Jesse Carrier and Mara Miller, the principals of Carrier
and Company Interiors, are a husband-and-wife duo
who create rooms that are a confident mix of timeless
and contemporary design – both familiar and fresh
at the same time. Always refined and sophisticated,
light-filled and airy, the Carriers’ work ranges in style
from elegantly traditional to luxuriously minimalist to
glamorously bohemian. Their rooms often feature
subtle patterns and neutral palettes punctuated by
bursts of exuberance and unexpected mixes of high
and low, old and new.
In 2019, the duo introduced their first-ever lighting
collection for Visual Comfort with two distinct series,
Hastings and Cadence, featuring chandeliers,
sconces, pendants, floor and table lamps. Inspired by
antiques and vintage lighting, hardware, and objects
they’ve found and fallen in love with over the course
of their careers, the Carrier and Company Collection
combines an elegant mix of materials and styles that
will complement any interior. Read along as Mara
and Jesse share insights on inspiration, process, and
stumbling blocks to creativity.
Visual Comfort is the collective impression of good lighting as it relates to the quantity, distribution, and quality of
light. But to us, it means so much more. We’ve been proud to work with extraordinary designers who continue to
bring their unique vision to the creation of beautiful lighting, so we asked our newest design partners, Carrier and
Company, what Visual Comfort means to them.
What is Visual Comfort?
JESSE + MARA: Visual Comfort means edited style, quality materials and incredible value. A trusted resource is now a trusted partner.
Why did you choose to partner with Visual Comfort to bring your collection to life?
MARA: There has to be a mutual admiration and a shared point of view to partner with a brand. In Visual Comfort,
we found a hard-working family-owned business, like our own, that is committed to quality, service, and uncompromising design.
JESSE: Visual Comfort has been a trusted resource for years. They have maintained their standards and reputation
while growing into an industry leader. We have always had excellent experiences working with their team and
knew we wanted to partner with Visual Comfort when we began to design lighting.
As two strong equals Mara and Jesse bring complementary ingenuity to their design process, and ultimately share
a common vision that is the hallmark of their engaging design style. Fortified by diverse influences, individual
approaches and distinctive personalities, the pair shares more than just their impressive professional achievements.
How do you complement each other as a team?
JESSE + MARA: We have a “Macro-Micro” dynamic that works to our advantage and balances our approach to
creative projects. Jesse sees big picture, and works in broad strokes, and Mara delights in the details and finesse.
How do you start your design process?
JESSE + MARA: Our design process begins with visual inspiration. Most often, the process plays out like a game
of cards: We’ll both play out our hand and propose ideas. Sometimes those ideas spark and might even crosspollinate,
combining disparate ideas and languages to form a unique point of view.
What part of the product development process do you enjoy the most?
MARA: The collaboration with Andy and the product development team was my favorite part of the product
development process! It was fascinating to see what ideas resonated with them and what truly excited them - it
made the process inspiring.
JESSE: It was surprising to see how quickly the collections grew. We enjoyed seeing our pieces transform and
take shape under the guidance and experience of Andy and the development team.
Design is an intimate collaboration between a designer and their curiosity. It’s a full continuum of feelings, ideas,
and solutions – a reflective practice between a designer and the things that inspire them. Our partners offer us an
ever-widening collection of ideas and innovations, looking to the past for inspiration, understanding the present
for the way we live now, and seeing a future that is supporting more imaginative and technologically advanced
kinds of lighting than ever before. We love working with them to produce new details, fabrications, and finishes
each year. Their inspirations lead to ideas that expand the range of what we do and who we reach. It’s been our
privilege to bring their designs to life.
Where do you find inspiration?
MARA: We start with history, looking back to look forward, inspired by antiques, sculpture, and even jewelry.
JESSE: Sometimes from a museum, an auction, or a wonderful reference book. It might be as simple as a shape,
or an incredible finish.
What is the most recent thing you experienced that has deeply inspired you?
JESSE: In these days of COVID confinement, we’ve been relegated to online resources. I found a pair of midcentury
abstract paintings by Jacob Semiatin at auction– the color combinations and compositions are exquisite.
MARA: I was deeply inspired by some BEAUTIFUL jewelry that was coming up at auction….but Jesse didn’t take
What is your favorite material to work with?
JESSE: We prefer classic metals like soft brass and polished nickel. We modernized the Hastings line with matte
white and black lacquers, and added patina to the Cadence family with antiqued mirrored glass.
Light connects us to the spaces we live and work in more than any of the senses. The comfort and beauty of the
light are essential to how we feel in a room. The lighting industry has already come a long way from the days of
limited styles to being fashion-based. And the invention of new lighting is constantly evolving.
What styles do you see shaping the future of lighting design?
JESSE + MARA: Our design vision is always one of updated classics. Styles that endure trends and evoke
timeless will continue to shape the future of design.
What is your favorite lighting piece from your Visual Comfort collection?
JESSE: Hastings Large Pendant and Cadence Table Lamp.
MARA: Hastings Reading Lamp and Cadence Lantern.
Hastings Large Pendant
Mara Miller, Jesse Carrier, and their Children Photographed by Annie Leibovitz
With most of us spending more time at home, we are curious what your home says about you?
JESSE + MARA: Our home reflects our ethos, which is livable luxury. We’ve mixed design periods and materials,
like marble, mirror, bronze, leather and velvet to keep it urbane. The furnishings are practical, sensible, yet stylish
– which make our home feel at ease, and welcoming to all. It’s both dressed up, and paired down. We don’t
believe in compromise – design is flexible and can always be made to be beautiful and appropriate (if you give us
a 10 minute warning before stopping by!)