New York design firm Carrier and Co. offers inspiration for elevating your room’s decor — whether traditional, modern or country-inspired
When looking through photos of beautiful high-end rooms, it can be tempting to think, “If I had that kind of money, of course I could create a gorgeous living room (dining room, bedroom) like that.” But a gazillion-dollar budget doesn’t guarantee a great-looking room. And you don’t need a fortune to design a room that’s inviting and delightful and comfortable to be in.
New York City interior designers Jesse Carrier and Mara Miller’s work for celebrity clients such as Vogue’s Anna Wintour and actress Jessica Chastain has landed them on Architectural Digest’s exclusive AD100 list. But in the foreword to the designers’ recent book Carrier and Company: Positively Chic Interiors, Wintour writes: “These are homes whose high style comes from a very human-scaled sense of warmth and joy.”
The designers have organized their book into six looks, such as tailored, country, modern and traditional, and discuss the concepts they use in creating each style. We’ve highlighted some of their work and design ideas here. See if there are useful concepts you can pull out for your next project.
- Antiques as a key component
- A piece or two from the mid-20th century to lighten up the room and help bring it into the present
- A carefully chosen contemporary classic — something surprising but not trendy — to add a sense of being up-to-the-minute
In this upstairs landing in Vogue editor Wintour’s country home, an oversize painting by Hugo Guinness hangs above a diminutive Swedish painted chest of drawers. The play on scale accentuates the contemporary nature of the artwork and brings the old house up to date.
Tailored rooms may be traditional as well. The balance of elements determines whether a room leans toward traditional or modern. Above, splashes of lemon yellow and marigold orange add sunny warmth to an elegant living room’s neutral palette. The white walls have a polished-plaster finish.
Carrier and Co. lists elements typically found in high-end country decor: slipcovered pieces, kilim-covered items, twig furniture, sisal rugs and wrought iron railings and curtain hardware. Locally salvaged industrial and agricultural items may be included.
The farmhouse bedroom above features classic country details: linen, a metal bed, painted wood furniture, a botanical print. Unexpected color pairings and a contemporary hand-blocked throw pillow add a fresh twist.
- Strong silhouettes
- Precise geometry
- Clean lines
- Crisp edges
- Boldness and graphic clarity
- Soft moments, sensuous curves and deluxe details, as foils to the streamlined aesthetic
- A piece that’s clearly of today
The dining area above features a reclaimed-wood dining table. The dark fireplace wall behind it makes a striking backdrop for the artwork and the antique Italian gilded sunburst mirror. The floating fireplace provides warmth and focus.
- Antiques are evocative.
- They add atmosphere, age and patina to a room.
- They endow a room with a feeling of the familiar — the emotional and visual comfort of forms and materials that are tried, true and trusted.
This traditional eat-in kitchen features comfortable dining chairs and an adjacent seating area. An oval-shaped English hunt board (traditionally used for serving breakfast after a hunt) takes center stage but allows for ease of passage. A playful artisan-made zinc chandelier from the 1920s hangs over the table.
“In such rooms, each choice comes with additional layers of meaning. Beyond pleasing aesthetics and functional practicalities, the elements of the room must capture a personality and an approach to life — and to do so clearly and forcefully, but without shouting.”
Rooms that epitomize bohemian glamour are:
- Full of pattern-on-pattern
- Wonderfully colorful, with vivid, arresting and unusual accents
- Occasionally overflowing with a rich, sometimes eccentric riot of visual information
- Not necessarily maximalist, per se, and not just about “more is more”
“Our role in such projects is to establish calm amid visual cacophony, to relieve the visual density yet still reveal the personality, because when there is too much to take in, the eye has nowhere to pause or relax,” the designers write.
This home office in a loft had a wall that was double height. The designers turned the wall into a faux library with a Tracy Kendalltrompe l’oeil bookshelf wallpaper. The room’s colorful palette was pulled from the colors in the wallpaper’s books.