Every man should read this one

The Real Cost of DIY Advice


I've been thinking about this a lot lately: why is it that so many of us don't seek out professional advice until there's an emergency on our doorsteps? Why do we so unquestioningly pay for certain services, like dentistry or health care, but then think we can do it ourselves when it comes to others, like home renovations?

When is the best time to hire a professional to save ourselves the most money? 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… Continue reading


What Women Want vs. Men (In a House)


Overheard at a birthday party with some of my designer friends last weekend: "When I work with builders I always tell them that WOMEN buy houses, not men." Men want a large TV room {via pinterest} A Garage {via pinterest} Isn't this amazing! Now this is an organized person! {source} And, No Nagging! {via pinterest} Women want above all else a really nice… Continue reading


"I've Got This" and Other Unrealistic Thoughts about Renovating

Brushed Brass pull

So, just in case you were wondering and losing sleep over this topic like I have, I've figured it out. The third week in my Renovate with Confidence™ Focus on Finishes for Renovations and New Builds is coming up and it's my best work yet! Now that I've organized all the advice I'm constantly giving my clients into a step-by-step format, the good news… Continue reading


How Long will You Wait to Get The Sofa You Want?

cheap and fast is not good

I once helped a client decorate her guest room. She wanted everything NOW. The painting had to happen IMMEDIATELY! The furniture, delivered YESTERDAY.

In my experience, there are two types of clients who want furniture that fast.

When you move into a new house and you don't have any furniture to sit on, that has people get pretty impatient for new stuff, RIGHT NOW.

Second, the client who cannot decide. They don't want to make a mistake so they wait.

And wait.

And wait.

And wait.

And put up with old, bad, and cheap for a very long time. Continue reading


Why Choosing Granite is so Hard


I came across this comment on my blog the other day, I had forgotten about it. This reader expressed what so many of my clients have told me over the years but she was just super entertaining in her distress. . . How did I end up with this crazy granite choice that is glaring at me from the counter?! I'm crying… Continue reading


Why You've Never Had a Good Contractor

Why You've Never Had a Good Contractor

Obviously this statement doesn't apply to everyone, but I've heard it a few times lately from clients. And I've been thinking about why. And since that's what I do best – figure out the answer to the question why – I've come up with a theory. Here it is: Since I'm a decorator and not a renovator, I'm not consistently… Continue reading


Two Magic Words to Move Your Design Project Forward

Two Magic Words To Move your Design Project Forward

Pinterest This post is written by my fabulous Design Associate Irene Hill: For about the past year I’ve been telling people my husband and I are in the middle of a renovation project. That’s not really accurate. Three years ago we purchased this little 1,000 square foot rancher in a nice neighbourhood. As Kevin and I are both self-employed and… Continue reading


The Quest for the High End Client

The Quest for the High End Client

It's pretty much agreed among most designers that the measure for success seems to be to design for the upscale, high-end client with lots of money. It's kind of like this, once you get this client, you have hit the pinnacle to some degree. We all know that's never enough and once you get there, you'll need the next level… Continue reading


Ask Maria: How to Coordinate Finishes with Oak Cabinets

Oak cabinets

Dear Maria, We have those dreaded honey oak cabinets in our kitchen.  We are not interested at this point in changing or painting them.  I just want to choose a laminate countertop and a backsplash and a wall colour that will look reasonably good together.  I prefer lighter colours for the counter and backsplash.  Could you give me any suggestions? … Continue reading


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