Mix Masters: Jesse Carrier and Mara Miller
Husband-wife design team Jesse Carrier and Mara Miller create a space that exudes eclectic elegance.
For this edition of our quarterly “New Mix Masters” series, we tapped husband-and-wife team Jesse Carrier and Mara Miller, principals of Carrier and Company Interiors, to devise a livable vignette using only what they could find under the roof of Avery & Dash (well, in addition to Benjamin Moore paint and Carlisle flooring that is). Known for creating timeless interiors with an exuberant mix of high and low, old and new, this was bound to have a lively outcome. Here, we take a behind-the-scenes look at their project inspirations and challenges.
How do you describe the overall aesthetic of this vignette? Eclectic elegance. This vignette, for us, embodies our signature style of curated spaces that are timeless, layered, light and livable.
How did you come up with the idea for the space? We wanted to create a realistic room, rather than a vignette. With so many stylish booths at Avery & Dash, we wanted our space to not just look different, but feel different, to ensure it stood out.
What was first piece you chose? Jesse and I fell in love with the pair of carved Continental consoles we used as end tables and the pair of French Regency leather-wrapped chests—we were intent on putting together a space that could accommodate both pairs.
What’s your top tip for successful mixing of eras/styles? We find the secret to a successful mix is keeping a baseline of consistency. In this room, French-inspired style was a theme in the chests and bergères. Midcentury pieces with clean lines and sharp finishes—the rectilinear sofa, aubergine lacquered table lamps, brass and glass coffee table and brass-legged poufs—added modern glamour. Mixing American and Continental midcentury pieces adds variety. Then, layering in artwork and accessories adds a unique touch of personality and point of view.
Please tell me a little about the artwork. In an effort to balance the antique furnishings, we focused on graphic and contemporary works of art, like the collection of Richard Mangolds above the sofa, and the Robert Motherwell prints flanking the leather chests. We layered in photography and sculptures to round out the collection.
How did the color palette come together? Our sights were set on creating a room that was light, warm and atmospheric. We started with the carpet and the leather-wrapped chests, which informed the color palette. Benjamin Moore’s Century paint in Anise was the perfect color for the walls. It complemented the carpet so well, and was a warm, but bright backdrop for the room.
How do your unique strengths complement one another? Mara is the planner and established the furniture layout; Jesse is the colorist and composer. Together, we bring different ideas and pieces to the space and trust each other’s instincts—but like to work on all aspects of a room to balance each other.
Who can you envision living in this space? Honestly, whenever we’re indulged to design fictitious spaces, like this vignette, or rooms in showhouses, where there isn’t a specific client or program, we tend to design the spaces as if they were for us. I think we’d feel right at home here!
A version of this article appeared in the June 2018 issue of CTC&G (Connecticut Cottages & Gardens) with the headline: Dynamic Duo.