Spidey Senses Only Work Until they Don’t

My last two Specify Colour With Confidence™ events held back to back in Toronto and then New Jersey were off the charts! I have been so inspired meeting designers and colour enthusiasts from all over the country who have followed my work for so many years. One designer in Toronto (who wanted to remain nameless) told me that after she did my course 4 years ago, her annual income went up ... Continue Reading

Styling, Waxing and Country Living in New York State: Before & After

The following photos are taken with my iPhone 6 (not as awesome as usual 😉   My long distance client Lisa Partelow lives in Clinton Corners, New York with her sweet husband Harold, and her two boys, age 2 and 4. She says her dream in life was pretty simple. To live on acreage and be able to look out the window and see her two horses. And that’s exactly what ... Continue Reading

The Barbara Barry Guide to Instagram (Through My Living Room)

Styling & Photo by Maria Killam I recently bought Barbara Barry’s book Around Beauty and became completely obsessed! Amazon In the introduction, the author writes that after you read Barbara Barry’s book, you become even more aware of simply finding the beauty in every day, and that is exactly what happens when you read her book. You suddenly find yourself dusting off your teacups (or buying some if you don’t have any). ... Continue Reading

The Four Best Whites for your Open Plan House

I was recently quoted in Cottage White magazine along with other fabulous colour experts and it’s available in the newsstands now. Here’s my quote: “People seem to agonize over whites more than any other color because once you start comparing whites, that’s where the trouble starts,” says decorator Maria Killam, author of the e-books How to Choose Paint Colours: It’s All in the Undertones and White Is Complicated: A Decorator’s ... Continue Reading

How to Save Money (While Renovating) With a Second Opinion

Home Bunch Sometimes I think people get fixated on the wrong things when they’re renovating. They spend wildly here, then get stingy there. Even worse, if you’re doing a renovation on your own without the input of a design professional, you’ll swing back and forth even more. For example, you’ll think the more expensive fireplace insert is important, but then forget about the colour. One client showed me a brochure and the insert they were ... Continue Reading

Sometimes I Am My Mother

  This is me 🙂 Many of you know how close I am to my Mother. I’m secretly glad she had us kids when she was so young (my Mom was 20 when I was born), because that means she’ll be with us longer! Hopefully forever! Pinterest My mother has so much energy it’s hard to contribute to her. When I’m at her house and she needs something upstairs, for ... Continue Reading

It’s a Charcoal Tile Intervention (Don’t Miss This One)

Pinterest I’m depressed. My Mom is looking for a cottage trailer up in Vernon (as a second home). It’s 5 hours from here, warmer and dryer in the summer and she already spends a lot of time there. This means less time with my Mom here in the country (where I already moved to be close to her) because she’ll be up there more often. Yesterday morning over our 5:30 AM coffee, ... Continue Reading

10 Tips To Transform Your Exterior

I specify lots of exterior colours during the spring and summer each year, but because most of it is done online, I rarely get an after picture. When I do get one, the sun is slanting on the house, which kind of wrecks the shot, or there’s no grass in the yard. . . and I really should just be there to take the picture. Here I will share tips to ... Continue Reading

The Trends you Need to Know Right Now for 2017

Blue + White Lillian August I’m back home from High Point Market and I’m excited to share what’s new for 2017 and beyond: Here are the top trends that I saw starting with florals: Flowers When flowers hit light fixtures? That’s how you know they are a huge trend. I talked about overscale flowers and flowers on fabrics with black backgrounds last Spring when I was here. Kate Spade had an entire ... Continue Reading

How to Make Earthy Tile Look Expensive

True Colour Expert Traci Zeller had a budget to manage for the model house she had been hired to decorate and she had to spread it around strategically to get the biggest bang for the buck. This is what a great designer does best and I talk about it all the time in my events. My favourite part of helping my clients choose a look and feel for their new ... Continue Reading

What Lego Can Teach YOU About Using PayPal

Every Monday my nephews Markus and William (above) come to my home for pizza night. A few weeks ago they arrived with a Playmobile flyer that they had just received in the mail. They already have a Playmobil house and advised me ‘Auntie Designer’ that they needed some furniture to go with it. So I said, let’s look for some to buy on-line and have it shipped to your house. ... Continue Reading

Ask Maria: Help! Should my Carpet be Dark or Light Outside?

Cream stone and cream cushions, lovely | source If you are not a colour expert or not even close, chances are, when you’re considering which colour is right for your interior, whether it’s flooring, carpets, furniture or paint, you might find yourself asking the question, do I go dark or light? Instead of the question you should be asking which is: Does this ______ relate to this room? Does this ______ pull ... Continue Reading

Why a Colourful Sofa is as Timeless as Subway Tile

Madcap Cottage Collection My favourite source for designer fabrics in Vancouver is the Robert Allen showroom. When I arrive to select a palette for a client, there’s always someone available who is dedicated to helping me pull it all together and the best part is they usually have ALL the memo samples–in stock–so I can have them immediately. This way I can easily see what’s working, what’s not and if ... Continue Reading

Tread Softly When Choosing a Plain (True) White

  Notice the background of the roman shade is cream along with the carpet but the trim, walls and chair is WHITE. Image via pinterest So the renovation that I mentioned here is starting next week, hooray! Habitat for Humanity is coming to remove all the espresso cabinets in the kitchen and bathrooms and install them somewhere else. So everything is moving along and that’s great right? For the kitchen cabinets I chose a true white to ... Continue Reading

Don’t Make These 5 Common Mistakes with your Exterior Colour

House Beautiful Choosing fixed elements in the current, dark trendy neutral. Recently I consulted with a couple on their new build. They spent 3 1/2 hours with me in my studio and we chose colours for all their major fixed elements for their interior like hardwood floors, countertops, tile, and then outside. When we got to the conversation about exterior colour and started looking at stone and brick colours, I informed them that ... Continue Reading

The Best Way to Plan Outfits for any Trip

Took this picture from our suite (above) Terreeia and I spent an extra day in Dallas after my Specify Colour with Confidence™ course ended there last week so we did a little shopping (most of my outfit actually). After all, we were only home for two days, in time to pack up for a 10 day vacation in Los Cabos and bring my Mom! She’s never been to Mexico, or an ... Continue Reading