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

Never Pick a Neutral Without Large Colour Boards: Pssst! They Do it For You!

Every time I hold one of my 3 day colour workshops we take some time in the afternoon on Day 1 and analyze the paint colours in the meeting room we are in and discuss whether the existing colours work or not (they rarely do). We do this so that my new True Colour Experts can see how to work with my large paint samples. The other very important reason ... Continue Reading

The Stunning and Classic Home of the Giannetti’s at Patina Farm

Roses from Brooke’s garden to greet us in the guest house Many of us in blogland followed Brooke and Steve Giannetti when they built their dream home in Ojai, California and moved from their previous house in Santa Monica. They have lived there now for three years since it was finished, but in the Spring of 2014, Brooke posted photos of her gardens here, only one year after it was installed. ... Continue Reading

When to Break the Rules Around Choosing White (or Cream)

Pinterest Trends are always moving. You can’t pin them down. When you’ve been in the colour business for as long as I have, it’s fascinating to watch. And it’s also the reason I’m so jaded about each new tile trend fad that comes along. I’m talking about hard finishes because they are the most permanent. I really would like to save the world and especially YOU from so many unnecessary renovations.  It’s ... Continue Reading

One Carrara Marble Bathroom: Four Colours

I was in Montreal a few weeks ago and snapped a picture of this classic Carrara marble bathroom in the hotel we stayed in. You’ll notice that this bathroom is painted a green beige. Since Carrara marble has a blue undertone, I wouldn’t call this the best choice even though it doesn’t clash. So I did a poll and I thought it would be fun to photoshop them so you ... Continue Reading

Add Some Fall to Your Living Room Using Brown (I did)

For some time now, there’s been talk about browns and warmer neutrals coming back to replace gray. Last week, when someone asked if I would write a post about taupe because Sherwin Williams recently claimed one as their colour of the year I responded: “When my readers or clients start asking me for Taupe, that’s when I’ll know it’s real. And not just someone in the marketing department declaring ‘Well we can’t keep talking about gray ... 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

Ask Maria: How Much Colour is Too Much for a Kids Room?

Enise emailed me this photo the other day with a great ‘Ask Maria’ question: ”I have a very colourful antique kilim that I would like to use in my daughters bedroom. Since the kilim is so colourful, I am confused on choosing the bedding. I know that I can use some colours from the kilim pattern but those are very vibrant colours so I am afraid the kids may feel too energetic to ... Continue Reading

Can Gray be Dirty? Yellow Exterior (Before & After)

Pinterest As many of you know, over 4 years ago, Terreeia and I bought a house one hour East of the city of Vancouver so we could live close to my Sisters, my Nephews and my Mom. Now that I’m talking about my Mom, a few months ago I mentioned that she was looking for a mobile home but it was as a second home, she wasn’t moving up North, some ... Continue Reading

How to Fix your White Room (If it Turned Green) Before & After

All summer (okay maybe more than just the summer) Tricia (my Virtual Design Assistant) has been obsessing about her living room and how the green from outside turns her lovely shade of cream, green. She’s sampled a bunch of colours but really she just wants the room to be cream and not green. So I said “Paint it and we’ll post it on the blog, this is a common problem right now ... Continue Reading

Introducing the Understanding Undertones® Colour Wheel

Well, it’s been a long time coming but it’s finally here! My new website is feverishly being designed as we speak and I’m crossing my fingers that we launch by the middle of September. The feedback I received from the first agency I hired to design my new site was “You don’t have a colour wheel that shows your colour system, that’s the first thing you need”. It’s taken a ... Continue Reading

The Best Way to Add a Peninsula to your Kitchen

My new assistant Kelly and her husband just bought a house when she started with us this summer and the renovation began as soon as they took possession August 1. Kelly’s Dad is a contractor and her two brothers work for him so she’s lucky enough to have all the expertise she needs in the family. This is the front of her house which you saw when I posted about ... Continue Reading

Ask Maria: Do the Undertones in Dark Colours Need to Match?

This latest Ask Maria question is a really good one and here it is: “Hi Maria, After purchasing your How to Choose Paint Colours It’s all in the Undertones book I sort of live in this undertones world now and have a question: Yellow beige sofa paired with yellow beige/cream walls Image via How to Decorate Why do undertones have to match when combining neutrals (ie. example in the book: yellow ... Continue Reading

Styling, Waxing and Country Living in New York State: Before & After

The following photos are taken with my iPhone 6 (not as awesome as usual 😉   My long distance client Lisa Partelow lives in Clinton Corners, New York with her sweet husband Harold, and her two boys, age 2 and 4. She says her dream in life was pretty simple. To live on acreage and be able to look out the window and see her two horses. And that’s exactly what ... Continue Reading