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 that, because my countertop guy said that my walls were ... Continue Reading

Why You Can’t Afford NOT to be on Houzz

These photos are from my townhouse last Christmas. The rest of them are posted on my Houzz portfolio. Holiday Design by Vancouver Interior Designer Maria Killam A couple weeks ago Houzz and CB2 on Robson Street, hosted an evening where they invited local members, designers, architects and contractors to a presentation. Liza Hausman, the VP of Marketing from Houzz was there giving a talk where she mentioned me in her ... Continue Reading

Vancouver Interior Designer: What Should You Charge for the First Consultation? (For Designers Only)

When you complete my True Colour Expert Workshop you get access to a Private Facebook page for graduates only. This page has truly taken on a life of its own. It’s completely optional, it’s free (so far) and to date we have 50 members. This page has become a great place to not only get advice about projects you are working on but to brag, vent, and everything in between. ... Continue Reading

You Don’t Suck if you Don’t Book Every Client

‘If you can’t say no to anything then you’re living in scarcity. The universe doesn’t need to be selective with what comes your way because you’ll take anything.’ Source unknown. In other words, you’re still a rock star (just like my nephew : ) The other day I was following a forum where designers were discussing clients and how to handle the ‘you’re too expensive’ objection. And it was only ... Continue Reading

Vicente Wolf in Vancouver

Interior Design by Vicente Wolf So, I arrive at the Buildex show downtown this afternoon early enough to grab a seat in the front row to hear Vicente Wolf speak.  I’m happy because I’m sitting there feeling smug. My big plan is that instead of taking notes like everyone else, I’ll just tape the whole talk on my iphone.  Anyone that missed it–lucky for you to be reading my blog–you’ll ... Continue Reading

What would You Do? Advice for Designers/Consultants

It took 10 years of experience before I could answer this question with confidence. In addition to an entire year of blogging–posting only images that I loved–before I could tell you exactly what ‘my look’ was.  As a new designer, I would say “I can do anything, any style, I take your look and make it beautiful”, because I needed the work.  Now that I’ve done everything, I know what ... Continue Reading

Decorating for Family; How Much is too Much?

My youngest sister, her husband and two small children are moving even further into the country than they already are, Abbotsford to Yarrow. This is happening in February. And when they move they will need help decorating their house. The last time my sister moved (about 7 years ago) we spent many weekends over the years shopping and painting furniture together so that her house would be great. Two of ... Continue Reading

Kimberley Seldon & What they Don’t teach you in Design School

The first time I saw Kimberley Seldon speak at a designer event (approx. 5 years ago) she polled the room and asked “Who here is charging less than $100 per hour?” At the time I was charging $75 so I raised my hand along with a few others, and she responded “Shame on you! Do you think you have less responsibility than a plumber?”  From that day on, I increased ... Continue Reading

Clients and the Law of Attraction

Last week when I posted this article, one of my readers emailed me and said “Sounds like you’ve had a recent very bad experience or maybe a series of sorta bad. . .” and I responded that I can count on one hand how many ‘bad’ experiences I have had with clients in my business and that was mostly in the beginning when I was green. I wrote that post ... Continue Reading

Negotiating Lessons from Mad Men

We were watching season 3 of Mad Men last weekend (I’m hooked on that show) and I was fascinated with the conversation ‘Don Draper’ had with ‘Conrad Hilton’ in one of the episodes. I love this show because there’s so much intelligent dialogue. Anyway, here’s how the conversation went: The Presidential Suite today at the Waldorf Astoria Don has been summoned by Mr. Hilton to the Presidential Suite at the ... Continue Reading

How to Sell Interior Design

I have spoken to many designers over the years who say they can’t charge more than they do because. . . and the reasons are many. Interior Design by Maria Killam My friend Liz Stevenson had no problem asking for money. I have been very lucky to have a few great mentors in my design career but I learned the most about selling design from Liz. She passed away last year ... Continue Reading

The Vendor Client Relationship – A True Story

Last year I was hired to do some decorating and styling for a client. They had seen my work through my photographer and were interested in the same look for their website. Credit I submitted my quote–through my photographer—who called me later that day to ask what I could do for ‘half my quoted price?’. The client had informed her, “We understand that we won’t get the ‘high-end’ look of ... Continue Reading

5 ways to know if you should Quit your day Job to Become a Designer

Penelope Trunk wrote a great article a few months ago on this very subject [being an artist]. I love her blog because she is so blunt, and not afraid to call a spade a spade. My favourite kind of person! Image source Most of us would love to paint [insert your creative passion here] for a living and get paid for it! And I’m not saying literally paint. I have ... Continue Reading

Signature Look or your Clients Look; Which one works the Best?

I have just discovered something. It’s new. In the last month, I have finally discovered for myself what ‘my signature look’ is, and the best part about it is that people are suddenly calling me because of it. Eileen Kathryn Boyd Given which designers inspire me, it seems silly that it’s taken me this long to define it for myself. Especially because I have been describing my style on this ... Continue Reading