From an Artist’s Studio to Your Table: Floral Burst Tablecloth

Posted on June 29th, 2015 by Alicia

A Q&A With Designer Stephen Eichhorn

Previously, we together dreamed up Aerial, a mesmerizing, earthy graphic based on a collage of canyons. For this summer, we’re going full bloom with Floral Burst, a fresh, bright tablecloth based on one of Stephen’s botanically inspired pieces.

The original Floral Burst collage is actually many colors on a black background, but by inverting all colors it developed into a beautiful range of blues, giving the appearance of flowers floating on water. Producing the tablecloth has been a year in the making to find just the right printer that could retain all colors and textures. Turns out, digital printing was the way to go and finally one of our Portuguese vendors had perfected it on quality fabric that withstood many wash tests.

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Floral Burst Tablecloths, $85.00 – 105.00

It’s the perfect time to get to know this talented artist and discover this project, which has us completely excited. Read our Q&A with Stephen below!

Unison: We loved working with you on Floral Burst. While it took a year to get the printing solidified, the creative process seemed to come about rather organically.

Stephen: Yes, this collaboration was an extension of our previous Aerial work. The floral burst pattern was taken from a relatively small collage that {Unison founders} Robert and Alicia further mediated. That’s been one of the joys of working with Unison – – the re-contextualization of existing work and the fact that we are typically, if not always, on the same page. In fact, the design process is pretty hands off on my end and is more about bouncing product ideas back and forth.

Unison: You often explore nature and organic shapes in your work. Why are you drawn to that theme and forms?

Stephen: I’ve been working on and slowly expanding my use of nature and organic shapes since I started making collage 7-8 years ago. I was initially drawn to the imagery because of its form and structure. Using found imagery and tracking down different collage components has led to other endeavors. For example, I came across orchids (that I’ve used in my studio practice) while hunting for floral imagery.

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Unison: This project is different than Aerial (which looked almost like a photo) because it’s more punchy and graphic in nature. How do you think these works differ and what in your creative process made each unique?

Stephen: They are both born from the same formal exploration of manipulating photographic material, but the imagery and the rules I assign to making them drives unique outcomes. Each piece is the result of making simple gestures with collage — the Floral Burst coming from a mirroring of form in response to the kind of cosmic strata of flowers. The Aerial piece came from a more simplistic stacking of pattern, therefore making a new pattern.

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Unison: What do you imagine as the ideal setting for the Floral Burst tablecloth?

Stephen: I like the idea of the tablecloth being used in a more informal context — outside at a cookout or in a mellow picnic setting.

Unison: How do you keep busy creatively beyond your collaborations with Unison?

Stephen: I am a working, self-employed artist so I am in the studio most days. Right now my time there is split between commissions (for private collections as well as work for several upcoming magazine features), developing new work and starting to make sculpture again.

Thanks, Stephen! We can’t wait to see what’s next from you. And, heads up to all you Unison shoppers: You can snap up the Floral Burst tablecloth online or in the Unison store.

 

Don’t forget to follow Stephen here:
Online:
http://www.stepheneichhorn.com

Blog:
http://stepheneichhorn.tumblr.com

Instagram:
https://instagram.com/stepheneichhorn

A Real Taste of Summer … at the Unison Store!

Posted on June 26th, 2015 by Alicia

Check Out our Recap of our Rare Bird Preserves Tasting

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We’ve been baking a lot these days. Chalk it up to easy-breezy summer: Longer days give us the extra time we need to whip up pastries, cakes and cookies — and eat them all before bedtime.

We think baked goods pair so well with fresh preserves. As luck would have it, we happen to know one of the savviest purveyors in the Chicago area. Elizabeth Madden, owner of Rare Bird Preserves, makes small batches of fruit preserves by hand in her quiet little kitchen. (But don’t be fooled — they end up in hugely popular mega-retailers like Whole Foods.) And she recently came out to our shop to sample her goods and get everyone excited about summer baking possibilities.

We wanted to share photos that recap this delicious event. Let’s start with those glorious preserves — crafted by and hand jarred by Elizabeth herself. She cracked open so many varieties that our heads were spinning. Lemon blueberry. Peach lavender. And more. She spooned dollops atop scones from Chicago baker Scone City. All we have to say is … match made in heaven.

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If you want to re-create the magic in your own kitchen, we’ve got everything to get you equipped.

First, those bowls: Our Falcon Prep Set, made from enamel, takes you straight to egg-beating paradise. Use it to sift flour and mix any number of other things.

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If you prefer glass, these mixing bowls will do you right.

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Finish the prep work with our rolling pin and pop everything in the oven with our graphic mitts. Voilà — baking bliss!

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Thank you, Elizabeth, for doing a tasting in our shop! And, for all you budding bakers out there, we hope these pictures entice you to get going in the kitchen. Have fun and bon appétit!

Summer Warehouse Sale June 27th + 28th

Posted on June 22nd, 2015 by Alicia

Our Summer Warehouse Sale is this weekend! Shop Outlet Pillows up to 70% off,  Kids + Baby Bedding 70% off, Select Bedding 60% off, plus more unique samples than ever before. Hope to see you there!

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Warehouse address: 

2000 W. Fulton Street

Chicago, IL 60612

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We Love Antiquing!

Posted on June 12th, 2015 by Alicia

… and our recent Memorial Day road trip proves it!

Three-day weekends are meant for soaking up sun, escaping from reality and … antiquing! So for Memorial Day this year we road-tripped up to Wisconsin for some R&R and stopped at an amazing antiques shop along the way. We loved it so much we wanted to share our photos here.

The shop was Lloyd and Leota’s Antiques & Restoration in Hebron, Illinois. It doesn’t look like much from the outside — but isn’t that a sign of a true hidden gem? We had a hunch it would yield a bunch of treasures. And we were right.

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While our daughters scampered around, exploring the maze of aisles stocked with furniture and nostalgia (to them, it must have seemed like they were exploring a larger-than-life dollhouse!), we snooped around and looked for design inspiration. Our favorite find was the below Harvest Table with contrast bright blue legs. Isn’t she a beauty?

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Other gems included a gorgeous original-finish cupboard (shown below), glass book unit and large hand-painted armoire — all quite affordable (around $500-$1,000). We love antiquing because you’re almost always sure to hit the jackpot and discover well-made, entirely unique furniture, often at lower prices than new or Ebay.

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On our trip, we also stopped at the Woodstock Farmers Market in historic Woodstock, Illinois. If you haven’t visited this charming burg, be sure to do so! It has galleries, shops and a famed Opera House. Of course we couldn’t leave the market without picking up homemade cider donuts. And speaking of food, let’s not forget our quick trip to Anderson’s Candy Shop in Richmond, Illinois. Again, we made some serious food splurges here. But seeing as everything was homespun and made by hand, we’re more than okay with that!

IMG_0374IMG_0367IMG_0405Here’s wishing you a summer filled with incredible road trips and new discoveries!

~ Alicia & Robert,

Founders of Unison

Gifts for Daddy Dearest

Posted on June 9th, 2015 by Libby Cortez

Father’s Day is around the corner, which means watches hitting shelves like clockwork. Along with ties, golf balls, and grill tools. And all the other stuff that’s (un)inspired you in years past.

Had enough of boring and expected? So have we. So this year, let’s skip the shelves and gift dad something fresh and memorable. These picks will get you there in no time:

Father's-Day-Gifts

Linen Slippers

Dad’s accustomed to you using his stuff. It’s part of what makes him Dad. But he might protest more than usual when you gift him these Linen Slippers and then beg to borrow them on the regular.  Crafted in Lithuania of soft, raw linen, these fine footies boast cushioned soles, leather suede bases, and ultra plush action all around. His kicked-up feet will thank you.

Aster Soap

The next best thing to a seaside vacation? Smelling (and feeling) like one. Aster Soaps are crafted with mineral-rich salts naturally gleaned from seawater and proven to soften skin. And with strong, masculine packaging options, you can give Dad the gift of fresh and clean without insulting his manly sensibilities. Scrub-a-dub.

Boat Haus Candles

Bring some aromatic action to Dad’s office, gym, or man cave with Haus Scented Candles. Available in an array of strong fragrances from Balsam to Grapefruit, they’ll bring a brighter scent to his manliest play zones. Mutual benefit for everyone in the house.

Nest Caddies

Is your dad constantly reorganizing his stuff, only to lose track of it again? Time to chic up his storage needs with the multifunctional Nest Caddy. Made of ash wood and designed to strike awe into those who thought Dad was low on the style spectrum, these sensible containers are as useful for storing stuff as for serving a cocktail or standing a tablet.

Plywood Playing Cards

For the play-loving dad, look no further than our conversation-striking Plywood Playing Cards. Whatever the name of your game, these firmly designed cards will encourage hours of quality time. It’s a twofer: awesome gift + new Thursday night poker tradition. Sounds like an ace in the hole.

Braun Alarm Clock

Is your dad an early riser? He’s destined to love the strong crescendo of this Braun Classic Alarm Clock. Whether on the road or snoozed at home, this timely gift will ensure he’s starting his day with a clean dose of great design. Ticktock.

Mies Book

Remember when you thought Dad could leap tall buildings in a single bound? These days, you just appreciate how much he loves buildings, but he’s still your forever hero. Celebrate his passion for great engineering with this handsome Mies Book, all about the father of modern architecture. How à propos.

 

Blogger Crush: Laura Rose Davis of Everyday Charming

Posted on June 5th, 2015 by Alicia

Meet Laura Rose Davis. She’s a Chicago stylist and photographer and has been behind the lens at Unison store events, perfectly capturing our design-minded mixing and mingling. While we’ve long admired her rich, expressive photos, we also love her fresh approach to personal style. That’s not to mention the blog on her site, Everyday Charming, which is full of inspiration for parties, home and fashion.

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We’re beyond excited to team up with Laura for a special summer in-store only promotion: Curate your home with favorites from our kids and baby department! With your purchase you will be entered to win a photo session with Charming Child. We will select a winner at random each month for a photo session with Charming Child to celebrate your well designed space!

 

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It’s the perfect time to get to know this up-and-comer. Read our Q&A with Laura below!

Unison: What inspired you to start a business as a photographer and personal stylist?

Laura: My father has always fostered my creativity and love for aesthetics. He taught me a principle that I’ve carried with me in each creative endeavor — that it’s not just about taking beautiful photos; it’s about everything else around taking a photo. The textures, the colors, the hidden details waiting to spring forth.

Unison: Your business names, Everyday Charming, Charming in Love and Charming Child, are adorable. Why did you pick these names?

Laura: It began with Everyday Charming. I wanted a name that would further my belief that charming moments happen in everyday life. From the view of a trained eye, photography has the ability to freeze everyday moments. It made sense each time I’ve expanded my brand to carry on this compelling theme, from portraits to children’s lifestyle and then sophisticated nuptials.

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Unison: You mention on your website that “style is a personal expression waiting to be discovered.” We love this! Tell us more about why you think this is so.

Laura: This circles back to our name, Everyday Charming. It’s difficult for somebody to truly recognize his or her own natural charm or style. I teach my clients to do this in an individual way that is most flattering to their unique bodies and the single dimension a lens portrays them in.

Unison: How do you help and inspire your clients to discover who they are and what they want to show to the world, from a style perspective?

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Laura: Listening is my most valuable tool. I ask very specific questions about what they feel best wearing. Photography only shows one dimension. Often people forget this when dressing for a photo. An outfit that has endless motion and angles may photograph poorly at only one of these angles. It’s my job to help my clients recognize their best features and feel confident in their own skin and clothes. If a client doesn’t feel amazing they will never appreciate a photograph of themselves no matter how incredible it is.

Unison: You’ve said that a beautiful location and the right look are essential to great photos. What do you think is crucial to finding that perfect location and look?

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Laura: I see a beautiful location and the right look as second and third to a client feeling confident. I believe that confidence leads and is followed by style and location.

Unison: A home is highly personal and also very telling about a person’s loves, interests and inner self. Why do you like photographing people in their own spaces, and what is the process like for you?

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Laura: A home is the most intimate of places. And documenting a family has even more significance if it can be done in a place of meaning. You may see LEGOs scattered around and a sink full of dishes, but I insist there is a beautiful image here … an image someone will cherish years from now, reminding them of this fleeting time with their kids. There is charm in every home and it’s my job to show it off and celebrate it.

Unison: You have mentioned being a fan of The Selby and The Glow. What do you like about these blogs and where else do you turn for inspiration for your own life and home?

Laura: They remind me of my purpose with Charming Child: documenting real and, at times, raw moments. With Charming Child I focus on kids being their crazy-cool selves instead of looking picture perfect. I also photographed in Europe for a year and gathered so many inspiring experiences with my clients — no matter the dialect or language differences — that resonate with me and now inform my work in Chicago.

Unison: How would you describe your personal style? How about the style of your home?

Laura: My style and wardrobe is ever changing. I believe in fewer, better things. I try to practice this mantra in my home, too. I prefer my home and workspace to be decorated in neutrals and on the minimal side. This allows my mind to be clear and creative! I’ve just moved from a walk-up in Wicker Park to a fourth floor West Town condo with my husband. Our goal for this summer is to finish decorating our new space. I’ve hired a painter and have plans for a nearly black bedroom. (I’ve heard it’s like hibernating!) My eye is on dark floral wallpaper by Ellie Cashman. Our goal is to be finished by the end of June so we can apply for a membership with www.behomm.com, an international home exchange for creatives.

Unison: What are a few things in your own home that you’re loving right now?

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Laura: I relish lazy evenings on our Walter E. Smithe leather sofa. I’m a big believer in beauty sleep, so my Cultivar French linen bedding and Unison’s shapes champagne pillow  are high on that list. Does my Maltipoo, Stella, count? I’m smitten with her.

Unison: You keep a very active Pinterest board and Instagram feed. What, to you, makes for the most compelling photos?

Laura: I love an image that allows me to feel the moment. My three Charming brands are very different but the thing that they have in common is a sense of honesty. We work hard at coaxing out the best in our clients. However, my biggest goals are achieved when my subjects are confident and the emotion is real. These are the things that truly draw me into a photograph.

Thanks, Laura! And heads up to you Unison store shoppers: Don’t forget to take advantage of our summer promotion — shop our kids’ and baby collection, fill out a Unison loyalty card, and you will be entered to win a free at-home photo shoot with Laura. Spots will go fast!

Psst … don’t forget to follow Laura here:

Everyday Charming: WebBlogFacebookInstagramPinterest

Kids + Collage = One Great Event!

Posted on June 1st, 2015 by Alicia

Color, color, everywhere! That’s what you saw if you attended our free kids’ art workshop on May 16. If you couldn’t make it, we’ve got some photos here to recap all the fun.

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The event was created to inspire kids to get creative and stir their imaginations. No better person to do it than Chad Kouri, a multi-discipline artist and co-founder of creative collective The Post Family.

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Kouri sat down with a crowd of kids and parents and taught them how to make their own original collage with colorful paper and fabric. It was pure cutting and gluing fun — with lots of smiles along the way.

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There were budding creative talents in the bunch: Unison co-founder Robert Segal brought his daughter, Abigail; and fellow creative (and Unison collaborative designer) Cody Hudson attended with his daughter, Birdie.

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Parents found time to shop while the kids worked on their masterpieces. And it wasn’t just Unison’s summer collection of outdoor pillows, planters and vases, and tableware up for grabs. Kouri had an array of his own original pieces there for sale, too.

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You can expect big things from this up-and-coming artist, so keep your eyes on his website or details.

Missed this in-store event? Attend our next one! You can find out what’s coming up at the Unison store by clicking here.

See you next time!

Photography by Everyday Charming

Black Is the New Black

Posted on May 20th, 2015 by Libby Cortez

Modern design is all about meaning. It’s where aesthetics meet implications, where the ultra-chic collides with the culture it inhabits.

Biobu Black Dinnerware

Biobu Black Dinnerware

Take the latest color trend we’ve been watching (and embracing) since early this year: black. More dynamic and moody than the sugary tones of recent years, black has suddenly taken the interior world by storm.

Harvest Black Pillow

Harvest Black Pillow

But why the dramatic turn toward this bold-and-dark classic? Perhaps it’s a reflection of our global situation—of the tensions, conflicts, and disasters that seem to define our world more each day. Or perhaps it’s a reaction to all this—a deeper, richer, and more comforting palette to shelter a home’s inhabitants from the fast-evolving complexities of our time.

Koppel Black Bowl

Koppel Black Bowl

Whatever your reason for choosing black this season, you can amp up the safe-haven ambiance in myriad ways: black hard goods, walls, tables, chairs, shelves, and kitchen fittings; black or dark-toned soft furniture, textiles, and rugs; and heavy-textured materials like velvet, plush, wool, and suede to compliment black’s weight.

Grid Knit Blanket

Grid Knit Blanket

The result: a deeper visual presentation that brings tough and cool together for a dramatic punch.

Møller Melamine Salad Sets

Møller Melamine Salad Sets

For starters, try revving up your white-hot summer with some of our best suggestions for beautiful black:

Koppel Black Pitcher

Koppel Black Pitcher

Tango Black Knit Pillow

Tango Black Knit Pillow

Sky Black Planter

Sky Black Planter

Epicurean Black Sandwich Board

Epicurean Black Sandwich Board

Stitch Black Bedding

Stitch Black Bedding

Koppel Melamine Cups

Koppel Melamine Cups

Grid Black Knit Pillow

Grid Black Knit Pillow

Cork Black Placemats

Cork Black Placemats

Sailor Black Outdoor Pillow

Sailor Black Outdoor Pillow

Butler Black Watering Can

Butler Black Watering Can

The People in Our Neighborhood: Ashley & Sloane

Posted on May 19th, 2015 by Libby Cortez

We recently kicked off a series of posts featuring the awesome talents in our design-centric corner of Chicago. It’s been great to hear from our neighbors about why they love this area and adore what they do.

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Next up: Betsy Karp, the impeccable eye behind Ashley & Sloane. We recently caught up with this globe-trotter on the phone, while she walked the drippy streets of Paris, France and shared some insights into her importing business.

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Unison: Tell us about Ashley & Sloane

Karp: As an importer, I make frequent trips to France and bring back shipments of antiques and French classic design furniture. Everything from armoires—which are as great for décor as they are practical for storing your linens—to tables, bistro chairs, outdoor furniture, you name it.

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I also bring in modern French pieces, keeping up-to-date with the contemporary pieces that can work with a mixture and a blend of antiques. I’m really a minimalist in my own way. It’s about how all of it can work together.

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Unison: What are your thoughts on Chicago’s design community?

Karp: The design community in Chicago is centered in the warehouse areas. In West Town, where our building is located, we have a variety of people manufacturing, doing restoration, etc. Obviously, modern design is very important.

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Unison: And what kind of an impact has your location had on your business?

Karp: The beauty of this area is that the designers who are in the city can come see what I’m unloading and sorting. I meet people by appointment there—especially city designers. And it’s wonderful to have the loading doc down there, to be able to unload the whole shipment and have it all there for anyone who wants to see it.

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I also love the building itself. The location is easy to get to. I come from the north suburbs of Chicago—as do many designers who come to see my pieces—and we can get to this spot with great ease.

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But best of all, it’s been an incubator building, because many businesses have started and grown from there. It’s a place that gives you wings—that nurtures you in starting a business. That’s the beauty of it. It’s a place where people can come and see new, growing, developing businesses—from artists to woodworkers to established businesses like Ashley & Sloane or Unison.

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The environment is great, too. I have the luxury of space and of setting up a show room there. The natural light that comes in is wonderful for my pieces. And the white floors and walls—wonderful for what I’m doing.

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If you can’t make it to their Chicago showroom at 2010 W Fulton St you can also shop a selection of Ashley & Sloane at Anna’s in Highwood. For their main warehouse and showroom please visit:

Ashley & Sloane

Libertyville, IL

847-951-1803

Behind the Scenes at Garfield Park Conservatory

Posted on May 15th, 2015 by Alicia

Here in Chicago, Garfield Park Conservatory is one our few respites from the long, cold winters (besides Lincoln Park Conservatory – and, of course, just heading south for a while).

Garfield Park Conservatory was designed by Jens Jensen in 1908 and went through a traumatic remodel after a huge hail storm destroyed a lot of the windows.

Many of the plants there are as old as the building. It’s become quite the treasure.

And since they are open to photo shoots, the conservatory trees and plants became the backyard scenery for our summer collection. The traditional Moroccan fountain is also amazing and set the backdrop for our new water buckets.

Take a look: