Podcast, Ep. 333: Defining Chic with Jesse Carrier and Mara Miller

Jesse Carrier and Mara Miller

We welcome Jesse Carrier and Mara Miller, a husband and wife power couple in the design world. For two decades they have designed chic, timeless, surprising spaces for their clients, some of whom you may recognize like Anna Wintour, Jessica Chastain, Annie Leibovitz, and more.

They’ve been named to the prestigious AD100 list, and have been featured in publications like Town and Country, Vogue, House Beautiful and Architectural Digest. They’ve just recently released their second book, Defining Chic, and talk about embracing your personal take on luxury, designing for evolving families, and picking details that speak, scream or whisper.

Defining Chic by Jessee Carrier and Mara Miller

“Defining Chic” is available now at carrierandco.com

What You’ll Hear This Episode:

  • The inspiration for Defining Chic and why they chose the projects to showcase.
  • How to create micro-environments and why they start with public facing rooms.
  • Luxury doesn’t have to mean formal! In fact, they knock down the formality in homes with naturally welcoming materials.
  • The Brooklyn brownstone that exemplifies that high-low luxury feel.
  • How Jesse and Mara’s New York roots inform their design process.
  • Tips for tying together separate rooms to create a cohesive feeling amongst the house.
  • Ways to get your family and teens on board with defining chic – Pinterest and making sure they feel part of the process.
  • How to pick design elements that bring warmth and joy to your space.
  • What it was like designing Anna Wintour’s compound retreat.

Insert from Defining Chic design bookDecorating Dilemma:

Hey ladies!

Love the podcast!  Have been listening from the beginning & have learned tons!

We live in Ohio and moved into this house 3 years ago & have been struggling with what to do with the flooring.  The carpet needs replaced.  The kitchen & dining room have laminate flooring with a tile pattern, it is fine, but could be better.  The foyer & sides of stair treads are a dark wood.  Family room & dining room both face west.

We need your advice!  We have considered hardwood or wood laminate floors throughout, but don’t know what color to choose due to our dark cabinets in the kitchen.  We like the earthy colors of our walls & planned to keep them as is.

But if you have other ideas we are open.  If we went with hardwood we would need a rug under the sectional, you have taught us the the chairs should also be in the rug, but would the angle of the fireplace cause a problem?

What are your ideas about how we should use the room with red walls?

Any other decorating tips you can share are also welcome!  My husband feels we have too many decorating objects around the family room, would like your input on that.

Thanks so much!



Thanks, Jill!

We have some ideas on how to achieve that harmonious and cohesive look you desire. First, for your flooring, Jesse and Mara suggest maintaining a consistent flooring material from your entryway through the dining room. This would involve replacing the existing laminate flooring with hardwood to match the wood floors in your entryway. This change can provide a more unified and visually appealing look.

Consider more tonal or cohesive wall paint colors, especially in open floor plans. Transitioning from one room color to the next with paler or deeper shades can create a sense of continuity and sophistication in your space.

To enhance the overall look and feel of your living area, adding a lighter rug in the living room may help create contrast with the dark cabinetry in the kitchen, along with introducing colorful cushions, accent chairs, or rugs to create a coordinated color scheme throughout the space.

If you’re concerned about the rectangular rug and sectional sofa layout, there is the possibility of a custom cut rug.

Jesse and Mara emphasize the importance of maintaining a consistent floor pattern in areas where the floor follows the shape of the island, or it has multiple angles. Hope this helps and keep us updated on how it goes!

How to Decorate

Also Mentioned in This Episode:

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Happy Decorating!

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Kelley Bostian

Kelley enjoys a light and livable home and is always searching for that perfect "finishing touch" antique piece. Here on How to Decorate, it's his goal to help you bring your own unique design vision to life.