One bad decision pays for the designer

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


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


5 Best Ways to Choose your Roof Colour


About a year before I started writing this blog (it's almost 5 years old), I was partners with another interior designer and we were specifying finishes for spec homes. One day we were sitting in a meeting with the builders who had hired us, discussing exterior colour and I calmly announced that "All [asphalt] roofs should be black".  All four… Continue reading


Learn to be Bossy Yet Charming

Bossy But Charming Design

This is a post written by Irene Hill, my Design Associate: It's been two years since I've started working with Maria and it's been about the same amount of time since I had a paying client, but occasionally I get an emergency call from a friend. Just recently my phone rang with a plea for marriage counselling. Over a design… Continue reading


My Design Studio: Before, During & After

My Design Studio: Before, During & After

The transformation of my design studio is so amazing that it needs few words: The day we took possession. After we renovated it last Spring six weeks later. After the flagstone was installed this Spring. After   Here's an updated picture in June 2014 Here's another angle while shooting pictures so that my talented Landscape Architect MaryAnne White could start… Continue reading


Danger: Your Designer has Left the Building

Danger: Your Designer has Left the Building

Have you ever had this happen to you? You hire a designer, consult with them on all the decisions you need to make. All is well. They leave, and then the contractor, painter, tiler. . . in other words the trades who will be executing your project, arrive on the scene. You tell them what you want and they say… Continue reading


First Rule of Design: Boring Now Equals Timeless Later

Boring Now Equals Classic Later

Last week I was at the Nursery and I called Mary Anne White (my Landscape Designer) because I was shopping for Hostas and this was how our conversation went: "Mary Anne, I'm here and there are so many beautiful Hostas, I can't decide! There's yellow ones, I love those, then there's these green and white ones, green and creamy ones,… Continue reading


Danger: Free Advice will Sabotage Your Expensive Renovation

Danger: Free Advice will Sabotage your Expensive Renovation

I was recently consulting with a client from Upstate New York. We were finalizing the colours and finishes for her kitchen renovation. As one last piece of advice, I told her to make sure she did not install the 4" slab of granite on the backsplash so commonly found in kitchens. source She said "I am so glad you mentioned… Continue reading


Vancouver Colour Expert: How Long does Beautiful Take?

White kitchen with kelly green subway tile

The other day my mom reminded me of an old Finnish proverb that goes like this: When a job is done right, no one asks how long it took, everyone simply says "It's beautiful". A client recently called me in a panic, her subway tile backsplash was being installed and the advice she had received on the layout was clearly… Continue reading


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