SFW House in Rhinebeck | Design & Decoration | Hudson Valley

  • “The store is meant to look like one expertly appointed room with layers of color and texture to inspire both the discerning design eye and the casual observer,” says Partner Rachael Stollar. This swivel chair set is covered of a Metaphors fabric called Zanzibar Cayenne. Tufted details are reminiscent of mid-century modern design. “We wanted the chair to be quite responsive but also incredibly comfortable, which is sometimes difficult to achieve in a larger scale chair,” says Ward Welch.

Gathering, like gathering and getting together, is among the favorite pastimes of a trio of new business owners in Rhinebeck. And if the chaos that has surrounded the past two years has sprouted Studio SFW — a New York-based architecture and interior design firm that sprouted in January 2021 — then strong (and decidedly southern) roots have brought its core creators to converge on a common mission: to bring lived-in luxury to interiors and lifestyle projects, regardless of postcode. To this day, the aesthetic influence of Rachael Stollar, Erin Fearins and Ward Welch spans myriad miles between Manhattan and Rhinebeck where House SFW, their latest collaboration gem, offers upstate homeowners a delightful edition of their favorite things – for the home.

“It’s about trying to be welcoming and inviting [while] layer the space enough for people to feel comfortable – nothing is too precious, but everything is special,” says Welch.

“And has its own story,” interjects Fearins, who speaks of his colleagues’ shared commitment to bringing “that story-rich life,” which imbues otherwise commercial goods with personal meaning, for customers and consumers.

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The display case features glassware painted by Elizabeth Hargraves Mandy, a local artist based in Millbrook who focuses on restoration work.  The dogs are in the style of Victorian Continental Greyhound statues from the late 1800s. The pieces are indicative of the kind of pieces the studio unearths: cheeky vintage sculptures, glass bananas and delicate glass decanters of chips Parisians.

  • The display case features glassware painted by Elizabeth Hargraves Mandy, a local artist based in Millbrook who focuses on restoration work. The dogs are in the style of Victorian Continental Greyhound statues from the late 1800s. The pieces are indicative of the kind of pieces the studio unearths: cheeky vintage sculptures, glass bananas and delicate glass decanters of chips Parisians.

The team bring a hands-on approach to design implementation, inspired by their respective rural upbringings south of the Mason-Dixon line, and each brings something distinctive to the table.

Fearins grew up scouring East Tennessee for vintage memorabilia, the kind displayed at his father’s fully restored vintage gas station, innately inspired by the “lifetime object collector.”

Stollar developed a fondness for antiques in West Virginia’s “hole-in-the-wall shops,” which are full of rare finds; this, coupled with the “sense of gathering” absent from her upbringing, drove her to create spaces for friends and family to converge.

Welch, who grew up on a farm in Virginia’s tobacco country, came to appreciate the architecture of the city’s massive, if dilapidated, Victorian homes.

Each of these individual experiences fueled their collective desire to avoid novelty and seek out everyday objects that tell a story. “There are so many wonderful and beautiful things that should be used rather than thrown away,” Welch says of an approach reflected in House SFW’s carefully curated collection. Since opening in July 2021, the imaginative new retail storefront has piqued the curiosity of locals and tourists alike.

Studio SFW sources custom pieces, including the pictured writing table, in hand-crafted blackened white oak with a leather top.

  • Studio SFW sources custom pieces, including the pictured writing table, in hand-crafted blackened white oak with a leather top.

A new appreciation for timeless finds

“Oh, my mom had one,” is an oft-repeated phrase in the store. Stollar hopes it will evoke “a new appreciation” for how certain timeless finds, when placed in a new context, become “instantly relevant”. again.

During the pandemic, Stollar retired to Rhinebeck. Several vacant storefronts showed up, providing an opportunity to engage with the downtown retail culture. “[Unlike] other towns upstate, [Rhinebeck] isn’t just for the weekends,” Stollar said, citing the appeal of a community, where kids go to school and individuals are involved in what’s going on, as creating a palpable feeling of momentum.

A visit to the SFW House is akin to a voyage of discovery, the kind one can take by visiting a friend’s house and studying their menagerie of things. “When objects are arranged in a certain way, things [inevitably] grab your attention,” Stollar said, pointing to a wide array of merchandise, including fun fruit-and-veg-shaped Limoges boxes and mini cocktail shakers, platinum-rimmed wine glasses and covered tureens. There is taxidermy, lamps and newly imagined furniture gleaned from the many great artists, makers and sellers with whom Stollar, Fearins and Welch have formed relationships over the years.

All chairs can be made to order in any fabric, like this French Club chair, made in Brooklyn and upholstered in Pierre Frey fabric, part of House SFW's bespoke line.  The French Club armchair can be made to order with the customer's own material or leather, and the finish of the legs can also be personalized.  - Numerous custom line pieces are dotted throughout the space, such as the room divider covered in hand-screened linen by Ted Tyler - each has a shape reminiscent of historic house styles with individually hammered nailheads along the along the frame and a hidden pocket for storing slippers and magazines.

  • All chairs can be made to order in any fabric, like this French Club chair, made in Brooklyn and upholstered in Pierre Frey fabric, part of House SFW’s bespoke line. The French Club chair can be made to order with the customer’s own material or leather, and the finish of the legs can also be customised. Numerous pieces from the custom line are dotted throughout the space, such as the screen covered in a screen-printed linen hand by Ted Tyler – each is shaped to recall historic home styles with individually hammered nailheads along the frame and a hidden pocket for storing slippers and magazines.

“We try to think about each of our clients and bring them things that help them build or start telling their own story,” says Fearins, who stresses that there is no one-size-fits-all solution. approach to design or decoration. It gets tricky when building a brand, which is why certain items, like upholstered pieces of their own design, are made in Brooklyn and dotted throughout the store as a kind of signature.

In the absence of proper entertainment (and we’ve all experienced the shortage), setting a beautiful table conveys the notion of something grand and inviting – call it a sense of Southern grace, if you will. And that, ultimately (literally!), is what Stollar likes most about the change of pace synonymous with being Upstate:[The ritual of] hanging out, entertaining and setting the table for dinner every night, I love it.

Inspired to decorate your dining room (or communal living areas, for that matter) with something swoon-worthy? Head to the SFW house in Rhinebeck’s Montgomery Row, where an array of tableware, including porcelain French knife rests (yes, people are using them again!) and other nostalgia-evoking rare finds , waiting for you.

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