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

Why Stone and Accent Tile are Not as Important as You Think

I have worked with many couples over the years as they plan their renovation or new build. And here’s what I’ve noticed. They get overly worried about the exterior being boring so they go with a combination of stucco, siding AND shingles. Oh, but we’re not done yet, don’t forget the stone AND brick. When I’m consulting on new build colours, I often ask if they have their landscape design ... Continue Reading

Ask Maria: Can I Combine Faux Hardwood Tile with my Oak Floors?

via pinterest “Maria, I have oak tongue-in-groove hardwood floors which connect to white tile in my white kitchen. With my upcoming kitchen renovation (in which the kitchen will stay white), I want to replace the white tiles, but I am not comfortable extending hardwood into the kitchen. I really do prefer tiles in a kitchen! What do you think about those porcelain tiles that look like hardwood? What if I could find one in a similar colour ... Continue Reading

How to Disappear a White Mistake on Cabinets: Before & After

Styling and photos by Maria Killam Recently my good friend Jan Romanuk told me she’d finished a renovation in downtown Vancouver and asked if I’d like to photograph it for the blog. Since I can never get enough white kitchens on the blog, I happily said yes. Jan’s client had ordered new white cabinets for her kitchen and was dismayed when they were installed and she saw that the white she had selected actually had ... Continue Reading

3 Best Ways to Choose a Fresh Paint Colour for your Tuscan House

For a few years now, Terreeia has been talking about renting a place in Palm Springs for the month of January. We live out in the country to be close to my family.  Approximately one hour East of downtown Vancouver. We’re also here because we could buy a house. That’s very hard to do with the housing market in the city. Because we live so close to my Sisters and my Mom, ... Continue Reading

Here’s the Skinny on Whether you Should Shiplap Your House

I read this advice the other day on a blog talking about shiplap. When you read this, tell me if this statement helps you decide if you should install shiplap in your home: “We love how easily it brings a historic vibe to any space that is refined and thoughtful yet casual.” Huh? Are you any further ahead now in making a decision on whether you should install it in your home? ... Continue Reading

Ask Maria: About Kitchen Cabinet Uppers and Lowers in Different Colours

I’ve been receiving questions on two-toned cabinets lately and I can’t believe I’ve never addressed them on the blog. Here is my lovely readers question: I’m about to refinish my 90’s oak cathedral raised panel kitchen cabinets, and am considering a two toned paint scheme. I’m thinking Fieldstone lowers and Gray Cashmere uppers. Do you think this is a trend or is this a classic look? I hesitate to do this until I get ... Continue Reading

Help! My New Kitchen Makes the Rest of My House Look Old

Source This post is written by Tricia Firmaniuk, my design assistant who handles my eDesign: So often people find Maria’s blog AFTER they have already made some costly mistakes in their renovations; when they realize it’s not coming together the way they had hoped, and they go looking for answers on Google. DIY design has some common pitfalls. One of the biggest ones is making decisions without the context of ... Continue Reading

Trend Alert: Paint Your Walls and Trim White (or Cream)

Tricia and I have been noticing a trend with trim colours lately in our e-Design consultations. And that is if you have an earthier palette in your house either because you prefer cream over white or you have a Tuscan palette from that trend, AND you are craving a fresher look and feel, it’s hard to do without painting all your trim out white. Because the traditional way of creating contrast between ... Continue Reading