The Style Files: Jesse Carrier & Mara Miller of Carrier and Company

Carrier Portrait by Don Freeman

 

Carrier and Company is among the foremost interior design firms in the country. Helmed by the husband and wife duo of Jesse Carrier and Mara Miller, the firm has one of the most impressive client rosters in the country. Not only have they designed the lobby at the Vogue offices in New York, they have also designed Anna Wintour’s personal home along with spaces for Jason Wu, Jay Fielden, and Annie Leibovitz. While Carrier and Company’s work is always effortlessly beautiful, the style of each project is different from the next, showcasing Mara and Jesse’s true talent at executing a variety of aesthetics and listening closely to their clients to ensure that each project looks and feels like the people living there.

Prior to founding Carrier and Company in 2005, Jesse and Mara trained under some of the top talent in the design industry. Since then, they have amassed over 30 years of combined experience and have had their work featured in the most important publications including Vogue, Town & Country, World of Interiors, ELLE DECOR, and House Beautiful.  They were named to Architectural Digest’s coveted AD 100 list in 2012. Carrier and Company’s work has been hugely inspiring to me over the years. Each space is chic, sophisticated, and you can always count on an unexpected element or two. I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Mara and Jesse and am an even bigger fan of this talented duo than I was before. Enjoy!Style Files Carrier Co

Paloma Contreras: How would you describe your style?

Jesse Carrier & Mara Miller: Our style is mix of classic decorating principals mixed with artful placement and utility. We let furniture and decorating schemes evolve around a narrative, or build off one key idea or item – whether it is a well-loved table, painting or exciting wallpaper.

carrier coopers neck christopher baker vogue

PC: What does your home say about you?

JC & MM: Our home is a small apartment in New York City. We don’t have any formal or ‘kid-free’ spaces, but we still want to live stylishly. We used dressed-up materials like marble, mirror, bronze, leather and velvet to keep it urbane – but the actual furniture is very low maintenance and practical – forgiving materials that get better with use and abuse, and wipe clean. We don’t believe in compromise – design is flexible and can always be made to be beautiful and appropriate (if you give us a 10 minute warning before stopping by!)

Leibovitz Portrait 2014

 

{Mara Miller, Jesse Carrier, and their Children Photographed by Annie Leibovitz}

PC: What do you love most about your career?

JC & MM: There are so many aspects of having a career in interior design that we love – living vicariously through our clients as we learn to translate their dreams; working with talented people to create a larger vision of a project – architects, landscape designers, restorers, and art consultants; and we love the balance of hard-working job-sites and workrooms along with the beauty and glamour of the projects, clients and showrooms. It’s always a little bit of everything!

Southampton project 2 pic by Chris Baker for Vogue

PC: Where do you turn for inspiration?

JC & MM: There isn’t one thing that informs our choices or guides our eye – it’s picking up on bits and pieces all the time. How graciously someone entertained, how a room felt, how beautiful the brickwork was in walkway, how a distant view composes a palette. That said, special museum exhibits are a fantastic resource, not only to see the content of the show, but how the curator presents all the visual information, and how beautifully the works are framed – the Neue Gallery is a favorite stop.

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PC: What is your guilty pleasure?

JC & MM: Junk shops! In this digital age when we can find the exact piece we are looking for at our fingertips, it is so exciting to actually scour through questionable stuff to unearth a real treasure! In fact, Jesse recently came home with a Leslie Tillett painting for $5!

Florida Project pic 2 by Robert Brantley

PC: What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

JC & MM: Observe more than speak.

carrier port royal robert brantley

PC: Who has been your greatest professional influence?

JC & MM: We’ve had the opportunity to work with some titans in business, art and fashion. Experiencing how such successful people manage their projects, standards and priorities has been tremendously influential.


ANNA WINTOUR CARRIER CO

PC: What is your idea of living “la dolce vita”?

JC & MM: With a busy professional and family life – we’re just trying to enjoy the ride, and make the best choices for our everyday quality of life. Balance is tricky, so we really love spending weekends at our house upstate to reconnect and recharge as a family.

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PC: What can we look forward to next from you?

JC &MM: We are thrilled that The Vendome Press is publishing our first book this September! We’re finalizing the layouts and title this month. We really do focus on fine-tuning each interior to each client – so it’s been a gift for us to reflect on what we do for every client and every job that is our own truth-in-decorating.

Carrier and Co Book via Instagram

{A Sneak Peek at the Upcoming Carrier and Company Book via their Instagram @carrierandco}

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Go-To Outfit: Jeans with . . . Jesse with pressed button up shirt and loafers; Mara with a knit and flats

Style Mantra: Less is best; but beautiful is even better.

Scent: We like earthy things – essential oils as perfume; Jesse is a big fan of “Red Currant” candle by Votivo.

Piece of Jewelry: a single statement piece

Color We Never Tire Of: white – it is optimistic

Flower: Jesse loves Peonies, Mara loves the scent of grape hyacinths, and the look of medicinal plants – bee balm, mullein, lambs ear

Indispensable Design Element: Area rugs can create architecture, traffic flow and visual impact whether they are inexpensive big box store sisal or an incredible custom or antique piece.

Era for Design: Right now! There is so much acceptance and expectation of interiors to express personal style that you can take the best of everything – so why limit yourself?

Dream Project: Boutique Hotel

Fabric/Textile: We love printed linen – the linen ground can make a formal botanical more accessible and soften contemporary graphic designs.

Hostess Gift: a bottle of wine or delicious chocolates – we don’t impose “stuff” unless it is a very personal gift

Meal: Mara – anything I haven’t cooked; Jesse – anything Mara hasn’t cooked

Drink: Champagne

Way to Unwind after a Long Day at Work: mindless, funny, television – 30 minutes is all that is needed to shift gears and it’s basically all that we can get – so we take it!

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3 things We Love About Our City: New Yorkers kiss when greeting, and to be expected: great museums, and so much good food that is accessible and affordable

Weekend Destination: Our house in Dutchess County

City: Los Angeles for an instantly fun and refreshing trip (and we have a lot friends there!)

Museum: The Metropolitan Museum of Art – still a world renowned collection of art and antiquities that transport you through time, but because it’s been the museum I was brought to as child, it’s also great to go and remember what was so inspirational or impressive at different stages of life – and to see that now through our children.

Artist: Thomas Libetti, Catherine Chesters, ASVP, Leah Durner

Song that Always Puts Us in a Great Mood: Macklemore’s “Thrift Shop”

Actor/Actress: Laura Linney, Meryl Streep, Paul Rudd

Prized Possession: At home, we don’t have many framed photos displayed, but have many pieces of artwork by friends and family that we truly love and cherish.

Risk Worth Taking: Working with your spouse = 24/7 – I guess it must be true love!

Greatest Extravagance: acupuncture and energy work (priceless)

Go-to Color Palette: client’s seem to love blue/white/beige – some subtle, some strong, some mixed with pops of color; we don’t have a personal favorite

Rule to Break: better to over-scale something, it will always look confident

Movie Set Design: Wes Anderson movies are always so much about the interiors – there is so much to look at: eccentricities and beauty and sometimes authenticity of wear and use that is equally refreshing. Not necessarily an aesthetic ideal – but always a delight. Or any movie Cary Grant was in.

Paloma Signature{Images Courtesy of Carrier and Company}

7 thoughts on “The Style Files: Jesse Carrier & Mara Miller of Carrier and Company

  1. Paloma I just loved this profile. The work is sublime but the fact that they still go to junk shops makes them real and not so precious. In an era when many “try so hard” this couple is simply cool. It’s refreshing and inspiring.

  2. Excellent interview Paloma and I cannot wait for their book to come out in the fall. I know it will be filled with many of their incredible design projects! A fabulous aesthetic and very cute family!!

    xoxo
    Karena
    The Arts by Karena

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