Text by Katie Wood
When you cross the threshold of Barbara and Robin Harbin’s elegant cottage, you may very well feel as though you’ve crossed the Atlantic. Dappled with an impressive collection of antiques and French market finds, the Harbin home is packed with treasures.
While the Harbin cottage is a new build, the interiors feel anything but new with the help of the cozy comforts of the couple’s well loved collections. Trying to recall when they developed an affinity for French influence and antiques, Barbara shares that it is something that continues to evolve. Robin’s mother collected and cherished antiques, which played a huge role in his personal style, but it was when the Harbins were first married and moved to Washington D.C. that they found a true appreciation and fondness for older things.
The home’s open floor plan welcomes guests from the outside into the dining room, where the walls are drenched in a beautiful, rich red. The dining room gracefully flows into the living room, which enjoys a palette of soft blue, and from there it leads into the cheerful, creamy white kitchen. So even if the tapestries, oil paintings, gilt candelabras, and fine furnishings didn’t lead you to think “French cottage,” the Harbins have subtly incorporated the colors of the French flag—visible from almost every room on the first floor. “You can’t help but be influenced by things that are so compelling and so different from what we grew up with,” Barbara says, reflecting on visits to France.