Main Street News

Southern Charm

By Published On: May 1st, 2024

Once you enter House SFW in Rhinebeck, NY, you’ll be enveloped by bold pink and yellow floral-patterned walls topped by a deep green ceiling. Upon first glance, you’ll notice that the vivid colors, busy patterns, and eye-catching displays at this home furnishings shop are markedly different from other Hudson Valley destinations. Sunshine floods in the oversize windows of the artistic shop, which is adorned with leafy plants, colorful textured rugs, and other stylish home accents.  

“We don’t try to fit into the traditional farmhouse style or at least what typically comes to mind around that theme. A lot of interiors that are marketed as ‘cozy’ ultimately lack the feeling of comfort you get when you walk into a well-curated space,” said architect Rachael Stollar, one of the co-founders of House SFW.

Along with Stollar, House SFW and its sister company, Studio SFW – an interior design and architecture firm in Manhattan – were co-founded by interior designer Erin Fearins and architect Ward Welch. 

House SFW opened its doors in the summer of 2021. Its launch followed the founding of Studio SFW earlier that year. Together, Stollar, Fearins, and Welch employ an approach that imbues lived-in luxury to interiors and lifestyle projects. 

Beyond their talents for creating design, another commonality the trio shares is their Southern roots. Stollar, Fearins, and Welch were raised in the rural communities of West Virginia, Tennessee, and Virginia, respectively. While growing up, they all spent lots of time uncovering treasures at local antique shops and auction houses. 

“There is a rich Southern history in the word ‘hospitality.’ At its root, that is what our design practice and the shop are all about. We are welcoming and want to create a warm atmosphere that is hospitable and reflects true Southern values,” said interior designer Erin Fearins.

About the designers

A licensed architect, Stollar is a member of the American Institute of Architects and Design Leadership Network. She earned her bachelor of architecture at the University of Tennessee and holds a master of fine arts in photography from Parsons School of Design, The New School in Manhattan. 

A native of West Virginia, Stollar has traveled extensively worldwide to research vernacular architecture and studied floral design and photography as part of her architectural influence. She splits her time between Rhinebeck and Brooklyn, where she lives with her husband, musician Nikolaus Schuhbeck.

Fearins is a member of the American Society of Interior Designers. Raised on her family’s sprawling farm in the mountains of East Tennessee, the esteemed designer credits her father – a skilled furniture maker and craftsman – for cultivating her passion for all things design. 

After earning her bachelor of science in interior design from the University of Tennessee, Fearins founded Fearins & Welch Interior Design along with Welch. She currently resides in Brooklyn with her husband, architect Jesse Fearins, and their two children.

Along with Stollar, Welch leads Studio SFW’s residential practice. As an architect, his focus is on apartments in Manhattan and Brooklyn as well as homes around the metropolitan area and “East End” of New York. 

Welch, who has been practicing architecture and interior design in New York City since 1999, was raised on a farm in the rural tobacco market area of southern Virginia. Intrigued by the Victorian architecture of his once-thriving hometown, he earned his bachelor of science in architecture followed by his master of architecture from the University of Virginia. 

He currently splits his time between Manhattan’s Sutton Place and Long Island’s Amagansett. His Amagansett home, which he designed with his husband, architect Paul Rice, has been spotlighted in multiple publications. 

Having renovated homes in Brooklyn, Manhattan, Long Island, Connecticut, New Jersey, the Hudson Valley, and Florida for two decades, SFW’s team thrives on the details – from the overall aesthetic down to the most “tactile moments of a space.” 

That can be in the form of the perfectly scaled swivel chair on SFW’s button-tufted dutchess and its coordinating, adjustable SFW bourbon table – both designed by the team – or in their soft, patterned rug that is rich in color. 

At ease establishing a narrative that carries through interior, exterior, and the surrounding landscape, Studio SFW takes a discerning approach to creating spaces that are tailored, expertly layered, and alluring. Recent projects included a Montauk, Long Island home and a townhouse in Brooklyn. 

The retail experience

Let’s head back inside the captivating shop. 

The debut of House SFW marks this trio’s first store. Its launch was inspired by the designers’ shared desire to showcase a delightful edit of their most favorite things for the home. House SFW was conceived as the “imaginative” retail showcase for the decorative collections of the company’s architecture and interior design practice in Manhattan.

The collection spans from furnishings to decor, apparel, and stylish items to entertain with. 

Renowned for its Southern sensibility and made-to-order approach to design, SFW’s partners have expertly curated an assortment of “choice” pieces from artists and artisans with whom they’ve collaborated over the years. 

Some highlights include furniture by Mario Lopez Torres, furniture by Atelier Delalain, textiles and pottery by Ted Tyler, hand-painted leather goods and glassware by artist Elizabeth Hargraves-Mandy, and furnishings and decor by Raton Laveur, which is SFW’s own collection. 

“Our unique vintage collection is always a favorite. Those pieces tend to fly out the door the moment they hit the floor,” said Ward Welch. The team has also brought in some carefully selected antiques and vintage objects from charming country estates and flea markets far off in Paris. These include a linen table runner with a bold blue-and yellow-striped trim and a vintage French deco nutcracker. 

Driven by art

“As designers and architects, we are experts at layering and creating a look that is a translation of our clients’ personal style. In the shop, we are the client, so we show what we love, which is the ultimate expression of our style,” said Fearins.

The team scouts out local artists whether they call upstate NY home or are just “local” to Stollar, Fearins, and Welch. Stollar has a lifelong love of collaborating with various types of artists, so much of the artwork in the store reflects her outreach and the connections she’s fostered. Since House SFW works with its clients to select artwork for their unique spaces, each artist connection has evolved quite organically. 

Its rotating roster of recent artists includes Alejandro Avakian, Michelle Mannix, Scott Zimmer, Nigel Parry, Paul Mindell, Vincent Brandi, Frank Spinelli, and Charisma Panchapakesan. Their work spans from photography to ceramics, paintings, and beyond. 

House SFW’s also works with a taxidermist in Brooklyn who creates vintage-style pieces. He keeps the shop supplied with delightful birds, insects, and occasionally some larger animals. He’s also created custom mini beetle dioramas, which were used as name holders for a local dinner event.

At your service

Beyond the assortment of merchandise and artwork, House SFW offers design services to the Hudson Valley community – everything from hourly consultations to whole-house design.

“From aesthetic concepts to tangible objects, we provide a collaborative, hands-on approach to implementing design. We hope that the people who like our windows or sit in one of our upholstered chairs will realize the value of these pieces and maybe even become our future clients,” said Welch.

Speaking of the stunning displays, the shop’s merchandising efforts are rooted in the team’s approach to interior space. “We want to inspire customers to think about their space with a fresh perspective – layering vintage, custom, and new to create a totally unexpected experience. Erin, Ward, and I are not traditional shopkeepers, so it makes sense that our shop doesn’t feel like your typical retail space,” said Stollar. 

This dream team enjoys hosting creative events that bring their whimsical style to spaces beyond the retail shop. They consider the Hudson Valley a destination that truly celebrates community building and believe that being part of local events only encourages that spirit. 

At press time, House SFW was expanding its online shop’s footprint as well as its presence at pop-up events throughout key markets such as New York City, the Hudson Valley, the Hamptons, and beyond. • 

Studio SFW is located at 6423 Montgomery St., Rhinebeck, NY. Call (845) 516-5162 or visit online at