We develop a framework for constitutive modeling of unsaturated soils that has the embedded elements of lower scale grain to grain contacts. Continuum models developed from this framework will possess two different phases idealizing the solid grains and their interactions. As a consequence, two different constitutive relationships, corresponding to the grain to grain contact and bulk behavior, co-exist in a constitutive model and govern the response of the model. To be specific, grain to grain sliding under dry or wet condition is idealized and appears as a simple contact law embedded in a continuum framework. There is no need to define plastic strain, as this quantity naturally emerges at the continuum scale as the consequence of frictional sliding at the lower scale. In addition, the effective stress can be naturally worked out from the grain to grain contact law embedded in the model without being subjected to any interpretation. This, in our opinion, is a closer representation of unsaturated soil behavior, compared to existing continuum approaches that map everything onto a single stress-strain relationship. In this paper, the framework is presented in its simplest form that takes into account sliding on a single orientation. Grain to grain contact law with capillary effects is used for the demonstration of the concept, and the technical details behind it. Generalization of the framework for better representation of unsaturated soil behavior will also be sketched out.