Architectural Digest

The arbiter of design reveals her favorite decor shops, restaurants, and other great haunts in the city she calls home.

TEXT BY TISHA LEUNG TISHA LEUNG  •  PHOTOGRAPHY BY SARA RUFFIN COSTELLO

Posted July 19, 2016

In the design world, Sara Ruffin Costello is known as a well-traveled editor, writer, and decorator. For many years, she and her family called New York City home, until New Orleans’s rich culture and colorful residents won them over. “We’d been visiting New Orleans for years and were certainly under its spell—a slower pace,” she says. “The creaky old houses, the heady fragrance of gardenia and magnolia blossoms, the Mardi Gras Indians, and Preservation Hall were just a few of the highlights of the deep South that lured us.” After they set their sights on an 1868 shell-pink gothic revival house for sale, the deal was sealed. From the best spot for oysters to a small Texas-based boutique, Ruffin Costello shares some of her favorite go-to places in the storied city. Read on for her insider’s look at The Big Easy.

"Look closely: The toile wallpaper at Commander’s Palace has cheeky little guys with hand-embroidered hair," says Ruffin Costello of the 1880s jazz-and-Creole restaurant. 1403 Washington Ave.; commanderpalace.com

The oyster-and-cocktail bar Seaworthy just opened and is already a favorite for oysters. It’s located inside the Ace Hotel. 630 Carondelet St.;seaworthynola.com

Our neighbors John D. and Melissa Gray have a magical swimming hole in their Garden District home.

I went shopping for curvy sofas and found this one at Karla Katz Antiques, which specializes in French furniture and art. 4017 Magazine St.;karlakatz.com

The lifestyle boutique Freda has the best quirky stuff. The store, which originated in Marfa, Texas, has a location next to the new Ace Hotel. 600 Carondelet St.; shop-freda.com

I took a shoe-and-floor-tile selfie at Casamento’s legendary oyster bar. 4330 Magazine St.; casamentosrestaurant.com

Dancers from the New Orleans Ballet Theater pose draped around my living room. We threw a late-night party for the ballet company after their summer solstice dance. 2800 Chartres St; neworleansballettheatre.com

On a Sunday morning, listening to the St. Cecilia’s Asylum Chorus at Preservation Hall in the French Quarter is better than church. 726 St. Peter St.; preservationhall.com

This is the tabletop carnage after a pitcher of lychee martinis, shrimp-and-avocado salad, and fresh boudin at Dawn Dedeaux’s artists’ compound near the racetrack. dawndedeaux.com

Sara_house.jpg

I love this old girl in the Lower Garden District, found between Julia Street, the Mississippi River, Chippewa Street, and First Street.

See the original post on Architectural Digest here.

Sara Costello