Friday, November 28, 2014

omar gandhi: harbour heights residence

We went to hear Omar Gandhi talk this past week at NSCAD University about his career to date in architecture. I sat there during his presentation, and felt grateful that he chose to use his talent in Nova Scotia, touched by his honesty and humility, and enamoured by his body of work and modern design sensibility.

One of Gandhi's most recent projects is situated on the western side of Cape Breton Island, nestled atop a hillside adjacent to the Inverness Harbour and MacIsaac’s Pond. In this naturally romantic setting, the cedar clad minimalist gable overlooks the town of Inverness and the critically acclaimed Cabot Links golf course.

The project as described by Omar: "From the main road the home is presented as a single storey with a perpendicular garage. From the opposite side, falling down the hill is second storey of modern glass and crafted cedar cladding. The entrance is on the second level along with the main living spaces, which include the living room, dining room and kitchen. The main stairwell is flanked by two storeys of glass. The lower level includes the bedrooms and family room. The master bedroom is bumped out from the primary linear gable massing and is clad on three sides with glass, giving it the ultimate view. The children’s rooms are finished with bright playful colours which radiate from the mature modern cedar form of the house. The living and dining rooms are separated by a change in level and a central hearth. The fireplace chimney extends upwards through the grand space of the cathedral ceiling.

The exterior cladding is composed of western red cedar in three forms – shingles on the roof and upper level and two widths of boards on the lower levels."

On his design philosophy: "We believe that walking the site together is a natural place to start. Not only do the people involved get a chance to know each other away from the confines of an office, but we, more importantly, see the rise and fall of the land. The land is the essential element and has a story of its own. Long before we discuss interior design, we discuss the landscape and how architecture could enhance it. If the land needs to be cleared, we discuss how we can save or restore its natural beauty. If there is an interesting natural element, like an outcrop, we confer about incorporating it into our plans. We learn where the sun rises and sets in relation to our vision.  In walking and talking, client and architect become the first two links in a strong chain."

Furniture from Attica: the Alexander sofa, Studio side table, and New York chairs.

Furniture from Attica: the Alexander sofa, Studio side table, and New York chairs.

Venice stools in Kiwi from Attica

Furniture from Attica: the Alexander sofa, Studio side table, and New York chairs.

Furniture from Attica: Studio side table and New York chairs

Project credits: PROJECT CREDITS:
LOCATION: Inverness, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, Canada
PROJECT STATUS: Completed Summer 2014
CLIENTS: Allie Barclay and Ben Cowan-Dewar
DESIGN: Omar Gandhi, Peter Braithwaite, David Greenwell
INTERIORS: Jill Greaves Design
CONTRACTOR: David MacLean and Sons
STRUCTURAL: Joe Janega Engineering
Photos by Greg Richardson

Saturday, November 8, 2014

living on the edge: the vega collection

New at Attica is the Vega dining table, bench and buffet by Nuevo Living. Made from solid seared oak with featuring a live edge, the Vega collection adds a sophisticated, modern look to any space.

The metal legs provide a mid-century flair, and combine beautifully with the rustic nature of the planked wood top.

Partner your Vega table with the Vega bench, either on one side of the table with chairs on the other side and ends, or use two benches with a chair on either end of the table.

The simple design of the three door buffet highlights the live edge feature by placing it at the bottom of the doors.

Visit Attica to find out more about the Vega collection and other Nuevo Living products.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

the making of "breaking bread": attica creates a modern art & pop culture dining room at dine by design east

Breaking Bread - a dining display by Christopher Joyce and Suzanne Saul from Attica for Dine By Design East 2014
It's hard to believe that after all of these months of planning another Dine By Design East (DBDE) has just finished! This year marked the second annual DBDE, presented by East Coast Living Magazine. As co-founder with the magazine and Halifax decorator, Jonathan Legate, it's very gratifying to see the close of another successful event, which brought together so many talented designers and chefs, and so many wonderful volunteers. Our combined efforts mean that we're able to help send more design students to study at NSCAD University through the Amber Harkins Memorial Scholarship Fund.

We thought for our booth display that as we're NSCAD graduates, and because we're creating a dining room environment that helps to send someone to NSCAD, our intent would be to immerse the diner in modern art and pop culture. One wall is a tribute to Roy Lichtenstein, the other Andy Warhol, and the floor plays homage to Jackson Pollock. The wall made of burnt toast features Miley Cyrus, who is a current pop culture icon.

The back wall we dedicated to Andy Warhol, and instead of the 32 Campbell Soup cans he first exhibited, we decided to use 18 canvases to allow some breathing space as we had two large murals on the flanking walls. For fun, we made up our own names for the soup with Canadian East Coast themes, like "Cream of Fiddlehead", "Acadian Chicken Fricot", "Mussel Bouillabaisse" and "Moose Stew". 

Our most time-consuming project was to create an 8x10 mural inspired by pop artist Roy Lichenstein, who was known for his high impact, iconic graphics, and whose work often parodied comic book imagery. While his finished pieces look simple, we didn't really realize what we were in for! The most challenging aspect was producing the dot pattern. We experimented with spray painting and rolling paint over a template, but had problems with bleeding. All that was left for us to do was to roll up our sleeves and apply one dot at a time! Needless to say, it took many, many hours to do.

I must say that we were having many moments of anxiety working on this large mural. We were so worried that the woman in the mural was going to look like she had a bad sunburn, as we were unsure of the scale that we had chosen for the red dots of her skin. 

It wasn't until the black paint was applied that we were able to relax, as it seemed to magically tone down the redness of her skin. What a relief! For the text, we changed the original to say, "Oh, Jeff...I love it, too,'s not local".

 Next came the Miley Cyrus toast wall. My mom kindly helped us by spending eight hours drying out the bread in the oven and laying it out on tables to dry. Gluing the bread to panels was more difficult than we thought, as many of the pieces broke and had to be replaced. Also, some of the bread slices were a little squished so they were unusable.

Chris used a small blow torch for the fine shading on the face. With just a couple of days before setting up our booth display, and with still much to do, there wasn't much room for error!

Lastly, we were on to our Pollock inspired floor. With seven colours, and four and a half gallons later, the drip painted floor was done. We were skeptical, however, that the paint would be dry in time to set up our booth display.

Although we still think we need a few days more to recover from the intensity of it all, we had such a great experience. When we create an environment, we like to feel connected to it, and one of the best ways we know how is through having real art in the space, combined with great design!