The Priciest Item in Her House Cost $100
A vintage dealer trades Hollywood for a New Harbor home filled with unusual finds.
ABOVE Danielle Filosa perches in the kitchen of the home she calls the Snow Globe, on account of its large windows and wide-open concept, and the House with No Doors, because it feels that way, given that there are just two: one for the entrance and one for the bath.
TEXT BY SARAH STEBBINS
PHOTOGRAPHED BY DANIELLE SYKES
From the April 2022 issue of Down East magazine
For the last six years, Danielle Filosa has worked with set decorators in her native Los Angeles to curate furnishings for TV shows, movies, and music videos by Eminem and Pink. But her heart was in Maine. Filosa, who also runs an Etsy vintage-décor shop, moved to Portland on a whim in 2014, then headed home when her father became ill. She vowed to return once she’d saved enough for a house, and, in 2020, she closed on a 1977 cedar-paneled New Harbor place, built by former owner Peter Knauss, where she plans to move full-time this year. Filosa wrote Knauss a letter about her long path to finding the home that made him cry. His heartfelt response, in turn, made her cry. When they met, she gave him a friendship bracelet, and they remain close. “When my pipes froze last winter, we FaceTimed,” Filosa says. “He’s a total fairy godfather.”
Filosa furnished the house with finds like mid-century lamps and handsaws, a Western scene from Damariscotta’s Miles In Motion Thrift Shop, and 1940s automobile prints she’s had since college. “I’ve always had a sense of my own style” — which she calls “bootleg bougie” — “and it hasn’t changed since I was 16,” says Filosa, who prides herself on thriftiness. The priciest item in the place? The living-room rug she purchased for $100 on Facebook Marketplace.
Open shelving provides a canvas for Filosa’s Peacock enamelware and other vintage pieces, which mingle with dishes gifted by former owner Knauss, including a now-valuable set of 1970s Peter Max plates. A screen-printed dish towel by Rockport’s Hearth and Harrow hangs alongside the fridge, where Filosa displays postcards and memorabilia.
A bridge connects the upstairs “zen den” with Filosa’s bedroom, furnished with Knauss’s great-grand-mother’s bureau, a rug purchased in Morocco, and vintage horse and tiger figurines. “There are blinds, but I never close them,” Filosa says. “I like waking up to the light and the trees.”
Vintage pocket vases, a photo of Filosa’s dad, a Mexican mask, and old kitchen tools surround a framed folk-art patch in the kitchen. “Arranging displays that I get to constantly change feeds my creative energy,” says Filosa, who has also outfitted walls at Bristol’s Broad Arrow Farm Market and the Maine Booch kombucha tasting room, in Damariscotta.
In the room where Filosa’s mom often stays, worldly items, including a coverlet from Vietnam, a Mexican embroidered pillow, and a Moroccan rug class up a worn spool bed Filosa spotted next to a dumpster at a Damariscotta thrift store and paid 25 cents for. “When you start looking, you’ll be surprised by what you can find,” she says.
Thrift-store still lifes capture Filosa’s penchant for abundance, seen in a corner “shrine” starring a 1960s Mexican folk-art candelabra. Danielle Filosa is in school to become a therapist and sometimes uses the tapestry-covered table as a desk. “Buying this house, going with my gut, ended up being the best decision,” she says.