A Happy Sherwin Williams On-Line Consultation; Before & After

Calm and the right colours go together 🙂 source

A few days ago, I received this email from a client I had consulted with in early October from Kent, Michigan. One of the comments she made during the consultation was that she had come to the conclusion that if you make one small mistake at the beginning of a decorating project, you end up building on the mistake and then you don’t get the result you’re after.

On-line consultations with me are done one-on-one live and on the phone (I have an unlimited plan or overseas we can use Skype). We each have the same fan deck and I suggest colours as if I was in your house. That way you can give me immediate feedback on your likes and dislikes . We also ‘walk’ through your home and discuss your updates (if necessary) in addition you can get as much decorating advice as you need or want.  A good colour expert should also be a decorator or designer as you must be able to assess the room in terms of how to pull it together with the right colour drapery, upholstery, flooring, etc.

The following is the most amazing thank you I have received in a long time.  Thanks Bobbie for taking the time to write it!


Dear Maria,
I have never been more excited to say thank you.  You have stopped my merry-go-round of colors, accessories, wasted time and careless spending.  A calmness has entered my home and my personal insanity has ceased.  Yesterday I put the last piece of hardware on my cabinets and I am calling my project ‘done’. I have been in my garage sanding and painting for three weeks and have completely painted my home with the colors you have chosen.

We stood in the kitchen and laughed, not because anything was funny, but because of your expertise and knowledge to do something like this over the phone. You said it wasn’t green, it was grey.  Even though I failed to come close to finding it in the green section of the color fan, I was still floored when you had me put it next to the greys.  We laugh because now, next to the Silver Strand it looks gorgeous.  Almost like we bought it to match the cupboards!  What was the ugliest part of my kitchen is perhaps now my favorite. Wow.

I never thought 3 simple names; [Sherwin Williams] Kilim Beige, Toque White & Silver Strand, would bring me so much joy. It’s crazy. The new curtains are speechless. By the way, the ones you recommended from IKEA are discontinued.  I purchased these from JC Penny.  I am glad I spent the extra money. They are lined and just better made.  But you must know, your IKEA suggestion gave you brownie points with my husband who made me promise to hire you when we move in a couple of years. He loves and appreciates it as much as I do. He sees the torment I put upon myself.

I am still on the hunt for a couple of things, maybe some art for the kitchen and for a few other suggestions that you gave me for the living room. Maybe a little hesitant too, the last thing I want to do is make more mistakes :).  I had the matching end table down stairs still in the box and purchased a matching lamp.  Why didn’t I have room for it before?? The colors you chose for me softened and warmed my home.  The outdated permanent fixtures (and pricey permanent mistakes) are now not as offensive. I put together a power point slide show, I hope you are able to open and view it. You did such a great job. I can’t thank you enough for coming to work everyday and sharing your talents. I will be calling on you again in 2 years.  Sincerely, Bobbie D. and family

Bobbie wanted help with choosing a white to paint her oak kitchen cabinets in addition to new colours in her living and dining room.  She realized that the accent wall in the dining room wasn’t right and the existing pale blue gray colour was not doing anything for her living room. The issue here was that the accent wall did not relate to anything in the room and especially with the existing carpeting (which was staying).


Same with the rusty drapes and red cushions. The shiny satin of the pillows did not work for the casual feeling living room, and again, we had the issue of the bossy carpet.  When your broadloom is this dark, it is soooo not neutral anymore, it becomes a fixed colour that you must consider when choosing other pieces and colours for the room.  You could certainly layer another carpet over this one but it’s still too strong to ignore. I loved her lamp and suggested a rectangular coffee table with another end table on the other side of the sofa.  I also recommended that she repeat the white sofa in curtains and install the rod as close to the ceiling as possible.

I suggested SW Kilim Beige because other than the white sofa the carpet was the next largest, fixed element in the room.
Then we got to her kitchen.  Bobbie said the green countertop really bothered her as well as the accent tile in the backsplash. I suggested a greeny gray shade SW Silver Strand for the bottom of the cabinets to relate to the countertops because if we had stuck to white for the whole kitchen it would have been too much with the whitish gray 90’s tile. 

Her backsplash tile also had to go, so we painted it out! This is also the reason I always counsel my clients to keep it simple!
We painted the walls in the kitchen the same colour. The floorplan was open from the dining to the kitchen and there was no other colour in the living room that we could draw upon to create flow, so in this case the same colour was the way to go.
Before                                                                                             After

What a difference white paint on dated oak cabinets makes!  Thanks Bobbie for showing us the after photos!

It’s all in the Undertones, download my ebook here. (if you have a computer you can download my book)

If you would like your home to fill you with happiness every time you walk in, contact me.

To make sure the undertones in your home are right, get some large samples!

If you would like to learn to how choose the right colours for your home or for your clients, become a True Colour Expert.


Related posts:
Colour & Condoms
White Kitchen Cabinets
A Something’s Gotta Give Kitchen Cabinet Dilemma
How to Update an 80’s Kitchen with Colour

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leave aREPLY

  1. Great example of your consultations! I think this will be helpful to a lot of your readers. How was your Thanksgiving?

  2. Dear Maria, Wow!! Way to go! You did a fantabulous job! I just adore the choices you made. I'm not at all surprised but these photos give me such encouragement that when we do our house in January, we will have similarly stunning results. :o) I will have to show this post to Tim. I think he will have no problem letting us paint the wood wainscoting and the cabinets in the bathroom as you suggested.

    This is just incredibly impressive! Oh..December is going to be such a LONG wait!

    Well, I will be doing a super duper post when I get my house done too. I know your advice will be just as life changing for us as it was for this reader too. I'm so grateful for your advice. BTW, did you know I posted a photo of the new sofa a few days ago?

    I'm going to take down the bright quilt and blue curtains since they won't match any more and make drapes that will work better with the cocoa chocolate couch. It's more modern and I'm so relieved! Now we just need painted to walls in our new paint to make the living room..well, not perfect, but much better. :o)

    Thanks again, Maria, for the consultation. I'm just sorry we have to wait so long to put it to good use. Painting my father's home, was not part of my original home renovation plans. :o)

    Donna @ Comin' Home

  3. You really know what you're doing Maria!! Congrats on a job well done, you might frame that wonderful thank you note!

    Come and Enter my giveaway from Fifi Flowers!

    Art by Karena

  4. Maria,

    Most people don't understand design language/terms but photo's speak everyone's language.

    Visuals work every time and you can see clients relax and say "yes that's it" and that's thrilling to hear as a designer because we aim to "make it work".

    Saying "thank you" are words we need to hear more not less and as we enter the challenges of a new year I hope we do. Thank You!


  5. Way more talent than the average is required to do a successful consultation like that over the phone! Bravo and thanks for sharing this — pictures do say more than words ever can. I totally agree that someone who is consulting on color should know about design, too — as you've shown, picking colors that work is all about the big picture and the tweaks to make it all come together. This is a lovely job and I can understand why your client was thrilled! You are in a class by yourself, my friend 🙂

  6. Hi, Maria
    I've always had in my gut that you were the right person to contact for a decorating consultation, but now Im convinced not that I didn't think you were'nt good enough but because Im overseas and I couldn't understand how in the world this could be done. Be sure I will contact you in the new coming year. The results are great, love those colors. I really want to smile when I come into my home.


  7. Maria,

    Okay, I am now EVEN more excited about our consultation. Remember when I said I wasn't sure how it was going to work over the phone. TOTALLY at ease now! Thank you so much for posting and thank your client for being willing to share her home! How funny that I have made the SAME mistakes in my home (the golden drapery and red shiny pillows), why do we (clients) think that will work in a casual living room??? I sure had no idea why not until this post 🙂

    Okay, I'm going to TRY and get some sleep (it's like Xmas Eve) until our consultation day!

    Talk with you soon,
    Annette in California

  8. BRAVA maria!
    how rewarding and satisfying for both of you. keep posting your work, it is fun to see and you are amazing.
    isn't the internet gret

  9. Maria! The touches of the white curtains and white kitchen cabinets are genius! The living spaces look so much bigger and more modern that way. Great dramatic change. Love it 🙂


  10. Luciane From HomeBunch.com

    Wow… simple, but smart steps made this house look 10 x better. I am thinking about painting my cabinets and this was very helpful!

    Thank you,


    Luciane at HomeBunch.com

  11. I love use of the internet and only wished I new more about blogging when I attempted my design business. This would have been the perfect vehicle. However, I appreciate and applaud your showing your readers how simple things such as paint and color and some minor changes can have a great impact on a space. I'm still working on my neighbor who hates his apartment. I told him…all it needs is fresh paint and it would change his life 🙂 Great post.

  12. I love the before and after pictures. Your blog gave me the courage to ingnore my husband's stance that you don't paint stained solid wood cabinets! I am now in the midst of painting my oak cabinets a creamy white. It has made a world of difference and my heart sings now everytime I walk into my kitchen. Your blog is my inspiration!

  13. I loved the kitchen cabinets, and am wondering whether they were painted by hand or professionally spray-painted. I am concerned about the brush strokes showing. Do you have any secrets for prevent that from happening?

  14. Hi Elizabeth,
    If you use oil it's self leveling and i would recommend using a small roller as much as possible. It's more expensive to get them professionally sprayed but that's what a lot of people do.

    Thanks for your comment!

  15. Oh my, I did a double take. I have the same awful oak cabinets with green countertop! Is the countertop the same in the before & after photos? It went from green to gray! I'm planning to paint my cabinets also, but don't want to invest in a countertop right now. This gives me hope that it will look SO much better even with my current countertop.

  16. Color Me Happy enlightens me everyday and makes me a better ReDesigner. Love the idea of painting out annoying backsplash tile…Does it take a special type of paint? And did you paint every tile or just the bossy border? Thanks, Ginger

  17. Kilim beige is such a popular color. Isn’t it the dreaded pinky beige along with all the other colors on that strip?

    • Yes and in this case since the carpet was pink beige and so dominant in the room it worked to coordinate the paint colour.