looks good, but is less expensive.
“I like to say my aesthetic is ‘bootleg bougie,’” Filosa said.
Filosa is continuing to settle into her home here in Maine, and is helping foster community evidenced by her hiring last spring as director of belonging at Inn Along the Way, a nonprofit with the goal of transforming the historic Chapman Farm in Damariscotta into an innovative, neighborhood-style setting for older adults and caregivers. In her position, Filosa helps organize activities and workshops within the nonprofit.
“It was important to me in be involved with the community and actively contribute,” Filosa said.
Filosa is also coordinator for an art collective for adults with disabilities in Portland called Double House Art Collective.
When she’s not tending to her duties with the nonprofit, running her design business, or being interviewed about her home, she’s hosting gatherings with her friends, writing, or strolling the beaches to make sea glass earrings.
And now that she’s found home and community, she’s not quite sure what’s next, but Filosa said she’s okay with that.
“I always felt like I knew what was next,” Filosa said. “Now, I don’t know, but I’m OK not knowing.”
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