Jesse Carrier and Mara Miller of Carrier and Company
are the husband and wife designer duo to watch. I wrote about them exactly a year ago, when they were tapped by Traditional Home as one of the Top 20 Young Designers. They participated in the most recent Hampton's Designer Showhouse, which I shared last week. Since 2005, they have honed their artful mix of great antiques, layering color and texture in impactful arrangements. Jesse worked at Jeffrey Bilhuber
and Mara worked for Sills Huniford. Both firms design with a fundamentally classic aesthetic-- deftly using color, scale and pattern. While there, they developed their eye for buying antiques at both ends of the price spectrum. They have earned respect for their Neo- traditional, classic design, that is both livable and fresh. With clients like style savvy Anna Wintour, fashion bible Vogue, media honcho Bob Pittman, film bigwig Jane Rosenthal, and fashion designer Jason Wu, they have made their mark.
I talked with Jesse recently, and he shared his design ethos with me.
Photo by Peter Margonelli
In a New York apartment, the space is well utilized with etageres framing a sofa. Sculptural uplights and a framed painting bring color and unique forms into the mix.
Photo by Peter Margonelli
Natural light makes the chartreuse sofa pillows pop.
By using an old cabinet to hide a tv, the room can be used as both a hangout and a nice spot to entertain.
Textured old wood sets the tone in the great room of this converted barn home. A twig rocker and chandelier made of wine barrel staves keeps the interiors authentic for the setting.
A barn conversion with rough- hewn wood and amazingly high ceilings.
Wide horizontal wall panels and a bed made up in crewel fabrics define cozy barn chic.
Exposed beams in the ceiling and relaxed roman shades channel a countryside B and B.
A giant farm sink, waincot ceiling and old light fixtures in the rustic bathroom.
Who did you work for and where did you study to learn the trade?
Mara and I met at FIT, as interior design students.
She worked for Sills Huniford, then Sara Bengur before we launched Carrier and Company in 2005. I worked for Thomas O’Brien, then Jeffrey Bilhuber before 2005.
When did you know this was your calling in life?
After my first year in college as a Fine Arts major (prior to FIT), when I suddenly realized that I would STARVE as an artist, and needed some other creative outlet that could also pay the rent! (the verdict is not yet in on that theory!)
Do you have a design mentor?
No, not currently, though, I think its fair to say that while we were employed, our employers were certainly mentors. In both business and design, Thomas and Jeffrey were very important role models for me.
Do you have a signature look and how would you define it?
I think we have a signature “style”, which is appropriate, tailored, sophisticated and thoughtful. We are extremely considerate of our client’s goals and how best to incorporate them into the architecture or space given. The result, or “look”, is never the same, as our goal is always to reflect our client’s individual tastes and sensibilities.
What other designer do you most admire living or not?
Do we have to pick one? There are SO MANY….Frances Elkins, Jacques Grange, Alberto Pinto….
What books do you own old and new that you constantly refer to?
….SO MANY….Frances Elkins, Jacques Grange, Alberto Pinto….
What is your favorite project?
Photo Courtesy of Vogue
…what could be better than working with Rachel Weisz to create her fantasy apartment in the historic Osborne building for Vogue??? Absolute indulgence!
Do you have a singular favorite fabric pattern or print?
I always love a Robert Kime print, or John Robshaw, and love this fabric from Groundworks:
Groundworks Thomas O'Brien Contemporary Moriyama in Multi Print
Where do you visit or shop to get inspired?
Visit the Wrightsman Galleries @ the Met or stroll any historic block in New York, shop @ Sentimento Antiques, Evergreen Antiques
What are your trade secrets?