Sara Ruffin Costello

Doll, I’m so glad you’re here. You simply must meet our friend, Sara Ruffin Costello. Sara’s a contributor to The New York Times and T Magazine, the former creative director for Domino, the co-author of the New York Times bestseller, The Domino Book of Decorating, an incredibly talented interior designer and a consultant for Target’s Threshold line of home products and a member of The Salonniere 100. In other words, this New Orleans knockout knows a thing or two about how to throw a chic party. Listen in…

How would you describe your entertaining style?
Last minute

What’s your signature party detail? 
I like to do the flowers myself, whether I’m using cut magnolia and fan palms from the garden or weedy flowers arranged with ferns. Doing my own arrangements, creating scale and height, is the fun part that creates mood and drama for the night.

What’s your favorite flower?
Moon flower


Sara’s living room

What’s your best party decorating tip?
It depends on the party. For cozier dinner parties, I like to move guests from room to room. I put a bar on the porch for cocktails, have dinner in the kitchen where it’s easiest for me to serve, and then have a tray of desserts and after-dinner drinks in the living room. Plus, we now have a record player in there and my friends like to play DJ.

What’s the best conversation piece in your home? 
A ping pong table in the dining room. I had a very grown up party last year for about 150 people. We did an artful buffet, almost like a Dutch still life, down the middle of the ping pong table. It was amazing. All the old ladies were like, “I’ve never seen such a beautiful patina.” Haha

What are your favorite party resources? 
It depends, but good bartenders and DJs are nice to have on speed dial.

If you had $100 to spend on party décor, what would you buy? 
Loads of candles from Target

What are some of the most memorable parties you’ve ever attended?
Tina Knowles’ masquerade birthday party in New Orleans, Allison Sarofim’s annual Halloween party at her house in New York City’s Greenwich Village and Julia Read’s parties in New Orleans are always amusing.


The exterior of Sara Costello’s New Orleans home

Who is the most fascinating person you have ever met at a party?
Artist Tom Sachs is hilarious and very mischievous.

Who was the most fascinating dinner partner you conversed with?  
I sat next to a gentleman at dinner in New Orleans who makes fish oil. It was so interesting that I forgot his name.

Who is your dream dinner partner? 
Alexander Hamilton. That’d be a challenging conversation.

Are there any topics you won’t touch at a party? 
Diet, death and divorce

What song always gets you up and dancing? 
Anything by Beyoncé

What’s your favorite party cocktail? 
White tequila, soda and the juice of half a lemon

If budget were no object, where would you like to throw a party?
A hacienda just outside Merida Mexico

What are your three party pet peeves?
Bright lights and no music are enough to kill it

What are your three party must-haves? 
Wobble baby, an amazing outfit and a fun crowd

Photo sources: Paul Costello, T Magazine

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