The Salonniere

Sara Ruffin Costello

Love, 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 who served as pop-up editor for this month’s issue of House Beautifuland a spokesperson and consultant for Target’s Threshold line of home products. In other words, this knockout knows a thing or two about how to party. Currently preparing for the launch of the new Threshold campaign, in whose commercials she’ll be starring, New Orleans-based Sara took a moment to RSVP to The Salonniere’s Proustesque party questionnaire.

Your entertaining style? Last minute

Last party you hosted? A New Year’s Eve countdown dinner in the middle of a cotton field in Arkansas

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.

Favorite flower? Moon flower

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Sara’s Living Room

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.

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 the ping pong table. It was amazing. All the old ladies were like ‘I’ve never seen such a beautiful patina.’ Haha

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? Loads of candles from Target

Last party you attended? Tina Knowles’ masquerade birthday party in New Orleans

Most memorable party you attended? Allison Sarofim’s annual Halloween party at her house in New York City’s Greenwich Village and Julia Reed entertains in New Orleans about five nights out of seven—always amusing

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Artist Tom Sachs

Most fascinating person you met at a party? Artist Tom Sachs is hilarious and very mischievous

Most fascinating dinner partner?  Someone out of your social or work realm. I sat next to a gentleman at dinner in New Orleans who makes fish oil. It was so interesting that I forgot his name.

Dream dinner partner (dead or alive)?Alexander Hamilton. That’d be a challenging conversation.

Topics you won’t touch? Diet, death and divorce

Song that always gets you up and dancing? Anything by Beyonce

Favorite cocktail? White tequila, soda and the juice of half a lemon

Budget-no-object party location? A hacienda just outside Merida Mexico

Party pet peeves? Bright lights and no music are enough to kill it

Party must-haves? Wobble baby, an amazing outfit and a fun crowd

Sara Costello