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It’s my 50th Birthday and I’m Giving away 50 Gifts!

By 06/07/2017June 6th, 2022935 Comments

The gate to my backyard party!

This has been an incredible year for Maria Killam Inc. so far! We had five sold-out Specify Colour with Confidence events in Austin, Toronto, 2 in Chicago, finishing off our Spring lineup in San Francisco! I’m so thrilled and grateful at the response from participants all over the country!

I just received an email from someone who said he’s working with 2 designers trained by me and he needed a lead on a third designer because he said ‘Colour experts trained by you are the Best’. High praise indeed!

To celebrate my 50th birthday, I am giving away 50 gifts including one ticket to my Specify Colour with Confidence workshop this Fall including hotels and airfare! Stay tuned until the end of this post for all the details!

When Terreeia asked what I wanted for my 50th birthday I said, a garden party with my friends. Since catering and events was what Terreeia did before she became an executive coach and consultant, she was in her element when planning the party.

She went back and forth with the caterer until he was asking “Who the heck is this woman?” until he arrived at our home and then he got it, haha.

It rained all week, but we have a large covered deck so we weren’t that worried, but miraculously, the sun came out on Sunday afternoon, just in time for the party.

It would have been even more amazing if the garden had been in full bloom, but we have had a very cold and rainy Spring, so all the blooms are behind.

Nevertheless, the garden was lush, green and gorgeous because of the eDesign project I did 4 years ago, long distance with my Landscape Designer MaryAnne White.

Terreeia rented chairs and tables for the garden (above). This garden looked very different 5 years ago when we first took possession of this house. For those of you that missed the before & after transformation, go here.

We even had live music (below). It was very civilized to hear a violin playing in the background. This was a brother and sister duo, their company is called West Coast Strings.

Related post: Maria Killam’s White Garden Transformation: Before & After

The Veuve and prosecco was out for the party!

And here is a photo from the other side of the garden (below):

Maria and Terreeia

My lovely client Deborah and her husband Paul (above) arrived just in time for the seafood spread! We are working on their house right now. I helped Deborah with the colours for her kitchen before we started the transformation of the rest of her house.

Anyway, I loved her new hood fan so much, that when it was installed, I decided to get the identical one made for my kitchen this summer. Here is a glimpse of her hood fan on my Instagram page. It will be installed at the same time as my bathroom vanities during the renovation.

The beautiful food was catered by Design by Desire. They did a great job and not only was the food pretty, it was delicious!

The only food item that Terreeia made were the devilled eggs. Because they were a 60s thing.

Maria & Terreeia (pronounced Maria with a T)

The gorgeous daisy cake was made by Wendy at Cakeaters in Burnaby. One layer was lemon and the other was chocolate, it was so good!

Apparently I needed help blowing out 3 candles! Love this picture of the two of us!

I bought the white lace skirt the day before at Joe Fresh because I had no time to shop before this weekend. It also came in Navy.



Here I am cutting the cake (above), Markus is beside me with Patti, and then my decorator friend Nancy DeVries who is also a True Colour Expert (she lives in North Vancouver) and her husband Brad and my sister Lea on the far right.

My good friend Dale is standing on the left in this pic (above) and there’s my sweet sister Elizabeth (@juicygreengirl)

Here I am with my sweet nephews Markus and William

My Mom and her long-time friend Beatriz hanging out on the sectional.

One of Terreeia’s dear friends Patti!

My sweet friend Amber Welton had everyone in stitches when she told the story of how we first met and how I told her I would mentor her and teach her everything she needed to know about design and colour. Obviously I loved her instantly!

I got Amber a job at both the Benjamin Moore stores that I had worked in (and got fired in) and I had forgotten that she used to call me DURING her consultations, when she would arrive at a house that was decor-challenged and she would have no idea what to do.

She’d tell her client that she was going upstairs to get a ‘feel for the house’ and she’d go into a closet and call me:

“Maria, I need you, I am in this house with pink beige fireplaces and gold ceilings, I have no idea what to do”. I’d give her colours and she’d go back downstairs and say “Well, I’ve taken a look around, and out of the thousands of colours in my deck, this is THE one.”

Amber is one of the funniest women I know and I’m so happy that she is one of my dear friends!

Terry Shein is Terreeia’s best friend (above). They’ve known each other for 30 years and he was the MC at my party.  He created this fun Jeopardy game and ya’ll can guess what the answer is to this question!

Photography by Sarah St. Pierre

Okay here’s the list of gifts I’m giving away to celebrate my birthday and to celebrate YOU:

  1. One seat in one of my Specify Colour with Confidence events this Fall. Airfare and 3 nights in the Hotel is included. Open to North Americans only, and limited to the course of your country. So if you live in Canada, that means you’re flying to Vancouver. (Value, approximately $4000)

2. Two sets of my Large Paint Samples – Core Collection (Value $297 each)

3. Two sets of my Large Paint Samples – VIP Collection (Value $297 each)

4. 15 Renovate (and New Build) with Confidence webinars (which is the closest to my live training)

         Value $497 each

5. 10 How to Choose Exterior Colours with Confidence (Value $297)

5. 10 How to Choose Paint Colours; It’s all in the Undertones eBooks(Value $37 each)

6. 10 White is Complicated; A Decorators Guide to Choosing the Right White  eBooks(Value $37 each)

Prizes may not be redeemed for cash.

To be eligible to win, please post a comment below and let me know the best lesson you’ve learned from my blog, that would be an amazing gift for my 50th birthday!  To be entered a second time, follow me on Instagram too and I will add you in the draw again (or if you already follow me on Instagram make sure you note that in the comments). I will draw the winners on Canada’s 150 birthday on July 1.

I really love my readers, thank you so much for supporting me, posting comments, because of you, my world is so much more enriched!


Related posts:

My One Big Secret you Don’t Know (When I introduced Terreeia on the blog)

The First Mistake a New Colour Consultant will Make Every Time (My 42nd Birthday post)

My Favourite Birthday Weekend in June 2013 (my sod got installed–hooray)

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  • Kai Jones says:

    I would love to celebrate your birthday and your generosity by winning a prize!

  • Darlene says:

    Incredible how enthusiasm and a wonderful smile can be so evident in your work. So excited to meet you at a seminar and glean knowledge of such an important decision in any design project. Designing for 25 years and still love the opportunity to learn from an expert, change current practices and see the results of new found knowledge!

  • Charlene T says:

    You taught me a lot about under tones and now when I drive through my neighborhood I want to knock on people’s doors and ask them what were they thinking when picking their exterior paint?

  • Happy Birthday! I have been a regular reader for years and have purchased your colour packs which have been wonderful to use with clients. I love your personality that comes through on your blog and your solution-oriented approach to all design problems that we tend to encounter on a consistent basis.

    Happy Summer!

  • Linda Erlam says:

    The best lesson I learned from Maria’s blogs was that I shouldn’t rely on my ‘intuition’ when it came to choosing colors for clients — that if I wanted to be a professional color consultant, I needed to really know how color works and I needed to get the best training from the most professional teacher I could find. Yeah Maria. Could NOT have done it without you. Thank you.

  • Beth Gandre says:

    Would love to attend your workshop! I live in Chicago and tried to convince my husband it would be a good birthday gift but I think he was worried (probably rightly so) that it would lead to me having the whole house repainted. Would love to win it (or otherwise maybe next year)!

  • Carol Frampton says:

    I’m sorry that when I redid our small master bath a few years ago I didn’t go with white subway tiles.

  • Julie S says:

    Oh, Maria! Happy Birthday :))) The single most useful thing I’ve learned from your blog is how to notice and identify the undertones of beiges and grays. I would love to be entered to win either a core collection large paint samples pack, or the Renovate/New Build Webinar. Thank you for your incredible content!

  • Rita Homonnai McBean says:

    I learned why I hate pinky beige!! Happy Birthday!!!

  • Brenda says:

    Happy Birthday Maria! I would like you to know just how much you have opened my eyes to really seeing colour and all those hidden undertones. I will never look at the colour “beige” and think of it as just beige again! Your blog is a wonderful source of information and thank you for sharing it with all your followers

  • Kim Maser says:

    Happiest of Bithdays to you! (Mine was Saturday)
    The best lesson I’ve learned from you has been the Why. Why looking at certain things makes my brain itch, for lack of a better term.
    I’m not a professional and I have your books (which I love), so your wonderful prizes should probably go to someone who can put them to better use, but I want you to know how much, how very much I appreciate you giving us the Why. It’s an important aspect of how I process information and it’s brought a great deal of clarity to my visual interpretations of what I see everyday. Thank you. Hope this year is your best year yet.

  • Fiona Copley says:

    Happy Birthday! Your party looks amazing and everyone looks like they are having so much fun! I have learnt a huge amount about (what for it) undertones. When I first found your site, I had no idea what you were talking about. I also love and tell everyone about your advice that timber floors are like blue jeans – they go with everything.
    Living in Australia, getting a webinar or an ebook would be amazing… Unless you were willing to fork out for international flights for event training?! The renovate webinar would be fantastic as I plan to extend our house soon.

  • Sue says:

    Hi Maria,
    Looks like you had an amazing birthday! Wishing you many more healthy and happy ones!??.. I have been enjoying your newsletters and blogs immensely! I am learning tons, and the one thing that stands out to me is how trends, as fun as they are at the moment, can get dated, and classic is the way to go! I love a beautiful white kitchen and will be looking for that kitchen when we move soon! Thank you for your talents and advice!

  • Mary Jane Sorensen says:

    Happy 50 th Maria! I enjoyed your party photos.
    I really enjoyed your Colour course and it really helped me identify the undertones in colours. Thus has come in handy in reading paint, fabrics, wallpapers etc.
    I turn 50 this year too and would enjoy winning one of your prizes:)
    PS I also follow you on Instagram.

  • Oh, these pictures are just wonderful, Maria! What a beautiful day filled with great people, and I’m so glad the sun decided to make an appearance!

    Ok, I’m going to have to narrow it down…I have learned SO many things from you over the years. Here are a few that come to mind immediately:

    1. Be bossy; the client is hiring me to have an opinion, not go along with what they think!
    2. Only look at tile samples, floor samples, paint color boards, etc. in the correct orientation. (I am so picky about this now, I probably drive my clients nuts!)
    3. Clean and muddy colors; looking at colors in relationship to each other is the way to go
    4. Simple is the way to go with finishes. Always. And white is best. 😉
    5. Let one finish in a room be the boss; all others just support that element visually.

    As far as the drawing- I think the only thing I haven’t done is your actual workshop, so that would be amazing to win!!

    I’m so grateful for your guidance – I wouldn’t be the designer I am today without you. THANK YOU!!! xoxo-Jill

  • Ellie says:

    Maria, you taught me about the horrible relationship of pinky beige and yellow. I once bought gosh-awful pinky-blue living room furniture without knowing how it would look with the yellow undertones of the carpet. It was terrible, and I didn’t know why. Now I do. My husband and I both call attention to their unfriendly relationship when we find it, seemingly everywhere. I, too, would appreciate any gift you see fit to bestow. Thanks for ALL the decorating advice.

  • Cariann says:

    I’ve learned SO much from your fabulous blog and am grateful to have found you before beginning my kitchen and master bath renovations. One of the best lessons that is coming to mind at the moment…most porcelain tile is bossy, blotchy, and just bad and will instantly date your project. YES!!! I stopped the dreaded tile search that instant and have decided to run the beautiful and timeless red oak from the family room through my kitchen instead of replacing one bad tile with another. Would love to be in the drawing especially for #4 and/or #6. I also follow you on Instagram. Thank you and Happy Birthday!!!

  • Diana says:

    You look fabulous at fifty! I love your blog, I have learned so much! I like to arrange flowers and I use your system for my bouquets!

  • Rebecca says:

    The best thing I have learned, well two things, are to see the undertones and to keep things simple. No more busy busy designs with competing pinks and golds!

  • Cathy says:

    Happy Birthday! May you have many more wonderful trips around the sun!
    What I’ve learned from following your blog is how hard it is to see undertones. I’m getting better but it really takes a lot of practice!

  • Gina Kemp says:

    How can I sum up the best lesson I have learned in one sentence? It’s just not possible! I stumbled upon your blog through Google. I was looking for “how to determine the best area rug size” and, there you were. And, I was hooked. I instantly sent a message to my BFF entitled, ” I think she loves color more than we do!” We have followed your blogs for several years now. I would have to say, “Understanding Undertones” has had the biggest impact. Who knew beige was not a neutral??? You did. Your system enabled me to understand undertones too. I have a Bachelor’s degree in Interior Design. Yet, I never felt comfortable or confident enough to pursue Interior Design as a profession. I just didn’t know enough about color! I just completed your latest course in Corte Madera. Thank You. After 23 yrs, I may just blow the dust off of my degree.
    Happy Birthday Maria! My gift to you is to tell you how much I appreciate you and your system. My degree and all of the education that went with it has never felt complete until now. Muwah!

  • Nancy says:

    One word: undertones!
    It’s opened up a whole new understanding of colors and how they work together.
    (I’m an instagram follower, since you asked!)

    Happy birthday!

  • Ali says:

    Happy birthday and thanks for the contest! I loved learning the difference between taupe and beige, but my favorite post is the one on pink exteriors because I fell in love with a pink house in Savannah about 15 years ago! I really enjoy following your blog.

  • Dawn alexander says:

    The most helpful thing I’ve learned from you is to take my Muslin large paint sample with me when shopping for hard finishes. It’s so great to have something to compare finishes to. Also I love your Highpoint visits…. seeing what’s up and coming. My clients love it when I tell them the new trends that are not necessarily in the stores yet. I really appreciate being able to do research through your blog when I don’t know an answer to a design issue. Thanks for sharing your knowledge and happy birthday. Following on instagram!

  • Scarlett says:

    Happy Birthday Maria! Wishing you a happy and healthy year and decade ahead. I just turned 40 this week too. It’s a great time of year to have a birthday!

  • Katie says:

    White kitchens and white subway tile are timeless and classic! And I love that you planned your own birthday celebration! Instagram follower.

  • Jessica says:

    Happy Birthday Maria! The best thing I learned from your blog is about color trends – I’ve been able to stay away from trendy grays and stuck with my favorite classic creams and whites! Thank you for all the advice, I’ve been following along here on your blog and your Instagram:)f

  • Janet says:

    Happy 50th Maria. Your party looks just perfect!
    I have learned so much from you that even my husband knows that my next kitchen will have white cabinets and white subway tile backsplash installed up to the cabinets. This, for me, is non-negotiable, especially after he bought a house that has cherry glazed wood cabinets and a pink beige countertop that I have ignored for the past 12 years. House is currently on the market and we just purchased raw land.
    The best thing I have learned from you is that I can have a home that fills me with joy every time I walk through the door.

  • Emilie says:

    Hi Maria, I am one of your happy instagram followers and I read your blog religiously. Undertones play a huge role in the overall design of a room and you have put into words the “je ne sais quoi” of colour. You have become a voice in my head when I think about design every day of my life! Thank you SO much.

  • Kelly says:

    Happy birthday, Maria! I’ve learned so much from reading your blog over the years. My biggest takeaway is that classic finishes are always the right choice. Hardwood floors, white painted cabinets, and subway tile will never go out of style and always look good!

  • Robbin Caskenette says:

    Happy Birthday Maria! Welcome to the club! ?I am thankful to have learned how to talk to my clients about undertones and the relationships between colours with confidence. Also, just a ton of really practical stuff! I would really love to win a spot in one of your courses- that would be amazing.

  • Dianne Thompson says:

    Happy Birthday Maria! I learned that trendy is not a good idea, white on white kitchens are timeless and divine and that white subway tile is the perfect classic in both kitchens and baths. Oh, and because of you, I do my best to notice and obey the undertones! I hope to someday take your color class, however I am not a professional. I follow you on Instagram, Facebook and read the blog…so just to be safe, I’ll post the same comment everywhere! ???

  • tricia duggan says:

    Compare, compare, compare

  • Joni says:

    I must add to my Facebook comment as I have thought of more! I hate pink beige and never understood why two beige choices next to each other could look so rotten. Color can help your home flow and make a space come alive if you choose wisely. Big boards are the way to go! Recently I commented they don’t work. But I’m here today to say what I was seeing is the colors weren’t working. When I finally put up a new color board choice I picked and painted it was an ahhh haaa moment! The right color on the board does work! I knew right away! It is a process you can’t rush!

  • Kelly says:

    Bossy elements can’t be ignored. ?
    And classic and timeless is best.
    Of course I already follow you on Instagram.
    Thanks for all your amazing posts and info. I’m so glad I found you. You e changed forever how I look at color.

  • Melanie says:

    I think the most useful thing I (a rank amateur design enthusiast) learned is to compare colors to one another to get a sense of clean vs. dirty, in addition to identifying undertones. The undertones I still struggle with a little.

  • Mary Cudworth says:

    Just wanted to wish you a happy 50th birthday and may the joy and love you felt at your party be with you always. You and Terreeira make a beautiful couple. You are blessed to have her.
    I’m not a decorator or designer, but have thoroughly enjoyed following your blog for the past few years now. Your colors and designs you share are like looking at art and I get great joy from seeing the beautiful photos. Again, Happy Birthday Maria !

  • Stacy says:

    I have learned so much from you Maria! And my house looks amazing because of our consultations and blog! Boring now is timeless later. No, your kitchen won’t look like everyone else’s. One pattern per hard finish. Find inspiration because your paint color won’t propose to you. How to choose the right white. And so on and so on….happy birthday and thank you, thank you, thank you????

  • Matt Silva says:

    Your blog and ebook changed the way I see color. I can even put an outfit together better now! You helped add so much value to my home. (I get compliments too) I learned ugly costs the same as pretty. A seemingly boring choice for fixed finishes is usually the best. Oh, and undertones matter, a lot! Your advice gave me a home that makes me happy when I walk through the door. I’m so grateful for your advice!

    P.S. Your Instagram is lovely. 🙂

    Happy Birthday!

  • Kathie Oleson says:

    Happy Birthday, Maria! I’ve learned so much from your generous blogs; I’ve been following you since 2010, and it’s been a delight to see you become so successful. The primary lesson I’ve learned from you is that Classic is Classy. I’ll never renovate or decorate without that in mind. (And it’s not easy for me; I’m not gifted that way, but your system allows even me to be successful.) [I also follow you on Insta, and would dig being entered in your give-always.) Love and blessings.

  • louise says:

    Happy Birthday Maria, I wish you only the best. I have been reading your blog since you began and I thank you for the generosity, all the tips and information you share are so valuable. Every time I have a new project I refer back to your blog, I know I will find the answer or inspiration I am looking for. Thank you also for your vulnerability and honesty when you speak about your life. It is so refreshing. I would love to be included in the draw for anyone of the great prizes.

  • Katrina says:

    Happy Birthday! I’d really like to be entered in the drawing. I have been quietly reading your blog for a couple of years. Learned a lot! One important thing: “white paint is white paint is white paint,” isn’t true! Many think a slap of white paint is a cure all. My mother just had ceilings refinished and when asked to pick a paint didn’t go view options, or suggest her own. Saying to them and thinking, “I just want pure white, want it fresh and clean.” The results, to my eyes in beginner training, have the “indeed I am white colored” ceilings looking chalky flat dirty gray – the opposite of clean and uplifting.

  • jane says:

    Happy Birthday, Maria. I’ve learned so much from your blog. The best lesson is undertones – I see them everywhere – especially in whites, beiges and greys. Also lighting!! I bought myself a lamp of happiness for the corner of the dining room. Whenever I turn it on, the room is filled with light and happiness. It’s magic.
    I follow you on Instagram and have bought a couple of your ebooks, which I cherish.

  • Sherri Shokler says:

    Go timeless – and I’m so happy I did. Loving my white kitchen.

  • Darcy says:

    I chose one bossy thing (my counters) in my kitchen and installed a white subway tile backsplash. My husband wanted tile floors and I told him Maria says wood floors are like blue jeans, they go with everything. So happy for the advice! We love it.

  • Jill says:

    Happy Birthday Maria! I stumbled across your blog about two years ago and I just love it. I bought two of your e-books and stayed up all night reading them and pouring through paint and tile samples when we were doing some remodeling. I had pink beige paint all over my house and some busy tile. I didn’t love the paint or tile but lived in ignorant bliss about it for the most part until I read your posts. And once I was in the know, I was sick to my stomach because I hated the pinky paint and the bossy tile and it was all I could see. You opened my eyes and even though it was a rude awakening I am forever grateful to you. So the biggest lesson I learned from you was about pink beige and undertones. But I have learned so much more than that. My most favorite thing about you is how you can take a dated room with a client on a budget and with your talent, know how and a bit of magic turn it into something beautiful. I love how you can still incorporate some of the existing features when someone is on a budget and make the room amazing. Oh and learning about white, off white, cream and griege. That has been an incredible lesson as well. I tell everyone about your blog. Thank you Maria!

  • Stacy says:

    Maria! After a huge search everywhere, I finally found you and your wonderful advice on (it was hard to choose the best lesson!) painting the walls in the kitchen where the 80’s, pickled, beige-pink cupboards live!!! Oh, what a relief it was! Thank you for all of your shared wisdom… thou have saved me from more than one later regret 🙂 hugs
    Sincerely, Stacy

  • Brooke says:

    Happy Birthday Maria! It is so nice of you to give us gifts. I have learned so much from you but the biggest thing I learned was to keep things simple and classic. When we add tile to our kitchen there won’t be any angst over which tile, it will be subway. I have your e-books and read them every now and then and always learn something new. I am learning about your garden now and applying that to my own yard. I follow you on instagram and your lovely sister who is so nice to give juice recipes. Have a great day! xo

  • Tina says:

    Dear Maria,
    I was introduced to your blog by a friend several years ago and have been an avid follower since. I was astounded that you could explain the WHYs of colour-related things that have made me CRAZY as we have slowly renovated our east van bungalow. Why that cream rug was WRONG with the sofa; why I felt like certain colours were at war; and why we could never pick a backsplash for our white kitchen! Hubby wanted colour so it wouldn’t be boring, but I “irrationally” wanted white subway tile. You have given me language and a framework to think through AND communicate about colour. I still have lots to learn, so I keep on reading each new post, as well as going back to past favourites. I’m so thankful for you! Happy Birthday!

  • Michelle Nicholson says:

    Happy Birthday, Maria! You look amazing for 40 years old, let alone 50! How neat that you were born in 1967, Canada’s Centennial Year! One important lesson I’ve learned from you is that blue-whites, true whites and off-whites belong with grays, black and clean colours. Creams belong with beiges, browns and earthy colours. I have already purchased your Core Collection of large colour boards and Renovate with Confidence online course, and would be happy to win any of your lovely prizes (but would be ecstatic if I won your Specify Colour With Confidence workshop in Vancouver, as I live in Victoria.) I faithfully follow you on Facebook and Instagram and have read your blog almost from Day 1. Thank you for sharing your knowledge of and passion for colour with all of us. Cheers and here’s to an amazing year! ??

  • Ellen Schnaible says:

    I’ve learned how to look at color totally different now – your giant paint boards are life changing for seeing undertones & especially for choosing the right white! Boring is classic & subway tiles are my best friend. Thank you, Maria. Happy Birthday from Ellen Schnaible ! I follow you on Instagram also.

  • Nour Enayeh says:

    Happy Birthday Maria!!!
    You opened my eyes to the love of colours! The colour class I took with you at school is the one I learned the most from: Undertones, dirty and clean colours, colour flow in the house and how to compare colours.


  • Theresa Main says:

    The best thing I leaned from you is there are many shades of white! I just recently renovated my kitchen and your advice was invaluable! I should send the pictures of the end result. Thank you Maria for doing what you do. ?

  • Nadine Carter says:

    I was at your very first workshop in Vancouver. What did I learn?? So very much!! You opened my eyes to the world of colour. I continue to learn from you every month. I truly have confidence when I am out on a design consult. Thank you so much for being a great example and a great teacher. By the way, I already follow you on instagram. i

  • Catherine says:

    Happy birthday! What have I learned? That there is a logic behind my instincts about colour – the undertones, the colour wheel (that’s the BEST way of visualising colour relationships I’ve ever seen), clean and dirty, timeless and classic, the “go to” whites.

  • Päivi J. Aalto says:

    Happy Birthday Maria!
    I have been honored to know you as friend since 1989 when you were yet thinking of color consulting as profession and gave tips to me, what color looked good on me, what didn’t. It has been grate to see your journey with colors, that you love, from the early days to up today and the passion continues.
    – Today you are one of the top leaders in the color field of profession.
    And from your blog; the most important thing I have learned is : to be truth to yourself, follow your passion to be successful professional on the top and contiguously keep learning and sharing more. With Love, Päivi from Finland, Scandinavia/EU

  • Brandy McKinnon says:

    Happy Birthday! The rules of clean and dirty. And if course, the timelessness of subway tile!

  • Feryl says:

    Happy Birthday Maria !
    Terreeia, you didn’t miss a beat! Beautiful fun 50th party!
    I would be honored to receive any of your gifts in celebration of your 50th birthday.
    Maria, may this be your best year ever!
    Always look forward to your next post and learning more !!
    The best lessons I’ve learned from your blog and both ebooks.
    Your system! undertones, where to start, the fixed elements ! that should be classic and timeless.
    Cloud white is not the best exterior trim, a “go-to color” but, an option off-white. Compare compare, compare.

  • Michelle C says:

    I’ve followed your blog for years now but never had the guts to comment. The first time I read the post about beiges and undertones, it suddenly clicked to me why I sometimes knew just by looking, that one beige didn’t go with another or one grey didn’t go with another, but I couldn’t explain why. I recently spent over a year helping my parents renovate their house after a pipe burst in the kitchen, and I always insisted on getting samples of the tiles, paint, carpet, and countertops so that I could set them up as they would be in place (like you do in your blog posts, with a sheet of white paper behind) and took pictures for later reference. I lost count of how many times I went back to reread your posts on undertones just to make sure I was getting it right! Undertones!

    (I had so much trouble narrowing it down to one, that I just have to say, white kitchens come in a very close second.)

  • Linda says:

    Looks like a fabulous party Maria and I believe today is your actual Birthday so Happy a Birthday!! The best thing I learned from your blog about color is how much I didn’t know that I didn’t know. It prompted me to sign up for your very first live color class and it was one of the best decisions I made. I’m ready for a refresher so I would love to win a prize! I already follow you on IG!

  • Angela Jennings says:

    Happy birthday! Your garden party looks so beautiful and full of life! From all of your posts the biggest lesson I have learned is to pick one item (counter, floor, couch, art) as the focal point and let all of the other pieces work around it instead of competing with it.

  • Amanda Major says:

    Happy Birthday! I think my favorite lesson has been about dirty vs clean colors. It has changed so much for me. I also already follow you on instagram. Have a great day!

  • Helen Cottreau says:

    Looks like your birthday party was a delight.
    Have loved reading your blog, as well as Pinterest posts and Instagram, LOL. Have learned lots and reinforced some things I knew instinctively about decorating since I am an artistand a knitter and spend lots of time thinking of colour schemes. This colour knowledge works for all media.

  • Sukeina Jethabhai says:

    I can now look at a white and see if it is creamy vs blue undertone. I actually know there is a difference 🙂 I would love to be in the artwork draw as well as any of the others (especially your course) and I do follow you on Instagram. Happy Birthday and thank you for the giveaway ?

  • Janette says:

    Happy Birthday Maria, I wish you many more happy and successful years to come! I first discovered your blog several years ago while googling “best white paint.” As a complete design novice, following your blog has opened my eyes to an amazing new world. Your lessons on using colour have truly helped me to bring a happy feeling to my home. I’ve also been working on the hubby to paint the wood cabinets white for a while now and am almost there, haha! Thank you so much for generously sharing your extensive knowledge in such a fun and personable way. I would be thrilled to win any of your generous giveaways or a piece of artwork by the amazing James Wiens. Wishing you all the best!

  • Jeni says:

    Happiest of Birthdays, Maria! How to pick one thing … okay it’s how colors relate to each other. We moved into a house with stained wood cabinets around the fireplace that looked very pinkish next to the yellowed oak floors. We refinished the floors to a medium brown (your best advice imho) and voila! the cabinets no longer pull pink at all! My realtor and my husband didn’t think it would work but thanks to your blog and lessons learned, it absolutely and beautifully did!

    Have a great year until the next one!

  • Beverly says:

    Happy birthday! I’ve learned so much from you. I have so much confidence in the colors I choose now. It’s so nice not being stressed about choosing a great color. I even helped my step mom design her kitchen and she loves it! The one thing you teach that stands out the most to me is choosing classic & “boring” finishes. I’m all about increasing value, but when I give that advice to my friends they just don’t get it and choose the trendy option. Thanks so much for sharing your knowledge. It has inspired me.

  • Amy Sumner says:

    Two things I’ve learned from you, Maria, are: the power in understanding and seeing undertones (in *everything*, ask my husband!) after reading White is Complicated and It’s All in the Undertones, and I’ve learned to stand my ground when making design color choices even when the interior designer helping us thought my white subway tile in both the kitchen and the bath of our new cabin was boring. I love it! Thank you!

  • Laure S. says:

    Maria, Happy Birthday!!! Here’s to 50 more! I’ve followed you on your blog and Instagram for years. I’d have to say the best lesson has been learning to really look for undertones in existing finishes to pick a great paint…especially in older houses where you might be stuck with the flooring or existing tile. You have wonderful advice on how to choose the right white!


  • Claire says:

    Happy Birthday Maria!

    I have been following you and your blog for so many years now, and I’m finally in the middle of getting my dream white kitchen installed in my home. I am biting my nails over whether I’m doing the right thing but I’m following your advice and sticking to my guns despite the plethora of people telling me it’ll be too clinical and white.

    Your party looked fantastic and I’m sure that I’ll be reading your blog for many more years to come!

  • Cindy Baiardi says:

    Color used to be so overwhelming to me but now it makes so much more sense. Just what I need when advising my real estate clients!

  • Tanya says:

    As I posted on Instagram, it is your entrepreneurial spirit that influences me most. When I first started binge reading your blog a year or so ago, I came across a blog post from 2015 in which you talked about the importance of taking the first steps towards your dreams and that for you, doing something is always better than doing nothing. So darn true!! While I don’t have a color business, I decided just to start soliciting my services to my friends and acquaintances and while I certainly haven’t left my day job, I am having so much fun building on my successes and helping people choose colors.

  • Marie S. says:

    Happy Birthday Maria! I have learned so much from you including to never underestimate the value of subway tile. Thanks for including us in your celebration.

  • Robin says:

    You wear 50 well! What a lovely day you had for your special celebrations.
    I’ve followed you since the beginning and have learned so much. Introducing a splash of colour in my beige livingroom…that was a big step for me! Now my room makes me happy!!
    Also undertones…I’m deciding a colour on my house for siding and roof. Not an easy task! 😉 But it will be awesome when I’m done!!
    Oh….another is clean and dirty colours…the list goes on!!
    Thanks for all your info.

  • Lynn Cragg says:

    I learned not to be afraid of colour, for the first time I painted my living areas in a colour not a neutral. I am much happier with my new home than I would otherwise have been. Happy. Birthday.

  • Beth Dolar says:

    Happy birthday! ?
    Biggest thing I’ve learned is simplicity and timeless is often best.
    Undertones I’m still working on learning ?

  • Marsha says:


    Happy Birthday! What a beautiful celebration – thank you for sharing those gorgeous pictures.

    I feel that you have held my hand and personally taken me step by step through demystifying undertones! Your posts that teach, your e-books that enlighten and your enthusiasm for what you do are all sources of inspiration for me as I embrace my inner designer and create the spaces that I love. Thank you!

    Yes, I follow you on Instagram and I have followed your blog since the very beginning – as your images and words feed my “design soul”. To win something would be icing on the cake (and your cake was stunning!), but I’m just happy to be able to express my appreciation for what you do 🙂

    A shout-out to the fabulous Terreeia, whom I met in TO through LM. An amazing coach and a phenomenal person. I hope we’ll have a chance to connect again in BC and I’d love a chance to meet you, Maria!

  • Lesley Kramer says:

    Maria – Ah – I’ve been reading your blog from the beginning – Happy Birthday to you !! – I’ve learned A LOT from you over the many years (where have they gone? LOL) – always in a fun practical way I’ve enjoyed your writing, and I love the examples you provide to support your comments and ideas.

    But what stands out? The importance of perseverance, to grow as a person — you are the reason I’ve realized how important it is to continue to evolve. That is the number one thing I love about you and your site. I refer people to your site (in fact just last night) not just for color knowledge but have sent ‘millennials’ who are looking for some direction, wondering about how to start in life — I tell them to read portions from your old posts, and highlight ones about your personal growth that you’ve shared — to current ones with the awards, travel and growth comments. These are not people with any interest in color or design, but a need to see that growth can happen and helpful to see how one person went about it. Thank you.

  • Pam Helfrich says:

    Happy Birthday, Maria! I was both delighted and dismayed to discover your post about 6 or 7 years ago right after we finished a big remodel. I was delighted because your advice confirmed everything I loved in my remodeled space but dismayed because you explained why I was disappointed with other parts so I knew it wasn’t just in my head and would miraculously start looking better. I also started following Instagram after reading one of your posts on social media. Thanks for all your help via your blog. Pam

  • Mary-Illinois says:

    Happy Birthday young lady!!!
    I’m so glad the weather turned around in time for your party. It looks like everyone had a fun time.
    The first thing I learned on your blog was that white cabinets will live forever. And then Learning about how important it is to have good color flow through your house. And of course the clean vs dirty quality of all colors.
    You are so sweet to have such a generous giveaway. I left a comment on your IG feed also. (Which I follow you on.)

  • Jane osborn says:

    Your undertone system explained so much! And not to paint a dark room white. And kitchens and baths, keep it classic!

  • Donna says:

    Happy Birthday ? I have learned a lot reading your blog. I have learned to hate pink beige ? Buying the large color boards have been a huge help. Thank you.

  • Carol Clatk says:

    I love, love your blog– you have given me new confidence in sticking with the classics! Just put in a white kitchen with subway tile in my own home! Happy Birthday!!

  • Kristin Daley says:

    Your blog has taught me a lot about the way that accents can brighten a room while leaving the hard details timeless!

  • Marguerite says:

    I am an Instagram follower, and Maria I would follow you through the desert and back you have taught me so much about color but about many other important life choices through your blog. You don’t realize how much you share and teach beyond your “specific professional expertise”. you teach how to be a “Mensche”.

    The most important thing you have taught me is To Really Look, and To Really SEE. Only then, can you make a choice.

    (Would love to attend your Color class again, I have all the other products, LOL!)

  • Holly says:

    Happy birthday, Maria! What a lovely party! I think it would be amazing to attend one of your training seminars!

    I have learned so much from your blog. I appreciate that you include such helpful advice rather than merely showing off your design projects (which are always wonderful!). The advice I’ve been able to apply most directly has been how to find undertones and differentiate between clean and dirty colors.

    I happen to love beige as I find it to be warmer than most grays, and, after reading your blog, I realized how quickly it can get you into trouble. Thanks to your advice, I was able to find the best paint color to match my stone fireplace while transitioning from a Tuscan color scheme to something a little more timeless–all on a small decorating budget. Thank you!

  • Franci says:

    Happy birthday, Maria. The best thing I’ve learned from following your blog for years is to follow my gut and tell people that the “boring” choice in things like tile and countertops that they don’t want to make is the one they need in their life. So many times, I’ve read your blog and said out loud to my computer “can I get an amen?” And of course I follow you on Instagram. Thank you for this giveaway option.

  • Cindy Wickizer says:

    Happy Birthday! The best lesson from your blog is probably ‘it’s all about the undertones’. Reminds me of the key to photography, in that ‘it’s all about the light’. Very basic but essential in both cases.

  • Kami says:

    I’ve learned so much from your blog. We bought our house in 2008 and it is the epitome of the horrible tuscan trend. Your blog has helped me be able to slowly transform my house into more of my style. We still have a lot of work to do and I love looking to you for inspiration!

  • Candy says:

    I have learned so much from your blog over the years since I have been a loyal follower since your “colour me happy” days. I appreciate the lessons about undertones and white kitchens, but I think my favourite lesson is about not spending money on trendy items like backsplashes and countertops, but to invest in classics; and to always move forward with design. You have saved me many times over years and I am already a winner because of it

  • Helen says:

    Gorgeous pictures and happy birthday! I’ve loved reading your blog for years now and it’s really helped me narrow down the choices for my own home renovation. I’m a color enthusiast and reading your blog has helped me put a logical explanation to things that I’ve seen/noticed and felt but didn’t have words for! Now I have a master bath that I’m proud of and can live with for a long time. We’ll be doing a kitchen soon and I’m considering your package – very exciting! Your website is always beautiful – Thank you for loving Green (as well as yellow!)

  • Liz says:

    Happy 50th, Maria! Looks like a wonderful soirée!!

    The biggest thing I have learned from your blog is about dirty/clean colours. I used to describe it as ‘muted/more bright’, but understood it more fully with your explanations, examples, photos & tips. Thank you!

    I would love to be entered into the draw. (I have the eBooks already).

    Congrats on your milestone and hope the next 50 are as fabulous!

  • Jessica says:

    Happy birthday Maria!

    What a great opportunity to celebrate you and see the impact you have had on your legions of followers! I have learned so very much from you and am putting it to good use as we build our dream house. Specifically, undertones, classic exterior, white kitchens and only one pattern in kitchen and baths. You have made the selection process one where I am confident in my decisions, thank you!

  • Susan Lee says:

    Happy birthday, fellow Gemini! The best lesson I learned from your fabulous blog is to pay attention to the undertones, especially the white undertones. You also reinforced my preference for white kitchens and subway tile. I also am now following you on Instagram. Cheers!

  • elle says:

    We share birthdays! I’ve learned from you to trust my instincts. If it doesn’t feel right there is a reason and your explanations are the path to enlightenment. I am facing moving to new location/home. I definitely would like a chance to win. Thank you for sharing your gifts!

  • Stephanie Frees says:

    I have only been lucky enough to have found you a few weeks back. Imagine my dismay to discover that you were here, in my back yard, and I was to late to be able to sign up for your conference. Please come to Chicago again! I will never look at taupe the same! I love your clear explanations of white undertones and cannot wait to learn even more.
    Thanks for mentioning this giveaway on Instagram!

  • Karen M says:

    Happy 50th Maria! I’d love a prize – bought your ebook when it came out. I also follow you on Instagram-I’m kjmanoug. What I learned from you is that I’m not crazy! And my instincts about color & design were right. Good thing I found your blog when we were redoing our kitchen from oak to white! So glad I didn’t listen to the advice that I needed accent tiles. Now I love my kitchen!

  • Kim says:

    I have all your books and attended your Renovate & New Build With Confidence course a couple of years ago. All of this has been wonderfully helpful to me. I love your fearless use of color and design aesthetic. My dream would be to attend a Specify Color With Confidence course in person and also to have your entire collection of large paint samples. Thanks for all you do and Happy 50th Birthday, Maria!

  • Torri miller says:

    I’ve learned it’s best to stick with white hard surfaces when redoing bathrooms and kitchens and use color elsewhere?

  • Peggy says:

    Happy birthday. I have been following you for years, and have had a phone consultation with you, read your books, and recommended you to many friends. When looking at colors I am lead by your principles. We are redoing our kitchen this fall…white thanks to you.

  • Teresa Anderson says:

    Happy birthday! The party looked fantastic! You have taught me the importance of understanding undertones and the value of timeless hard surfaces. Thank you for sharing your knowledge.

  • Angie says:

    One of the many things I’ve learned from you is about trends — how they often come in ten year cycles and how I can save myself a lot of heartache and money if I choose the classics for the more permanent fixtures instead of the trendy. You’re hard work and straightforward advice is inspiring. Happy birthday!
    P.S. I follow you on insta. 🙂

  • Marilee Miller says:

    Well…you have taught me about undertones, NOT installing trendy flooring, tile etc, that white is classic but white is also very complicated, white on white does not work in many situations, small paint chips are not good colour samples, I need large paint samples (and a true white background to compare them properly)…I could go on but I will stop there. I love your work, I love your advice and I am planning to build a new home this fall and would love to win a seat at your workshop! I have two of your books and have already purchased your Renovate with Confidence webinar 🙂 Happy 50th!!

  • Valerie A says:

    Learning undertones in your Vancouver seminar approximately 5 years ago was certainly one of the best classes I’ve taken given undertones were never taught in design school. The knowledge has transformed my business and confidence in choosing colors for my clients. I would love to take a refresher course and learn even more in one of your seminars.

  • MaggieS says:

    I have learned SO MUCH from your blog! It was the first one I ever found (in 2010) and I went back and read EVERY one of your old blog posts!!

    Of course I learned an incredible amount about color in general and how important undertones are—but much more, about blogging, having an authentic voice when you write.
    Also, a BIG, BIG thank you for introducing me (through your blog) to Kristie Barnett, The Decorologist –I went and took her class and I’m now a Home Stager! Now I hope to add Color Consult to my services someday!! 🙂

    Best wishes! the 50’s are great!!

  • Brenda says:

    I learned to understand (and ignore) my first instinct to go with the ‘warmer’ looking carpet (i.e. pink beige) and go with the carpet that doesn’t have the pink undertones and won’t look dirty. We replaced it 5 years ago and I still love the carpet on my stairs/hallway because of you, Maria!

  • MaggieS says:

    I just followed you on Instagram!!

  • Wilma Longman says:


    50 is such a wonderful milestone, a passage into the best years of your life (I know, I recently turned 62). I know in my heart that our surroundings have deep emotional power, and I have strived to create beauty in every home I’ve inhabited. I’ve mastered the spacial arrangement of furniture, accessories and art, but until your blog, color has been my evil nemesis. I’ve made disastrous mistakes (the bile color I once chose for my kitchen being the worst!) and I never understood why my until I learned about UNDERTONES from you. Your blog and e-books have given me hope that color can someday be my friend. Thank You so much and please enjoy your beautiful 50th year.

  • marianne says:

    When I walk into a room and for some reason the decor feels off and it often has to do with undertones. I learned to look for them from you.

  • Erica says:

    You taught me that colours are relative to their surroundings. When I stopped testing paint colours together on the wall and started testing them with the fixed finishes in the room – changed my world! Thank you!!!!!

  • Karen says:

    The best thing I’ve learned is that white isn’t…well….white. 🙂 There are undertones to everything and if something looks horrific, it’s probably the undertone. (AND….I’m going to paint my kitchen white; I wanted something more olive drabby…but hubby pointed your essential kitchen whiteness…and I’m listening.). Thank you for all you do!

  • linda says:

    June 7 is also the birthday of my own mum so a special day indeed. You asked what is the best lesson I learned from your blog. I will say this – because of your blog I found the Landmark Forum and though I am 55, and some might say I should be thinking more of retiring, it is making me feel like the future is still full of wonderful surprises. And this colours me happy. (Plus, thanks for all the info on ‘white’). Happy b’day, Maria!

  • Donna Bursell says:

    Happy Birthday Maria!
    You are now entering the best years of your life!
    It’s not everyday someone GIVES a present on their birthday!
    I’ve loved your posts for years which has given me more confidence while working with new home buyers.
    Enjoy your year!

  • Kathleen says:

    Happy Birthday Maria, you look amazing on your special day. I have learned so much from your blog and the books I have bought from your website. By understanding the undertones I have made my house a beautiful place for my family…when someone comments on my home I always give you the credit for helping me pick the beautiful colors… Thank you so much. Have a great day and a wonderful year.

  • Cindy T. says:

    Happiest Birthday! You have been given such a gift and are so generous to share it with others. You have really opened my eyes to color but especially recognizing under tones. Thank you so much!

  • Cynthia Hines says:

    Maria, I can hardly believe you are 50!!! You look so young! I think it is your joyful spirit and your happiness that keeps you so young looking! I wish you the very best in your birthday MONTH and your birthday YEAR!!! As I have gotten older, I descended to celebrate my birthday all month. This last April, Some difficult things happened in my life, so I neglected to celebrate my birthday month. I hope that I will win one of your generous prizes as a belated birthday gift (to me)! I would especially love the Color with Confidence event, if it includes residents of the US, or the webinar or the large paint samples. Or really anything, would be much appreciated. Thank you so much for being YOU and for being so generous. I have been following you for years and purchased your color books. I have learned very much from you, so thank you, countless flowered Thank-yous. ~ Cynthia

  • Marie-Claude says:

    Happy Birthday! I just turned 50 also! Your garden party look fantastic! I’m new to your blog but already i love your work! 🙂

  • Leslie says:

    I would love to be entered! I love your advice on simple subway tile, I installed it for my backsplash and I am happy every day when I see it!

  • Kathleen DeMill says:

    I love your blog! The best lesson I have learned so far, is that you should only have one pattern in the kitchen design. Either the counter tops, tile flooring, or backsplash. Granite does have a pattern, and even the layout of a solid backsplash can be busy.

  • I love your blog, it always makes me smile! Looks like you had a great party…. Happy Birthday! I’ve learned a lot from you and your blog, from undertones, to tablescapes, kitchens and of course, avoiding pink Beige! Winning anything from you would be awesome 🙂 Best of luck and success in all of your future endeavors!

  • Sue Smith says:

    Happy Birthday Maria! I’ve learned the “why” behind color combinations/pairings that make me uncomfortable. I always seemed to “just know” a color wasn’t right, but could never articulate why. This has helped me immensely in my home staging business in explaining to clients my color recommendations.

  • Gail M says:

    Already following on Instagram.

    Best lesson learned: White Ain’t Easy! ;o)

    Happy Birthday, belated!

  • Mary Jane says:

    Happy Birthday! The best lesson that I have learned from your blog is that every time I have a colour query, I know where to go for help. I look through your blog postings to find the answer to my dilemma.

  • WendyK says:

    Happy Birthday, Maria! I am about a month behind you in turning 50. I have come to recognize that I am a person who is very emotionally attuned to color, so what I have learned here has changed my life, no joke! Though I’m not a designer, learning to identify undertones was the key to understanding why I had such visceral negative (and positive) reactions to color combinations, and putting that knowledge into practice has helped me create spaces in my home that I love and also has improved both my wardrobe and my garden! Thanks so much for your blog!

  • Christine says:

    Happy 50th birthday Maria!! I learned so much from you that I don’t know where to start, but if I had to choose one, then it would be a white kitchen.

  • cathy says:

    Considering I already have read/bought/seen/attended all of the prizes listed I don’t want to win anything, just wish you a good ol’ fashioned happy birthday. Maybe the best years still be ahead of you! xx

  • Maria Lofftus says:

    Oh my goodness, what haven’t I learned from reading your blog! I’m not a designer or stylist, but I am a color enthusiast. So in addition to learning all about undertones from reading your blog, I’m also beginning to learn how to style a room – how great is that!

    Happy Birthday – may this be your best year yet!

  • Robin says:

    I had no idea that there were undertones and that they really mattered! It has helped me so much in choosing fabrics for my quilts. Thank you so much! I’d love to come to one of your seminars. And winning anything would be marvelous!

  • Pamela Csatari says:

    Please enter me into your prize contest. I follow you on instagram and love the inspiration. I’ve spent hours sweating the details of color selection. Now I’ve learned to not stress over color selection when I have professional sources I can utilize to help land me in the right spot. Your inspiring and educational blog, along with your professionally designed color packages, will make it so much easier for me to tackle an upcoming total house remodel and re-design! Thank you! So glad I found you online!

  • Cheryl says:

    Happy 50th Maria! The best lesson has to be about a timeless backsplash.

  • Deborah R. says:

    Develop confidence. Listen to your client and partner with them.
    Learn Maria’s color wheel. Be the expert.
    Have fun and inspire!
    Happy 50th Birthday and wishing you continued success.
    The best is yet to come…
    (Wish I could win the large color samples or the webinar training)
    Someday I will attend your SCWC in a fabulous city!!
    Thank you.

  • Nirma says:

    Hi Maria,
    Happy Birthday! What a beautiful party! Please enter my name to win your prizes. The lesson that has stuck with me is the one where you describe that all “whites”have either a pink, green or yellow base. That has helped me to determine the correct white on more than one occasion. Thank you and may you have a great 50th year!

  • Chelsea Pinneke says:

    Hello Maria, my aunt had told me about you this past year and although I’m just a recent follower of your blogs, you have change everything for me. I have always had a passion for design and I choose a different path in college and after college being a little lost and not confident in what I wanted to do I had no idea where to start. My aunt then told me to read your blogs and I haven’t missed one since. You have changed my life and given me a passion to work for and have opened my eyes even more to the world of color. I haven’t just learned one thing I have learned an abundant of things that I hope one day can get me going in life in the right direction. I’m a college graduate looking to start a career in this field some how while I work part time at Sherwin-Williams. I just wanted to thank you for all your amazing insight… I would might the free ticket to a seminar but I will keep dreaming, working hard and following your blog to help guide me! And of course I follow your Instagram!

  • Sue Eastling says:

    I have just found Maria and her blog. Have been loving it Maria. Would love to go to a workshop or have color charts or anything! We are just starting to build a new custom house so have lots of these problems to tackle. I have already learned about bossy granite and using subway tile! Happy birthday Maria.

  • Sandy Epperson says:

    Once you start seeing and analyzing color differently, there is no way you will ever be able to stop. Your eye automatically looks and your brain automatically analyzes.

  • Karen says:

    Happy 50th Maria! I’ll turn 50 later this year.

    The best thing I learned from your website was about taupe and beige undertones, as well as white undertones. We’ve lived in our home for 10+ years and for a number of years I just could not decide what to paint the downstairs living areas which are all open to each other, with taupe tile and carpet, and taupe tumbled mini tile backsplash, and oak cabinets. I would love to one day swap the cabinets to white ones and put white silestone countertops and subway tiles in.

    But for now… your emails and articles helped me pick a very light beige for the walls that coordinates nicely with all that’s going on in the dining room, entryway, livingroom, breakfast area, and kitchen, which are open to each other. We also picked a lovely white that pops but isn’t blue… hopefully something that will look lovely and fresh with white cabinets one day. Light navy and white curtains freshened up the look as well.

    Hope you have a lovely birthday month!

  • Teresa Tomas says:

    Maria has taught me that white kitchens and baths are classics and are always in style. When you are remodeling less is more as to countertop and tile. Beware of a kitchen or bath looking to busy if you don’t choose the right countertop and tile. Plus, trends usually last about 10 years, so you are better off going with a classic “Maria influenced” look.

    Thanks for all of you work on your blog. Your blog is very educational and I have learned alot. You have helped me avoid some big mistakes in my decor.

  • Debra Rigby says:

    Happy Birthday Maria!!
    I came across your blog while I was renovating my own home. I was considering
    painting it white – so obviously you popped up!! Thank goodness.! As a designer I thought I knew colour
    but after soaking up everything in your course last May in Toronto I have so much more useful and practical knowledge. Most of all I can now explain to my clients with greater clarity the why!

    Your paint chips have simplified my business and every selection I have made has been fantastic.

    I was so disappointed not to be able to volunteer at you Toronto course this spring but am hopeful for next year!!
    Most of all I was happy to find someone else who LOVES colour, as witnessed by my gorgeous yellow floral
    curtain in my chinoiserie dining room!!
    You have inspired me to grow and my business to the next level.

    Thank you so much!!!


    Debra Rigby
    Debra Rigby Design

    PS: I most certainly do follow you on instagram

  • Sally says:

    Happy Birthday! The best lesson for me has been to think differently when making permanent choices – tile, counters, floors etc – vs. temporary choices like paint and fabric. This gave me a framework and “flowchart” for all the decisions I had to make in my recent (almost done) renovation!! I learned not to evaluate tile by how “pretty” the little sample in my hand was, and I didn’t let myself pick wall paint first!

  • Julie says:

    The best thing I have learned from you is that timeless and classic is the best way to go. Happy birthday, and thanks for all the great advice you’ve given us over the years. This is my favorite blog!

  • Deb B says:

    Happy Birthday, Maria! You taught me not to go with the trend in hard surfaces but rather stay classic and let the accessories be the change.

  • Stephanie R says:

    Happy Birthday!!! Thanks for the wonderful giveaways!

    I’ve learned to stick with classic and timeless design choices when purchasing expensive or hard to change items, instead of jumping on the trend of the moment bandwagon (which was my tendency before).

  • Shelley says:

    Undertones! Classic subway tiles! How to create an interior that you love for years (not months)! Happy Birthday to you! Ps I follow you on Instagram

  • Crystal says:

    I’ve been reading your posts for years and am thankful for your classic perspective. I bought your exterior color guide and understanding whites guide and love them. My favorite nugget of knowledge is probably about understanding muddy and clear colors. Life. Changing. My favorite design inspiration is your garden. I planted white pansies this past winter and white tulips to bloom this spring and they were beautiful against my boxwood, yaupon hollies and white azaleas. Are you kidding? I am already an Instagram follower!

  • gary says:

    Happy 50th, with more excitement in the next 50.

    Please include me in the drawing.

  • Joanne Hurd says:

    Happy Birthday, Maria! I’ve learned so much from reading your blog, it’s hard to choose. I’d have to say it’s learning to see pink-beige. Unfortunately, I found your blog a few months after installing new floor tile in my master bath, but at least I finally understood why the yellow beiges I was trying to put on the walls just wasn’t working.

  • Catherine Edwards says:

    Hard to choose the best think I’ve learned from you! I’m drawn to individual elements that make me smile; by themselves I find them highly appealing. Maria has taught me simple is better once it is in place, especially when it comes to patterns and fixed (costly to replace) items. Think timeless!

  • Loren, Blue Door Decor says:

    The most impactful thing I’ve learned from reading your blog is the power of “because”.
    Nothing makes a consultation go more smoothly than when you explain why a design choice is heinous…. in a nice way.
    I’d love to be considered for a colour seminar spot in Vancouver.
    Thanks and happy day to you.

  • Kristen says:

    I have learned so much just by reading your blog! I forward your articles all the time to people who ask for my design or color opinions. Looking forward to one day attending your workshop in person!

  • The best lesson I learned from dear Maria is so basic, so fundamental, so essential to beautiful design, yet so utterly unknown in North America is the primacy of harmonious color undertones in a design composition.

    Until Maria showed up in my life, all I knew is that some colors or color combinations looked good but others were maddening. I figured that color success was just a gift some people had, not a skill I could learn and replicate rather than getting lucky now and then but failing a high percentage of the time.

    Maria’s undertone wisdom has freed me to stop trying to copy other designers’ looks down to the exact paint shade but instead feel confident that with the principles she teaches, I can create a fantastic original look myself.

    Happy Birthday, woman! And thank you for making a massive difference in my eye and my life. XO, Elizabeth

  • Julie Berard says:

    How different lighting affects colors.

  • Karen W. says:

    Happy Birthday, Maria! What a wonderful birthday bash…the pictures made me feel like a guest.

    Your birthday outfit is a clue to what I rank as the number one lesson learned from you…stay with simple, classic choices that are timeless. Then use accessories for showing my personality. I have followed that mantra in clothing choices for 50 years. You taught me it works with design choices, too!

    Best wishes to you and your loved ones as you begin the next decades of your lives together.

  • Kelsey says:

    Your colour wheel! So helpful. Happy Birthday!

  • Lauren Blackwood says:

    Happy Birthday! Looks like a fabulous celebration!
    You’ve taught me to choose classic fixed elements, and that “boring” is often far better than trendy! I feel confident in my kitchen and bathroom renovations because of what I’ve learned from your blog! Ok, off to follow you on IG!

  • Rhonda says:

    My #1 lesson learned from you is only one busy fixed element per room is allowed. You, I’m sure, would not be surprised how many people look at you like you are crazy!

  • Beth Lester says:

    I would love to take a refresher of your color confidence course. After the last one, I stopped at a fabric store and got a couple dozen fabric samples to practice specifying color with. It was a very fun exercise. I was inspired to learn the actual colors, including their names and numbers, like you know. I have a long ways to go, however.

  • Amanda Bell says:

    I have just started reading your blog because I really want to understand color. Not for professional use at this time but for personal knowledge and just knowing what makes certain pallets work. Understanding undertones has been the most valuable information Ive learned from your blog and also what makes a look timeless. I am not into trendy but classic and I love how you make it clear what works and does not. Happy 50th!

  • Christine Trebendis says:

    Happy Birthday Maria! Hope your day is filled with love and laughter. I’ve learned so much from your “How to choose paint colors” book and how important it is to start with a large sample board. Thanks for sharing so much of your knowledge over the years. Love your blog…a great way to start your day with so much inspiration! Hope you enjoy your special day and thanks for a chance to be included in the draw for any one of your great prizes.

  • Diane Stouffer says:

    Wow 50, that’s a big one, but I have you beat by several years:) Happy Birthday, Maria. I look forward to reading your posts and seeing the beautiful pictures you use to illustrate your expertise in choosing colors. I have followed your blog for years and learned so much about undertones and the importance of clean vs. dirty colors. I would love to win one of your prizes, as I have only purchased the online course on undertones several years ago.

  • Lauren Corbyn says:

    Happy birthday! Your blog alone is such a great resource when feeling stuck on a design project! I look forward to taking one of your live courses. I hear nothing but rave reviews.

  • Nancy says:

    What a awesome 50 th birthday Party !
    What I’ve learned from you is to trust .
    When I first started to follow you , I would think why did she recommend that color?
    But once I had you give me a paint color and I used it for my home , never doubted you again .
    That is one of many things Natua I’ve learned from you as you are a book of knowledge .
    Thank you for sharing that knowledge!

  • Alisa Ligrani says:

    I love your enthusiasm for color and design. Happy birthday (late) and I hope it was a beautiful day! I have your undertone book and have read it so many times! It has helped me in my color consultations so much. I would love to win one of your awesome prizes! Thank you!!

  • E. Hughes says:

    I’ve learned that a house exterior should only have 3 or 4 colors max. Now I see houses everywhere that break this rule and it is obvious to me how much busier and cluttered the house looks!

  • Vicki Lyles says:

    Maria, I have learned SO many things, but I think the most important is to keep major hard surfaces classic and let the trends be more easily replaceable (money and labor) things. It looks like you had a wonderful birthday!

  • Lucinda says:

    Happy Birthday Maria:). One of the biggest things you taught me was that there really is a reason why things don’t look right to me! Undertones! You gave me practical tools to work with: understanding undertones, colour boards etc. and through that gave me confidence that I have an eye for colour and can help people. Thank you!!

  • Wizzer says:

    Hi, happy 50th! Would be grateful to be entered into drawing for all of these generous prizes. During a recent eDesign color consult I learned that a reliable way to pick a great white window trim color is to color match it to the biggest fixed white element in space (in that instance, my cabinets)!

  • Patti G says:

    Happy birthday, Maria! I follow you on Instagram and saw your post about the drawing. Thanks to you, I now know why, during the pink-beige era, I had such a hard time finding tile to work with my 1980’s “almond” bath fixtures. You can’t ignore the undertones!

  • Laura says:

    Happy Birthday Maria! I had the very fortunate experience of meeting you and Terreeia this May in your Chicago course. I don’t know if I could pick a single best lesson I’ve learned from your blog, because I have accumulated so much knowledge, it’s like like seeing the world with a whole new perspective. I am gaining the confidence to tell a client yes or no to their choice, with an explanation as to why. Your timeless aesthetic has always resounded with me and I have always found myself saying in my head “Yes, Yes, Yes” while reading your posts. What I have found most helpful is the pictures you post pointing out the various undertones in a room. So I guess my answer would be the importance of comparing one color to another.

  • Lynda Cook says:

    Happy 50th! Love your blog and instragram! I have been a subscriber for awhile and learned why I really disliked my home’s original color scheme –it was pinky beige. That alone has been a tremendous help in making color choices for my home and helping my friends with theirs. (Amateur decorator here :)). Other lessons: boring over trendy for anything “permanent”, you can’t beat a white subway tile, and when picking countertops, backsplash and flooring for your kitchen choose one patterned item only. I would love to win a prize to celebrate your birthday but want to thank you too for the valuable advice I have already received from your blog and Instagram. Thanks Maria!

  • Joanne Michael says:

    The best lesson I learned about kitchen design is “only one busy (bossy) pattern allowed in a kitchen.” Keep it simple for design that is timeless.

    Happy Birthday, dear Maria. You are a white light in my life.

  • Leanne says:

    I, like so many others, love your blog. I’ve always wanted a more creative career, but never had the confidence and instead, chose management. However, I’ve never stopped considering it, and every house I’ve ever lived in and sold, has looked the best that I could possibly make it, based on what I’ve read. My life changed dramatically when I married 5 years ago and adopted my daughter (she’s now 6), and I too will be turning 50 this fall (i know, right?) I feel 2017, and turning 50, should mark the year that I get the proper training (and Maria’s is the best) and go for it! Cheers on your 50th! You are an inspiration to me ?

  • Susanne Croley says:

    Happy birthday!!! You look gorgeous by the way!
    My biggest learning from reading your blog was – I hope you are sitting down – that there are undertones! Wow, right! I had no idea. I just never gave color much thought before. But now that i know, boys have things changed in my color-awareness. Thank you!!
    So of course I would be thrilled to be party of your seminars or win any of your other great prizes!
    I also follow you on Instagram too!!

  • Debra Van Dyke says:

    Hi Maria,

    I’ve learned so much from you in the past few years.
    Your blog posts are the first thing that read without exception, in my mailbox.

    I would say that the most important lesson is that if I design with a timeless focus, that the people who visit my home are so relaxed that it becomes a ethereal experience.
    That in turn makes them, the beautiful art adorning my home.

    Win. Win. For all of us <3

    Happy ..Happy…HAPPY 50th Birthday!
    Hope to meet you at one of the workshops soon.

  • Lorraine says:

    Happy Birthday Maria!
    I just started learning from Maria about colour this spring because of a window/brick colour disaster we had (for which Maria provided a fix!). One of many things I’ve learned so far is that you can’t actually tell the undertone of a colour without comparing it to other colours. Thanks Maria!

  • Ann says:

    Maria, you have encouraged my understanding and learning about undertones. I have a long way to go, but learn something every time I read your blog. One of the things I appreciate most is the honesty you bring in your approach. Happy Birthday from East Texas. Ann

  • Diane Clementi says:

    Happy Birthday! I hope this year is very prosperous, adventurous and fabulous for you.
    I am currently building a home in Tennessee and I’ve very grateful that I discovered your blog. Your design advice is timeless and has directed my numerous design decisions. Thanks to you I’m not as overwhelmed with all the options. I Have chosen white kitchen and bath cabinets, subway tile in the kitchen and will not pick two different patterns for floor tile and countertops.

  • Ulrika says:

    Maria, you are impacting peoples lives by your work. I have learned from you that when colour is selected by a Specify Colour with Confidence-trained designer colors are aligned with nature, mood and energy of the space and it creates miracles for the home and the people that live there.

  • Paula Diekhoff says:

    Maria, I would be afraid to attend one of your seminars because I have no decorating sense. And that is what I learned from your website: hire a designer to help you. I did that back in 2014 and it was the best thing that ever happened. My house looked so amazing and for the first time in 25 years I felt like I was “home”. However, we had to sell the house in 2015. Now we have moved to a different city. I wasn’t able to hire another person to help because we are retired and our budget is reduced. But, I still am glad I followed your advice. Another thing I learned from your blog is: white is timeless and you can never go wrong; use pops of color in the room and change out the colors seasonally, if desired.
    Happy Birthday! Your party pictures were amazing!

  • Carly says:

    I’ve learned a lot from the site but am especially thankful for the lesson in undertones!

  • Martha M Rife says:

    Happy birthday, Maria! How I love waking up to your blog!
    I learned just in time that my $35K kitchen remodel wasn’t going to look good…at least not for long! Thank goodness! Now I’ll be using soapstone and pale cream subway tile with some complicated whites…but with your help, I’m figuring that out!

    Thank you, and best wishes for your continued success!

  • Laura F says:

    Happy Birthday! What a generous way to celebrate! Thank you for the opportunity to win some great gifts!! I follow you in instagram too. The biggest lesson I’ve learned from you is understanding the importance of undertones– such game changer!

  • Leanne says:

    Oh! I guess I should also say I’d love to win a prize, especially the color with confidence seminar. Cheers!

  • Jaye McKay says:

    I have learned so many things from Maria’s blog! White kitchens never go out of style, simple is best, never use a busy backsplash, keep things classic and avoid overuse of the trendy colours in hard finishes. The list goes on. I look forward to every one of Maria’s blogs!! Happy belated Birthday! Thank you for sharing your gift of talent with us!

    • Jaye McKay says:

      Also….I want to attend the Vancouver seminar so bad and am thrilled you are offering one in BC this fall. So winning that would be so amazing!!!

  • Linda Hartford says:

    Happy 50th Maria!!! I learned that there should only be one patterned hard finish in a room, and so much more!!! I would love to be in the drawing for any of your gifts.

  • Kathy K says:

    Happy Birthday Maria!

    The biggest thing I learned from you is that whites are not all the same and color choice is not totally incomprehensible.
    Thank you so much for writing this blog!

  • Mary Riemer says:

    The best Lesson from your blogs are two fold:
    All floors the same throughout and don’t have your counters and black splash scream at you or jump out at you! Great lessons for expensive long term projects.

  • Jen Pobran says:

    Happy Birthday! I have found your blog to be invaluable! I am in the process of building a new home and have learned so much from you. My main takeaway is to pay attention to undertones and to remain classic with main decorating decisions. Thank you!

  • Barb W. says:

    Happy 50th! I’ve learned about undertones and to keep hard surfaces simple. Your lessons are reflected in our newly renovated bathrooms with their white fixtures and subway tile! And I do follow you on Instagram as well. Thank you for this giveaway!

  • anne says:

    Happy 50th Birthday, Maria! This is sure to be the best decade yet! (it has been for me 🙂 )

    There are so many things that I have learned from your blog that have made me understand color more and made making decisions a little easier. However, I love to copy because its a no brainer, so I really loved “Tablescapes for Dummies; The Beginners Guide”. I was able to take what you said and apply it to my room and achieve the look I wanted easily! More posts like this, please! 🙂

  • Dana Tucker says:

    Maria, I know you don’t remember me but we met the very first night of the very first Design Blogger’s Conference in L.A. I started following your blog soon after that. At the time, I was helping my husband market his decorative painting firm and working full time in advertising. Reading your blog has given me the confidence to step out full time into the world of design and color consultations. I work with my husband full time now!! We specialize in kitchen cabinet repaints and kitchen makeovers. I am a true convert to white subway tile!!! Your advice on how to work with bossy granite has really made me an expert in guiding my clients who are trying to update their 90’s kitchens without replacing their granite. I would love to be entered in your contest! I’d love to win the Color with Confidence Class. That would be a dream come true. I also follow you on Instagram, so please put me in for two chances. Thanks so much for sharing all your wisdom through this blog. It’s always the first thing I read when I check my email. Happy 50th birthday!!!!

    Dana Tucker

  • You taught me so much about selecting whites! Invaluable information! Especially for exterior projects!
    I’m hoping to take your 3 day workshop when you get back to Texas! I won’t miss it again!
    Blessings……and 50 isn’t so bad. I turned 50 just 3 months ago. So far, so good!

  • Juliette Demond-Standen says:

    White Kitchen! White Kitchen! White Kitchen!
    Yes, Yes, Yes!
    Happy 50th Birthday!
    Thank you for an amazing Blog!

  • denise palisaitis says:

    Happy Birthday Maria!
    The best lesson I have learned from your blog is….
    Your ability to share your talents and knowledge with others is INSPIRING. It’s so important in our industry to be able deliver our messages without cynicism and bias and you do it perfectly! Keep up the GREAT work!

  • Karen Klassen says:

    The best thing I learned, was to look for undertones when choosing colours. I relied on this when we designed and built our new home. Couldn’t have turned out better! Thanks, Maria

  • allison trimble says:

    Happy birthday! I have learned so much from your blog. One of the lessons that I love to explain to my clients is that the paint colors they select must be chosen in relation to their fixed elements. And undertones undertones undertones!

  • Susan Campbell says:

    Since I was young I have had an instinct about undertones of colors. I would walk into a room and either it would feel right or not but I could not pinpoint the problem. After reading many of your blogs and opinions of colors and undertones I have refined my “feel” and am able to see what needs changing. Most of my clients are choosing neutral colors and I feel like those need the most attention with the undertones. I have not been able to attend one of your seminars yet….look forward to doing that one day!

  • Tammy Granger says:

    Happy Birthday, Lady !! I have learned so much from you, my favorite thing is clean vs dirty. I’m going to be in the 50 club this summer and would LOVE to come to your class ! We’re Insta friends too.

  • Lynn says:

    Happy “50” th Birthday to you !~

    What a fabulous post as usual. You have asked us to give one valuble thing that was learned from following your blog…but honestly there are “tons” of valuble ideas that I have learned from your blogs over the last 5 years!

    So, having to pick only one, I would have to say I’ve learned so much from all of your guidence and expertise on “Getting White Right”…. priceless !!~

  • Jeanne McDermott says:

    Happy Birthday! I learned that understanding “Undertones” is like having a super hero in your colour palete back pocket! (sung to the theme of Underdog….a cute cartoon from my childhood! Thanks Maria!

  • Ruthie says:

    My favorite lesson I have learned and have passed on to friends is to use classic tile. No trendy colors or shapes or materials. Dress up the room with paint, fabric, accessories. Use traditional tiles for walls and floor! My sister is redoing a full bathroom. She was drawn to all kinds of trendy tile, not to mention marble on the floor. I wondered about urine stains on the marble? Since I dont know the answer to that question, I suggested she stay away from that (better safe than forever sorry). Maybe you know?

    All of your birthday presents to your fans look amazing! I would be honored and pleased to be the recipient of any of them, especially the Specify Colour With Confidence class or the the Renovate With Confidence Webinar.

    Wishing you many Happy Birthdays to come!!!!

  • Ad says:

    Happy 50th, Maria. You are being so generous by sharing it with us. I would love to be in the draw for the artwork. Would also love to win any or all (LOL) of the following. I did have some of your e-books from years ago when you first offered them and would love to have replacements. Your party looked so very good; it appears that Terreeia did a fantastic job.

    Specify Colour with Confidence
    Core Collection
    VIP Collection
    Renovate (and New Build) with Confidence webinars
    Choose Exterior Colours with Confidence
    How to Choose Paint Colours
    White is Complicated

  • Bev says:

    Despite the countless “lessons” that are learned on your incredibly practical blog,..I would have to say that the most impactful “take-away” for me has been; …that THERE IS HOPE, in knowing and understanding the mysterious world of Color!! Thankyou Maria!

  • Shirlee says:

    The one major lesson I’ve learned from Maria is to first determine whether the undertone in the room’s current furnishings leans towards the yellow tones or the pink tones. This one valuable lesson has helped me enormously with finally finishing or closing in on finishing many rooms in our home. Thank you Maria.

  • Keely says:

    Happy 50th! I have learned to look at all the other elements in the room before choosing a paint trying to keep the same undertones. I would love to win one of your give aways.

  • Linda G says:

    Best lesson – when I need to chose a paint color for a renovation, I am going to rely on your services to help me chose the right color the first time. So much easier this way!

  • Marilee Kline says:

    Pink beige!! So bossy!! Once I learned this I knew why the colors in my first house were all wrong. When I renovated my bathrooms I used your principles and it was so much better. I now have a new house with more colors to fix!

  • Ruthie says:

    Forgot to mention, of course I follow you on Instagram! You are a real favorite!!!

  • Jessica Neveling says:

    Happy 50th!
    I’ve been so thankful to have ran across your blog last year when we started our new build. I searched for “timeless white kitchens” as this is my empty nester forever home and knew it needed to stand the test of time. My husband and I had varying opinions on what we wanted. Your blog helped me show him why a white kitchen (which is what I wanted from the beginning) was the right choice. While I lost the battle to dark wood cabinets, I did win the battle of white subway tiles with white non-busy granite. Our new kitchen is beautiful and will no doubt make me very happy for a very long time. It’s classy and breath taking without being trendy. I have also used your wise advice for our bathrooms and now the front landscaping. Without your guidance I would have been lost! You make decisions that seem so daunting, so simple. I would love to be a part of your ebook drawings and hope to share in your birthday celebration.