The Idea

In German, the word Gastfreundschaft means hospitality for guests or strangers. But ask Sophie von Oertzen, the founder of Sophie Williamson Design, and she’ll tell you it encompasses so much more. Gastfreundschaft isn’t just the idea of hospitality, it’s a feeling you extend to every guest who comes to your home, a sense of warmth, inclusion, and acceptance.

Sophie Williamson Design founder Sophie von Oertzen

It’s something Sophie studied at the feet of her parents, genius hosts and entertainers, who raised her in various European locales. Throughout her childhood, Sophie witnessed numerous scenes of Gastfreundschaft at joyful dinner parties with her parents’ friends, family holiday gatherings, and society events. And it’s those memories of listening in on the buzz of conversations and raucous laughter shared at parties and over candlelit dinners that she’s on a quest to emulate today.

For Sophie, making a house a welcoming home isn’t about following the latest design trends or subscribing to fashion norms. It’s about challenging the status quo and letting your own authentic style shine—an aesthetic that signals to guests that they can do the same. It’s in the warm lighting diffused through a beautiful lampshade or an intricately set table adorned in vibrant colors that welcomes every diner. It’s in the details, the tasteful trim of a pillow or the delicate pattern of a napkin, that shows a guest you care enough about them enough to share your very best.

Sophie Williamson Design founder Sophie von Oertzen lighting a candle on an antique candelabra

It’s bold. It’s sustainable. It’s never, ever beige. It’s Gastfreundschaft, and you’ll find it in every Sophie Williamson Design collection.

*Regarding the name: Williamson is Sophie’s husband and children’s surname. Sophie’s strong feminist principles (and let’s be frank, laziness; what a hassle to change it all!) led her to keep her maiden name, but she loves being a Williamson, too! And besides, it flows so well.