March 3, 2016

Interiors by Carrier and Company

Redefining Chic: The interiors of Carrier and Company create a thoughtfully relaxed refinement that appears deceptively effortless.

by Jorge S. Arango interior designer Carrier and Company

In a contemporary glass-box New Canaan home, the
firm incorporated the wife’s heirloom desk as a dressing table.
Photograph by William Waldron

Is any word more abused in design circles than "chic?" (Okay, maybe "eclectic" or "curated.") Some consider it synonymous with glamour; others deploy it to refer to stylish interiors that embody an ever-shifting zeitgeist. Jesse Carrier, who with wife and business partner Mara Miller has just released Carrier and Company: Positively Chic Interiors (Vendome), doesn't pretend to have nailed down a precise meaning. But, he says, "Two things come through that define chic for us: Bold, confident spaces that are reflections of the clients but are also livable, approachable, not off-putting."

The club chairs’ velvet, the daybed’s variegated weave,
and a hand-knotted rug add textural warmth to cool linear forms.
Photograph by Eric Piasecki

Oddly, when describing their work, many focus on the "bold" rather than the "livable." "We get coined as the darlings of the fashion world just because we work with Anna Wintour, Jason Wu and Jay Fielden," he admits. "But our interiors aren't fashion-driven at all. We are largely rooted in tradition. As Mara writes in our book, if you're an art student, you take the life drawing classes before you become a Pollock." Indeed, Miller's Westchester childhood was filled with visits to historic homes like Boscobel and Philipsburg Manor. And Carrier's upbringing near Syracuse, "was more rural and more about the vernacular."

Oxblood grass cloth and antique rugs cozy up a lightless room.
Photograph by Jesse Carrier
Of this bohemian-chic show house room, says Carrier,
“We have two children. But if we could, this is what our own house
would resemble—colorful, organic, artful, layered and lush”
Photograph by Francesco Lagnese

Carrier and Company's rooms harmonize the recherché and the rustic, the polished and the prosaic (the décor equivalent of a femme Parisienne fluently pairing a mink and pearls with jeans and flats). So a Hamptons living room, for instance, will include recessed paneling finished with a glossy candy-shell lacquer, sophisticated Venetian glass lamps, and a sofa upholstered in luxurious mohair. But Carrier and Miller also ground these pieces with a rustic painted trunk doubling as a coffee table and a hooked rug that exudes a plainspoken American utility.

Carrier and Miller had fun in a Tribeca loft’s nursery, pairing a
French chair and balloon wallpaper to suggest a very well traveled baby.
Photograph by Eric Piasecki
In their 2014 Kips Bay room, the couple set whimsical works by
Thomas Libetti against glamorous gold-marbleized wall coverings.
Photograph by Marco Ricca

Which is not to say they can't do flashy (their 2014 Kips Bay Show House room's gold marbleized wallpaper) or minimal (spare furniture profiles and monochromic palette in a glass-box New Canaan home). But, observes Carrier, "There's a lightness to our work. It's never heavy handed. There's clarity—both spatially and through the way we combine materials and finishes. We hope to deliver timeless spaces that age."

And what, after all, is more chic than timelessness?

A New York farmhouse bathroom is a study in pale color.
Photograph by Francesco Lagnese
A grand entry in Southampton serves as a gallery for the owners’ cane collection.
Photograph by Robert Brantley
A sky-blue palette “embraces all the light” of a coastal Florida home, says Carrier.
Photograph by Eric Piasecki

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