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

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

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

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

How to Get One More Season from Your Patio Furniture (Before & After)

Four years ago my sister Elizabeth and her husband bought this outdoor sectional (below). It was too modern for their house, but it was reasonable, so they snapped it up for the patio. Elizabeth and Bill love to entertain, and they also host their staff parties throughout the year. When it came time to pull out the outdoor furniture this season, I suggested that we select new stuff because the list of complaints about ... Continue Reading

Does your Floor Tile Have to Match your Countertop or Surround?

Does your floor tile have to match your countertop or surround? One of my long-time readers posted a comment recently still haunts me. Brace yourself today my lovelies, because my post today is a RANT. Here’s what happened to my reader:  “I recently stopped at a big box store to pick up some info about kitchen countertops. There was an older couple standing at the design table with a “kitchen designer” looking at samples ... Continue Reading

What Everyone Should Know About Taupe

You asked for it and here it is! Drumroll….. a discussion of one of the most challenging neutral colour categories, taupe. Tricia Firmaniuk, my virtual design assistant is writing about this one! When Sherwin Williams named Poised Taupe as their colour of the year I was not convinced. As this year has progressed however, I’m seeing it everywhere (I wish I’d snapped a picture when I arrived at one of the ... Continue Reading

How to Avoid the 5 Most Common Kitchen Mistakes

I’m travelling and leading my first, SOLD OUT Specify Colour with Confidence workshop in Chicago this week. The second one in Chicago is next weekend, we are ALMOST sold out but have 2 spaces left if you have time to jump in. Register here. Tricia Firmaniuk, my fabulous Virtual Design Assistant, wrote this great post about kitchens. Let me know what you think! ______________________________________________________________ Here’s a kitchen I found listed ... Continue Reading

Ask Maria: How Can I Update my Green 90s Sofa?

I recently received a collection of photos from a reader who said “I am not certain if I will retire here or move so I don’t want to do too many drastic investments, yet I would like to update my living room” First, before we proceed, notice that her room is pristine and the photo has been taken without flash and in good natural light. If you want me to consider ... Continue Reading

The Best Exterior Colours for Apartment Buildings

Years ago when colour still mystified me and I was constantly talking to other colour experts at colour conferences and at other colour courses looking for mastery, I’ll never forget one conversation I had with a colour designer who specialized in exterior colour. He said, “The problem with using neutrals on exterior (especially the CURRENT trendy neutral) is if you introduce that colour–and right now that’s charcoal–at the end of ... Continue Reading

Tablescapes for Dummies; The Beginners Guide

BHG Hasn’t everyone bought one of those “fill-in-the-blank for Dummies” books when you really don’t know something and you’re thinking “Talk to me like I’m 5 years old?”. I certainly have. Years ago I dated a guy who was into philosophy and I just felt stupid every time he started talking about it, so I bought Philosophy for Dummies.  I’m not convinced I’m any smarter about that topic, but I did buy the book. ... Continue Reading

4 Images that Break the Undertone Rules I Work so Hard to Teach

In every Specify Colour with Confidence workshop,  I talk about how a beautifully decorated and styled room takes all my undertone rules and makes them look almost not important at all. So, I thought it was high time I featured some photos that just plain broke all the rules, because that is what designers do every day. A professional must know the rules, so she/he can break them like an artist. ... Continue Reading

Trend Alert: All White and All Black Exteriors

As you know, I’m travelling for a couple weeks, just finished my Austin Specify Colour with Confidence workshop last week and I’m off to Toronto next where my next course starts on Tuesday. It’s really wonderful to meet people who have been following my blog for as long as I’ve been writing it (8 1/2 years). I am honoured and grateful that you read my blog and then attend my ... Continue Reading

How to Transform a Charcoal Sofa with Colour: Before & After

Shari and her husband couldn’t agree on a ‘colour’ when they went shopping for a new sofa, so they chose charcoal. The reason why they couldn’t agree on a colour, is because choosing a sofa BEFORE the carpet, artwork or throw pillows is like picking all the paint colours for your house BEFORE you buy a stick of furniture. If you don’t have an inspiration starting point, then it’s much harder ... Continue Reading

Contrasting Kitchen Island: Get YOUR Colour Right

Recently I was consulting with a couple on their new build. They told me they were definitely installing a white kitchen but they wanted a different colour on the island. This is the inspiration picture they showed me: Robert Elliot Homes When I asked what colours they were decorating with in their adjoining great room, they showed me a photo of their existing sofa which was a gold beige colour. Now if they plan on introducing this ... Continue Reading

How to Beautifully Update your Persian (Oriental) Rug

Often when I see a Persian or oriental area rug, I think DATED. In fact, I have an Ask Maria post about this very subject where I simply told my reader “This rug will NEVER be amazing”. Well, as I have said many times in this blog (often in the comments) I’m willing to be wrong. Last fall when I held one of my Specify Colour with Confidence workshops in DC, Erika Ward from ... Continue Reading