In the 1990s, Bonnie and Hugh Fogel were frustrated. They were trying to decorate and outfit their home and were having difficulty finding furniture and accessories that met their modern sensibilities. By 1998, they had a solution: open their own store.
And so Unicahome was created.
The store, which recently relocated to a 12,000-square-foot facility on Russell Road that houses its showroom, offices and warehouse, offers 49,000 products to choose from. Most of the pieces have a modern or contemporary style and many are created by well-known designers and manufacturers from around the world.
With products ranging from sofas and tables to decorative accessories and soap dispensers, Unicahome is as unique and unusual as its name implies. And it’s not just the range of products that makes the store unique; it’s the items themselves that set it apart.
“Our goal has always been to demystify the search for high-quality design. We want products to be accessible to everyone and to offer choices that are not necessarily found in home-town stores,” she said.
More than 250 brands are represented at the store, as well as its online presence, including rugs, bags and place mats from Chilewich, bathroom accessories from Missoni and furniture from Moroso and Cappellini. The showroom also has a dedicated area for Artimede lighting, as well as Alessi products.
Fogel said they have recently begun to branch out a little, offering good-quality products with lasting style, not just those with a modern tilt.
“Most of our stuff has a useful purpose. We offer products that will enhance life … some are funny and whimsical, but there’s definitely a lot of thought behind them,” she said.
The uniqueness of Unicahome is the result of the Fogels’ passion — and their quirky senses of humor.
“We’re not always serious,” Bonnie Fogel said.
Consider, for example, a collection of decorative accessories, including a crucifix and an ice cube tray, accented with skulls and crossbones or chocolate-flavored beef jerky.
“I always like product that has a back story,” she said.
It is this behind-the-scenes information that the Fogels are so passionate about. They learn all they can so they can share it with those who visit the showroom. Such was the case when someone inquired about a vase that looked like it had been the victim of a Silly String attack. Created by Gaetano Pesce, Bonnie Fogel explained how the Italian artist creates each piece and how it gets its unique look.
Before relocating to Las Vegas in 2002, the Fogels were living in Birmingham, Mich. Bonnie Fogel said they could go “trash picking” and find fabulous examples of modern furnishings, including Herman Miller designs. But as vintage modern furnishings became harder to find, they decided there was a need for a store like Unicahome.
Before they opened the store, both were antique dealers in Michigan.
“We always had an eye for what was at Sotheby’s, what was at Christie’s (auction houses),” Bonnie Fogel said.
Because of that, they had a keen sense of what pieces would most likely become collectibles down the road.
Bonnie Fogel said Las Vegas seemed an ideal place to open a showroom because the city was growing but lacked a modern presence.
“We wanted to create a space that would showcase our department store concept, which offers our customers unparalleled choice,” Hugh Fogel said.
Another unique aspect of the store is its selection of books, which are as varied and unusual as the items on the shelves. Housed in an area defined by a bright orange oval column, the books are Hugh Fogel’s pet project. He began offering imported books about architecture and art as a way to help cover the cost of buying copies for himself. The selection includes many rare and out-of-print titles, as well as those in foreign languages.
Unicahome is located at 3901 W. Russell Road, just west of Valley View Boulevard.
For more information, call 616-9280.Architecture reflects retailers’ philosophy
To house Unicahome’s unique selection of product, an equally unique showroom was needed.
“The furniture is so amazing by itself, we needed the architecture to be the backdrop,” said Drew Gregory, project manager and design team member from Las Vegas- based Assemblage Studio, which designed the space.
Gregory said the design team, headed by Eric Strain, decided to elevate the furniture so it would appear to float in the space.
“We took a simple, straight-forward approach with clean lines to let it be as much as we could about the furniture,” Gregory said.
They also made sure not to create corridors in the large open space, instead allowing the products in the store to engage customers as they walked around displays.
One of the store’s main features, the orange oval column, was a direct result of a request by Hugh Fogel.
“Hugh likes his books and he wanted us to create a space that could be seen even from the street,” Gregory said. “We had a lot of fun with it.”
The bright color is a characteristic of the award-winning firm’s work, he added.