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April 27th, 2021

Happy Birthday, Sara Ruffin Costello!

Our April birthday girl is Sara Ruffin Costello. Each month we celebrate a local entrepreneur on her special day.

Our Q&A with Sara Ruffin Costello, designer, writer, author and decorator—maybe you've spied her unmatched style at The Chloe.

Happy birthday! How are you celebrating this year?
I told my husband not to do anything, but I would not be mad if we went to dinner at N7. In pre pandemic life I’d have strongly suggested a train trip on The Orient Express plus a sponsor to pay for it…

First thing you do when you wake up in the morning, last thing at night?
Worst answer: Instagram. 

Best part about being a designer in the Crescent City?
Tall ceilings.

We've read articles about your home restoration. Three surprising things you learned in the process?
1. Satin Impervo paint - thanks Gerrie Bremmerman.
2. Widening doorways between halls and dining rooms improves party flow  - thanks Michael Carbine.
3. Every garden needs a Magnolia Frescata - thanks Vesta Fort.

Best local spot to wear a SRC coat dress during the day?
Our design team manager, Laine Thomas Starr, wears them to client meetings which makes us look like we have a cool staff uniform.

Same question for night?
I was at a house party one night wearing the coat dress with a sweater and leggings underneath. As it got later and the music louder, the coat dress dramatically unsnapped and was tossed across the room...haha.

Three best flea-market finds or decor treasures you've ever found?
1. Sculptors stand (NYC 26th St. flea market) - it's made from another century with old, rugged wood plus its a great height to slap a piece of sculpture on top of.
2. Brass cube coffee table (small vendor at High Point) - every room needs something glitzy.
3. Art Deco bar (Renaissance in New Orleans) - cool bars are excellent in houses for obvious reasons.

Projects you're excited about?
Currently midway through a few residential projects which are all different pov’s and challenging. When our team finally drills down to gold, we get excited and start literally slapping each other. I love that visceral moment when the direction of a project takes shape.

If New Orleans were a paint color, what would it be?
Swamp green, for sure.

In terms of wearables, favorite New Orleans brands?
Saint Claude Social Club, Sunday Shop, FredaPilot and Powell, SOSUSU, Funky Monkey, lekha and Porter Lyons.

Favorite neighborhood in which to work on clients' homes?
Close by is always convenient. So Garden District and Irish Channel. But I like all the neighborhoods. This is the best city in the world.

Breakfast, lunch, dinner, where are we most likely to find you?
If we are talking on the regular with kids, then breakfast at home—and often bagels from Stein's Deli or anything from La Boulangerie—for lunch, St. James Cheese Company and Lilette, weeknight dinners sometimes from Sukho Thai and everybody knows the dirty little secret - we all LOVE Houston's. But for special dinners I just had the best meal at Paladar 511 and N7

Most leaned upon inspirational quote or motto?
I have a life coach friend Jody Brown who invented this thing called raving - find something that you can truly get excited about and rave, especially when things are shitty and hard. Basically the silver linings playbook. Lean into that and all’s well. 

What's on your birthday wish list?
A Cy Twombly painting. Something tells me I'm not gonna get that. Haha.

When you read for pleasure: hard pages or digital?
Both. Every night. After heavy cocktailing one night, my friends and I started a book club featuring the best trashiest novels of all time. Right now we are reading Skye O’Malley - I stayed up til 2 a.m. last night. Un-put-downable. Why haven't the masterminds at Netflix turned Skye O'Malley into a series?!

3 apps you can't live without in your job?
Design Manager for tracking jobs, Live Auctioneers for auction shopping, HoursTracker for invoicing.

Favorite New Orleans streets or corners?
Race and Religious. Mystery. Piety. I’m a sucker for the poetry and romance.

How many candles are you blowing out?
53. There have been so many chapters in my story, grateful for all of them.

Want to be featured in Tidbits on your birthday? Tell us why at submissions-neworleans@gotidbits.com

Photo: Paul Costello

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