After a successful auction in Aug.(2015), Gaines sold the property. Then he and the Unicorn packed up the Ranchero, eventually settling in Pittsboro.
He and his horned partner are still selling the featured iron gates and stained glass; their inventory since memory was invented.
By Appt Only. Contact Gaines to Arrange a Visit.
The Last Unicorn in Pittsboro no longer features the enormous outdoor showroom of the original Chapel Hill location. It's very small by comparison.
To arrange a visit, just call Gaines at the number listed below, or use the email form on the "Contact Us" page.
Be on the lookout! We take this show on the road.
Watch for a Saturday roadside crowd of gawkers somewhere in Chatham County, gathered 'round my Unicorn-clad (antique) Ford Ranchero. Wave please!
Photo courtesy of Chapelboro.com
Press Button for Quick Video Tour.
A little of our history - before & during our years in Chapel Hill.
At The Last Unicorn, our specialties are antique wrought iron gates and fences, stained glass and other unique architectural items for the home and garden.
The showroom, unlike any other, stretches across five acres of wooded wonderland. Wrought iron gates lead to hidden paths lined with ornate fences and garden art.
Along the path, hand-crafted wrought iron & glass tables, precious garden ornaments and magnificent stained glass windows – appear as characters in a strange fantasyland.
Strewn with architectural artifacts, our uniquely unorthodox showroom entices you and unleashes your creativity. Ideas are born! In the world of The Last Unicorn, anything is possible, even probable.
“One reason for The Last Unicorn’s popularity may have to do with the personal philosophy behind it. Steer believes that The Last Unicorn should be a ‘well for ideas’. When people look at the diverse objects in his collection, they often discover a new or unusual use. With a little welding or painting, the transformation is complete. Pieces of old iron become bed headboards, garden trellises, bookshelves or coffee tables.” - Chapel Hill News
The Last Unicorn was birthed in New Market, Southern Maryland in 1974-5 by Gaines Steer and Sarah Banta Smith. Originally The Last Unicorn was a country antique store, also featuring vintage clothing and arts and crafts on consignment.
Gaines “re-invented” TLU in North Carolina in 1991 both as a means to make a living and to showcase his growing interest in collecting and promoting unique architectural antiques. The original mainstays of the business, the antique wrought iron gate and wrought iron fence, remain to this day our core elements. The original business plan is still intact, a source of pride and accomplishment.
The small, yet unusual, house which Gaines and Paul Konove (Carolina Country Builders designed and built in 1987-8 and “the most gorgeous 5 acres in the South…” soon became host and display to an ever-expanding collection of architectural embellishments….. The outdoor showroom is perhaps the only display of wrought and cast iron that requires a customer map to survey the premises.
The grounds include over a dozen themed display and demonstration areas with names like:
The Secret Garden, The Iron Forest, The Unicorn’s Lair, Chapel Woods, NC Reincarnation Pathway, The Yellow Brick Road, Narnia Wood, & Planter Trail.