Wednesday, December 29, 2010

organizing paper in your home office

One of the main starting points to making your home look beautiful is to declutter. In home offices, many of us are overwhelmed with piles of paper, which not only takes away from the aesthetic appreciation of the room, but also makes it hard for us to be as productive as we should be.

If, like me, you're organizationally challenged, then you'll appreciate words of wisdom from organization guru Jane Veldhoven. Jane, a certified professional organizer,
is the owner of Get Organized! and offers training, office organizing and design, and one-on-one consulting.

We asked Jane to give us some tips to help us get started on cleaning up our offices for the New Year. Check out to read Jane's article.

Friday, November 5, 2010

attica two-time winner in best of halifax survey

Attica is thrilled to be selected once again in The Coast Magazine's Best of Halifax annual readership survey. Attica has the honour of being selected as the winner in two categories: Best Furniture Store and Best Home Accessories Store. Says one Coast reader: "They have the greatest variety of cutting edge furniture in the Maritimes, and probably on par with any in the country."

Suzanne Saul, co-owner of Attica, was quoted by The Coast: “With Chris [Joyce] and I being artists, we’re trying to be artful in what we select. We aren’t trying to be mainstream in what we do. We don’t go for one look. We want to satisfy different looks and content in a contemporary context. We’re not following any trends. Hopefully we’ve been setting them.”

For Best Home Accessories Store, Attica is now a Hall of Fame Inductee, because of its continuous mutiple wins. The Coast is now retiring this category from future Best of Halifax surveys.

The owners and staff would like to thank the readers of The Coast for their kind support and acknowledgement. Thanks so much!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

meet dawn from update interiors

Every year in Halifax that it occurs, Attica is involved in a charity fundraiser for the Kids Help Phone, which employs the assistance of the local interior design community to decorate and furnish a home for public display. I remember several years ago, during the 2005 Kids Help Phone Designer Showcase there was a last minute cancellation by one of the decorators who was doing the large ensuite bathroom, and the team had to scramble to find someone to quickly take over and renovate the space.

The clock was ticking; there wasn't many weeks left before the room had to be photographed by Metro Guide Publishing for the magazine. As well, most of the decorators try to avoid taking bathrooms and kitchens for Showcase because they're more labour-intensive and it's difficult to coordinate all of the other suppliers, especially in a short amount of time.

Enter Dawn Munden from Update Interiors. She knew she didn't have much time, but she had a vision and a plan. Many of us who were working in teams at the Showcase house were a little concerned. We weren't familiar with Dawn and Update, and we were wondering if she could pull it off at such a late stage.

We didn't need to worry. Quietly and efficiently, she set to work, and before we knew it she had beautifully transformed the drab bathroom with a bold, contemporary design. On time, on budget and in style. She even took the time to help other decorators with their spaces and forge many lasting friendships.

Over the years we've seen Dawn's friendly face in the store numerous times, working on projects both large and small. She is very sensitive to her clients' needs and to their budgets, and works hard to make sure that her clients have stylish spaces that they are comfortable in and happy with for years to come. Update has built its reputation by decorating exceptional spaces from single family homes, condominiums, and corporate offices, to award winning retail show rooms.

Above: an open concept dining room and living room designed by Update Interiors; furnishings from Attica.
Above: a master bedroom and ensuite sitting room designed by Update Interiors; furnishings from Attica.

Above: an open concept condominium designed by Update Interiors; most furnishings from Attica.

To learn more about how Dawn Munden and Update Interiors can help you with your interiors, please visit:

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

astonish me

“Etonnez moi! Astonish me!” These were the words of the French modernist, writer and dramatist, Jean Cocteau that resonate when we look at the new collection from 18 Karat, soon to be on display at Attica on Barrington Street in Halifax. From last season’s whiteness, this fall we’re moving into a burst of oceanic blue and orange accessories, so fresh and alive.

From there we go to the black and white cava vases, which tower a surprising seventy-seven inches tall. Added to this is an expansion of the furniture collection, with more variations in solid wood, marble, stainless steel, leather, wool and linen.

The beauty of the natural forms and the sensitivity to materials let the forms stand the test of time. So, come to Attica and be astonished with something new.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

fireland cherry

Attica is thrilled to bring back the Corteza collection, made from Fireland cherry. Fireland cherry, as it is commercially known, is grown in cold, mountainous terrain. The forests in Chile fall under rigid government control, a measure to ensure the sustainability and continuance of such environmental treasures.

The Corteza collection is particularly striking. The thick, solid top has a beautiful, smooth finish, with the edge showing the natural contours of the tree edge. On the dining table this is contrasted by the dark, rectangle base.

The Corteza buffet, as well, features a dark wooden frame which allows the eye to follow the sensuous, natural edge on the buffet doors.
This is repeated on the Corteza coffee table. The dark, simple block legs allow the viewer to focus on the luxurious edges of the table top.
Visit Attica to learn more about the Corteza and other environmentally friendly pieces of furniture.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

live with what you love

Well, it's been such a busy couple of weeks, but I would be remiss if I didn't talk about what a great seminar we had at the store, "Live With What You Love", presented by Jonathan Legate. We were overwhelmed with the turnout, and Jonathan's topic was quite timely.

Now, more than ever, we look to our home to feel safe, to feel comforted. Home can be a sanctuary, and a place that you love to be in all year around. It's not a place that you decorate for others, but create as a haven for yourself.

Said Jonathan: "Living with what you love means gathering the things around you that mean something to you. It’s a process of gathering and collecting that takes time.

Living with what you love can mean displaying your collections, old photographs, art, grandma’s dining room table or anything else that means something to you. It’s about having the confidence to express your personal style and expose the true you to the world."

To assist the audience members, Jonathan created four mini storyboards of four different rooms: foyer, living room, dining room and bedroom. Each of these featured something that the imaginary owner has collected, and served as inspiration for each room. With an artist's eye, Jonathan explained how each piece selected created visual balance and interest in the room.

Following the seminar was a question and answer period with Jonathan. Audience members weren't shy, and some were quite prepared for the day, and brought in binders of their rooms!

It was a great presentation, and we thank Jonathan Legate for helping us to commemorate Attica's fifteenth anniversary in such a special way with his seminar.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

attica's anniversary sale on until august 15th

Come to Attica for a storewide savings of 15% off all instock, regularly priced items! Plus, there's other markdowns on select items, for a savings of up to 50%.

Check out the 15th anniversary sale at Attica, which is open seven days a week for your shopping convenience. Attica's 15th anniversary sale runs until August 15th!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

found objects found in new furniture

Attica is carrying a new collection of furniture that combines new and old materials. The designer for this line sources materials that can’t be found in the market place such as discarded telephone poles and other flooring that is hundreds of years old, combined with new wood such as American walnut. There’s a beauty in discarded, and this distressed, patina on the wood is even more striking when juxtaposed with the smooth, clean material.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

attica celebrates 15th anniversary

15 years ago two art college graduates, Christopher Joyce and Suzanne Saul, didn't have any money but they had an idea about bringing good design, in all price points, to the good people of Halifax and beyond. They found a really large studio space on the second floor of a building Gottingen Street. The space was over 3000 sq. ft., and it had hardwood floors and track lighting. Chris only needed about 1000 sq. ft. for his furniture workshop, so Suzanne said, "Let's go in with a big idea - let's start a store in the other part of the space."

Chris made accessories and furniture in his workshop (stone, steel and wood end table by Chris is shown above), and the new Attica showroom was filled with work by local craftspeople and artists. It was difficult to get customers to visit this second storey location, and if eight people came over an eight hour period, then that was considered a good day. It was Chris's custom work that paid the bills, and after struggling for two years, Suzanne and Chris realized that if Attica was to survive they would have to move.
In 1997, they took a leap of faith and secured a location in Halifax's downtown core on Granville Street. While the street was quiet, it was street level. With a $5,000 line of credit to buy inventory and renovate the space, combined with a whole lot of sweat equity, Attica opened again to the public. Slowly, as funds would allow, in addition to the handmade items, Attica expanded into contemporary production furniture and accessories.

Attica continued to grow, and be the first to introduce many products, such as the Michael Graves Bird Whistle Kettle, or the Tolomeo Desk Lamp, in addition to featuring the latest in Canadian contemporary design. The store received press locally, nationally, and internationally. In 2000 Attica expanded to Newfoundland and opened the province's first contemporary furniture boutique.

Today, Attica has grown to a four-storey location in a beautiful historic building on Barrington Street for the flagship Halifax store, and a hip boutique location on Freshwater Road in St. John's, Newfoundland. Attica continues to set the trends for home design in Atlantic Canada.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

decorating with white

For years, many thought that white walls looked unfinished. Now, the trend is back to white, but with care to add warmth and texture to the room. This kitchen above, for example, features white; it is kept monochromatic with the white walls, white cupboard and counters, and white marble floor.

It's not, however, by any means boring. Visual excitement is added through a variety of elements. The grey marbling on the floor and wall carries the eye up and across the kitchen. A bold collection of large handmade vases by Eighteen Karat captivates and maintains interest through their commanding use of texture. The stainless steel counter adds the metal element to the room, while still reinforcing the neutral palette. The architectural Mu solid wood stools from Eighteen Karat provide warmth, while the reproduction print "Composing Chaos" from Eighteen Karat at the end of the kitchen lends pattern repetition to stimulate the viewer.

When carefully considered, white is not boring at all, but fresh and exciting.

Monday, July 12, 2010

christopher joyce featured in east coast living magazine

The newest issue of East Coast Living Magazine features an interview with Attica co-owner and artist Christopher Joyce. Magazine editor Janice Hudson interviews Chris on his diverse art and design interests and inspirations, as well as his latest venture in designing rugs for Hellenic Canada. Shown here is Chris next to an image of a rug based on an aerial map of Toronto, part of a series of map rugs of world fashion capitals, handtufted in India from New Zealand wool. His rug designs were also listed by The Globe and Mail as one of the "funkiest introductions" at this year's Canadian Home Furnishings Market in Toronto.

To read Janice's article on Chris, please visit:

Sunday, July 11, 2010

jonathan legate to give free decorating seminar at attica on july 28th

"Live With What You Love": this is a free lunchtime decorating seminar by Jonathan Legate, being held at Attica on Wednesday, July 28th, from 11:45 to 1:00 p.m. A light lunch is provided.

His work is both contemporary and traditional, often in a surprising yet seamless integration. He has been featured in various media, and in spring 2009 was Canadian Home and Country’s first Nova Scotian cover in its 20-year history.

Driven not only by clients’ tastes and requirements, but by their personalities, Jonathan creates homes that express the essential natures of their owners. In this seminar, Jonathan will help to give you the confidence to create a personal space that you truly love.

Seating for this seminar at Attica, 1566 Barrington St., downtown Halifax, is limited, so please RSVP early by emailing

Saturday, July 10, 2010

high polished stainless steel and chrome

Sometimes in the store I hear someone refer to an item as "chrome and glass" or "chrome and leather". Sometimes they are right in saying this, and sometimes they are not. We also carry products that are made from a high polished stainless steel, which is a much more labour-intensive process, and stainless steel commands a higher price than chromed metal.

While polished stainless steel has the shine of chrome, there are some other differences. Stainless steel resists attack by rust "all the time" while chrome plated steel resists attack by rust only until any flaw or crack appears or is created. It is then vulnerable to attack. A scratch on stainless steel, while unsightly, is not going to open a path for attack by rust.

Which is better? Well, it's not always clear. It depends on how well the chrome plating was done, what grade of stainless is used, and how the stainless was finished, as well as the exposure conditions. Purists, however, will prefer the polished stainless steel. It looks similar to chrome in it's mirror finish, but resonates more color, allowing you to see the true metal without it being covered by plating.

Friday, July 9, 2010

tripod collection: american modern design

Strong geometric forms combine with solid wood and traditional craftsmanship for a new definition of American modern design. In this collection, the tripod form is famous for its unique strength and efficient use of material. The key to the execution of the Tripod vertical design is the unique joint making that unites the three leg elements in a long tapering joint. This table is available in six different sizes, in several different stains. The chairs are available in an arm and side version in a variety of fabrics. Come to Attica to see more American modern designs.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

a mid-century classic

A mid-century classic, the Bubble Lamp was first designed by George Nelson in 1947 and was produced by Howard Miller starting in the early 1950s and ending in 1979. Our supplier has reissued the Nelson Bubble Lamps to the original specifications, using the original Howard Miller tooling. These famous lamps are part of the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York, and are available at Attica.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

candela doesn't blow out in the wind

Light the night with OXO Candela Glow rechargeable lights. The warm, ambient LED lights can be left unattended and won't blow out in the wind. With 8 hours of run time, these versatile lights create ambiance on the dinner table or bedside, while entertaining or reading alone. Portable and cordless, they are suitable for many uses and occasions. The long-lasting Glow rechargeable LED lights are brighter, safer, cleaner, more durable and easier to use than candles.

The kiddies don't have to feel left out, as this innovative series also has several night lights just for them, but adults will love them, too! Ward off the darkness with OXO Candela Tooli nightlights. Tooli warm, ambient LED lights make great bedside companions. Providing 8 hours of soothing light, there's plenty of time to make sure that even the most restless little ones are off to dreamland. Simple even for children, Tooli lights illuminate automatically when lifted from the charger base or if the electricity goes out. Tooli is intuitive, safe and portable. Best of all, it's perfect for brave trips to the bathroom at midnight.

Visit Attica to see more style of Candela LED lights for adults and kids.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

umbra celebrates 30th anniversary

A directive at Attica has always been to look for good design at all price points, which has led us to companies like Umbra. We began carrying Umbra in the mid-1990's, shortly after we first opened. Umbra was our very first manufacturer; before then, all of the items that we carried were one-of-a-kind. We were drawn to Umbra's innovative design aesthetics, and the fact that the price points made the products accessible to everyone.

Les Mandelbaum and Paul Rowan, two childhood friends in Canada, began Umbra in 1979, and it is now one of the most creative forces in the home furnishings industry. Thirty years later, they have built their business to over one hundred million dollars a year in seventy-five countries around the world.

Perhaps one of Umbra's most famous products is the Garbino, a wastebasket designed by Karim Rashid that revolutionized how people thought about the place to store their trash. I remember how excited we were at Attica when it hit the scene. Today, the Garbino is one of Umbra's best selling products and is a design icon. It's design has been so successful, in fact, that it has earned a spot in the Museum of Modern Art's permanent collection.

Not bad for a product that sells for under $9.00!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

contemporary bamboo furniture

Attica is introducing a new line of bamboo furniture for the home that boasts clean lines and simple forms. There's a full range of items, from dining sets, occasional tables, office and storage items to bedroom sets. Added to the pleasing design is the fact that bamboo is a green material.

Bamboo is one of the earth's fastest growing plants and it is a grass that grows to maturity in 5 years or less. Bamboo is the product derived from the forests of a fully sustainable, environmentally friendly and rapidly growing renewable resource.

The bamboo furniture that we are carrying uses only the maturated Moso bamboo that is at least 5 years old, to ensure hardness and stability. The classic bamboo is 20% harder than oak, and exotic bamboo is 100% harder than red oak.

Visit us to see a range of bamboo furniture items.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

organic forms

Attica is featuring a unique collection of furniture made from found woods such as teak, rosewood and makha. We found this collection on a recent buying trip, and fell in love with the sensual nature of these beautiful, natural forms.

Made by skilled craftsmen from reclaimed wood, each piece of sustainable furniture is one-of-a-kind. These eco-friendly, organic, pieces that will help bring an exotic quality to your space.

Monday, May 10, 2010

stainless and teak outdoor furniture

Attica is carrying a new line of outdoor furniture - new to us but made by a company that has been producing the highest quality, award-winning products for ninety years.

There are several reasons why choosing this furniture is a great idea. Firstly, the quality of the materials used: the highest grade of teak (tectona grandis), marine-quality solid brass and stainless steel fittings. Secondly, the quality of the designs, always created with careful attention to form and proportion. Thirdly, the quality of the construction, using traditional and tested methods. Lastly, you'll just love it for many years to come!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

18K Neighbourhood Store

Attica is now an 18Karat Neighbourhood store in both Halifax and St. John's, allowing us to exclusively introduce innovative collections for the home and body. The look is modern and simple, with collections that are fashionable yet comfortable to live with.

The products are imported from many countries around the world, and 18Karat is committed to working with factories and cottage industry producers that maintain fair and honourable business ethics. 18Karat's products support the workers in developing countries who rely on their handicrafts to provide the necessities of living for themselves and their families. Most products are hand made.

Based in Vancouver, 18Karat is a design-driven company, introducing over 500 new items annually. Many of the forms take their inspiration from the natural world. The look is often organic, fresh and simple, adding richness and texture to environments.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

catalina: stylish and eco-friendly

Increasingly manufacturers are taking notice of the demand for products that are produced in a more eco-friendly manner. The Catalina collection lets you satisfy your desire to minimize your carbon footprint while at the same time being at the height of contemporary design.

Combining the clean, unadorned lines of the International Modernists with organic and geometric forms, the Catalina Collection is suggestive of the works of America’s Mid-Century Modern designers. All pieces are crafted in solid American black walnut or maple hardwood, made from wood that is harvested from Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified woodlots and FSC certified sawmills. The Catalina bed is low and sleek, designed for a mattress only, and is available in two heights. It is perfectly complemented by a selection of case pieces, including a 3 drawer chest with organizer options for home entertainment equipment and a laptop desk that creates a trim, functional workspace.

The company that produces the Catalina, Copeland, has been awarded the 2009 Sage Award Winner for Environmental Excellence, and the Silver Exemplary Membership Status by the Sustainable Furnishings Council. Says Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) Professor Roseanne Somerson: Copeland Furniture's furniture manufacture includes a strong commitment to the principles of sustainability, durability and quality construction. This approach is more and more rare in American manufacturing, although the environmental issues of our times beg for more companies to think about the ramifications of how and what they manufacture. Copeland is a leader in demonstrating how a strong value system coupled with quality design and manufacturing can make a positive impact for this generation and those that will follow."