Building Community Through Interior Design (with Maryline Damour & Jennifer Salvemini)

Episode #287 the Wingnut Social Podcast

Today we’re talking about building community through interior design – spoiler: it’s great for your bottom line. Interior designers Maryline Damour and Jennifer Salvemini share some tips on finding your community, building connections, and keeping an open mind when it comes to your career path and growth.

Maryline Damour is a founding partner and principal interior designer of Damour Drake. Her work has been featured in magazines including House Beautiful, Architectural Digest and Elle Decor and on PBS and The Drew Barrymore Show. Maryline is also the founder of the Kingston Design Showhouse, an annual showcase that celebrates Hudson Valley design and connects the design/build industry in the region.

As a student of anthropology and philosophy, Jennifer Salvemini’s academics evolved into a passion for aesthetic expression in all areas of culture. She developed an intense appreciation for deep sensory experiences and finds great satisfaction in fostering meaningful experiences for others. Jennifer’s professional life straddles careers in hospitality and fashion spanning over 15 years in New York City. She began her interior design practice 5 years ago and has been creating happily in the Catskills ever since.


What does “building community through interior design” even mean?

Today we’re discussing building community through design. What does that mean? As interior designers and entrepreneurs, we often find ourselves living in “business bubbles,” feeling isolated and that we’re constantly reinventing the wheel when starting our businesses. Jennifer explains the goal of community-building is to connect people to each other – makers to makers, builders to makers, designers to makers, designers to builders – to bridge all of these networks and create larger infrastructure, so we can support the individual work of one another while simultaneously creating opportunities for collaboration. When we work together, more interesting products get created. More projects emerge. There are more solutions to problems. And of course…it’s more fun! Plus, collaborating with other creatives and artists can have a positive impact on your local economy.

How can I build my community and connections without a show house?

Jennifer finds that using Instagram to connect with other locals, whether it be restaurants or building communities or artists, has been wildly successful. What about growing your Instagram? Marilyne says the way to get a million followers is via targeting. If you target the people who are interested, they will amplify the message to others who are interested. Marilyne’s audience has grown by appealing to other creators. By targeting, you can grow your social platform in a way that matters to you and can ultimately feed your business.

Is it weird to have another interior designer in my community?

It’s important to stay connected with your fellow designers. Marilyne thinks that competition is only a thing if you make it a thing. There are more opportunities when you collaborate, and the market is so diverse in need that your clientele is likely different from that of your collaborators.


CONNECT with Marilyne:



CONNECT with Jennifer:



CONNECT with Darla:

Darla’s Interior Design Website:


Resources & People Mentioned:

Marilyne’s previous episode:

“The Bone People” by Keri Hulme

“Jitterbug Perfume” by Tom Robbins

“A Natural History of the Senses” by Diane Ackerman

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