Ask Maria: My New Cherry Desk Makes the Room Look Dark! Help

I have seen rooms like this so many times and heard this question so often that when I received this Ask Maria question the other day, I decided to post it.  Not everyone has the luxury of having every single spare room or office look like it belongs in a magazine right? So here’s the question: I recently bought an office desk, cherry wood in color. I’m still working on ... Continue Reading

5 Steps to Designing a Classic Stone Exterior

If you had seen as many DIY designed houses as I have over the years, you’d understand why this post turned into a bit of a rant.  WARNING: If YOU have built a new house with stone or brick, or both and are unhappy with the result, I recommend that you just skip this one. I don’t want to leave anyone feeling bad.  This post will only be useful to those ... Continue Reading

Ask Maria: I Don’t Like all 4 Walls of my Painted Room, Help!

I received a great question the other day that I don’t think I’ve covered on the blog so here it is. I was once in a house where the homeowner had painted one wall in her kitchen 11 times. This is a similar situation: Maria, I have color problem I have not been able to solve.  I painted my walls BM Shaker Beige.  It looks great on all the walls except one.  ... Continue Reading

The Single Worst Mistake to Make During Your Bathroom Renovation

The perfect bath starts with an inspiration starting point like this mirror. When Jan and I were business partners, we renovated a few kitchens together, so when I managed the renovation of my kitchen five years ago when we bought the house we’re in, I was comfortable, I felt like I knew what I was doing. I have NEVER managed a bathroom renovation. I don’t do this for clients.  I ... Continue Reading

Before & After: The Easy Way to Brighten a Dark Room

Today I’m sharing another one-day transformation with you. Y’all know how much I love the instant gratification that styling brings to a room! Laura and Craig on their wedding day My personal trainer Laura works at Innovative Fitness (owned by my sister Elizabeth and her husband Bill).  Laura’s husband Craig, is currently in California studying to be a Chiropractor. Laura and Craig were married for less than a year before ... Continue Reading

Do’s and Dont’s for Decorating with Black Outside; Before & After

House Beautiful Lately I am crushing on black outside. When I see it against all the green it reminds me of how good black, white and kelly green palettes look in interiors. Image via Style at Home But you have to be careful when introducing black, there’s a tipping point where suddenly the interior OR exterior is just TOO black. So here are my do’s and dont’s for decorating with ... Continue Reading

My New Boxwood Garden Beds; Before & After

Well it’s been awhile since I’ve posted pictures of my garden. To update those readers who are new, four years ago, I demolished my entire garden, the front and back yard, and installed brand new landscaping, with the help of my fabulous landscape designer MaryAnne White. I’ll get to my new boxwood beds in a moment, here are a few before’s and after’s of the garden as it looks now. ... Continue Reading

How I Saved $1500 in my Bathroom Renovation

Jan Romanuk and I were business partners years ago. If you are building or renovating a home (anywhere on the North Shore in Vancouver) and need a designer to choose everything or a project manager, she is the one. There’s very little that Jan doesn’t know about the world of renovations in every aspect. She knows exactly where to source every little thing that your house might need. Jan Romanuk measuring the ... Continue Reading

Why I love this How to Decorate Podcast

So I’m an 80s child and lately we’ve discovered Apple Music for our iPhones. At Christmas, Terreeia and I treated ourselves to a new portable Bose stereo which, of course, are now wireless, and then we started creating Playlists on our phones. I created an 80s playlist which I listened to for a while in my car, but then got sick of it pretty fast. Raise your hand if you love ... Continue Reading

Exterior Consultation with Orange Stone and Brick: Before and After

My client Laura and I go way back. I decorated the interior of this house over 7 years ago. Their house is in Morgan Creek and their backyard overlooks the golf course (above). She has twin boys who will be heading to University next year and Laura and her husband will be downsizing. They have bought a fabulous, brand new condo in downtown Vancouver to experience city life and they will be ... Continue Reading

My Spring Workshop Season Recap plus the Winners of my 50 Gifts!

  I’m announcing the winners of my 50 gifts for turning 50 today on Canada’s 150th birthday! I thought I’d do a little round-up of my Spring workshop season at the same time. We have finally found and booked all the meeting rooms for our Fall lineup of workshops so this post also kicks off our Fall Specify Colour with Confidence season. The early bird discount will be in effect until ... Continue Reading

How Much Furniture Do You Really Need? (More Than You Think)

image source I had two client visits yesterday. The first client had a great room with a fireplace. In her interior, the best place to install the TV will be above the fireplace, so we talked about installing wing chairs to flank the fireplace. She mentioned that no one would sit there because you can’t see the television (example above). via Design Sponge The second client had a very awkward and narrow living/dining ... Continue Reading

Maria’s Bathroom Renovation Plans: Lighting and Vanity Design

So I’m pressed for time, the demolition of both my main bathroom and master bathroom starts on July 10 and the electrician is coming July 12 to do all the wiring, this means I need to order my lighting ASAP. I’m installing wall sconces with shades in both bathrooms because I like the soft light from fabric shades the best.  If you have a steamy bathroom, fabric shades are not recommended, ... Continue Reading

The Best Window Colour For Stone and Brick

This post is coming to you today from Tricia Firmaniuk, my, so talented Virtual Design Assistant: ___________________________________________________________________ We’re right in the middle of our busy exterior season, so if you haven’t tackled your exterior, and it needs updating, don’t worry! There is still time. Lovely brick and greige exterior from Atlanta Homes via the Home Bunch Recently, I updated the questionnaire for the exterior eDesign consultations to resolve an issue ... Continue Reading

Are you a Colour Scientist? Take This Test

via Cote de Texas Calling all colour scientists, I really need your help! First in order to find out how much of a scientist you are, I’m going to talk about a behavioural profile test called the DISC Assessment, and my observations from the people who attend my classes and comments that I receive. I’m talking about DISC because Terreeia is trained in analyzing this assessment. When she consults with her clients, ... Continue Reading

Faucets: High or Low Profile? Yay or Nay

Waterworks faucets I’m actually afraid to write this post because I know y’all will post all kinds of links to faucets that I love that might be even better and I just placed my order this week, I just haven’t had time to write this post sooner. As many of you know, I am renovating all three of my bathrooms this summer. The master (which I’m calling ‘my’ bathroom, the main ... Continue Reading