Wednesday, December 31, 2008

What Are You Doing New Years Eve?

Happy New Year to my dear bloginistas (bloggers with style!) and friends and strangers who read this humble rag.

For many years I had a business that provided decor. So when New Years Eve rolled around, I was usually engaged to decorate a party or two. Most were huge events, though some were more intimate house parties.

Valorie Hart Designs - corporate holiday party
The huge fabulous Lichtenstein always hangs in this office building lobby.

The giant pine cones were added as the seasonal decor.

The party decor took its cue from the painting.

Each table had linen color picked out from the painting.

The flowers were arranged both high and low,
and the flower choice was simple: red tulips in winter!

I never resented working New Years day into eve. My crew was a great collection of talent, and we became friends through the years, so we made the job our special party. Before I became a business woman I had a show business career, so often I worked in a club on New Years Eve.

Valorie Hart Designs - Brooklyn Musuem
This event is at The Brooklyn Museum.

I love the glass block floor lighted from below.

The statues are the museum's, but I brought in the fountains.

Valorie Hart Designs - Brooklyn Museum

On the rare New Years Eve that I wasn't working I preferred to go to a party that I could walk to from my brownstone on 15th Street. New Years Eve in New York is brutal. Everything is overpriced. It's cold, so that evening shoes and a cute little party dress gets a lot of wind up the skirt. Taxis are impossible to get, and if you do get one, you pay triple the meter. Many a time I had to resort to the subway, sharing it with puking teenagers, or worse yet standing alone on a cold train platform at midnight into the new year waiting and waiting for a train to come.

Valorie Hart Designs - The Rainbow Room
The Mac Daddy of all New Years party locations: The Rainbow Room!
Gold and silver and white were the obvious choices.
We made the huge cocktail filled with lights behind the long buffet table.

The best party outside of putting on some slinky pajamas and laying out a supper of every exotic and expensive food we loved (caviar, smoked salmon, pheasant, oysters, lobsters, chocolate), was a little supper party given at a restaurant around the corner from my home called Luxe; it was given by my friends Timothy Pope and Robin Berg.

It was s sit down dinner for twelve. I decorated of course, and I recall vast quantities of white narcissus flowers and candlelight. After dinner we danced to big band music. It was an unusually warm night, and with a fire roaring in the fireplace of our private dining room, we were overheated. We threw open the windows at midnight, and tossed flowers to the passersby.

Valorie Hart Designs
This is a party at The Puck Building
It was called White Winter Wonderland
Lucite chairs, tons of white branches and lights,
iridescent table lines, white Amaryllis, lots of candle light
made this one of my favorites, and a favorite of my clients.
I revamped this look for many a wedding!

Loading docks on New Years aren't fun either. There is so much stuff that has to be schlepped to make a party. The logistics are worthy of a five star general planning a battle. There's never enough time no matter how early you can set-up, or how many magic crew people you amass. But somehow it all gets done, and we would all stand together and look at our handiwork, amazed that we did it. I always brought along a few bottles of Champagne for this moment to share with my decor squad. Glasses were lifted, toasts given, and off we went to a hot bath and a night at home.

Looking at photos of milestones usually include friends and family. Mine also include a body of work. But back then I was careless with my talent, and didn't think to document it all. The few photos I have were taken by Adam Anik and Juris Mardwig. And of course I have some tattered tear sheets I managed to save from editorials along the way.

Valorie Hart Designs-Brides Magazine
Brides Magazine Editorial
The idea was a church basement winter reception, for a bride on a budget.
Masses of red and pink mini carnations, herb topiary,
winter love birds, snow flakes, winter evergreens
were all used on a back drop of winter white.
I had to reproduce this party many times over after this editorial.
Valorie Hart for Brides Magazine

I never ever went to Times Square once. Except to decorate a party there in a now defunct restaurant called Nirvana. It was atop an odd little building on the median in Times Square. It had a perfect view below of the hoopla. Of course we were invited to stay for the party and enjoy the view, but we politely declined and scurried off home. This wasn't easy since all of Times Square is barricaded by the police in preparation for the massive crowds.

"What Are You Doing New Year's Eve"

When the bells all ring and the horns all blow
And the couples we know are fondly kissing.
Will I be with you or will I be among the missing?

Maybe it's much too early in the game
Ooh, but I thought I'd ask you just the same
What are you doing New Year's
New Year's eve?

Wonder whose arms will hold you good and tight
When it's exactly twelve o'clock that night
Welcoming in the New Year
New Year's eve

Maybe I'm crazy to suppose
I'd ever be the one you chose
Out of a thousand invitations
You received

Ooh, but in case I stand one little chance
Here comes the jackpot question in advance:
What are you doing New Year's
New Year's Eve?


  1. Oh I love hearing and seeing all these fabulous parties :-) Working NYE is fun - you're a part of the magic!
    I have always loved carnations, the good thing is they are inexpesnive. You can do masses of them like in that photo and it makes a great statement piece.

  2. For about ten years, we used to throw a fundraiser for the local homeless shelter. We'd rent a (now demolished) warehouse on the harbour and have a front row seat to the fireworks. We'd hire two bands, one a rock band and the other a swing band. After a few years, they got to know eachother and one would start a song and other would finish. We would have about 1500 people and raised tons of money for the shelter. Eventually, it just got too big and out of control.

    This year, I am going to friends whose house is on the harbour for a quiet dinner for 8.

    Happy New Year!

  3. THAT was great fun to read.LOVED seeing your work. You are a lucky woman...with many stories ahead, I know!!

    Happiest, healthiest Brand new year to you VV!!

  4. With all of the snow today, we decided to stay off the roads tonight so we picked up a few lobsters and shrimp from the local lobster-shack and a bottle of bubbling "stars" and will stay at home and enjoy some candle light.

  5. What a treat to see some of your work! Beautiful party decor! We're staying in tonight by the fire,some good food and quality time!

    Happy New Year!

  6. Thanks for sharing those fantastic party pics Valorie! What fun! I think I'm snowed in! I am supposed to go to a small dinner party at a friends house, but since there is about a foot of snow on my front walk - I'm having second thoughts!

    Happy New Years!



  7. Happy New Year VV!

    Your events works are spectacular! I am truly inspired. Thank you for sharing some of them with us.
    We're staying in for a quiet night at home. Going to do the countdown with the east coast then in bed by 9:30pm pacific time. We want to start the first day in 2009 at the gym at 8am sharp. Gotta get started on that 7 days new years resolution.

  8. what a talent - such beautiful parites, you always amaze me!

    i'm home tonight!

    thank you so much for dear, sweet card - it meant so much!!!!!!!!!

  9. You are incredibly talented!
    It is amazing how you transformed these spaces.
    Truly magical and romantic!


  10. This image as well as many others of Rock Hudson was taken by Leo Fuchs ( and is available for sale at the Helios Gallery. We have modern reprints, limited edition prints and vintage prints of Rock Hudson in some of his best moments on and off the set, in real life and in films like Lover Come Back, Man's Favorite Sport, Strange Bedfellows, The Spiral Road, A Very Special Favor, Come September and Pillow Talk, He is so beautiful in those films.

    The website is and

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