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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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Unison Turns 10! Our Anniversary Celebration

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In honor of our 10th Anniversary Celebration we gave our Wicker Park store a facelift and threw a party! We invited our best customers along with dear friends + family to shop our new Fall 2016 Collection and check out our store’s new look.

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We were so excited to have our artists + collaborators who have been with Unison from the beginning, as well as welcome new friends and fans to the Unison family.

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Rhine Hall, a local Chicago brandy distillery and Unison favorite, provided refreshments for the event served on our Grid Black Table Linens.

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Unison co-founders Robert Segal + Alicia Rosauer pose with Alex Fuller, designer and Unison collaborator. Fuller is the mastermind behind Shapes and Tango patterns among other great designs.

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After our gathering at the store close friends + family were invited to enjoy dinner and drinks at Chicago’s Lula Cafe.

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We decked out Lula Cafe in all things Unison, including custom Sprinkles Black tablecloths made for the event.

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The night wrapped up with a toast from Unison Co-Founders Robert Segal + Alicia Rosauer and dancing. Thanks to everyone who came out to celebrate with us, here’s to another 10 Years in Unison!

 

 

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Kid’s Collage Event with Chad Kouri

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We recently invited Chicago artist Chad Kouri known for his colorful collages and drawings to lead a Kid’s Collage Workshop at our Wicker Park store. Chad is Co-Founder of the Chicago-based art and design incubator, The Post Family and his work has been exhibited at many notable institutions including the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, the Rochester Museum of Fine Arts and the Mission Cultural Center of Latino Arts in San Francisco.

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We love Chad’s bold, graphic sensibility and we have collaborated with him on a number of unique projects including hand screen-printed greeting cards and most recently, a limited edition beach towel based on one of his Risograph prints, Tanlines.

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At the event families were invited to work with Chad, and use Unison scrap fabric along with brightly colored cardstock to create their very own collage masterpiece.

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Some favorite Unison fabrics of the day included our Charcoal Sailor Stripe and Shapes Black patterns, perfect for pairing with the bright primary-colored papers that Chad chose for the event.

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Kids and parents alike worked hard on their collage creations. Unison co-founder Robert Segal collaged the day away with his daughters Emily and Abigail.

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The result was a great selection of gallery wall-worthy collage works! Special thanks to Chad Kouri for leading the event and thanks to all of the families who came out for this fun Saturday at our Chicago store.

Stay tuned for upcoming in-store events on our Facebook page and unisonhome.com

Special thanks to Ben Speckmann for photographing the event.

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A Decade of Unison

It was 10 years ago this May that Unison first sprung to life with our first bedding and pillow collections. It was the start of what clearly became an everlasting passion for creating minimal and modern home textiles.

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As Unison has grown, we’ve been so fortunate to share our vision of modern design with several Chicago artists and designers who we consider as friends. Along with the talents of our amazing staff, their dedication, skill and drive had made Unison what is today and for years to come.

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It’s going to be a special year. We’re celebrating it with new product offerings, promotions and plenty of reflections on where our interest lies: timeless modern design made consciously and with heart.

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We are so grateful for all our customers and fans who have supported us over this decade and also to those that are just coming to know us.

Let the celebration begin!

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Cheers,

Robert & Alicia

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We Got Down – And You Should, Too

An Insider’s Guide to Extra-Special Pillows From Down Inc.

We’ve been doing a lot of pillow talk lately. Can’t resist – we’ve been really excited about the down pillows made by our Michigan partner, Down Inc. These softies, made with down sourced from their parent company Maple Leaf Farms, sit at the corner of comfort, modern design and sustainability. And that’s a winning combo for us.

If you didn’t make our “Let’s Get Down” store event that we had with Down Inc. last month then it’s time to get caught up on what makes the company special. You’ll easily see why these pillows are must-haves.

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What do the pillows feel like?
Have you ever sunk into a fluffy cloud? You will during a night with these. Seriously plush, never stiff, they softly mold to fit your head and neck just so. The quality cotton casing protects the real treasure inside, down: the fine, soft undercoating found under the feathers of local Indiana ducks.

Where do the down feathers come from?
Most goose and duck feathers are a byproduct of the meat industry. That’s also the case with Down, Inc., which is part of parent company Maple Leaf Farms. The Indiana family only grows animals for food and has been creating down products for 50 years. Important to note is that there’s a great traceability factor with this particular down, because it travels only 116 miles between the farms and the pillow manufacturing facility, located in Michigan. Once the down is removed from the meat source, it’s washed once on the Indiana farm and then again in Michigan, where it’s then processed using a 50-year-old patented washing method that turns it into FDA-approved, hypo-allergenic down.

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What about those that are allergic to down?
Allergies aren’t typically provoked from the feathers but the skin or dander [unless you have a true feather allergy]. The washing method that Down Inc. uses removes the skin and dander from the feathers, leaving the pillows hypoallergenic.

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How do you take care of down?
Wash down pillows every six months (they usually have a life span of two years). It is recommended to take the pillow to a professional dry cleaner and have it laundered. If you are machine-washing it at home, do it in a large capacity machine with no center agitator. Also, cut your detergent in half, set your machine to a medium water temperature, and add an extra rinse cycle. Drying down is more of a process; a down insert usually takes at least 4-6 cycles to dry, and you’ll want to re-fluff between cycles. They key to telling if your down is dry is checking for odor – if there is a smell, our down isn’t dry.

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What about down duvets – don’t they tend to feel heavy?
Contrary to popular belief, no! Down duvets can actually help regulate your temperature while you sleep, keeping you dry and warm without overheating. Unison carries the medium density down duvets, which are encased in a 200-plus thread count cotton cover, with double-stitch edges to ensure durability.

Where are Down Inc. pillows and duvets available?
At the Unison store in Chicago and online at unisonhome.com – of course! We’ve been partnering with Down Inc. since 2006 and couldn’t be more thrilled to join up with such a responsible, resourceful company.

Here’s to countless great nights of sleep!

To shop our selection of Down Inc. pillows and duvets, click here.

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A Dreamy Bedding Event at Unison

You work hard. You play hard. Now you need a soft night’s sleep.

Hurry in for our White Sale and take 20% off down duvets, pillows, fills and other comfy dream makers.

Visit us on Saturday, Feb. 27, for a special event featuring Down Inc.. Specialist Kimberly Patrick from the Michigan based company will be there to help you choose the right bedding and talk about the sustainable way these pieces are made. You’ll also learn tricks about caring for this feather-based material.

Consider it your chance to get your own fluffy white cloud.

See you there!

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An Afternoon with Filigree Suppers

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.

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Acacia Chalk Serving BoardsGalvin Black Bread KnifeGalvin Black 5 Piece Flatware SetSlab Black Dinnerware

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.

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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.

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Blockitecture BlocksHeller White Melamine DinnerwareEve Brushed Stainless Steel 5 Piece Flatware SetSplatter Enamel MugsMarket Plaid Tablecloth

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.

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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.

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Himmeli Gray TableclothGalvin Black 5 Piece Flatware SetSplatter Black Enamel Dinner PlateHario Glass Tumblers

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.

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Want to See Your Home in our Holiday Catalog?

While visions of sugarplums probably aren’t dancing in your head yet, we’re already thinking about the holidays! In fact, we have some stunning tableware and decor that we’re rolling out just in time for the happiest season of all. And we need somewhere to photograph it all!

Do you have a modern home that’s picture perfect? We’re looking for a place to shoot our holiday catalog. If you live within hours of Chicago and think your home would be an excellent place for us to style a festive photo shoot, let us know!

If you’re interested, send an email (and include some home photos) to caitlin@unisonhome.com. Please include the best contact info for you and your address.

Hope to hear from you — cheers to the season ahead!

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A Real Taste of Summer … at the Unison Store!

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!