Ask Maria: My New Cherry Desk Makes the Room Look Dark! Help

I have seen rooms like this so many times and heard this question so often that when I received this Ask Maria question the other day, I decided to post it.  Not everyone has the luxury of having every single spare room or office look like it belongs in a magazine right? So here’s the question: I recently bought an office desk, cherry wood in color. I’m still working on ... 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

Ask Maria: Do’s and Dont’s for Installing Encaustic Tile

Subway tile backsplash – via Pinterest Every time I see a badly installed Encaustic tile or just too much pattern, even if it’s not badly designed, I get further validation (in my mind) that my job on this blog, is to direct you towards the most classic, simple, solid tile which is often subway tile. Period. And just in case you’re rolling your eyes (Hey, I can see you :), I’m ... 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

Ask Maria: Can a Novice Benefit from my Course? Before & After

I often receive emails like this: Hello Maria, I retired a couple of years ago and I have been taking interior design classes at the local community college. I would love to take your color workshop. Do you think this would be beneficial for a novice, Interior Design student? This post covers two questions. What does it look like to get a Room Refresh (after my last post where so ... Continue Reading

Ask Maria: Is my Fireplace too Earthy for a White Kitchen?

Rue Magazine Okay so a while ago when I changed the ‘Ask Maria’ questions to ‘Send me your what’s bothering me’, questions, ya’ll pretty much stopped sending them, so obviously that wasn’t the best idea I’ve ever come up with. So please keep sending them to me here. And by the way, when you do, remember to include an image (and clean up the room puleese), it has very little chance ... 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

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

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

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

Best Colours for a Basement Kitchen (1 Kitchen, 3 Ways)

I recently received this question from a reader who sent me a photo of her kitchen: Hi Maria, I SO want to make my little basement apartment a haven that I love to call home. I want it to be as light and bright as possible since there is so little natural light… and I LOVE lots of light. Everything is being painted… the cabinets, all the walls, etc. So I ... Continue Reading

Ask Maria: Are Stainless Appliances Going out of Fashion?

via pinterest Today’s question from a reader is: “Maria, I am renovating my kitchen from scratch, I love white and would love all white appliances and white cabinets and white walls would this be to much? I hear that stainless is going out of fashion. ” What do you think? Recently, I opened my October edition of House Beautiful (my favourite shelter magazine). And there it was, with this quote: ... Continue Reading

Ask Maria: Must my Kitchen Coordinate With the Dining Room?

I’m am a big fan and follower of your “Ask Maria” series. I’ve never done anything like this before so I thought I’d give it a go.  We’re looking to update our kitchen and our dilemma is what color to paint our cabinets and island. Our cabinets are in good condition so we can’t justify replacing them. The sink, faucet and appliances will be swapped out for stainless. We’re also ... Continue Reading

I always have to include Cloud White in posts I write about trim because it’s too commonly used as a go-to, fix-all, no-questions-asked solution.  A client emailed me today with a great question: Is it okay to have a warmer, off white trim throughout the house but use a brighter white in the bathroom to go with tile and fixtures? Pinterest The answer is Yes. If the colours in your ... Continue Reading