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

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

Make Something Ugly almost Disappear with Disney’s “Go Away Green”

I know it seems like I’m on vacation AGAIN! Because I am. . . with my adorable nephews in Disneyland this week. However, this vacation (which included a three day cruise from Vancouver to LA) was booked months ago. It’s Markus (6) and William (8) first time in Disneyland and Terreeia and I didn’t want to miss it! Maria & Markus A while ago, someone sent me this article on Disney’s Go ... Continue Reading

Are You Still Using an Instant Camera to Photograph Your Work?

I used to think I could get away with using my little instant camera when taking photos of my work. A year of lessons has shown me what's really possible when we take professional photography seriously, even in so-called uninspiring spaces like boardrooms and offices. Come on in for a peek at some photos I took of my own photography instructor's new space. ... Continue Reading

The Minimalist Guide to Decorating with Charcoal

Photos by Maria Killam Recently, I had a consultation with a client who needed help creating a colour palette for her new home. She didn’t want to make the same mistakes she had made in the past and was looking for a plan. She sent me this inspiration photo for her house:  {via pinterest} I spent a few minutes asking more questions to make sure this was the direction she really wanted to go ... Continue Reading

Where to Start When You Have a Blank Slate

Jacqueline called me and said: "Help! My laundry room is finished, it's white, I followed all the advice on your blog right down to copying the shelves in your laundry room, but now that I have a white Maria Killam laundry room and I can do anything I want, I have no idea where to start! What colour should I paint it? I painted it BM Grey Owl because I had some leftover paint but it's doing nothing for me!" I said, "First, Grey Owl is almost like a neutral, muted blue/green grey that would look great in a bathroom with lots of blue grey marble that coordinated with it, but for your laundry room to look fabulous, it needs a colour! ... Continue Reading

4 Ways to Decorate Around Your Charcoal Sofa

Today's post is about decorating with charcoal, really important to know since it's such a popular neutral right now! If you have a charcoal sofa (just like during the brown trend, when most neutral-loving shoppers purchased a brown one) it's time for me to help you bring this colour to life. Why? ... Continue Reading

Ask Maria: How Do You Keep Up with Current Trends? And, is Gray Out?

I recently received this question about trends: "I have decided to look for a new position and each job posting requests being 'up-to-date with current trends and products.' I understand wanting this skill but I am curious how you keep up-to-date with current products, materials, trends, etc. I try to read a lot, visit show homes (which in reality, by the time they are built, new trends and materials are already available) and I join as many webinars as possible. I’m curious if you have a favourite website, author, magazine, seminar, stores to keep yourself current. I know you enjoy Pinterest but is there more? Would love for you to include this in one of your blogs. [Here's something] interesting. I am reading your White is Complicated book and received a design email yesterday stating that gray is no longer 'in.' However, in Calgary, Alberta, gray is still very popular! ... Continue Reading

How Much Heavy Lifting can a Paint Colour Handle?

{via pinterest} I get the best questions about paint colour and how much it can or cannot do to “rescue” a mistake someone has made in their house or a mistake they inherited from a previous owner. Sometimes, colour can swoop in and magically save the day, so there’s nothing wrong with wondering if your situation can also be saved by the right colour. But sometimes, paint colour alone, simply cannot ... Continue Reading

Ask Maria: Which Countertop Should I Choose (What Were They Thinking??)

“Here is my kitchen that was built in 2006. I wish I stumbled across your blog years ago because the thing I dislike about the kitchen the most is the busy tile! And is this tile the dreaded pinky-beige? And my knotty alder cabinets have yellowed considerably over the years. So I’m pretty sure we have a major undertone problem here (and throughout my entire house most likely) We have ... Continue Reading

3 Ways to Use Fresh to Sell Design

  Hi everyone, I want to share a little tip about what your clients are really looking for (even though they might not even know it yet). Occasionally I receive comments or emails like this: “We aren’t ALL interested in introducing fresh into our homes, Maria!” “Please don’t exclude those of us who still prefer warm, earthy colours.”  “Puh-leese, write some posts on what to do with all the orangey/yellow wood trim ... Continue Reading

How to Coordinate Unusual Colour Combinations

{More funny texts from moms} It’s 5:00 AM and my phone pings with a text from my Mom: “Come for coffee now! I’m up but I’ll nap later”. (Except she writes it in Finnish, I can read it but do not ask me to have a conversation in Finnish, that’s where my dual language ability ends). “Ok” I text back, and jump out of bed, slip on my Ugh boots and ... Continue Reading

My New Favourite Dark Grey

I saw this cottage makeover yesterday (the before pic is so covered with shrubs that it’s not worth posting) and I’ve been swooning over the shutters ever since.  {via HGTV} Here’s what I’d like you to notice about the colours. The main body colour is basically a gray/brown (BM Iron Mountain) but the shutters painted in BM Pale Avocado bring it to life and give it a sophisticated cottage feel. ... Continue Reading

How NOT to Choose Paint Colours (But Everybody Does It)

  This post is also an “Ask Maria” question. So here it is: “I have painted my family room with BM Clay Beige except the focal fireplace wall which I selected SW Exclusive Plum (6263).  I am happy with those colors.  I personally like colors that make you feel lifted, happy, and free, especially with punch of a nice color(s) here and there.  So, this new trend that is coming ... Continue Reading

Of Course I would Love THIS Exterior

I can’t wait until my How to Choose Exterior Paint Colours with Confidence webinar is here next week! I’ve been rounding up images to whip it into shape and yesterday, I snapped a photo of this house in the middle of a very traditional neighbourhood downtown.   It’s so rare to find such a modern and fun colour scheme, I immediately screeched to a halt so I could take a picture ... Continue Reading

Am I Trendy if There’s no Grey in my House? (Oh Yeah)

Thank you for all your amazing and thoughtful emails and comments on my powder room dilemma these past two days! I’ve decided I don’t want to make any major decisions  without YOUR expert opinion added to mine! I love what so many of you said about my powder room not really being a powder room since it was adjoining the laundry at the back of the house (exactly what annoyed ... Continue Reading