Drawing Inspiration from Objects of Permanence
Avid gardeners and antiquarians Will and Anne founded McKinnon and Harris in 1991, merging their two passions to create enduring, antique-inspired garden furniture. “We have always been interested in antiques,” says Will, “why some pieces lasted longer than others, what sort of craftsmanship went into making something endure, and as a source of design inspiration.”
Antiques have long been a part of the siblings’ story. Growing up, their family home was filled with inherited family antiques passed down for generations. Each piece had a story and a name.
“It wasn’t simply a chest of drawers,” recalls Anne, “it was our great aunt Ootie’s chest of drawers and there was a whole narrative about who she was, where the chest of drawers had been, and what it had meant to her. Our mother carried everyone’s genealogy in her head and there were so many stories about all of this furniture that it sometimes almost seemed to us, especially as children, as if the furniture could come alive being so attached to all of these ancestors. This whole sense of furniture with meaningful associates shapes all of our collections. There is a real story behind each piece and they are named for family members or close family friends.”
When the siblings started McKinnon and Harris almost 30 years ago, there was a very disposable mentality toward outdoor furniture. To counter that mentality, they dedicated themselves to making outdoor furniture of permanence, pieces to be passed down from one generation to the next just like the pieces of furniture they grew up with inside of their home. With a design philosophy guided by classicism, a company aesthetic surrounding enduring and timeless beauty was quickly born.
“For us, aesthetics and performance go hand in hand, you can’t have one without the other to be relevant in the future,” Anne says. “Our furniture is going to last for a very long time, so it better be worth having, using, and looking at long after we’re gone.”
Anne and Will have together acquired an impressive collection of Roman, Renaissance, Neoclassical and Grand Tour era antiques which can be seen throughout McKinnon and Harris showrooms, beautifully complementing their original garden furniture designs and speaking to the siblings’ obsession with permanence and enduring craftsmanship.
“Our showrooms are loosely inspired by Greek and Roman architecture, inspiring white spaces filled with antiquities we’ve collected over the years,” says Will.
As an homage to the company’s timeless design aesthetic, we are pleased to announce that antiquities from the private McKinnon and Harris collection, along with a special selection of our handcrafted outdoor furniture, are now exclusively available on 1stDibs. Many of these pieces may be viewed in person at our flagship showrooms in New York, Los Angeles and London, or at our headquarters and showroom in Richmond, Virginia.
Visit our 1stDibs Storefront to browse our collections.