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Unison In Process: Inside The Humboldt Collection

Historic Inspiration for a Reimagined Bedding Collection

On the near-west side of Chicago lies a community that represents the very fabric of America—interwoven cultures marked by dynamic social change and overlapping styles, all evolving and thriving amidst a backdrop that’s notable as much for its historic landmarks as its decidedly urban charm.

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Centered around a sprawling, 207-acre park, the Humboldt Park neighborhood is one part fast-paced cultural hub, one part serene oasis in the midst of the modern bustle. It’s simultaneously classic and modern, diverse and determined, everlasting and yet always somehow new.

What could be better inspiration than that?

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Named for this historic community in our own beloved hometown, our Humboldt bedding collection is designed to reflect the area’s longevity and beautiful wear.

Inspired by the hand-woven look, unique texture, and 2-sided pattern of classic madras plaids, this bedding is as casually chic as a fresh-air picnic. Unison co-founder Robert Segal parlayed this inspiration into his original drawing for the pattern, and production designer Erica Lubetsky then translated that drawing into an engineered plaid.

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The result was a simpler, sleeker pattern—more modern in tone. Then, we scaled it up for a strong, graphic punch and got ready to convert the carefully considered design into a textile.

First, material: we selected yarn-dyed cotton in an oxford weave, to showcase the delicate blending of colors.

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The linens have a basket weave construction, which creates a checkerboard effect with white, producing a softer tone that is perfectly suited to a mellow-cool bedroom. To get the contrast just where we wanted it, we selected darker, more saturated yarns that would blend into the perfect finished hue.

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As a final detail, we engineered each side of the duvet with a lighter blue, asymmetrical stripe on one side, so that when the bed is made with covers turned back, a stripe appears on each end.

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Looks like you might actually start to enjoy making your bed in the morning.

Shop Humboldt Bedding 20% Off now thru 02/26, shop the White Sale here.

 

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Stylist Feature: Janelle Gonyea

At our recent store event: Well-Fashioned Feast, we asked stylist extraordinaire Janelle Gonyea to bring her table styling tips and tricks to assist Unison customers with their own holiday entertaining. We chatted with Janelle about her background, style inspiration and how she entertains in her own home.

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Tell us a little bit about your background and how you became interested in styling:

I have always been interested in telling stories through creating beautiful color palettes and styled vignettes. I have an arts education, and that has informed much of my creative career. I began as an illustrator and graphic designer drawing and arranging items on a page. From there I moved onto arranging flowers and have since eased into styling objects in space.

My love for styling arose out of a fascination with storytelling. You see a scene and wonder what is happening there, and the objects begin to give you pieces of that story. It can take you back in time, recall a memory, or inform a brand’s aesthetic and lifestyle.

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We especially loved the handmade elements you added to the table, particularly your illustrations. Is that something you often incorporate into your table styling?

I certainly do! Adding handmade elements to styling gives it a more personal touch and adds more life to the table or scene. I think if it can be handmade, it should be! My education was in illustration, so it’s a skill that I love to embellish with when appropriate.

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How did the Unison products inspire you in creating your tablescapes?

Unison products are incredibly inspiring, especially because you really cannot go wrong with any combination. They defy rules, and encourage you to play. I adore the minimal patterns and limited color palettes, because they provide a foundation for incorporating your own style. By mixing and matching details you can be playful, dramatic, quirky, or romantic. 

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Styling for the holidays with Unison products gave me a chance to explore all of the pieces of place settings that I may not use on a regular basis.  I love having an opportunity to be expansive and really embrace table settings for multiple courses. Their cast iron collection was incredibly enticing, and I could just picture one at each place setting overflowing with an earthy homemade individual pot pie or ginger pear crisp!

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What was your main goal in executing each of your table settings? Do you often have an overarching concept for your tables that dictates your styling?

My main goal was to showcase various place settings and creative ways to play with napkin placement while adding personal elements. While some people tend to worry about them, I don’t believe in following all the rules. That being said, I wanted to provide a range in settings from basic to formal because the holidays tend to bring together traditions and honoring many generations.

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When styling tables, I am often drawn to particular palettes or ambiguous concepts like “desert landscape” or “wintry mountain” and build out from there. Florals always play a huge role, and I am still a fan of family style tablescaping and long communal tables. They’re more interactive and allow you to really play with settings and accompanying details.

What is your general philosophy regarding entertaining? Do you like to entertain within your own home as well?

I love bringing people together and sharing a meal over delightful conversation. With entertaining, I think atmosphere plays a huge role, and I like to create tablescapes that would set someone at ease and make them feel welcome. Recently I held a gathering on the night of a Supermoon, so I used a deep indigo runner accompanied by marble cake stands, milky white platters, speckled blue bowls and lunaria flowers. 

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Do you have any additional tips for last minute holiday entertaining prep?

I would say not to worry too much about the “rules” and just have fun with it. Be yourself and embrace your unique style. Beyond the essentials of table settings from lovely shops like Unison, consider adding a simple name tag for seating or drink labels. Handmade elements are always nice, and adding a small vase of flowers gives your table a warming touch.

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Textiles are a great way to lay a foundation for color, and have a transformative effect on any table setting. A simple white, black or grey plate set can look fun and quirky on a Market Plaid tablecloth or deep and dramatic on the Garland Wine Tablecloth. Holidays are the time to bring out all of the special details you might not use on a daily basis!

See more styling from Janelle Gonyea here

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ART + FUNCTION + FANCY NAILS = THE MANY TALENTS OF HILLERY SPROATT

There’s a face you should know this fall: Hillery Sproatt. This fine artist, Unison collaborator and, as chance has it, nail artist. Her unique aesthetic is coming to life at Unison in a few ways this season, and we couldn’t be more excited.

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In anticipation of the Instagram takeover and nail event she’s doing for us — look for them on September 16-18 and October 22, respectively — here’s a quick insider’s look at Hillery’s world.

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The Bedding Collaboration

Our new Heirloom collection of bedding features a graphic derived from a painting Hillery created years ago when she lived in Grand Rapids. The Poppy duvet cover, which features a vibrant splash of blooms, was actually taken from just a small portion of Hillery’s original work. “The original had a lot of other little things going on … even horseback riders,” she says.

Hillery, who has a Fine Arts Degree from Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore, is known for filling her work with tiny, engaging details. It’s a nod to life’s little things that sometimes may go unseen or unremembered. “I like to fill the paper with small moments to get lost in,” she says.

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A believer in “everything matters,” Hillery also loves experimenting with balance and harmony. “I enjoy the relationships between objects and how they look together,” she says. “I’m always moving things around to see how they change when they are next to each other. I stay away from symmetry … nothing too matchy-matchy.”

Pull together your own unmatched but highly artistic scheme by shopping the Heirloom collection here.

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The Instagram Takeover

When Hillery takes over @unisonhome on Instagram on September 16-18, you can expect a look inside her home, which doubles as her studio. Based in the Ravenswood neighborhood of Chicago, she takes an organic approach to decorating her space, filling it with modern objects (including Unison table runners and pillows) where they simply feel right.

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Shop Baker’s Stripe Dishtowel and Bottlit Spice Containers. (pictured above)

At home and through her work, Hillery admits to being mindful without over-thinking things. “I don’t sketch or plan anything out before I do it, I just sit down and go,” says Hillery. “It’s actually very meditative.”

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The Nail Event

On October 22, Hillery will sit down with guests for 30 minutes to do nail art at our Unison store. The event is for everyone — men and kids, too! Expect multi-colored designs that are mini paintings in and of themselves. Hillery doesn’t have a plan before she dives in. That’s part of the fun.

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“I usually respond to the way the person presents her or himself, and ask about their favorite colors,” she says. “But mostly it’s all about play. The nail art is an extension of my paintings, and isn’t so much about beauty, but inspiring somebody.”

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To make an appointment for the nail event, email events@unisonhome.com.

 

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Food + Design = A Very Appetizing Instagram Takeover

See What Elise Metzger of Filigree Suppers Dished Out On @unisonhome

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Brita Olsen + Elise Metzger of Filigree Suppers

This past weekend, our Instagram feed became pretty appetizing. No wonder — it was taken over by Elise Metzger, founder of Filigree Suppers, a pop-up supper club that celebrates American design.

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We turned some of our modern servingware over to Elise and she posted photos of it styled with her culinary creations. It captured the spirit of food + design + entertaining. We saw tomatoes take a starring role on a gridded serving tray, watermelon slices pop on a modern round platter, and cream chill in Biobu cups. It was a weekend that we hope made you savor summer and all of its sights and flavors.

We love Elise’s design sensibility and fun loving attitude. Get to know her a bit more in our quick Q&A.

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Unison: This was a fun partnership! What do you think are some similarities between Filigree Suppers and Unison?

Elise: We are all about being playful and quirky, but creating a balance of textures and colors. A lot of our aesthetic is informed by the products that we love and use in our personal lives, and each supper is a way to explore different aspects of our collective and individual styles. I think if Unison and Filigree were a cocktail, it would be a French 75. Classic elements for sure, but still lively and with bubbles, of course!

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Unison: How did the Unison products inspire you in creating your posts/dishes?

Elise: I like to use a lot of contrast when thinking about the relationship between food and the plate. Because the products were mostly black and white, I tried to stick within a relatively edited palette to give focus to the playfulness of the product. I used a lot of warm and bright hues/food, like salmon and watermelon.

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Unison: What was your main goal in executing the Instagram takeover?

Elise: I think that it’s fun to be conscious of plating food, even if it’s just for yourself or your family. It certainly doesn’t happen every meal of the day, but I wanted the ease of that to come across in the posts.

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Unison: What is your general philosophy regarding entertaining?

Elise: Pay attention to as many details as possible – napkins, decor, seating chart – until guests arrive. This isn’t always easy while hosting, and I could certainly improve on this, but it’s more important to give guests the attention they deserve than to fret about everything going perfectly. Also, make a mood board! Really, there’s no better way to explore your own theme than to do this exercise. Think of it as your entertaining strategy. It allows you to be really flexible (and probably have more fun!) when making decisions.

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Filigree came together over the course of six months. I was taking a pottery class and wanted to have a dinner where everything at the table was local and handmade. (The first dinner was at Ovation in the West Loop, where even the tables are hand made!) Brita Olsen, my business partner, and I both loved to throw dinner parties, and had been doing so together for quite some time. We decided to team up to be able to do it with more frequency, and to bring our love of food and design into the fold.

Unison was one of our first collaborators and participated in the first supper in February 2015. It was a natural fit for Filigree, being a design centric, locally owned business. We always look forward to our collaborations together!

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Unison: We can’t let you leave without sharing a recipe. Got a good one for us?

Elise: This is just as delicious the night you make it as it is cold the next day on top of a salad. I’ve been using it for over a decade, and I’m sure many people use it, but it’s classic and reliable.

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SalmonRecipeThanks, Elise! And happy cooking, everyone! Learn more about Elise and Filigree Suppers here

 

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Himmeli: Art in Another Dimension

For anyone who has ever gazed at the night sky and outlined the forms of constellations in your mind’s eye, you’ve already begun to experience the quintessentially Finnish art form known as a himmeli.

Originally crafted as Christmas decorations, the first himmeli—a Finnish adapted name derived from the Swedish words for sky or heaven—were created centuries ago by Finnish peasants. At the time, women in small villages expertly threaded lengths of straw to form decorative geometric shapes reminiscent of the constellations, or of what some believed to be signs from heaven.

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Once complete, the himmelis were hung above the festive meal table at Christmastime, decorating the inside of the villagers’ tupas or log homes.

“By their ordered nature, these balanced constructions invoke the image of cosmic constellations that suspended and slowly moving in regulated courses, make rhythmic patterns in the sky, impelled to do so by an unseen will. The celestial connection is not fortuitous: it is believed that himmelis were inspired by the story of the appearance of the glittering star that announced the birth of Christ.” *

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In the 1950s, artist Saara Hopea-Untracht began crafting numerous himmelis, “as these constructions well suited her propensity for geometric design forms.” *

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And her standout pieces influenced Unison’s own Alicia Rosauer in creating our himmeli pattern.

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Set on versatile gray, our table and kitchen linens are as festive for the holidays as they are ready for spring, summer, or fall. And stain-resistant cotton sateen keeps messes at bay, leaving the himmeli pattern at center stage.

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Over the years, different artisans have put their own spin on the making of himmelis. Some have mixed the time-honored form with modern-day materials, such as the Prisma pieces in our current collection, which could hang above any table or stand alone as a piece of art.

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Whether you believe in the himmelis’ mystical powers, as did the Finnish villagers of old, or are simply captivated by the rich history and striking, airy geometry of these many-faceted shapes, a splash of himmeli design is sure to add a new dimension to your home.

* Source: Saara Hopea-Untracht: Life and Work. Written by Oppi Untracht 1988 ISBN 951-0-14377-4

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Designer’s Eye: Inspiration for Sonia Knit

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.”

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“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.”

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Shapes & Style Down South: At Home With Designer Alex Fuller

We often work with artists we admire and, together, imagine new essentials for modern living. One of our favorite collaborators is Alex Fuller, a Creative Director who just relocated from Chicago to Charleston. Alex’s sensibility is fascinating — he’s drawn to shapes and colors because he thinks of them as “the fundamental building blocks of our universal language.” This leaves us endlessly intrigued and we couldn’t wait to see how he integrated these design elements into his new home.

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Alex gave us a sneak peek while we snapped some photos of him at home with his wife, Jessa, and dog. Says the designer of their decor style, “We quickly fall into the Mid-Century Modern camp. Eames, Modernica, Blu Dot … all the hits. When people come to our house in Charleston they feel like they’re in East L.A. I can see it, it’s got that Cali Mod flavor. Not to mention we have a lot of plants and tropical foliage around.”

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You’ll also see evidence of Alex’s early projects with Unison scattered throughout his new Charleston home. As a bit of background, we first teamed up with him few years ago when we had Spudnik Press make reproductions of his “Geometry” print — a study in strong lines, sweeping curves and bright, colorful punch. At the time, Alex was a creative at Ogilvy Mather and a founder of The Post Family. He moved on to Leo Burnett as a Creative Director and, around the same time, we expanded the Geometry print to throw pillows. Later, the pattern was modified to be a bit smaller and given new life as a framed lithograph, printed bedding, ottomans, bags and kitchen linens.

“We seek a balance of beautiful, tried and true design; and the warmth and personality of art, plants, music, books and sculptural objects,” says Alex. “I wish I could live in a minimalist Japanese home made from plywood but I love being surrounded by things with stories, collections with ideas. You know … a little texture, a little noise.”

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Because of Alex’s knack for giving rhythm and order an inventive, modern kick, we naturally turned to him when we began thinking about creating an alphabet print. With Alex’s modern Bauhaus take on the ABCs, Alphablocks was born. This pattern graces bedding, artwork, canvas bins and even poufs (which Alex and Jessa’s dog uses it as a soft perch!).

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Inspired by the Memphis design rebirth, we asked Alex to develop some other ideas. We’ve launched his Tango pattern, a zigzag-laden geometric graphic on black, as a knit blanket and pillow (seen in these photos). Other ideas are in the works and will launch in spring.

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This designer has so many ideas and always amazes us with his consistency. We love the outcome of his designs on fabrics and paper … and might even try shirts out in 2016. Alex is wearing one in these photos.

We hope these photos leave you inspired. Thanks for inviting us into your new home, Alex and Jessa!

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Photography credit: Olivia Rae James

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Styling Adventures with Kyla Herbes of House of Hipsters: Part II

Last week we gave you the heads up about our styling adventures with blogger Kyla Herbes from House of Hipsters. We are excited to show you what came of it!

Remember, Kyla wanted help working pillows into her room, so we sent our Visual Merchandising Manager Lisa Boudreau out to her home to explore the possibilities. Kyla’s living space — which she shares with her husband and two small children — is a sea of neutral colors, interesting textures and original furnishings. Lisa saw the potential, and worked with Kyla to pick out pillows from Unison’s fall collection and group them in just the right places.

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From left to right: Sailor Charcoal Throw PIllow, $40-65; Dots Black Throw Pillow, $40-65; Harvest Black Throw Pillow, $45-65

For Kyla, working with Unison was a natural fit. “I focus on mid-century modern. However, I don’t like my house to look like it walked off the set of The Brady Bunch,” she says. “This can be a fine line to walk. The home decor found at Unison is easily integrated into my style. It brings my 1960s-’70s vibe into the present. The black, white, ultra-modern with a bold hue here and there … it comes alive.”

Lisa agrees, saying, “Kyla has a great understanding of design and how to interpret current trends in a way that is unique to her and the architecture of her home.”

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Read on for a Q&A with Kyla (and get tips from Lisa, along the way) to find out more about their styling adventure.

Unison: Let’s talk pillows. Why do you think they’re important home accessories?

Kyla: Pillows can transform a room. They’re a great way to interject you favorite color, pattern and, here we go again with that infamous word, personality. Look at your sofa and imagine it without pillows. Now imagine it with bright hot pink and turquoise floral pillows. Now picture them navy blue with white anchors. Now change that to stripes or polka dots or your most favorite color or better yet, your least favorite pattern. Pillows just give your room that extra pop of pizzazz. They can make your room look effortlessly chic. It’s like your space is the hot guy in high school, and he comes and picks you up in a red Camero. Now, if he showed up in a beat up, rusted out Pinto, you’d still think he was hot, but the Camero adds a bit of extra excitement.

Lisa: “I really do believe in the power of pillows. They quickly and easily transform a space and convey a mood. Adding warm or cool tones will instantly effect a space overall. They can also serve as a unifying element in the over arching design of the space. In Kyla’s room I styled a sofa with three different groupings of pillows. Each group worked great within the design framework already established by Kyla and complemented the space. However, the final group selected visibly lifted the space making it lighter, brighter and reinforced Kyla’s vision.

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Unison: What have you learned are key pillow styling tips?

Kyla: Edit your color palette and patterns. Too many and it just gets too crazy. You don’t need them growing jazz hands, screaming, “Look at me! Look at me!” Don’t be afraid to take a couple back home and return what doesn’t work for you. I suffer from this disease, which is how I wound up with pillow problems.  Pillows can look completely different when you get them into the space. Oh, and don’t forget to throw in a solid or two to break things up.

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Kyla’s pillow collection!
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Kyla’s new, pared down pillow arrangement. Clockwise: Dots White Linen Throw Pillow, $62-88; Color Block Graphite Throw Pillow, $60-70; Harvest Black Throw Pillow, $45-65

Lisa: Take cues from your art and other accessories in the room. Pillows on your couch don’t have to necessarily be in the exact style or period as your art, but can help establish your color theme and ground the room. Pulling out the cool tones from Kyla’s artwork and accent pieces helped to unify the space. With the new pillows you could really feel the beech vibe from her mantle artwork fill the whole space.

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Also, don’t be afraid to be bold and combine different prints and patterns, but keep the number of patterns lower to round 3 or 4. Consider color and scale. Take the time to consider complementary colors in your space. Consider the size of the pillows in each group but also the scale of the print.

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Unison: We loved this project with you! What did you think of it all?

Kyla: Styling with pillows is truly an art form that is not easy to grasp. Not only do you have the colors and patterns but there is also oversized pillows, square, lumbar. So it’s great when you have experts like Unison to lend a helping hand. {The new fall pillows} worked with what I had and together we really made my room come together … a room where I’ve had a revolving door of pillows for years.

Unison: Do you have any “rules” you follow for designing and decorating your own pad?

Kyla: When something catches my eye, that thing that makes my heart sing, I snap it up! Rule número uno: Never leave it behind. Ever. This rule especially is true when shopping vintage. You grab that sucka and hold on to it for dear life.

Rule #2: Create Pinterest mood boards. This helps me to visually see if everything in the space is jiving before committing. If you can handle the criticism, share it with friends whose style you admire. Take only the suggestions you want. It wasn’t until I started to publicly share my home with complete strangers that I became incredibly motivated and inspired.

Rule #3: Buy items unique to you. Make your home a memorable place to visit. Make it special. Make it unique. It doesn’t have to be trending to be beautiful.

Rule #4: Don’t rush it. Let the pieces find you. Take your time and channel your inner patience. This is the hardest piece of advice to follow myself, but I’ve found that when I don’t settle and look for that one amazing piece to come to me, the space looks incredible. You will eventually find it.

Unison: What are your three favorite things in your home and why?

Kyla: First and foremost, I own a vintage 1960s Model 20 dip-n-dunk photo booth. It’s the best party favor ever and a great memory maker. I purchased it to document my family when my daughter was born.

Second is my collection of vintage mug shots. Yes, they are totally creepy, but incredibly unique. Guests usually gaze at them for quite some time, examining everything from the outfits, to hair, whether they are good looking or not. The first question is usually, “Are these REAL mug shots?” When I first bought them, I started to Google their names. I found a few along with their stories, and they suddenly became incredibly creepy. So that ended abruptly.

Ok, third favorite thing. It’s a toss up. Don’t tell my son, but he just bought this boss 1983 GMC jacked-up pickup truck, and I secretly adore it. Every time I drive it, I giggle like a little kid. I can also easily haul more furniture and decor to my home. The other really isn’t a thing, it’s a space in the house … so this is technically cheating. But I love, love, love my patio. We reno’d it a couple years back, and it finally all came together this summer. Even though we live in a cold weather climate, we’ve been able to use it as an extension of our living area nightly. Being able to enjoy the outdoors, away from technology and TV, well, it’s just an awesome place to hangout and reconnect.

Unison: Mixing things up with budget and style is always fun. What’s one “high” piece of home style you love or might have in your home, and one “low” piece?

Kyla: I’m an advocate of buying a higher end piece of art as an investment piece that grows with you. There’s nothing wrong with buying artwork that is trending, but I think there’s something to say for buying a unique piece that no one else has or a piece that few people have. And I’m not talking a Picasso original. But finding an original piece of work or a limited run is a great way to showcase your personality. My three “mug shot” photos by Lani Lee would be my “high end” piece. Three oversized, black and white portraits shot mug shot style of famous graffiti artists.

My “low end” piece is anything and everything I’ve thrifted or flea’d. I look around my home and everything is special. I think about their stories …where they came from. Right now I’m staring at a mug with the broken handle. It’s filled with used paintbrushes that belonged to an artist. I bought the mug and brushes at her estate sale for $2. They now sit on display in my living room. I’ll bet she would have never imagined that to happen. I also have a piece of hand formed, handmade pottery I snagged at a thrift store for $2.99. A vintage rattan chair I found online for $15. It doesn’t have to be super-expensive to be beautiful and perfect. These pieces may not be for everybody, but they spoke to me.

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Thanks so much for sharing your home and incredible style with us, Kyla!

And, for all of you out there with style questions, please feel free to stop by our store with questions! We’d be happy to assist you.

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

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

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Black Is the New Black

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