Two Classic White Kitchens To Copy

We are finalizing the finishes and colours for Crystal’s white kitchen (see the before pics here). These are the two options we discussed. Option 1 Marble looking quartz with off-white cabinets and a walnut island with light floors (rift white oak), here are some inspiration pics. Via DecorPad This floor is darker than what we are installing but this is the idea (above). via Pinterest We are installing hardwood floors (NOT REMOTELY ... Continue Reading

How to Redesign a Bathroom that’s too Big

Via pinterest (combined shower and tub) Lately I’ve been thinking about house plans. I have seen so many of them that aren’t fabulous and it makes me wonder why there isn’t one website where you can go and find the best house plans. Floor plans that would make you weep with joy. This is what I think is missing in the marketplace today. Last night during dinner, one of the participants ... Continue Reading

I Heart New York: Where to Start When Defining Your Look

  My course in Vancouver last week was the best ever! I know it seems like I always say that but truly I never lead the same course twice. I’m always adding, tweaking, and working to make delivering my system better and better. Last week I added a new conversation–or more accurately inserted a much bigger emphasis–about adopting a classic aesthetic, in the course. Why? Because knowing how to create a classic look gives your ... Continue Reading

14 Inexpensive Ways to Get the Look of Real Art

  I’m currently in Austin, Texas at a Mastermind group (working on something I’m creating for all my True Colour Experts this year) at the Omni Hotel downtown! Then I leave for Dallas to lead my Specify Colour with Confidence™ event next week. What should we do on Sunday in Austin? I would love your comments, we haven’t made a formal plan yet! The cool view from our hotel room ... Continue Reading

Renovations have Exceptions Very Different from New Builds

The view from their house in the summer I usually get involved with a project AFTER the renovation, when it’s time to decorate. However, I have spent countless hours with clients helping them navigate and plan the colours and finishes for their renovation . What you should do first. What you should do second. What colour is your foundation palette? White or Cream? What is the look and feel of your new house going to ... Continue Reading

Master Bedroom in Serenity; Pantone’s Colour of the Year | Before & After

I emailed my client Barbara and asked if she had painted her bedroom yet (the room was finished but just needed the new wall colour). She replied “Yes, I have the bedroom painted  … AND …. it looks fabulous!   Love Love Love it!” Here it was before the transformation (above). We needed an area rug, a new duvet and custom bedskirt and different end tables. There was too much ... Continue Reading

Ask Maria: About Carpets, Oak Cabinets & Dining Chairs

I have received a few Ask Maria questions recently and some of the answers are too short for a whole blog post so I’m grouping four of them together in one. So here’s the first one: “I have oak cabinets that I can’t afford to replace. I need a smaller table for my kitchen.What color table Should I look for?” Normally, I need a photo in order to give the right ... Continue Reading

5 Steps To a Design Career Without the Formal Education

via HGTV My Mom was going out of town this past weekend but I received a text from her at 5:19 AM Saturday morning. If you’re not a Fin, you won’t be able to read half of this so I’ll translate. “Maria, come visit, I’m watching some amazing ted talks.” “But you’re going?” (I thought she was leaving really early)  “Not for two hours, come now”. “Do you have coffee?” Yes. ... Continue Reading

Encaustic Tiles: Should You Embrace the Trend?

Tiles via Amazon Those of you who have been reading my musings about accent tile for years now could have easily predicted that this post was coming. Well, here it is. First, you should know that I did not even know how to say Encaustic before January of this year? I still worry when I say it that I’m not pronouncing it right. The reason I’m telling you this is because until ... Continue Reading

The Secret to Feeling at Home

  Image via Design Sponge I have a treat for you today! Our virtual Director of Customer Service & Delight/Event Coordinator Lisa Borton, based out of Naperville, Illinois, has written a guest post for us. We asked everyone who applied for this position to write a blog post and I loved hers so much, I’m sharing it with you! Those of you who attended my Vancouver Specify Colour with Confidence™ event ... Continue Reading

Which Shape is Correct for your Kitchen Island?

I recently received a question from a reader who asked about kitchen islands. 'Is square or rectangle the only way to go for a timeless look?' Yes, yes and yes. An odd shaped island should only be specified if the layout doesn't support a square or rectangle. It's rare that I look at an island that is NOT square or rectangular and think 'Wow that looks really beautiful'. Usually it looks like someone was trying to be overly creative just like too much accent tile creates the same look and dates quickly. ... Continue Reading

Bathroom Dilemma: Rectangular or Oval Sink? Yay or Nay

via Traditional Home So last year at this time I said I would renovate my bathrooms in the Spring but then it didn’t happen. I got busy, did not have a contractor and that was the end of that plan. It was a client living here in Chilliwack (who I’ll tell you about very soon) that jolted me into action. I corralled my dear friend Jan Romanuk (who designed my ... Continue Reading

Ask Maria: Is My Living Room Too Beachy?

Jeffrey Bilhuber  When I saw this Ask Maria question, I immediately thought of Jeffrey Bilhuber’s recent spread in House Beautiful Magazine. The answer to your question today lovely reader, is inspired by my favourite decorator. Here’s the question: I recently moved with my husband into our first house!  I have been so excited to make it our own, but I have gotten our living room stuck in a rut!  I ... Continue Reading

Don’t Hire a Designer The Same Way You Buy Oranges

Source The other day, my design assistant, Tricia, received an email from one of my readers: “We found a designer who charges $100 per hour. If Maria can match that rate, we will go with her.” My rates are a lot higher than that, with different price points for consulting work and decorating work. I don’t post them online because they’re subject to change, but if you want to know what they are, email ... Continue Reading

80’s Peach Bathroom to White for Just the Cost of Paint

My lovely client Sharon consulted with me this past May and here is the beautiful result: Her sitting area off the kitchen painted BM Wickham Gray The pickled 80’s oak cabinets. After Her gorgeous kitchen after with the stunning chandelier. Sharon used White Delicatus granite for her countertops and Annie Sloan mix of Old White 25% & Pure White 75% for her cabinets. This was her typical 80’s bathroom not a stitch of ... Continue Reading

Ask Maria: I’m Worried my Area Rug is Wrong!! (It was $10,000)

via POPSUGAR Home I’m starting a new series, I’ve been answering random questions in my Ask Maria posts for a few years and I thought I’d switch it up a little and instead focus on rooms that are BOTHERING you. I often receive emails where readers are stuck, and this could be for one of three reasons: You decided (or perhaps were forced because of budget) to keep something that you didn’t love and you ... Continue Reading