Jesse Carrier and Mara Miller’s Interiors

The Epitome of Chic

By: Julie VanDolen • Jun 30, 2010 • 0 Comments

Jesse Carrier and Mara Miller are a designing couple. As principals in Carrier and Company, they have established quite a list of clients— including Anna Wintour, MTV’s longtime CEO Bob Pittman, Producer Jane Rosenthal and fashion designer Jason Wu, to name just a few.
You might think that with such A-list clients, Jesse Carrier and Mara Miller would eschew the traditional. To the contrary, the couple calls their approach “a mix of history, contemporary design, comfort and grace.” Take a quick look at their portfolio and you will find yourself reveling in the chic and timeless.

Carrier and Company was named one of Traditional Home’s 20 Young Designers in 2009. Their work has been published in Vogue, Elle Décor, The World of Interiors and other iconic magazines.

Recently, Jesse took some time to talk with us about interior design and we discovered that his sense of style is matched only by his charm.

JVD:  Your interiors are super stylish. Elle Décor said you and your wife, Mara Miller, have “cornered the market on clean, sunny interiors, with an emphasis on warm, wide-ranging elements.”  I’d love to hear you deconstruct a room plan.  Where do you begin?

JC: The key to a successful project is knowing your client well. Once this has been established, the vision can be instant but will continue to develop throughout the design process. It’s a very organic process where, inevitably, one decision impacts another.

JVD: Somehow, you marry the contemporary with traditional.

JC: We’re known for seamlessly mixing the old with the new.

JVD: How do you achieve a balance?

JC:  Edit, edit, edit! With overwhelming amounts of design options and resources to choose from, it can be easy to over-do it and end up with a muddled mess. You have to know when to apply the brakes.

JVD: The whole concept of traditional has grown quite broad over the years. How would describe it now?

JC:  I think that Swedish, Belgian, French and even Early American influences are now very prevalent.

JVD:  When working with antiques, where do you start?

JC:  We prefer to use true antiques whenever possible. Not only are they inherently more valuable, they have a quality and patina that is unmistakable and impossible to replicate.

JVD: And accessories, how do they impact a room’s personality?

 JC: Accessories are like the DNA of a home. They reflect the personality and interests of the occupants and tell stories of their travels, their history or their aspirations.

JVD: Do you have personal favorites?

JC: I’m a pottery junkie. It’s impossible for me to pass as much as a thrift store without scoring some piece of cooked clay.

JVD: Your favorite pottery period?

JC:  I love vintage/mid-century Scandinavian pottery.

JVD:  Working for other people, I would imagine you can’t populate all their homes with only your favorites. What other types of accessories work?

JC:  The simple curves and line found in many Asian works of art and antiques lend themselves perfectly to contemporary settings. Even more rustic and primitive artifacts, like African items or Indian textiles can make for stunning accent within more refined contemporary spaces.

JVD: Is the same true of art collections?

JC:  Art collections are so incredibly personal. We prefer that clients do bring some sort of collection to the mix. The art can often be a source of inspiration for the interior design.

JVD: That leads to the question how do you like to display collections?

JC: Unless it is some massive collection or fragile (or potentially dangerous) items, we like to mix collections in as accessories so they’re a daily part of our clients’ lives.

JVD: I’m always interested in finding out if designers secretly harbor a love for one period or style. Do you?

JC:  Do you consider Shaker a  style or religion? My instinct generally is for the simple, spare, slightly utilitarian, or, at very least, the practical option. So perhaps I had an affair with the style or was a Shaker in a past life.

JVD: The Shakers (www.shakermuseum.org) certainly loved order and high ideals. I can see that reflected in the rooms and offices Carrier and Company designs. Thanks for sharing your thoughts with Latique.


For more about Jesse Carrier and Mara Miller, please visit http://www.carrierandcompany.com