Profile: Jesse Carrier and Mara Miller
In the past few years Jesse Carrier and Mara Miller, the husband and wife team behind Carrier and Company, have cultivated an enviable A-list of clients. A few include Anna Wintour, Vogue, Bob Pittman, Jane Rosenthal and Jason Wu. Named Top 20 Young Designers by Traditional Home, their work has graced the pages of The World of Interiors, Vogue and Elle Decor.
As the design principals of Carrier and Company, both bring a high level of refinement and a keen sensibility to all their projects. And, most importantly, they bring experience. Both have worked with some of New York's premier designers. Jesse worked with Jeffrey Bilhuber and Mara worked with Sills Huniford before opening their doors in 2005.
On their own they are both great designers with a well-educated eye, but as a team they are unstoppable. Whether fashioning traditional or modern spaces, their interiors are undeniably chic, with an air of effortless sophistication. A look and feeling that is not always easy to pull off.
As evidenced by their thoughtful answers, Jesse and Mara are grounded and in tune with both their clients and one another.
How would you describe your personal style?
Understated elegance, edited, tailored and timeless
What inspires your creativity and designs?
We’re most inspired by people and place. Each project presents a unique set of circumstances, based upon client’s needs and sensibilities combined with the physical attributes of the space and setting of the project. It’s inspiring (and often challenging) to figure out creative solutions that marry our client’s needs with the inherent details of the space while maintaining a cohesive and stylish design.
Any specific examples of combining a client’s needs and sensibilities?
We recently worked with a client who was taking a temporary apartment in a 1970’s contemporary building while they planned for the renovation and decoration of a townhouse. It was not their ideal, but offered an interim space to live that was near the job sight, and offered spectacular views of Central Park. However, the client found the architecture ždepressingÓ and bland, and at odds with their collection of Art Deco furniture they were bringing with them.
In addition to being a short term living arrangement, it was also a rented apartment, so there were limitations on what we could do to transform the space. Taking cues from what the client was bringing to the space (a collection of furniture and artwork) we selected wall treatments, floor coverings, light fixtures and window treatments that complimented our client’s collection, but remained true to the bones of the building. The results were truly handsome and our client was amazed how it all came together.
What is your most prized possession or the one thing in life you cannot live without?
By way of “occupational hazardÓ’we’ve come to possess many, many things. However, I can’t say that there’s one we prize most, or couldn’t live without. However, if a house constitutes a prized possession, our country house in Dutchess County (upstate NY), is one we couldn’t live without. The ability to escape from NYC to our little blue farm house is truly a revitalizing luxury.
Who are your style icons?
Frances Elkins, Jacques Grange, Billy Baldwin
What books are currently on your bedside table?
Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking by Malcolm Gladwell
I’m Down a Memoir by Mishna Wolff
Busy Town by Richard Scarry
What is your idea of earthly happiness?
Those first few quiet minutes of the day, before the phone starts vibrating, when you can enjoy a cup of coffee and morning cartoons with your kid before you head to work.
What is your favorite luxury in life?
Creature comforts. Everyday things that make life enjoyable.
Past or present who has most influenced your direction in life?
We were both deeply influenced by European friends in early adulthood. We both learned about quality of life and graceful living by their examples. More importantly, the tenants of simplicity and quality we witnessed had nothing to do with wealth - which is perhaps the most important lesson.