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

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

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

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

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

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

Which Colour is Perfect for This Room? (How Fast Can YOU See It?)

Look first, before you read any further. Which undertones are the chair and sofa? My good friend Jan Romanuk and her husband recently moved into a new condo. She asked if I’d come over to evaluate her colours. She had a plan but also wanted my opinion. Jan has been such an amazing mentor to me over the years, I was thrilled to lend my expertise in the colour department! And, if you’re a designer, you ... Continue Reading

Look, You Need To Know How to Have this Conversation

Vanessa Francis Here it is. Your husband, your wife, or your client will often react in a negative way when something isn’t complete. My clients spare bathroom had looked like this for three years (above). She wanted it to look nice, but she didn’t want to spend a fortune and had tried to convince her Fiancé to let her decorate it. Last week, I arrived with a shower curtain, towels, art, and accessories (photo ... Continue Reading

Why Colour is NOT Always a Personal Choice

When it is right, and when is it a mistake, to choose colours for your home based on personal choice? ... Continue Reading

Best Countertop for Stained Wood Cabinets

{via Carriage Lane Designs} When I received this Ask Maria question asked slightly different two times recently, I thought it deserved a stand-alone post even though my regular readers will have read my opinion here: We are doing a complete gut job on our kitchen and starting over with high end shaker cherry cabinets.  I want to balance the dark with a lighter counter, and surprised myself with falling in ... Continue Reading

Tour My House: Learn the 6 Best Ways to Transition Colour

Take a walk with me through my house for a real-time example of how to create perfect colour flow in your home. ... Continue Reading

The Timeless Flooring Everywhere in Italy

It’s hard to take pictures for a blog on a trip because I never know what I’m going to talk about until I start gathering photos for a post. Then I start thinking “Darn, I wish I had taken more pictures of floors.” But it wasn’t until the end of the trip that I noticed how much of the same flooring I’d seen everywhere. Underground tour in the Colosseum | ... Continue Reading

24 Ways to Make Your Showroom More Beautiful, Current, and Profitable

Wesley Hall I go to High Point Furniture Market every spring and fall to source furniture and artwork for my clients, get educated, and (of course) get inspired! If you are a retailer with a showroom, High Point is THE place to go. You’ll discover unique ways to incorporate current colour trends into your showroom, create gorgeous vignettes, and design a space that your customers and clients want to spend time in and shop in. ... Continue Reading

The Easy Way to Decorate Around a Tan (Pink Beige) Sofa

If you've been reading this blog for awhile, you know there's nothing neutral about a pink beige sofa. You also know that pink beige is so EVERYWHERE that it's probably not your fault if you have it in your home. There's just too much of it out there. Here's how to decorate around it so it looks intentional. ... Continue Reading

Colour in Commercial Hallways: 3 Ways to Get it Right

The corridors of apartments and hotels set an important tone for the building as a whole. Here's how to choose colours that coordinate with each other, address the challenges of these common spaces, and make a designer statement. ... Continue Reading