It’s not that Meg Harrington has anything against “stuff.” On the contrary, she makes her living selling “must-have” accessories in her home furnishings store, Huff Harrington Home, and paintings at her gallery, Huff Harrington Art. She and her business partner, Ann Huff, regularly lead buying trips to France. Yet her go-to accessory at home is an antique wooden dough bowl filled with green apples.
“In my business, my days are filled with full-on visual candy, so when I head home, simplicity is the top priority,” says Harrington. Having grown up in Europe, she appreciates the sensibilities of rural France, where natural materials and a few nice things create a serene environment. “I’m not a clutter person,” she adds. “I’m not even a fan of framed photos.”
The architecture of her Brookhaven house deserves the focus, Harrington points out. “I prefer to let the good bones of the house shine—along with a few great pieces of art,” she says.
When Harrington and her husband, Scott, bought a house for themselves and their two daughters, it was a forties ranch. Thanks to architect Linda MacArthur and builder Michael Ladisic, the reconstructed abode now exudes the charm of a two-story French cottage, with antique wood beams, arched doorways, dark-stained hardwood floors, and a Provence-worthy kitchen, complete with open shelving and marble countertops. Old “crusty” paneling from a South Georgia barn was repurposed into a bar area tucked under the stairs, and in true French fashion, burlap draperies soften the niche and can be pulled shut to hide the wine bottles and ice maker.
Works by Huff Harrington artists Tracy Sharp, Zae, Bonnie Beauchamp Cooke, and George Marx are displayed throughout the house, although some of Harrington’s favorite pieces were painted by her artist mother.
Even with prized possessions in every room, Harrington hasn’t created a don’t-touch house. “We very much live our lives here and use every space,” she says. Weathered surfaces encourage casual entertaining. “Our outdoor porch is the second family room. I love our old stained heart pine table. It has withstood plenty of late meals, bottles of wine, and dancing feet!”
This story originally appeared in our October 2013 issue.