Test Your Colour Confidence: 25 Days of Whites & Undertones

It’s exterior and renovation season! I have been analyzing countertops, cabinets, tile, and exterior colours with so many of you for weeks! Two years ago in the summer, I launched 37 Days of Undertones, and it was a big hit. Every day, I would post an image on my Facebook page and tell you the undertones in the colours. You all participated and did so well because you’d read my first ebook and knew what ... Continue Reading

Before & After: The Pinterest School of Styling

Interior design & styling by Maria Killam As I lay by the pool on my recent vacation in Kauai, I had already read both of the beach novels that I brought, so I went through my client’s library  and pulled out The Alchemist. My sister Elizabeth posing for my photo Three years ago, when my client was building this house in Kauai, I helped her choose hard finishes and select furniture (Something ... Continue Reading

Grey is OUT! (Maybe) The Colour Trend is IN!

I’ve talked a lot about trends lately, and I know many people out there are confused. When it comes to grey, specifically, we are all eager to know: Is it in? is it out?  I‘ve figured out an easier way to explain it: {via Pinterest} I’m going to stop calling it The Grey Trend and start calling it The Colour Trend instead. Why? I want this discussion to be less about the colour grey ... Continue Reading

Ask Maria: Help! The Previous Homeowner Installed Granite to Sell

This homeowner reached out to me with photos of two bathrooms in her own house. Who can see what’s wrong here? It’s the old “granite to sell” trick and some would say it worked but the new granite makes the floor and cabinets look especially dated. How can you tell that the granite is the new addition? That 4″ kick along the back might mislead you into thinking the counters are older ... Continue Reading

My Creative Business Model and How it’s Evolved

{maybe not this cold}  Some of you may have noticed that my posts have shifted considerably over the past few months to less rather than more. In the last year with all the time I’ve spent sitting in freezing cold hotel ballrooms looking at my business and thinking about what to do to make it better, I’ve learned that less is more. Way better to write a quality post, rather than ... Continue Reading

Ask Maria: Which Cream Subway Tile is Right?

One of my lovely readers emailed this great question about cream subway tile that I thought would be so useful for many of us. Also, note that her kitchen countertop is pristine and she even left a decorative jar in the photo when she snapped it for me. If you have an Ask Maria question, please clean up the room, it’ll have a higher chance of appearing on my blog. I am very protective of ... Continue Reading

How to Photograph Your Projects to Get More Business

Advice for new decorators and designers sounds like this: “Pay a professional photographer to take photos of one great project, or even one room decorated well, and show that on your website.” And before you tell me that you barely made any money on the job so you can’t afford to pay to have it photographed, that’s not how you should calculate whether or not to spend the money to hire a ... Continue Reading

How Much Heavy Lifting can a Paint Colour Handle?

{via pinterest} I get the best questions about paint colour and how much it can or cannot do to “rescue” a mistake someone has made in their house or a mistake they inherited from a previous owner. Sometimes, colour can swoop in and magically save the day, so there’s nothing wrong with wondering if your situation can also be saved by the right colour. But sometimes, paint colour alone, simply cannot ... Continue Reading

Ask Maria: Which Countertop Should I Choose (What Were They Thinking??)

“Here is my kitchen that was built in 2006. I wish I stumbled across your blog years ago because the thing I dislike about the kitchen the most is the busy tile! And is this tile the dreaded pinky-beige? And my knotty alder cabinets have yellowed considerably over the years. So I’m pretty sure we have a major undertone problem here (and throughout my entire house most likely) We have ... Continue Reading

How to Work with Bedroom Carpet You Don’t Like

Recently, I had a consultation with Lori who wanted help with her great room, paint colours and her bathrooms. She walked me through her house and we created a furniture plan for her great room, chose colours throughout and discussed her bathrooms. In the first bathroom we were able to make the room look new (and save her brand new granite countertop) just by choosing the perfect tile to replace the old tile. In the second bathroom ... Continue Reading

Gold Hardware & Lighting Should Replace Silver: Yay or Nay?

{via Domino} Gold finishes in hardware, lighting and furniture has taken its sweet time in becoming mainstream. Back in October 2011, when I wrote this post about choosing hardware for your kitchen, I declared that gold was too warm for a white kitchen. I see now that I was reacting to the lighting in that kitchen which I didn’t particularly like. Is it trendy? Sure it is, but just like any trend, if you ... Continue Reading

My 5 Rules for Life

{via pinterest} Have you ever thought about this statement with regards to an area in your life? “Every single day people stop when they don’t know what to do.” I talk to clients every day who tell me they have stopped shopping for their house because they’ve bought so many mistakes in the past and they don’t want to buy any more. Designers who don’t make as much money as they ... Continue Reading

Ask Maria: Help! I Just Had My First REAL Colour Consultation

I recently received this question from a new colour consultant: “Maria, I need some advice, this encounter was a doozy: I had previewed the house with my realtor friend before the buyer closed, so I already was familiar with the ‘boss’ of the living room — a rock fireplace with a mostly gold undertone. And, because of some other factors in the connecting dining room, I was prepared to offer a solution of Seashell (BM-OC 120) to ... Continue Reading

How Black is your House?

Remember how much black there was in home decor in the 80’s? Entertainment centers, dining tables and chairs, black leather sofas and black shiny coffee tables. It was too much. Now that black is here again along with greys and whites, it’s a good idea to notice that black should be an accent. Used well, it highlights what’s around it, too much and it becomes heavy and masculine.  {via pinterest} ... Continue Reading

How to Coordinate Coffee & Accent Tables like a Designer

Ever noticed that designers usually don’t buy matching sets of three coffee tables? One of the comments I heard a lot when we toured showrooms at High Point at Market (by the salesperson giving us the tour) last Fall was “This is all too much together of course, but individually, just fabulous”.  {Pottery Barn Coffee table Cube and End Table} The worst is when the big box ‘Get a free TV with ... Continue Reading

3 Ways to Use Fresh to Sell Design

  Hi everyone, I want to share a little tip about what your clients are really looking for (even though they might not even know it yet). Occasionally I receive comments or emails like this: “We aren’t ALL interested in introducing fresh into our homes, Maria!” “Please don’t exclude those of us who still prefer warm, earthy colours.”  “Puh-leese, write some posts on what to do with all the orangey/yellow wood trim ... Continue Reading