Coming Home with Hillery Sproatt

Posted on November 25th, 2015 by Libby Cortez

We’ve had the pleasure of working with artist Hillery Sproatt for some time now, and the results are never short of wonderful.

No matter the medium, her work is always unique, thoughtfully crafted, and marked by a dose of whimsy. In the end, her spirited pieces seem to invite smiles and brighten the mood of the home.


So we were delighted when Hillary invited us to take a peek around her own home. And we were fascinated when she shared a bit more about her background and inspiration as an artist. Take a listen:

Unison: What got you interested in designing goods for the home?


Hillery: My background is in fine art, with an emphasis in printmaking and drawing. I’ve always made work that is two-dimensional and often for the wall. So I am thrilled to be exploring art objects as well as functional textiles for the home. I spend much of my time at home and I want it to be a place I love and can love in. I hope my work brings a bit of joy into the lives of those who live with it.



Harvest Black Throw PillowHarvest Denim Throw PillowHarvest Peach Throw Pillow

Unison: With home being so important to you, how would you describe your own, personal style?

Hillery: I have a deep appreciation for many different aesthetics. Perhaps my personal style is simple and thoughtful, in so much as I enjoy functional things that are well designed and I like to have just enough without having too much. I enjoy things that have a history or a story to them.  I am very drawn to playful and colorful objects as well as pattern. Relationships or how things look next to one another has always been of great interest to me. I am definitely not concerned with matching and often steer clear of sets.


Unison: And when it’s time to get creative, what spurs you to create new work?

Hillery: I’ve always enjoyed making things. Perhaps it’s the surprise of seeing something into existence that excites me or quieting my mind a bit and letting my hands do the talking.

I draw inspiration from nearly everything I take in; places I’ve visited, conversations I’ve had, books I’m reading, or a flower by the side of the road. All of these things find their way into my work.


Unison: And once inspiration strikes, what is your artistic process typically like from there?

Hillery: When painting or drawing my art practice is intuitive. I almost never begin with a plan. When making my dolls and mobiles I am more exacting. I find I put my energy into being efficient with my process and thoughtful with my craft.


Unison: How about us? What has the experience of collaborating with Unison been like for you?

Hillery: I’ve enjoyed it immensely! It’s allowed me the opportunity to interpret my work into textiles, which has been something I’ve wanted to do for a long time.

In particular, I was very pleased with the way my Unison Rag Dolls turned out. Unison’s beautifully bright hand printed geometric fabrics lend themselves so well to being mixed and matched. I think these dolls are whimsical, lovable, and so special.



My Lady DollsHandmade Dolls of The WorldHorse + Camel Mobiles



Can’t Live Without: Corelle Dinnerware

Posted on November 20th, 2015 by Kelly Aiglon

We love dinnerware that suits any mood and every whim. Fancy dinner party? Spontaneous Sunday brunch with friends? Crashing on the couch with leftovers? For all of these moments, we turn to Corelle.


Sophisticated but unfussy, timeless yet modern looking, Corelle was created in the 1970s by Pyrex. It’s made in the Midwest in Rosemont, Illinois, and is known for its supreme durability. Chalk it up to the revolutionary material from which its made — a special three-layer glass laminate called Vitrelle glass, which was originally fabricated for first-generation TV screens in the 1940s. No surprise, this glass is virtually break and chip resistant.


Corelle is a true workhorse in the kitchen, being stackable and ideal for buffet-style setups. So its thinness and lightness often comes as a surprise.



Style and designs are ever-changing — there have been more than 2,000 patterns since the 1970s — and all of them are great everyday basics. At Unison, we carry small and large plates, curved just so, as well as bowls that are great for salads or pastas. You can’t beat the price point — these pieces are just $5 or $6 each. Stock up and we know Corelle will become your mealtime go-to as quickly as it became ours.


Shop all of our Corelle dinnerware here.


As seen on Goop! Alphablock Blue Canvas Pouf

Posted on November 17th, 2015 by Anna Mutgeert

Thanks Goop for featuring our Alphablock Blue Canvas Pouf in your roundup “Gifts for the Littles”!

Screen Shot 2015-11-13 at 12.45.14 PM




Alphablocks Canvas Poufs, Gingham Cranberry PoufFloat Pink PoufShapes Dark Grey + Primary PoufSailor Charcoal Pouf

An Afternoon with Filigree Suppers

Posted on November 12th, 2015 by Libby Cortez

When you attend a Filigree Suppers event, you enter into an experience that is not only enjoyable, but also thoughtful in its detail, beautiful in its design, and creative to its core.

We experienced this firsthand at our recent in-store event, when we had the pleasure of welcoming Filigree Suppers co-founder Elise Metzger to up the gorgeous ante on our shindig.


Elise used items from our current Holiday collection to design all the tabletops. And the variety of tablescapes – including a kids’ setting – helped visitors learn how to set a table for any occasion, any design aesthetic, or any lifestyle.

Elise and Baker Miller brought in the food, and Elise and our knowledgable staff greeted guests at the door with refreshments, including the treat of effervescent bottled water from Perrier, one of our sponsors.


Filigree’s blend of elegance and whimsy (we would never have thought to incorporate Areaware’s Balancing and Blockitecture Blocks!) set a wonderful example for thinking outside the box on entertaining design.

And with Elise on hand to show menu examples and play around with different settings, visitors enjoyed hands-on learning. So we all left feeling a bit more confident in our ability to take these great ideas into our own dining rooms.

Which details won the most-likely-to-get-copied awards? Customized menu tags, name tags, and sample menus, to name a few. Another favorite: the postcards outlining helpful tips for selecting and creating holiday bouquets, which got all of us into the spirit of the season.

All in all, it was a day full of ideas, beauty, and fun. Delicious.


Good Times with Matthew Hoffman

Posted on November 6th, 2015 by Libby Cortez

If you’re not drawn to the work of artist Matthew Hoffman, then you haven’t seen it yet.

His message-themed artwork is not only uplifting; it’s thoughtfully simple, frequently profound, and consistently true.


Known around the world for his You Are Beautiful project, Matthew’s work appears on billboards, stickers, and public installations in every corner of the globe.

When we met him at one of our store events, we were instantly hooked – and impressed with his wide range of collaborations, both large and small. So we went to his studio and workshop to get our heads together and develop unique, positive messages for the holidays (and beyond).


We love the finished pieces, which are all made right in his Chicago studio. But we also love the guy: Matthew is one of the nicest people around. Despite the fact that his work is so influential, he is humble and persistently creative. Check him out:

Unison: Do you have an overarching design philosophy?

Matthew: Keep it simple. Keep it positive. Make meaning by making things.



Unison: What do you find particularly important about your work/art? What drives you to continue creating?

Matthew: To me, it’s the interaction with people on a human level. I like to write phrases that I get something out of, and share those in the public. Where the viewer takes it is completely up to them. Hopefully, they get something out of it too.

I love that conversation with people through my art. It certainly keeps me going.


Unison: What’s special about the design community in Chicago?

Matthew: I love the art & design community in Chicago. It’s very collaborative, and everyone works really hard to help each other when they need it. I think this holiday catalogue is the perfect example of that – there are many outstanding Chicago designers & artists involved.

The collaboration with Alicia & Robert [of Unison] has been so rewarding. It was so great to brainstorm on what things could be, and run loose creating sample ideas. Their eye is very refined, and they did a great job curating down the collection into something really fantastic.

wooden_ornaments_group_b (1)

Unison: Well then, let’s talk specifics: any background on the Good Times Wall Piece?

Matthew: It’s all about having a good time.

good_times_wall_piece_c (1)

Unison: Clearly. How about the silver pedestal?

Matthew: I love this little guy. I especially love how the text almost looks floating.


Unison: Agreed. And the You Are Beautiful silver wall piece is a favorite of ours, too.

Matthew: A classic reworked for the holidays.



Unison: Very festive. Speaking of which, we think the wooden ornament collection is going to be a big hit.

Matthew: These turned out really nicely. The perfect accent to the holidays.


Unison: One last question, very important: what do you want for Christmas?

Matthew: More hours in a day :)

Bright Bazaar: Decorating with Marvellous Monochrome

Posted on October 30th, 2015 by Anna Mutgeert

We were thrilled to see our products in Bright Bazaar “Decorating with Marvellous Monichrome” blog Post. Thank you, Will!



Give Yourself a Spa Treatment

Posted on October 29th, 2015 by Libby Cortez

Autumn seems to scream responsibility, doesn’t it? No matter how old you are, the back-to-school season brings a sense of stricter schedules, busy days, and focused evenings.

Sounds like a bit of relaxation might be in order.

But who has time to hit the spa this time of year? Since you’re as busy as you are in need of a massage, we’ve designed the perfect solution: make your own washroom into an oasis of indulgence. Close the door tight, crank up some mellow tunes, and follow these tips for pure zen action in your very own home:

Set the Spa Scene

Candlelight and good smells are the hallmarks of any spa, and your mellow-at-home zone shouldn’t be any different. So dim the lights and set some Haus Scented Candles aflame. With fragrances derived from goodies like rose, bergamot, cassis, oak moss, and tonka bean, you’ll change the mood instantly.

Next, fill your Object Boxes with some delicious bath salts. Whether you’re pouring in simple epsom salts or Peruvian pink salt blended with water from the polar ice caps, these containers will add a tone of stylish sophistication to your bath scene.


Pamper Your Gorgeous Head…

Now let’s get down to the business of your facial. Pack the following into your Nest Caddy:

1. Binchotan Charcoal Facial Soap
Crafted of Binchotan charcoal powder and natural extracts, this facial soap exfoliates, moisturizes, and absorbs impurities to restore the tone and texture of your skin.

2. Binchotan Charcoal Washcloth
With ultra-fine powder of Binchotan charcoal blended into its fibers, this cloth absorbs odors and removes toxins and excess oil from your skin.

3. Homemade Face Mist
Spritz on some refreshing face mist, like this rose water variety from those clever gals at A Beautiful Mess


…Down to Your Freshly Smoothed Toes

After you’ve soaked to your heart’s content, it’s time to get down to the business of your little tootsies.

Derived from volcanic rock, pumice’s natural exfoliant properties are perfect for smoothing the roughest spots on your feet. Slather a Binchotan Pumice Stone with decadent Swedish Dream Soaps for the ultimate in pedi pampering.


Now dry off with a Logan Towel, slip those smooth feet into some soft Linen Slippers, and tuck in for a cozy evening.

You deserve it.


Nobuhito Nisigawara Makes Handmade Handsome

Posted on October 21st, 2015 by Libby Cortez

We’d been looking for a line of USA-made ceramics for some time when we came across the work of Nobuhito Nisigawara. As soon as we discovered his line of functional, casual ceramics, we knew our search was over.

Handmade Ceramic Tableware and Placemats

Nishigawara designs and produces beautifully informal ceramics with a clean-lined, handmade aesthetic. This simply gorgeous look stems largely from his background: born in Nagoya, Japan, Nishigawara fuses the tradition of Japanese artisan ceramic production with his work as a contemporary artist and his formal education in North America.

The result: a show-stopping look for your everyday table.

Handmade Ceramic Mugs and Plates

If we weren’t already in love, what we learned next would have sealed the deal: every single object from this line is hand crafted in Nishigawara’s studio in Orange County, California. Which means that every piece is uniquely one of a kind.


“My inspiration is also what drives me to continue the tradition of handmade ceramics,” Nishigawara told us recently. “I am inspired by the Japanese Mingei movement, an arts and crafts movement that focused on creating objects by hand that are affordable with the intent to be used.”

Handmade Ceramic Plates

Speaking of affordability, we happen to have this dinnerware on sale in our Chicago store for 20% off. Just stop by the shop by the 25th of this month to start your collection.

Handmade Ceramic Mug

“With my line, I focus on simplicity in design,” Nishigawara explained. “It’s important to me that the dinnerware does not visually overpower the food.”

Mission accomplished. But even so, we can’t help but call these pieces yummy.

Handmade Ceramic Bowls


Fall Warehouse Sale! October 24th 10AM – 6PM

Posted on October 19th, 2015 by Anna Mutgeert


One day only!

Saturday October 24th from 10am – 6pm
2000 West Fulton Street, Chicago

Up to 70% off on overstock pillows plus 60% off on overstock bedding, b-quality pillows and table linens. Enjoy 2-for-1 deals on select artwork and overstock pillows. Select shower curtains, unique tableware and home decor samples also at 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.

New addition to the event: Gourmet grub is on us! The BikeBQ will be here offering up delicious grilled sausage from 12-4PM.


Warehouse address: 

2000 W. Fulton Street, Chicago, IL 60612




Designer’s Eye: Inspiration for Sonia Knit

Posted on October 15th, 2015 by Anna Mutgeert

Robert Segal, Co-Founder/Designer about his inspiration for the Sonia design:

“I was inspired by artist and textile designer Sonia Delaunay, who was amongst the avant grade movement of the 1920’s- 1930’s in Paris. I love how she applied her bold abstract painting style to fashion. Delaunay really transcended pattern that enveloped the human form and dresses. Her style had great spontaneity and rhythm bringing the geometry to life, which is not easy to do. Her style was a forerunner to that of Marimekko later in the 1950’s.”


“I became aware of her work through a book given to me by family friend and designer Torben Orskov when I was in high school. It was a real eye opener for me and own work at the time. Seeing how a painting could adapt to a textile and that form and color could be the strong message behind a design. I always had a desire to make a pattern that captured this feeling and in this case of  the Sonia design, I used cut paper to make the composition/ color blocking effect. The final outcome was Alicia and I creating a bit more structure and composition for the knit blanket. As a blanket, I love how it can read differently just by the way it is folded or draped on a chair.”