Every room needs a stunning antique piece to anchor it and give it authenticity. That’s the belief of Meg Harrington, co-owner of one of Atlanta’s top home decor shops, Huff Harrington. What Huff Harrington offers is much more than just the latest design trends, though. It specializes in authentic French style — unique, hard-to-find items, pieces that are a work of art. In fact, the store began as an art gallery.
In 2006, Harrington and her partner, Ann Huff, met when they were both individually selling fine art out of their homes. Harrington’s specialty: local art. Huff’s heart was art from the south of France. They fused their two offerings for a unique gallery, that was soon followed by a complementary home goods store, and also a travel company that takes people on tours through France. If you’re lucky, you can score a seat next to Huff and Harrington on a shopping trip in France, where they have deep ties.
When searching for the items to bring back home, Harrington says she looks for beautiful lines, glitter and shine and things with rich personality. “There’s nothing more gorgeous than a French chandelier,” she says. But she makes sure to mix the glitz up. Huff Harrington loves juxtaposition and does it brilliantly.
“We love sleek and contemporary matched with crusty and crunchy 18th century,” Harrington says. “That’s how life is. Life is not all one flavor. It’s lots of different flavors all mixed up together.” True french style can encompass everything from a sexy Louis XV chair to ultra sleek and modern furniture, she says, and is most powerful when it bridges both the old and the new. Bring a little French into your existing home with a dramatic, oversized railway station clock, an antique, 300-year-old barometer, a starburst mirror from the ‘50s or beautiful biot jars, still marked with the olive oil manufacturer’s stamp from the 19th century.
Huff Harrington has an eye for the unusual and fantastic, like lucite chairs from the ‘70s or an oversized starburst mirror made of rustic wood. That one sold within an hour of unpacking it, Harrington says.
As it becomes increasingly difficult to find authentic antiques, the interest in retro pieces from the ‘60s through ‘80s are becoming more popular, she says. Look for lucite, brass and glass. “The key is to open your eyes, clear your head and let your heart do the talking when we’re shopping,” Harrington says. “It’s a really gut-based business.” Sometimes even simple accents can have big impact. For example, adorn your covered porch with zinc planters and old boxes. “Most are not pristine. They have personality and have lived many good lives,” Harrington says. “To us, that’s what gives them integrity. They have a history.”
Using antique items that have been passed down through time is the ultimate way of living an eco-friendly lifestyle, Harrington says. Looking to make your own history? Huff Harrington organizes painting workshop trips to Paris with artist Nancy Franke. Create your own work of art on the streets of Paris, immersed in the French lifestyle, and come home with a truly one-of-a-kind gift for your home and family.