Local Bloggers’ Holiday Picks

Posted on December 17th, 2014 by Libby Cortez

Two awesome Chicago-area bloggers added our Sailor Black & Gold Linen Pillow to their wintry shopping guides this month.

The oh-so-hip folks at Glossed and Found included it in their undeniably fun 2014 holiday gift guide. And the ever fashionable Jennifer Worman of CS flaunted these “sleek ribbons” of gold in Shop Chicago‘s winter must haves.

Anchors away!

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A Very Personal Gift Guide: 13 Unique Ideas

Posted on December 11th, 2014 by Libby Cortez

As the founders and chief designers at Unison, we’re particularly selective about the gifts we give this time of year. Because every choice we make is a reflection on who we are, what our company stands for, and how we see our friends and loved ones.

That’s true for all of us, isn’t it?

Selecting gifts can be one of the most rewarding or frustrating activities of the holiday season. So, to help tip your shopping scales toward the enjoyment category, we’re sharing some of our personal favorites – and some of our customers’ too. Each gift on this list is unique, memorable, and full of warmth.

Happy holidays, from the Unison family to yours,
Alicia & Robert

Alicia’s Favorites

1. Object Boxes with Shikama x Unison Jewelry
Object Boxes

Unison had the pleasure of working with local Chicago jewelry designer Sarah Shikama as she designed this line of beautiful and affordable handmade jewelry. Alicia adores the Bauhaus Necklace and can often be seen wearing her own around the Unison offices. But her personal favorite is the cuff.

Each piece in the collection is a beautiful memory from a very fun collaboration: Sarah selected the Aerial fabric and hand marbled her striking bangles to go with it. And the Object Boxes are a perfect match with such standout jewelry; the smallest box is the perfect gift wrap for a special bangle.

2. Ecoustik Docks

Ecoustik Docks
Everyone has a gadget-obsessed teenager somewhere in the family. They love their iDevices, and they love their music, but that endless stream of iTunes gift cards just falls flat after year #4. Enter the Ecoustik Walnut Dock, a beautiful docking station that amplifies sound from their iPhone, iPad, or iPad Mini. Pretty enough to leave on the counter, cool enough to make a teen proud.

3. Lumberjack Candle Holders

Lumberjack Candle Holders

Simple enough to be elegant, yet whimsical enough to be as memorable as a candlelight dinner, these Lumberjack Candle Holders might appear delicate, but they’re actually weighted at the bottom to stabilize. It’s the perfect gift for any practical design lover in your life.

4. Dots Red Table Linens and Kitchen Linens

Dots Red Tablecloth
Feeling overwhelmed by the endless stream of holiday parties on your calendar this year? While we’re happy to hear of your popularity, we understand the downside: finding inspiration for so many hostess gifts can exhaust even the most creative of minds. Here’s one that works for all: a super fun set of table linens that is bound to spice up what she’s already got going on, no matter her taste.

Robert’s Favorites

5.Falcon Teapots and Mugs
Red Tea Set - Falcon
Your aunt-who-is-hosting-all-the-shenanigans deserves a good excuse to kick her feet up. This adorable, unbreakable Red Falcon Teapot and Mugs are the perfect answer. In bold red, this set is as festive as Santa’s milk & cookies.

6. Kamil and Noel Mugs

Glass Mugs
Need a gift for that sibling who’s all about the coffee, and another for the one who’s all about the wine? With the Kamil Glass Mug and the Noel Double Wall Glass, you’ll have both covered in separate-but-equal sophisticated style.

Customer Favorites

7. Harvest Navy Napkins
Harvest Navy Napkins
The harvest print is so earthy and warm and bold and fun, our customers just can’t get enough of it. Plant these napkins under the tree for your earthy, warm, bold, and fun wife, whose idea of accessorizing is more about what’s on the table than about what’s dangling from her ears. (We can totally relate.)

8. Harvest Knit Blankets + Pillows
Knit Blankets and Throw Pillows - Harvest
Throw your friends a snuggly blanket and pillow any day of the week, and they’ll be thanking their Holiday stars for you. Knitted in our whimsical Harvest pattern, these gifts are sure to delight anyone on your list.

9. Bird Ornaments

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We can’t take all the credit for this year’s whimsical bird ornaments, since our readers chose the pattern from many gorgeous options. Eye-catching, colorful, and made from scrap fabrics in Chicago, these perfect little ornaments are the gift you give your tree. And your mom’s tree. And your sister’s tree. And your neighbor’s tree. And your neighbor’s sister’s mom’s tree…

10. Haus Scented Candles
Haus Scented Candles
Everyone brings a bottle of wine, and we love them for it. But if you want to be the standout guest of the night, you’ll need to light things up a bit. Enter these Haus Scented Candles. Choose from a Log Haus, Mountain Haus, or Garden House scent, and they’ll be remembering you fondly every time they light this lovely gift.

11.Heller White Dinnerware
Heller White Dinnerware
Our customers’ favorite dinnerware? The classic Heller White. And it’s no surprise. They stack together and are perfect for everyday use, but they’re also classic and sophisticated enough to make a style statement. Send them to those newlyweds who only registered for plates they’re afraid to use. They’ll love you for it.

12. Eve Brushed Gold Flatware
Brushed Gold Flatware
If holiday shopping is a competition, you probably just took the prize. This ohh- and ahh-worthy flatware is so special, it’s sure to put a smile on the face of anyone who receives it. Including that special someone: you.

13. Metal Napkin Rings
Napkin Rings - Brushed Metal
You liked it – and you put a ring on it. We’re so happy you did, because these brushed metal napkin rings are some of our favorite tabletop accessories, too. Perfect for the lovely gal who deserves more than one beautiful ring.

Happy Harvest Time!

Posted on November 26th, 2014 by Libby Cortez

This Thanksgiving season, we’ve been hungry for the bounty of great design. So we indulged our appetites with a gorgeous new collaboration with artist and printmaker Hillery Sproatt.

When we asked Hillery to develop a story print of a village scene, she brought warmth and whimsy together in a striking original painting, which we transformed into the contrast-packed Harvest Pattern that’s adorning so many tables this holiday season. An homage to the great abundance of holiday moments, this pattern is brimming with rich personality and organic spirit.

Our recent Harvest Time event celebrated this standout launch, with harvest table linens, throw pillows, and blankets taking center stage – along with Hillery and her mom, who joined in the fun.

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Hillery Sproatt with Robert Segal and others

Hillery talks with Unison co-founder Robert Segal and other modern-design lovers during the Harvest Time event.

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Hillery's mom joined other shoppers in admiring the gorgeous use of her daughter's Harvest pattern

Hillery’s mom joined other shoppers in admiring the gorgeous use of her daughter’s Harvest pattern

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A doll made from scrap fabric rests on a bed

Hillery transformed some of our scrap fabrics into one-of-a-kind dolls, available in-store only for the holidays at $200 each. Just call or stop by!

Scrap fabric doll on display

Mom & daughter pose with their dolls

Hillery and her mom, Deborah, hold the dolls that are named for them.

Apple Brandy

Rhine Hall offered cocktails during the event, featuring their delicious apple brandy. 'Tis the season!

Rhine Hall offered cocktails during the event, featuring their delicious apple brandy. ‘Tis the season!

Our 5 Thanksgiving Favorites

Posted on November 18th, 2014 by Libby Cortez

In the midst of a very busy Fall season, we’re feeling especially thankful for thankfulness itself – and for the holiday that reminds us to stop and celebrate the many things we have to be grateful for.

This year, we’re toasting our very long thankfulness list in high style, by bringing 5 of our favorite (and newest) items to the table. Take a look:

1. Harvest Tablecloth

Designed in collaboration with Hillery Sproatt, our new Harvest pattern is decadent, engaging, and full of humanity—much like the hours enjoyed around your dinner table. It’s the perfect foundation for a meal focused on celebrating the bounty of our lives.

Thanksgiving Tablecloth

2. Teema Black Dinnerware

That picture’s making us hungry for more than Jim Rude‘s delicious squash bisque. How about that gorgeous Teema Black Dinnerware, which brings such a stylish sense of sleek to this inviting table setting? This enduring classic, created by Kaj Franck for Iittala in 1952, comes in a set which includes bowls, dinner plates, salad plates, cups, and saucers.

And if you thought gorgeous couldn’t be practical, think again: this glazed porcelain is freezer, oven, microwave, and dishwasher safe.

3. Warm Casseroles

Think cookware can’t make a statement? Think again. These glazed stoneware casseroles are simply standout. And they couldn’t be more thoughtfully designed: with a side spout for pouring a dish’s sauce or gravy after serving, they go from oven (or microwave) to table (then dishwasher) with style and ease.

Warm Casseroles

4. Heima Cast Iron Candle Holder

This is more than a candle holder. It’s a centerpiece. A conversation starter. A sculpture. A gorgeous gift or keeper for your own table.

We like to add white or colored candles, for an extra spark.

Heima Candle Holder

5. Harvest Apron, Pot Holder, or Oven Mitts

Many of us travel to another family’s table for Thanksgiving. And our new Harvest pattern – full of character and whimsy – makes the perfect gift for your hardworking host or hostess. Aprons, pot holders, and oven mitts make for wonderful presents, bringing a cornucopia of modern style right to the heart of the home.

Harvest Kitchen Linens

 

Store Event: Harvest Time!

Posted on November 10th, 2014 by Alicia

When artist, painter and printmaker Hillery Sproatt cropped up on our radar, we knew our holiday season was going to be so much brighter. Hillery’s paintings, which speak to her innate sense of
color and pattern, inspired our latest Harvest collection. Going back to the basics in black and white, the modern folk-like design is featured on table linens, throw pillows and knit
blankets — creating a bounty of pattern wherever you need it. Enjoy cocktails featuring apple brandy from local distillery Rhine Hall.

This Thursday from 6-8pm and spend an evening chatting with Hillery, browse some of her original artwork and enjoy 20% off all Harvest items during the event at the store at 1911 W Division Street.

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Holiday Behind the Scenes

Posted on November 3rd, 2014 by Alicia

Part of this year’s holiday photo shoot took place at our family farm in Wisconsin where Robert spent much of his childhood running around amongst pine forests, taking sauna and feeding the animals in the barn. On the hill is an original cabin brought in from the northern woods that was once home to a family from Sweden. It’s a place full of history and steeped in Scandinavian simplicity. We took along Chicago-based photographer and filmmaker John Sturdy to shoot a little behind the scenes. Here is the result, set to the beautiful music of The Lesser Birds of Paradise.

Warehouse Sale!

Posted on October 23rd, 2014 by Alicia

In case you have not heard, our Annual Warehouse Sale in Chicago is in full swing starting tomorrow at 11am and running through Sunday. Here’s a sneak peek at what we will be offering below. There will be up to 75% off on sample bedding, blankets, B-quality pillows and table linens. A 2-for-1 deal on outlet pillows (look in the bins!) fabric by the yard, and lots of deals on overstock baby and kids bedding. Plus: select housewares and accessories up to 50% off!IMG_9072IMG_9075 IMG_9076 IMG_9084

This year we are thrilled to have local contemporary apparel boutique Penelope’s join the sale! They will be offering classy items from American & European designers. There will be men’s items from Gitman Vintage, APC, Gerald & Stewart and The Hill-Side and women’s apparel from Ace & Jig, Sessun, Me & Arrow, Berangere Claire and more.

Friday + Saturday 11-6pm // Sunday 12-5pm

Unison Warehouse // 2000 W Fulton St F-109, Chicago

Please use back entrance off Carroll Ave

Annual Warehouse Sale Oct 24-26

Posted on October 17th, 2014 by Alicia

Coming up next week is our Annual Warehouse Sale! Up to 75% off on sample bedding, blankets, B-quality pillows and table linens. Enjoy a 2-for-1 deal on select pillow patterns and additional discounts on fabric by the yard, select housewares and accessories up to 50% off. Plus local apparel boutique Penelope’s will have a pop-up within the sale offering overstock men’s and women’s contemporary clothing. See  you there!

Friday + Saturday 11am-6pm

Sunday 12-5pm

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Getting Thirsty for Craft Beer with Michael Kiser

Posted on October 15th, 2014 by Libby Cortez

We’re getting excited about this Thursday’s Perfect Pour event, so we cornered the unquenchable Michael Kiser to help us wet our pre-party whistle.

Michael Kiser of Good Beer HuntingA beer connoisseur and beverage industry expert, Michael helps breweries of all sizes build their brands – and in the process, he travels widely and chronicles his experiences at Good Beer Hunting, offering us all a front-row seat to the explosion of our nation’s craft beer business.

Michael’s passion is destined to pique your taste buds’ curiosity – whether you’re a beer lover or not. Check it out:

First off, you’re clearly passionate about beer. So much so that it’s contagious—and making us thirsty. So what’s all the fuss about?  Why do you love beer so much?
Well, I’m hardly patient zero when it comes to the passion in beer-making. So many brewers have inspired me to see beer in a completely different light than when I was just drinking the stuff.

They get excited about beer just like we do, but they also look at a glass and see a process that mystifies them as much as they wrestle with it to try and pin it down scientifically. What did the yeast do in this batch? Could I change the rate of hop additions? What did it taste like in the barrel in month one versus one year out?

Beer is as much a natural phenomenon as it is a technical process, and that mystery will always draw people with a curious, tinkering mind. It makes brewing feel constantly new and fresh, even when you think you’ve figured it out. I guess that’s why it captured my artistic inclinations, and inspired me to start telling stories and capturing amazing photographs that share this lifestyle in the way that I see it from the inside, now that I work with breweries on a daily basis.

There’s just so much adventure to be had.

Do you see any exciting trends in the world of craft brewing right now? What should we be watching for?
We’ve finally reached the point where old is new again, and that’s exciting for me. For a decade or more, we’ve chased down the hoppiest, strongest beers we can figure out how to make, and it’s been fun.

But now we’re digging into the back catalog of beer history, making goses, a salty, tart wheat beer that essentially went extinct as a German style. Alt biers, honey ales, just beautiful, more subtle beers that had a place in our history. And they have that place again as more and more people get intrigued by beer. That being said, Americans never stop exploring, and right now, it seems like the saison style is our obsession. We’re reinventing the rustic, French, farmhouse style, and we’re getting some unbelievable flavors out of it.

Mmm. Please tell us that you’ll be bringing some such beers to the Unison event.
You bet. One of Chicago’s best brewers, and a bit of a beer historian in a way, is John Laffler and Dave Bleitner from Off Color Brewing. Their first beer in the market last year was a gose called Troublesome. And since then, they’ve gone on to brew a number of subtle palate pleasers that taste unlike anything else on the market today.

I’m going to bring two of their beers that I think exemplify this sophisticated approach: Scurry, a dark, toasty honey ale in the style of a Kottbusser, with a little molasses in the finish. And their newest beer, Ellie, a honey saison made with gin spices. This might be one of the most unique beers I’ve heard of in awhile, with lemon zest, lemon juice, juniper, coriander, chamomile, and rose hips.

I think people are going to love them.

So, what next?
Like I said, beer in America is all about exploration. And just when you think a trend has reached its logical peak, someone adds a new twist. Barrel aging is one of those things.

We think of barrel-aged beers as those big, dark imperial stouts aged in bourbon barrels. Amazing stuff. But now, we’re going in a dozen directions at once with barrels. We’re using wine barrels to impart completely different flavors, either that dry oakiness of a cabernet, or the silky quality of chardonnay. Or liquor barrels like fernet and rum, or whole barrel-aged cocktails like a Manhattan.

It’s a completely different way to think about beer recipes, and as always, we’re getting some amazing flavors from the process.

Store Event: The Perfect Pour October 16th

Posted on October 9th, 2014 by Alicia

Please join us as we welcome local Chicagoans Michael Kiser of Good Beer Hunting and Tristan Coulter of Gaslight Coffee Roasters. These experts will be on hand to demonstrate the importance of the perfect pour using our coffee and barware. Whether you are a coffee or beer enthusiast or both, stop by to learn tips on pouring and even unique pairings. Plus take 20% all Coffee and Barware during the event! Thursday, October 16th from 6-8pm at Unison, 1911 W Division St, Chicago.

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