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

By 06/07/2017June 6th, 2022934 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)



  • 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.

  • Eileen Bradshaw says:

    Thanks to your blog, I found the perfect shade of brown-gray for my bathroom, to match my new tile, and it is my favorite room in the house! I would have totally missed the mark without your expert advice (as I’d never heard about “undertones.”) I also understand more fully about how items within a space should “relate” to one another — never gave it a thought before. Also, corrected my thinking about white walls in dark spaces (yikes), and how various light exposures can impact the wall color (i.e. my northeast facing windows.) Who knew? You did! My home is not a designer showcase, but I look at things now with new eyes. Thanks so much for sharing your expertise!

  • Ashley says:

    It looks like you had an amazing birthday celebration! I recently found your blog through a design podcast I frequently listen to and I’ve been hooked ever since! I have learned so much about undertones and color and how much I hate the pink beige undertone, but still have a lot to learn and any one of ypur gifts would be helpful!

  • Susanna says:

    Well, white to me was white (and beige) until I found your posts….and I learned white is not white is not white…..!

  • Amanda Beyeler says:

    The most basic tip I’ve learned is recognizing how trendy the blotchy tile options are and the advantage of choosing more simple, classic styles. I’d love to win an opportunity to learn more!

  • Bibi Maddox says:

    Happy Birthday, Maria! Love the colors and theme in your pictures!
    What I have learned from you from following your blog, instagram, books, Color Confidence course is FOLLOW YOUR INTUITION and get out of “my” own way! You are so talented at putting into words the thoughts I have had about color but that I am not confident enough to say out loud.

    I love your timeless and classic style and my soul resonated with your comments on making choices so less goes into the trash pile for renovations.

    You are a constant inspiration and delight to follow and read! Thank you for sharing your beautiful life with us always!

  • Lori Richter says:

    Happy birthday – was a wonderful celebration!! Your cake even matches your outfit ?

    I found your blog and site about half way through a five month renovation. I learned I should have looked for you sooner. Even so, your colour advice has been very helpful. I have chosen classic, neutrals for all my hard surfaces but with a modern edge. The undertones of grey blog came at the perfect time and I am very happy with my choices now.

    Thank you for your energy shining through and enjoy your visit with your mom and sister !!! Very special.

  • Melissa says:

    OHHHH great idea and Happy Birthday! Your best advice that has worked so well in my own home is to repeat colors to make sense of a room and create flow! This works so well and it is so easy. I’ve used this tactic in my own home. A few fun examples. I didn’t like how my upstairs hallway (SW Shagreen) looked compared with a bedroom (BM Woodford Blue). So, I put some green plants in the bedroom and got a painting for the hallway that had a bunch of Woodford Blue in it. So easy! I’ve done this on my first floor as well–I have a stain glass window that didn’t seem to relate, so I just repeated the colors in the stain glass in decor and accents, and now it looks fabulous! Thank you for this great advice.

  • Beth says:

    Happy Birthday, Maria – May you have a Magnificent year! I’ve been following your blog for years & have saved many of them. I’ve learned so much about colour & about life from you. Thank You,Thank You,Thank You !!!

  • My friend Michelle Simeoni informed me about you and how helpful your information was to her. After just one read, I was hooked. The large color boards just made so much sense. The next thing I enjoyed was : The many possible shades of white and cream. I considered this information vital. Having made past mistakes choosing white colors – I saw for the first time real differences in whites.
    Thank You. As I am retiring in June ,I have often fantasized about taking your Color Course, but alas
    my new financial situation does not support that dream. Happy 50th Birthday Maria and as much success (or more) in the year to come. Julie Vanstone

  • Eileen Bradshaw says:

    I posted already, but wanted to say Happy birthday, Maria! Your birthday pictures look wonderful, and always love seeing pics of your home!

  • Lori Richter says:

    I also love your posts on instagram

  • MaryBeth says:

    You have given me decorating inspiration for 4 yrs now! Since you did your garden!
    Happy Birthday!

  • Nancy Lippa says:

    Maria – Happy Birthday! My 50th birthday is this month too — I loved the photos of your celebration! It is hard to name one best thing I have learned from your site. My sister is a professional interior designer and I can’t tell you how many of your posts I have forwarded to her because I thought she would be able to use them in her work. In fact, we were having a discussion about how she might build her business to the next level and I told her she should really follow your blog because the way you have built your business and used your website is exactly what she is hoping to do with her design business. Guess what she told me – I was the SECOND person to recommend you to her! Another of her designer friends had done so as well! Anyway, the best thing I have learned from your blog is to trust my instinct to stick to the classics in things that are difficult and expensive to change later (floors, tile, etc.), and not to be seduced into choosing an of-the-moment option that will not stand the test of time. Thanks for what you do, and Happy Birthday! Nancy

  • Christine says:

    I have loved following you, Maria for the last several years! I first found you when I was helping my daughter find the right paint color for the exterior of her home. She had chosen several that I knew were not going to fly. I laugh every time I hear that someone has stopped to ask her what color she used because it is PERFECT! 🙂 The other thing that stands out to me is the concept that you have to choose color first when renovating. Hard finishes are expensive and you have to live with your mistakes a LONG time. Also, BORING=TIMELESS! I have to look at my pink-beige travertine backsplash every single day and dream of subway tile. Sigh…… I would LOVE to come to one of your trainings! That is on MY bucket list! Happy 50th birthday, Maria!!

  • Sheila says:

    Maria! I love the photos of your party!

    I first came across your blog when I was struggling to update my tuscan brown kitchen. Your blog posts described my outdated kitchen so perfectly that I was hooked! Thankfully, you provided some inexpensive solutions (instead of a major kitchen reno) that saved me LOTS of money. I have been following your blog ever since. I have purchased your book and I would LOVE to attending your seminar. Most important, I would love to meet YOU!! I am a career counselor and I find your career story fascinating. I love your posts on IG too (I was one of your early followers @luvmyschnauzer — yes, I am a sucker for a cute face, especially a furry one!)

    Enjoy your birthday month!

  • Marca says:

    Happy Birthday. I have learned a lot from you. My husband once nicknamed me the Queen of Quarts and the paint store finally just gave me a paint deck because I bought so many quarts to try every time I painted. It is lovely to now be able to understand and explain why a color is just not right. All I could say before that I was very “sensitive to shades”.

  • Red in Ca says:

    I actually copied your wording about “bossy” granite and other fixed elements when my realtor showed me her floor samples for her own kitchen renovation. She had a more neutral laminate floor sample and one with varying grays. I mentioned Maria Killam and told her that the trendier sample (her husband fav) could date her kitchen in just a couple of years, plus it would inform every other choice Because it was so demanding. She was thrilled to have specific wording to plead for the more medium brown wood flooring. I’m not a decorator or designer–I don’t always love what you do–but have found that just one truly bossy element is more than enough in one kitchen.

  • Rebecca Tate says:

    Happy 50th Maria! My birthday is not until July, but I feel like I received an early birthday gift by finding you and your wonderful advice this past week on the internet. I have since forwarded 6 or your posts/ideas and one that made a huge difference was ‘White Kitchen Cabinets for the Most Timeless Kitchens’ from 11/18/2008. (I assume you still feel that way :)…After just buying a 2nd home and retirement condo on a lake in NC with the most gorgeous view in the complex, my partner emailed me back and said, “OK, white it is!”…We have to redo the entire place and live and work 7 hours away but we excited about it and the floors, way more expensive than we had planned on, are ordered! I have loved what I have been reading on your blog. Thank you for what you share, and I look forward to using you in the planning going forward. You home looks so warm from the photos and it looks like a great time was had by all. What a gorgeous cake by Cakeaters!!
    Please include me in the drawing in one of the works of art by James Wiens! Loved the peonies! Keep celebrating and decorating!!! Thanks again! Rebecca Tate

  • Nikki Warncke says:

    What an amazing celebration and this give away list is incredible! To narrow it down to one lesson is a challenge. However, whenever I walk into a space nine out of ten times I hear your voice echo in my head, “one pattern only.” So easy and SO TRUE! Being at one of your trainings would be a dream come true. Happy Birthday, Maria!

  • Mary Lou Fritz says:

    Happy birthday Maria, these are wonderful pictures, what a lovely group of friends and family you have.
    You have taught me Undertones! , clean and dirty, and “pinky beige” will forever be on my “ban the color” list.
    When I see white flowers , I think of you. I have a mixed pot of white and whenever I water it , you come to mind.
    thanks for all that you have taught me.
    Mary in Ohio

  • Cynthia Conley says:

    I recently took your on-line Renovate with Confidence course because I wanted to learn about undertones. What an eye-opener. It’s like I walked around with blinders on and now every time I look at anything, I find myself identifying the undertones. The other day my husband saw me looking at a magazine and he commented that the builder kitchen shown was ugly. I asked him, “do you know why?’ “No, he said, I just don’t like it.” Of course I explained the clashing of the undertones and tragedy of too many patterns and clean and dirty colors. Someday I would live to take one of your live courses. Meanwhile, thanks for helping us see the true value of white subway tile! Happy Birthday (and you should celebrate for a year)!

  • Heather says:

    Happy Birthday Maria! What one thing have I learned from reading your blog? Paint and the many colours that it comes in intimidates me more than anything else. I can’t pick a room colour no matter how hard I try. Give me a bucket of fabric scraps any day! I really enjoy reading about your business and your family. Thank you for that.

  • Kristine says:

    Looks like a fabulous party, Maria!! Terreeia did a wonderful job planning all this for your birthday. All your prizes look awesome and it’s very generous of you to give presents on your own birthday! You’ve definitely taught me so much about undertones and acknowledging the existing hard surfaces in a home before selecting the colors. Thank you for sharing your insight with all of your blog followers! I’ve been a follower on Instagram for some time and always enjoy your posts. Happy Birthday!

  • Rebecca Parker says:

    Some key advice I got from you is that a black roof is the answer for pretty much any home. If I was lucky enough to be chosen, I’d love anything that would help with choosing exterior paint colors. Happy Birthday, Maria!

  • Thea says:

    Please enter me to WIN! I already follow you on insta, so please enter me twice!

    Great piece of advice? When taking a photo, line up the viewfinder vertical side with a strong vertical line in your subject. Instant editting…

    Happy Birthday, Maria!

    • Thea says:

      PS- I’d love to win the class in Vancouver, or the Build/Renovate package. I think I have all your other products.

      Thank you!!

  • Joanne Northey says:

    Hi Maria,

    Happy 50th Birthday Maria! I will be celebrating my 60th birthday this fall. I took an interior design course a year ago where I got the basic understanding of interior design. After raising two daughters and working at a mechanical and electrical company for 25 years and a general contractor for eight years I wanted to quench my desires of being creative and work in interior design. Presently I work for a general contractor as a project coordinator but as we were going to design build a 38 unit condo followed by a 92 unit condo I thought I should contribute my knowledge of interior design. Your posts on undertone has been most valuable to me in choosing colours for the common areas of the condos. I will also be working with our new buyers on their units. I love your candid style of writing and take your undertone chart very seriously. I have worked on a century church turned into a banquet hall, our sales office for the condos and some apartment lobbies and nursing home tub rooms since getting my certificate. Reading your posts gives me much needed confidence and your undertone wheel is a life saver. I would love to win an item that would help me with the condo development. I am good at layouts and with my mechanical and electrical experience I can make spaces work well but I still would like some more information on colour confidence. It would be a great 60th birthday present and a great Canada Day present celebrating here in Ontario if I could win one of the gifts you are offering.

  • Carol says:

    As a nondecorator, nonartist, noncolor person, the best thing I’ve learned is that everything has an undertone aaaand watch those pink beiges. LOL I would love to be in the drawing for the art and the large paint samples (to go with the online course I bought). Happy birthday.

  • Jill G says:

    Maria, I have learned so much from your blog! I have noticed for years that many rooms “hurt my eyes”…the clash of colors and patterns. I also let designers talk me into a kitchen with busy granite, tumbled marble backsplash and painted and glazed cabinets. Thankfully we already had hardwood floors, so we did not install another pattern. I seemed to be the only person who was offended by that design! I had several designers over who loved it! I lived with it for 10 years, and then last year I had the cabinets lacquered white, the island countertops and backsplash changed to matching white marble, and perimeter countertops changed to black granite. Then I found your blog, and all my choices were affirmed! I love the way you dig deep to match undertones and your love of classic design. I thought I over-analyzed design, but know I know I don’t! There is a RIGHT way to match the elements in a house or room. Oh, and I hate pinky-beige! Thanks, Maria, and happy birthday!

  • Angelle says:

    I would absolutely LOVE to win anything that you are giving away Maria! The biggest takeaway I have learned from your blog is that choosing color for a home is not rocket science but a system, and it has the most to do with recognizing undertones and how they go (or don’t go) together. Secondly, classic and timeless is a great way to go with design elements that are expensive to change like flooring, backsplashes, and countertops. Finally, sometimes what we love most about a photo is the styling, not necessarily the design elements. I could go on and on Maria. There are so many lessons I have learned. I have been following and reading your blog for several years now and have all of your e-books. I will have an empty nest this fall as my youngest heads off to college and am planning on eventually attending your workshop and becoming certified as a True Colour Expert. I may even start a color consulting business. I will also be 50 next year and am inspired by your garden party celebration. It gave me some great ideas. 🙂 Oh, I live in South Louisiana and would love for you to host a workshop in New Orleans next spring. I would be willing to help with the planning details. I already have a hotel in mind near the French Quarter. 🙂

  • CAThaw says:

    I’ve honestly learned that Maria’s consults can save me from design disaster every single time.

    Consulting with her before moving forward with any design project is money saved.

    With her perfect paint choice, she Stopped me from taking a sledge hammer to my travertine when I was a week away from having a third baby.

    When I was about to have a fourth baby, her kitchen consult walked me off the ledge and instead turned my kitchen into a fabulous, classic, magazine-worthy masterpieces.

    Maria taught me to always trust Maria!

    Happy birthday!

    (I’m an Instagram follower.)

  • Lauren says:

    Hi Maria! Not only have I learned how to properly work with undertones in my new home (re-decorating is coming along nicely!) I’ve actually been able to use this knowledge in an unconventional way.

    I write a blog about hair loss, and I focus on wearing faux hair (clip in topper pieces or wigs).

    Women write in ALL THE TIME to ask about what color hair they should purchase. And wouldn’t you know I can use your teachings to help guide them??

    I look at their skin tone (that’s a big one), their favorite colors to wear and makeup to help them pick out fabulous faux hair – all in a shade that best complements them individually.

    I initially started following you once I discovered my home had a serious pink-beige issue going on. I’m now in a new home that’s beautifully done and using what I’ve learned with my blog readers.


  • Tina Jagros says:

    For me your blog has been an inspiration to not take things too seriously while at the same time learning how to cope with the reality of accepting givens and magically changing the focus of a room.

    My congratulations on a well earned career and wishes for continued growth.
    I would love to participate in that co tinted growth.

  • Shelly Wright says:

    I learned that even a professional (Amber) can get overwhelmed and need to call in the big guns!

  • Heather C says:

    Happy Birthday Maria! Other than being a straightforward ray of sunshine in the complex color world, the best lesson I’ve learned from your blog is timeless is TIMELESS and always the way to go. I love telling clients the gospel truth that they should keep their hard surfaces neutral and let color shine in other non-permanent ways!
    Thank you!

  • Shara says:

    Happiest of Birthdays Maria. Thanks for allowing us to celebrate with you. ?
    The lessons I’ve learned from you are many, but if I narrowed it down to one, it would be the benefit of understanding undertones. #gamechanger!!!

  • Nadia says:

    Happy birthday. I recently found your blog – I love the way you classify materials as ‘bossy.’ This is brilliant and fundimental, and I’ve found it difficult to pin point this quality in a material and to explain this phenomenon to clients. I’m excited to try out this way-of-seeing in my projects and with clients. It was the topic of dinner discussion last night with my husband (also an architect) and my mother (color/interior decorating-challenged) and we were all very excited to discuss bossy materials. Thanks for this new tool! We’re in austin – would love to attend a workshop some day!

  • Deborah Young says:

    I’ve learned three key things from your blog: (1) don’t try to choose a color from the fan deck; begin with Maria Killam’s recommended colors first, (2) use a large sample, not a paint chip, to test color in a room, and (3) best of all: I am absolutely fascinated by color and look forward to learning even more–hopefully at one of your seminars!

  • Mary says:

    From Maria, I’ve learned to respect undertones, to adore subway tile and to always be open to self growth! Would love to win anything. Thanks and Happy 50th!

  • Carol Bowers says:

    Happy Birthday Maria!! I am a recent subscriber and the best thing I’ve learned so far is to stick with only ONE pattern for hard surfaces. I am a design consultant at a tile store, and this “tiny” piece of advice has proved invaluable in my work, and the lives of the customers I have passed it along to. The feedback has been noticeable and greatly appreciated. Thank you!

  • Kim derksen says:

    HI Maria!
    I’ve been following your blog for a few years now. I have learned so many valuable tips that have helped me to decorate my home.
    We’ve been doing a lot of renos, and when chosing my fixed and non fixed elements, I always refer back to your blogs to make sure I am choosing correctly.
    Learning the importance of color undertones and choosing classic timeless fixed elements has been the most valuable lessons I have learned.
    I would be honored to be able to attend your seminar and learn from the best!:)

  • Kay says:

    The best thing I’ve learned from you is to put color samples against a white background. So much easier to really see the undertone!! Oh, and always to put the color/counter sample/ tile sample the way it will be installed, not placing them all on top of each other other. 🙂

    I’ve followed you on Instagram for a long time. Love those posts.

    Yes, I’m interested in the art. And one of these years I really will meet you at one of your fabulous color seminars.

    So much love and appreciation to you on your 50th birthday. It just keeps getting better!!!!

  • Enise says:

    Hello Maria! Happy birthday to you! I wish you a magical start in your fifties.

    I would love love love to have a seat in one of the CC courses.

    It is so hard to choose a best lesson as I think everything I learned from you is so valuable! However, there is one lesson that I apply in my life a lot! Repeatation of the colors in a room. When the color is right, repeatation makes it stronger. Sometimes I end up with a wrong shade/ color and cannot return it. Instead of giving up, repeatation of the wrong shade again saves the whole atmosphere.

    Thank you for keep updating your blog besides your busy schedule. Warm hugs to you!

  • Brenda says:

    The best lesson I have learned from your blog?!?! Oh my goodness there are so many!! I think one of the best ones is that it is always less expensive in the long run to hire (good) professional help when decorating/designing your home. That every white has an undertone. That white kitchens and subway tiles are classic. The list goes on and on!

    Happy 50th Birthday Maria! I hope that each and every year ahead gets even better. (Gorgeous cake by the way!)

  • Debra Mason says:

    My biggest and most frustrating decisions involved choosing paint colors for a large remodel that involved a complete redo of my kitchen and a very large great room. I scrutinized your blogs, chose some color options and painted 10 large paint samples. Over the course of two weeks, I compared them to existing features that weren’t going to change and in different lighting. With this method and your lessons on undertones. With your blog information, I was not only able to pick out color for walls but also for kitchen cabinets, granite, wood flooring and fabric for my furniture. The results are stunning enough to be in a design magazine! But now, I need to start the whole color process for the exterior. Yikes!

  • misti m says:

    Happy Birthday Maria!!! I’ve learned many things from your blogs and insta stories! I’m definitely always looking at undertones and how they work – trying to train my eye for that. Of course I’d love to be entered to the drawing of the trip to a Specify Color event. I’d also love the Renovate with Confidence class! And, I definitely follow you on instagram, as well! Thank you for all you teach us!

  • Connie Lawson says:

    Happy 50th birthday!!
    I have learned SO much about color undertones and how making good design decisions will make me happy for a lifetime! I would love to be able to attend a conference! Have a wonderful summer!

    • Connie Lawson says:

      I have your two books but otherwise, would love to be included in any of the drawings! And, I’m a follower on instagram!

    • Hi Maria,

      Happy 50th Birthday! Terreeria went above and beyond, it looked like a fantastic bash. Having followed your blog for about 7 years and just taking your seminar this May in Chicago, I have learned so much from you. I would say number one thing I learned is hard work and dedication pays off. Finding what you love to do and then keep pursing it and learning and growing, and never giving up. Watching you grow and becoming the “Color Rockstar” you are has given me the confidence to follow my dream and taking your course was the icing on the cake. I love that you are so open and giving and truly honest in everything you do and teach. Being a widowed Mom of two great twin boys, it is easy to not always follow your dreams, but seeing how far you and Terreeia have come together keeps me motivated. Thank you for starting your blog all those years ago. You are a True Color Expert.

  • Jeannie Johnson says:

    Happy birthday, Maria! And many more to come.

    The best thing you have taught me is that there is a reason I stood in a room so many times and knew that something was wrong, but I couldn’t articulate what or why. So many times I followed the decorator’s advice and chose neutrals and colors that she said would be beautiful together, against my own instincts, and ended up with a queasy feeling every time I really, really looked at them together. You gave me a system and a vocabulary to name that vague queasiness and choose colors that fill me with delight. Bless you for it!

  • Brenda McCall says:

    I have learned SO much from you Maria !!! But, there are two distinct things that come to mind – one is “Subway tile” – a classic – and the other “Do one pattern in each room for hard finishes – after that – you are DONE. Every other finish should be a solid”. And of course – please enter me for a chance for the lovely picture. Thanks for all you do to educate and entertain . “Your Vibe Attracts Your Tribe” — and that is all of us many followers of you. Happy 50th Birthday and I wish you health and happiness for many more years to come !!!!
    Your friend in Colour – Brenda

  • Amy Van Dorp says:

    Happiest of Birthdays Maria! You make turning 50 look so fabulous! Thank you for sharing yourself through your stories and photos on your blog. You have done a great job of EDUCATING and INSPIRING women to excel in their businesses. And you cleared up the reason I wasn’t happy with the new paint color in my girls bathroom!

    Cheers to another amazing year!

  • Susan Langley says:

    Congratulations, Maria. Looks like it was a wonderful party. I would love to win artwork. The best lesson I learned from you and put into practice is that white and cream can coexist beautifully. My bathroom has both and it is lovely. Thanks for all the information you provide to us novices. I know it is a lot of work.

  • Kim says:

    The best lesson I learned from you was to hire professionals! I could very well be the poster child for your goal to save the world from all things ugly.

    I took your course in February of last year in Vancouver and I was on a path to be my own contractor and designer for my new build. I had a significant investment in an awful online home design that did not at all relate to our 21 acres with a big red barn in the country (the ah ha moment in your class). I stuck with it for a couple of months and finally met with a construction project manager because I didn’t love it. She gently led me to the conclusion that I needed to throw it all away and start over. She introduced me to an architect and we are now building a beautiful modern farmhouse that is literally the talk of our small town. I couldn’t be happier!

    My amazing project manager is also providing design services and the results are stunning. I’m sure she will be posting houzz pictures when we are done.

    I could go on an on about the other lessons learned and applied through this process – when we’re done I’ll share more. Thank you for saving me from myself!

  • Eliza says:

    Happy Birthday!!!! I have loved your blog for many years now. The biggest lesson I have learned from you is that if it doesn’t ‘feel’ right it probably isn’t. I just need to keep looking to see why.
    I follow you on Instagram 🙂
    Thank you!

  • Pamela Roble says:

    Such joy and enthusiasm is contagious. As an art teacher, I appreciate learning so much from you about color that I pass on to my students. Thank you!

  • Erin says:

    An all white kitchen is NOT boring; it’s timeless. Add splashes of color through accessories.

    I’ve been thinking about and planning for the kitchen reno in our 1986 townhouse since we moved in. I always wanted an all white kitchen, but was afraid it would be boring. I kept looking at different pieces of granite and quartz and different backsplashes. Your blog gave me the confidence to pick exactly what I wanted – white shaker cabinets, white quartz counters, and white subway tile for the backsplash.

  • Julia McAnelly says:

    Happy birthday, Maria! When I started reading your blog I had no idea just how influential your ideas would be–and how right. It’s not easy coming up with just one best lesson when there are so many (timeless=boring, medium wood floors, only one pattern per room in hard surfaces, white subway tile ((!))…) but if forced to choose, it would definitely be your epiphany on whites. Who knew? it’s made all the difference in the world in my decorating and even my wardrobe. I no longer ignore that white background in a print when my room is ivory and now, thanks to you, I realized that all off-whites are certainly not in the same family. Mil besos and thank you! j.

  • Joanna says:

    Happy 50th Maria! Your party looks like so much fun. The best ones are when you’re surrounded by good friends and loved ones.
    I started following your blog a few years ago when undergoing renovations. I had never thought of undertones. Now, it is always on my mind. I still can’t always pick a particular undertone but I can tell if they differ from one another. I guess that’s a start.
    Thank you for sharing your talent with us!

  • Jacquie Lovelock says:

    Maria, the first blog I read was the Cloud White.. it was the color I used throughout my home on the advice of an interior designer. Then I watched your video clip talking about how to chose colours. And I immediately signed up for your webinar. Our house burned in a fire on Feb 6, 2017 and we will be doing either a full Reno or build. We lost everything in the fire and the thought of starting from scratch to make our house a home again was overwhelming to me. Now I feel I have a solid base from which to start and a language that I can use to communicate what I want. I even signed up for Instagram so I can follow you! From the bottom of my heart, thank you.

  • Teri Rogers says:

    I have a graphic design degree and background and “grew up” with the Pantone Color Fans! ha I love color and I love paint. I recently decided to switch from Pantone to Benjamin Moore, Farrow and Ball and even Annie Sloan. I started helping others with colors and was amazed that I could see undertones others could not! I discovered my SUPERPOWER!! I could not be happier. I started following you and wished I had met you sooner. I too will be turning 50 soon and would love to learn everything you can teach me to be the best qualified Color Consultant I can. Thank You for offering these amazing gifts and have a Fabulous Fifty Year!

  • Jessica says:

    Happy Birthday Maria! You taught me to avoid pink beige like the plague, to stay focus on timeless and classic choices, and ignore the temptation of new trends especially on hard finishes. You have helped me see things so much clearer and able to be more confident when making choices for my upcoming renovation. For that, I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

  • Dena Mattox says:

    Happy Birthday and thank you for your generosity of gift giving to celebrate your own birthday‼️
    I would love any of the gifts, they are all very special but to be able to personally meet you and attend the workshop would be life changing for me as I’m sure it would be for others as well.

  • CJ says:

    Happy birthday Maria! I’ve been following your blog for years and love the topics you write about. Definitely makes me pause for a moment when making a decision and think “what would Maria think?” LOL!! I’ve purchased your ebooks over the years and use them as a reference. Would love to get the VIP Collection samples!! I’m also an instagram follower also. Have a blessed day!

  • Charlene Martin says:

    Hi Maria
    I have been following your blog for over a year now! I met an interior designer on a bus to Vancouver and when I told her I just bought a house in Yarrow,she said “a reknowned colour consultant lives in Yarrow..Maria should look up her blog.!!
    I want to redecorate and renovate this lovely 80’s house but I’m still undecided on colours and hard finishes.I have learned so much from your posts but also know I have to decide what I love before I can go with any consultations.I keep looking for a starting point..i.e.wall art ..area rug for living room.
    Three main points I keep in my head which I’ve learned from you are..
    1.”Your floor tile absolutely must match with your countertop”
    2.Hard surfaces..”One Pattern and That’s It”
    3.Choosing colours..Color have to relate to something in room
    Please enter me in your draws..I would love to take your color course?
    Happy 50th!!

  • Jan says:

    The best lesson I learned from you is undertones! I now find myself looking for them everywhere. I was so proud the first time I realized WHY I didn’t like the beige tile I have in a bathroom. It’s not the tile, it was the pink undertone that is all wrong for the room! And secondly, your blog solidified my decision to “fire” a designer who tried to get me to choose a dark busy bathroom tile and kitchen backsplash. What did I choose instead? White hex tile for my bathroom floor and white subway tile in the kitchen of course!! 🙂 Thank you for all you do and share!

  • Miller Shire says:

    The best thing I learned is that no matter how much we love color, design, and our work, nothing is more important than taking time to enjoy being with with friends and family. It looks like a lovely garden party. Happy 50th Birthday, Maria! Here’s to celebrating you…

  • Lisa says:

    Pink beige is not your friend, it will haunt you until you rid your home of it.

  • Gina Rowan says:

    I learned so much about under tones. I look at color samples in an entirely different “light” Learned aboout North and South facing rooms and how that can change coloor saturation depending on time of day.

  • Angela says:

    Happy Birthday!!! The thing that I have learned from reading your blog is how to compensate for color undertone mis-matches in times when a full redo isn’t possible. I already understood undertones (instinctively), I didn’t really know what to DO about it (other than NOT to try and combine pink-beige tile with yellow paint – yowza!!! – learned that one the hard way). Thank you for your blog! ~Angela~

  • Arlene says:

    Happy happy birthday Maria????. The 1st thing I learned from you was about undertones also became very conscious of Color. Then I learned about timeless decorating which captured me totally as that is my style also. I care about what I am passionate about not what is in style. Yes I have had white cupboards in 2 different homes for 30 years and still love them. I finally have yellow and hot pink in a bedroom as you taught me how to put those 2 colours together. Putting books under decore items is classy. Driving through areas of our city seeing shingles, stack stone, bricks, shutters not complimenting Color of the house is irritating after learning how to put it together from you. Maria since I started reading your blog everyone has been a lesson as I am a committed Maria Killman fan.

  • Corinne Koftinoff says:

    Boy this is a tough one! There are so many things I have learned from reading your website and blog. I think the biggest eye opener for me was the undertones. Not to use more than two in a room is the biggest one. Next is pink beige and yellow beige do not go well together.
    Happy 50th Birthday and wishing you many more years of happiness and success!
    Cheers, Corinne

  • Ann says:

    The best lesson I’ve learned from your blog? That’s easy. It’s what you say in nearly every post about undertones needing to work together. When we moved into our new home, we liked the location and floor plan, but there was something very unsettling about the color choices. My husband noticed it right away—the yellowish maple cabinets, the pink Saltillo floors, the muddy orange faux finish walls—he knew something needed to change! It wasn’t until I began reading your blog that I could identify, and thus work to solve the problem. Thank you! And blessings on your birthday!

  • Sibby says:

    ONE of the most exciting things I learned from you is how pillows transform a room. I love the posts that show combinations of area rugs and pillows to change a room. After all, now that I have the medium brown hardwood floors, the white kitchen, and right paint colors, all my future decorating changes will be with pillows and area rugs!

    I would love to be in the drawing for a Specify Color with Confidence event – I already have all of your e-books and Large Paint Samples. I live in the MIdwest, and my spirits droop every time I walk into yet another house with a “safe” beige interior and no color.

  • Love your posts! You are a wealth of information. As a new business, I truely believe your colour training course would give me the education no one else has in my area. Trying to change careers at a mature age is a challenge. Your course would set my business apart not only by transforming how I use colour but how I am transforming myself!!

  • leslie says:

    Happy Birthday Maria!

    The most valuable thing I have learned from your blog is that
    the cost of a consultation is far less than going it alone and making mistakes.

    Thank you for your generosity with sharing all of the content that you do.

  • Jan says:

    Oops, forgot to mention I already follow you on Instagram!

  • Wendy Chadwick says:

    Always check your paint selections at different times of the day and lighting situations.

  • Arlene says:

    Ok I got carried away – the best lesson I learned from you Maria is about undertones.
    Thank you for all your teaching.

  • P. Lester says:

    Happy Birthday Maria!
    I’ve only been following you for a short time; though you’ve helped me get a better grasp of colors complexities, even though I still struggle to see color undertones. For years I’ve read color theory books & articles on color, but I don’t recall in any of my readings anyone discuss color undertones as you do in your blog, thank you, it’s been enlightening. I think understanding how colors undertones interplay in the overall design scheme is huge to the success of the finished project. Maybe someday a light will go on in my head & it will finally sink in. I’ll persist, continue to read your blog posts & with your help hopefully some day I’ll comprehend the advice you offer so people in your posts. Thank you.

  • Margaret says:

    Happy Birthday Maria!! The party looked great and I have to comment on how grown up your nephews looked!

    The most important thing I have learned from you is how timeless a white kitchen is and is something I am trying to achieve as we speak. I have finally convinced my husband that it is okay to paint our orangey oak cupboards!

    I would love to win a prize and thank you for sharing your birthday celebrations with us!

  • Martine says:

    Happy Birthday Maria! You look beautiful in your photos and the party must have been fabulous. I have learned so much from your blog, that I didn’t really hate beige – just badly mixed undertones of beige. Knowing about “clean” versus “dirty” and confirming that I am not crazy, that with a new couch I need to re-paint my walls ? I follow you on Instagram.

  • Jessica says:

    The best lesson I’ve learned from you is that there’s nothing neutral about neutral colours!
    Please enter me in your draw. BTW, I follow you on instagram already 🙂 Happy belated birthday!

  • Alexis says:

    The most important thing I’ve taken from your blog is being able (most times) to identify undertones or know to ask for help with them. By the way, I discovered your blog because I searched using the Canadian spelling of Colour and found Colour me Happy! Been a fan for over eight years.

  • Levie Chustz says:

    First, let me say, HAPPY HAPPY BIRTHDAY! Looks like you celebrated well with family and friends! Beautiful party! You are deeply loved.
    I’m new to you blog and already I’ve learned so many things. One of the most helpful things was about choosing paint colors, what to do and not to do. I’ve also enjoyed all your decorating tips! Thanks. And like I said before you should have a show on HGTV.

  • Diane says:

    Happy Birthday!

    Oh…the things I’ve learned from your blog. If I had to chose one, it would be a white kitchen is classic and never going out of style. Some phrases I used with my husband during a recent update of our 1996 farmhouse came straight from your blog. Such as…honey oak is never coming back, only white subway tile, and my favorite that- rock wall is BOSSY and must go. I’ve enjoyed your blog for years and I also follow along on Instagram. My words can not adequately express my appreciation for you, and your help thru social media, to make my house my dream home. THANK YOU Maria!
    Fondly, Diane

  • Shannon says:

    Where to even start? I’ve been reading you since 2009, I think, and it’s been so helpful! I used your blog advice to pick sofas, learned how to test colors, and learned about undertones.

    I’ve bought both of your books and the exterior course. Literally yesterday my husband left a note wanting a color for our exterior window trim. I reviewed the exterior go to colors and have just 4 to sample, AND I’m not worrying about it.

    Our last house sold in one weekend for over the asking price, cash. I used your advice on tiles when we renovated the bathrooms and tiled the hallway. I picked the perfect greige and repainted the worst parts of the house, and we had the exterior done in a color that was a huge improvement (I didn’t pull the trigger on trim color, so it wasn’t as amazing as it could have been).

    I’m sure I’m forgetting something. But thank you!! The only reason I haven’t taken the training is because I’ve got two babies under the age of 3, and it would be for me as a homeowner.
    I follow you on Instagram, shannonkh there. Happy birthday!

  • Lorrie says:

    Happy Birthday! Welcome to the fabulous fifty club?
    Thank you for creating your color system and sharing it with us all! It no only propelled my confidence in selecting colors for clients but also allows me to help articulate to clients “why” certain colors will work and why others
    will not.
    Ps I also LOVE the large painted boards, the investment paid off MANY times over!

  • Kari Koob says:

    Maria, I’d LOVE to attend one of your events this Fall! I’ve been a fan of your blog since you began so many years ago. (Wow, has it been THAT long?!) I love your style of writing – it’s open, honest and personal while remaining incredibly educational. I’ve taken your webinars, read all your e-books, and haven’t missed a post. I think the best lesson I’ve learned is from ‘White is Complicated’. It’s been extremely useful to understand the reason why one should use white, or off-white, or cream — especially in how it relates to other elements in the room. Your concise explanations throughout your blog has helped me realize there are foundational truths to using color in a way that had not been explained to me before. **I also love love love your new color wheel** Congrats, Maria!

  • Kristen Wang says:

    Happy birthday, Maria! I have only recently found your blog but have quickly become a huge fan who scours your blog for endless advice and lessons. Not only that, but I’ve also already used your edesign for my exterior (you’re not kidding, that really has filled my life with happiness each and every time I drive up to my house!), and I’ve passed you along to my parents as well who have become immediate fans. Your brilliance is spreading worldwide, and that’s no surprise!
    Anyways, on to my best lesson learned from you, I am newly married, a new homeowner, etc – home remodeling and design are all entirely new to me. When first moving into our house, I assumed I would simply pick paint colors I think I like, paint my rooms, and happily move on. WRONG! I hate the colors that I picked and it became so obvious to me as to why after “meeting” you – I never accounted for any of the existing undertones in the home we purchased. I should also mention that I actually had a local designer help me pick my paint colors as well, and she did not seem to understand the importance of undertones either. Basic as that lesson appears to be, it is paramount in design and unique to you. I’m a forever follower!

    Cheers to #50!!!

    All the best,

  • Gunilla Craven says:

    Happy Birthday! I am a Realtor in Jacksonville, FL and yours is the only blog I have followed consistently over the years. I get very involved with staging homes for sale (I hire stagers), but I also advise customers on remodeling after they’ve moved in. I have found so many great ideas and recommendations from your blog, that I can’t possibly choose one. You’re the best!

  • paula says:

    Happy Birthday Maria! What I have learned from following your blog for years now: undertones! My poor husband has to hear why almost every kitchen we enter doesn’t look right because they got the undertones wrong. And also because they picked their most very favorite granite and their most very favorite tile and then put them together. Surely that will look beautiful right?

  • Fran says:

    Happy Birthday fellow centennial baby!

    The most important thing I have learned from your blog is that I wish I had found you before I picked all the finishes in my new house! I’ve also learned what I did right, and what to do about the mistakes I made.

  • Beth Elliott says:

    Love that you let me in on “the decorators secret.” Forget the deck! Go with the tried and true white. And we did. And it worked! (on my mom’s kitchen with the cream colored Woodmark kitchen cabinets — will send a photo one of these days)

  • Ann Higgins says:

    Happy Birthday & Many more Maria
    Your gift is your radiant smile , & sharing your knowledge.
    I love that you make me believe I too can learn from you.
    I could go on but will just say, your a good way to start a day.
    I Love the color yellow & dislike pink beige as much as you.
    Best wishes
    Ann Higgins

  • Marcie says:

    Happy birthday Maria! I look forwarding to attending one of your upcoming sessions!

  • Lynn Norum says:

    I’ve learned to use pillows to pull a room together with color. I’ve also learned that Maria is the Best in choosing a color…even online with her business. Thank you and Happy Birthday!

  • Trish says:

    Happy Birthday !
    I don’t remember how I found your blog, but you opened my eyes to what bothered me about the paint colour in our new to us house. It’s off white, but it just didn’t seem right. Thanks to you and your White is Complicated book, I discovered green undertones that I hate. Our newly painted kitchen now wears Chantilly Lace and the compliments are flowing in. Thank you!

  • Mickelle Van Polen says:

    Happy birthday, Maria! I’m learning SO much from your blog and refining my eye for undertones in the process. Thank you for sharing your wisdom with the world. The lesson that rings in my ears the loudest is that my clients come to me for a reason- they need my feedback. Before finding your blog, I’d let my clients lead, nowadays I listen to my gut and lead my clients. It’s better for everyone! Thank you for tackling the topic of confidence. It’s a gamechanger for me.

  • Tiffany says:

    I have learned so many things from your blog. But the biggest one is “boring is timeless.” I’m so glad I found your blog before I remodeled my kitchen! I ended up with white cabinets, a medium brown wood floor, matte black granite, and a very quiet white marble subway tile backsplash. I love it and I know I will love it for a long time! During the selection process, my mom kept saying things like, “Don’t you want a little more color? Movement in the stone? Excitement?” But now she loves the finished product so much she is copying it in her own kitchen! So thank you!! I would love to be in the drawings for the art work and for the large color samples. Happy Birthday, Maria!

  • Corrie says:

    Happy birthday, Maria! I have learned many lessons from your blogs. I think the most is not to look at paint chips/samples on their own. It is difficult (impossible for me!) to see the undertone without laying colour samples out side by side. I am always so surprised to see the differences in whites, for example, when they’re laid out. Other important lessons I have learned – pick the bossy elements first (my instinct would have been to pick my favourite paint colour first) and that there should only be one bossy element in a room.

    Thank you for making it possible for someone living in a very small town in rural British Columbia to have a beautiful home. It is so appreciated!


  • Jessica says:

    The biggest thing I learned is how to work with the existing elements in my house like my cream marble. I also love that I can understand WHY something doesn’t work- I used to have a sense of something being off or not what it could be but now I know why so I can fix it!

  • CAL says:

    Undertones. Simple concept but so important.

  • My husband, Malcolm, and I were watching an old episode of “Gilmore Girls” last night and Lorelei and Luke were in the middle of renovating her house. The painters had prepped all the walls and were waiting for Lorelei to pick the wall and trim paint. Lorelei was randomly filing through the fan deck of paint colours trying to pick a color she wanted with no luck. She even let her dog sniff the deck to see which one he would choose. Malcolm commented, ” I think she needs to consult with Maria Killam”. LOL. I said, “How about picking a colour that relates to something in the room?” I have been following your blog for 4 years and find myself analyzing everything even TV shows through your colour system. 🙂 Thanks for your inspiration!

  • Lillian York says:

    My husband and I build houses, and I’m the one picking out the paint colors, the bathroom tiles, the fixture finishes, etc. I’ve learned ALOT about whites, beiges, etc from you, and that mixing metal is ok (thank you!) but would love to learn how to better distinguish all the different undertones! It’s hard to do from my computer!
    So please enter me in your drawings!

  • sandi says:

    I learned about choosing white—a million shades! I also learned about how to choose a counter top/floor to coordinate & not to clash.

  • Heather Schooley says:

    Happy Birthday Maria! Your party looked fabulous! I’m a commercial designer and have learned a lot from your blog, especially when friends and family ask for residential advice, which is not my specialty. One thing in particular is being able to (somewhat) explain in terms of undertones why I immediately know something looks right or not when they can’t quite see it. I always direct people to look up your blog. I would absolutely love to attend your training course, webinar session or win the large paint samples.
    I also follow you on instagram
    Keep doing what you’re doing 🙂

  • Jeannene says:

    HI Maria,

    I learned to see pink beige. Now I can spot it a mile away. I also learned that undertones apply to me and the color of my hair. Now I know what colors to stay away from with my highlights so that they don’t clash with the undertones in my skin!

    I also follow you on Instagram.

  • mairi says:

    Happy Birthday Maria! Well done on turning 50…looks like you were well feted! Would love to be entered in your giveaways, thanks. The thing that stuck with me more than anything, and I’ve followed you from the start in 2008, is that ugly costs the same as pretty. It can never be said enough. It is a game changer.
    Have a wonderful year!

  • Cindy Huntress says:

    Happy Birthday Maria! The 50’s are fabulous, enjoy them. I have learned quite a lot from you over the years of reading your blog and a few consults too! I found you when I first purchased my current home which kept this home in current colors, classic decor and matching undertones. As I am now about to sell this house I know that it will stand out from it’s competitors because of the interior. I have recently taken on the role of Real Estate Agent and have been able to offer knowledgeable advice on paint, carpet, flooring, style and more. You have trained my eye to SEE what is happening in a room and sort out the best solution. Invaluable! Thank you.

  • Hi, Maria! Fifty? Really? Congrats! Looks like a fabulous party (loved the yellow-centered daisies spilling over that cake).

    I could easily come up with fifty things that I’ve learned from your blog…but I won’t here ;-). Big things, like the big ol’ ah-ha light bulb that flashed over my head as I watched you hold the white board behind the others in your video. Little things, like choosing one simple frame style for a massed grouping of photos or opting for wider trim boards on Shaker-style kitchen cabinets. And the dozens of in-between goodies that keep me coming to your blog for more, more more.

    Thank you for helping to simplify so many design choices!

  • Liz says:

    Limiting the number of undertones and repeating colors!

  • When I first read your blog six or seven years ago, I was thrilled to find someone willing to share their depth of color knowledge while writing in such a personal and entertaining style. Over the years, I’ve applied your color principles to my home’s interior tons of times, but never to the exterior. Recently, in preparation for exterior house painting, I have made my neighbors’ eyeballs pop by trying a multitude (14) of grey color swatches to the body of the house. But, when it came to the trim, I only tried three. My neighbor’s were impressed when I told them I recalled a column where a color expert advised matching the trim color to the vinyl window frames. Somehow, my reputation as the color fanatic changed into a color expert! Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge in such a warm-hearted way. I wish you a long life, filled with good people who love you and with good health to keep you movin’ and groovin’!

  • Michele says:

    Congratulations all the way from Norway! If I’m ‘eligible’, I would like to sign up for the drawing :)!

  • Melanie Shoaf says:

    Thanks Maria for teaching me to trust my eye and instinct when I know something isn’t right. Don’t rush to paint or buy when you know something is off. You have given me confidence to keep searching and comparing and not to settle for easy, quick or a great price. I would love to have any of your 50th birthday gifts and I already have your ebooks. I follow you on Instagram and get your blog delivered to me. Happy Birthday!

  • Rick Pantel says:

    Happy Birthday Maria!!…..I have learned from you that colour is super important and when we finally get around to fixing up our house I will be paying attention!

  • mary says:

    I love your emails and all your colour information and designs you are working on. You are truly an inspiration and A very uplifting person. Hope to have the opportunity to meet some day, just not in the cards at the moment. Happy 50 Birthday from NL and many more to come. I thought you were much younger. I will be honoured and love to be one of your winners. Thank you very much.

  • Cindy says:

    Happy Birthday! Thanks for teaching me all about neutral whites!

  • Trish Cote says:

    Happy 50th Birthday, Maria!
    I have been an avid reader of your blog for about three years and the single most important thing I have learned is that color is not to be feared, but embraced. For years I have been terrified of making any decision related to color, whether it be paint, flooring, or tile for our home to the color of my new car. Anything related to color choices had me screaming and running in the opposite direction! Reading your blog has given me the tools (I own your ebooks and Core/VIP color boards) to chose color more confidently. It may sound corny but reading your blogs has changed my outlook on life?. Now if you’ll excuse me I need to go play with my color boards. My latest hobbie/obsession. Lol!!
    P.s. I also follow you on IG.
    Cheers Maria to your most colourful year yet!! I also turned 50 this year and to celebrate I painted my powder room Palladian Blue!! (Previously a pink beige bleh!!!)

  • Keira says:

    Happy 5-0, Maria!
    I’m nearly 53 and am really enjoying this decade. 🙂
    My favorite Maria-isms:
    –White in a dark room reads gray. (how I found you originally)
    –Make your fixed elements classic/plain/white/cream.
    Overall, you have given me words to hunches I’ve had for a long time –> confidence in my choices.
    I am one of your Instagram followers.
    Thank you!!

  • Catherine says:

    Happy birthday! I’m so happy to have recently found you. We’re getting ready to paint our front door an olive green accent color. It’s definitely a departure from the white door we once had and the black that we currently have. Having some exterior color hand-holding would be great!

  • Stephanie says:

    Wishing you a most wonderful 50th birthday, Maria! I’ve followed you since your Colour Me Happy blog days and have learned so much from you. It’s hard to pick one thing so I’ll pick two: 1) only use one patterned hard surface in the kitchen and 2) a medium brown hardwood floor is timeless. How generous of you to share gifts with your readers. Since I have both of your ebooks and have recently repainted the exterior of my home, I would be thrilled to win any one of the other gifts including the beautiful painting. I follow you on Instagram too.

  • Sherry says:

    I would love to win one of your very generous prizes. The best thing I have learned from your blog is how valuable it is to hire a professional before you begin a home project, not after you are in the middle and hate everything about it. I follow you on Instagram and enjoy the fresh inspiration every day.

  • Karen Downs says:

    Happy Birthday! By reading your blog and becoming more aware of undertones, I now look at photos of rooms online, tile, paint, etc. with a more educated eye. I have started to plan for a bathroom renovation and know that your information and insight will help me from making expensive mistakes.

  • Jennifer Blevins says:

    Thank you for sharing your birthday excitement with us. What I have come away with from reading your blog is the importance of continual learning in order to grow and stay fabulous. Happy Birthday!

  • Kathleen says:

    Happy 50th birthday Maria and welcome to the half century club!!!
    My favorite all time post – Ugly is on sale! I love when you wrote about mixing exterior finishes on a home, I’m still in the process of choosing ours but am much more aware of mixing brick and stone and watch to steer clear of.
    Thank you for all your posts, I love following you:-)

  • Netty says:

    The biggest thing I learned from you Maria, was to hire you!!! Lol

    But seriously, the biggest thing I learned from you, is that if I don’t have the expertise and I really do want a profession result, no matter what it is (interior design, landscaping, fashion, etc…) then hire an expert in that area. It truly is money well spent and in the end you will not only SAVE money by not having to redo everything, but you will be at peace and be able to enjoy it for many years to come instead waiting to redo it!

    Also, thank you for ALL the free content on the blog that educates like no other!

    Happy Birthday Maria from a thankful online client in California!

  • kristin terkelsen says:

    One of the things I have learned is that I love beautiful things, placed well. with intention and with a reason about color!

  • Rhonda says:

    What a beautiful birthday party! Many happy returns of the day, Maria!

  • Nicole Kemer says:

    The best thing I’ve learned: When all else fails, YELLOW!

  • M S says:

    As an artist, I learned from you how to teach my students what an undertone is and its importance to their art which of course translates to every other color in their world. Thanks for organizing color in a teachable form. And Happy Birthday – the years ahead are some of the best!

  • Lee Dickson says:


    Love your e-mails and decorating ideas. I think I’ve done everything wrong! I live on the East Coast of our beautiful country in Nova Scotia and am going into hospital on Monday for a mastectomy and reconstructive surgery. (Hope there is no cancer anywhere else in my body.)
    I would love to go to your class in Vancouver!

  • Ashley Uhl says:

    Before your blog, I don’t think I’d ever even heard of undertones! And a HUGE help has been the idea of using huge painted boards rather than tiny printed paint samples. Changed everything for me! Happy 50th Maria!

  • Lauren says:

    I am an architect that dabbles in interior design. I took one of Maria’s online courses a few years ago and it has really given me the confidence to select colors and materials even though I’m not a trained interior designer. And now I see other interior designers picking colors and saying ‘oh it’s all beige, it will match fine’ and I just cringe because of all the conflicting undertones in what they picked! I am just renovating my new house and I used all of Maria’s advice and “fingers crossed” it will be beautiful, classic, and ‘boring’ and we will love it for many years to come. On that note, my new house has a dated brick exterior with orange-y brown roofing and I have no idea how to update it! I would love to be in the drawing for one of Choose Exterior Colors with Confidence!

  • Paula says:

    Oh wow, Happy 50th Birthday Maria, you don’t look a day over 40.

    I look at a lot of decorating blogs but after reading yours I have come to understand the importance of undertones in making the correct choices; thanks for all your tips.

  • Dena Nitsche says:

    Last year, I built a house. Your blog helped me avoid putting in a trendy kitchen that I love now, but would be tired and dated in a few years. I have a white kitchen that I love now! I also learned to try to stick to one patterned hard surface per room. I have learned so much from your blog.

  • Sheila says:

    Everything I have learned from your blog has been incredibly important, how to pick just one….. The best lesson for me was dealing with the hard finishes already present as they dictate all colour choices. Always look forward to your posts! I follow on Instagram.

  • Elaine says:

    It was helpful to me to learn that its “all in the undertones”. I’ve struggled, and still do, with what color paint to put on the walls. Hope I win one of your great prize offerings, and can really learn more.

  • Laurie says:

    I’ve learned so much from you since following your blog about undertones, the beauty of a white kitchen and timelessness of subway tile!! As a layperson with a love of decorating, hiring a designer is the way to go — you end up saving a lot of money in the long run. I would just want to make certain that person has taken your courses 🙂

  • Alex says:

    Happy Birthday!

    It’s so hard to pick the best lesson I learned from you, but I’ll go with trusting your instincts. If you think the tile may be too busy, it’s probably too busy. If you think the floor tile will clash, it will probably clash. It doesn’t matter what the sales people or the contractors say or suggest, if it doesn’t feel right to you, it’s probably wrong. If you know what you want, like having the backsplash tile go up and around the window rather than stopping at the bottom of the cabinets, don’t let them talk you out of it.

  • Rhonda says:

    Btw, my daughter and her husband just bought a house in Charleston, and even though it is lovely, we are lamenting the original owner’s choice of permanent fixtures. Anna is using her Maria Killam knowledge to try to figure out how to slowly but surely remedy these mistakes! She admitted that sometimes it is a curse — always analyzing the colors people use, and I agreed! 🙂

  • Mireille says:

    I have been reading your blog and your books for years now and I have learned LOTS: a light color won’t come to life in a dark room; always use big paint boards (I have started my own homemade collection of colours I’m considering for my home); cabinet colours count as wall colours to take into consideration when choosing paint colours; you have to have a starting point (be it a rug, couch, cushion, or piece of art); don’t mix pink beige with yellow beige undertones; don’t mix clean colours with dirty colours – except possibly greens; and you can get away with most colour combinations as long as you repeat, repeat, repeat! I haven’t actually decided where to start yet – but I love that you have been able to explain how all these things work. Happy 50th!

  • Susan Heyer says:

    Happy to you… Wishing you the best Birthday! The best way to celebrate, surrounded with family and friends. I especially love the photo of you and your nephews, love those smiles! It is wonderful of you to share your birthday with us with such generous gifts! I have been a regular reader for years and because of you I am more aware of undertones and ‘Not Bossy but Simple’ and ‘White is not boring’… Thank you for sharing your knowledge!

    I do follow you on Instagram also.

  • kay says:

    Happy Birthday Maria!! I have learned so much from you over the years! I found your website 7 years ago when we were building our new home. What a blessing that was! Your advice saved me from making many costly mistakes! I had a sample of the finish I choose for my kitchen cabinets and after reading your blog realized the color had a pink undertone!! GASP!! Called my kitchen guy as fast as I could to change that to a cream that I LOVE and will for years to come! I can not tell you how many things I re-evaluated and changed because of your advice. Our home turned out beautifully!!! Truly much of that was because God gave me a divine appointment with YOU and your blog!! Your influence has spread much more than you even know!! Thank you for sharing your gift with the world!!

  • Amy Fitzpatrick says:

    The best thing that I have learned from reading Maria’s blog posts is to use large cards for color selection. Equally as important, is her advice on color relating to other colors and NO BOSSY TILE. I love this blog and refer to it often. Happy Birthday Maria!

  • Laura says:

    Happy Birthday Lovely! Hmmm, let me count the wisdom I’ve gleaned from you that I put to work every day in my design practice:

    1. Yes, that really is pink that I’m seeing in the tile I’m considering for this project – better check the other undertones.
    2. “Need help selecting a white? No problem, I have a curated set of whites and tinted whites, plus hours of training and experience using them; I’m confident we’ll be able to select your paint during today’s design consult.”
    3. “Let’s start with the hard finishes – flooring, cabinetry, stones, other woodwork – our color direction for paint will reveal itself.” (My job is nearly finished at this point!)

    Thank you Maria!

  • Dolores Organ says:

    Happy birthday Maria.
    You teach me repeatedly that simplicity and harmony with the addition of a happy bit of surprise creates a beautiful environment. I also keep learning from you to love life and people is empowering.

  • Kim says:

    Happy 50th Birthday Maria! You sure make “50 is the new 30” a truism!
    I’ve learned many important lessons from you, it’s hard to pick one. But, I think it would be deciding on white or cream as a foundation first and then picking other colours from there. And then also your advice on how to mix them if necessary. Oh heck, I’m going to have to add in going for classics when picking permanent fixtures! It all makes perfect sense and you explain the reasoning behind it for me. Thank you for all you’ve taught me and all I was able to pass on to my friends and family. Wishing you 50 more!

    • Kim says:

      Oh! Forgot to say I’d love to win one of your colour boards samples, or an e-book!! Thank you for sharing your birthday with us!

  • Anna Bradshaw says:

    I’ve learned about “dirty” and “clean” colors and that they don’t go together. That seems easy, but then you also need to know that dirty and clean are relative so that a “dirty” color can be too clean depending on what it is paired with.

  • Cheryl white says:

    I just found out about you and I am so excited! I was looking around for an answer to my decorating delema….what should I do with my 1990 spice (aka orange) coloured oak kitchen cabinets and faux painted walls? I noticed that here are many kitchen trends right now, and I am like a moth drawn to a flame with trends! I ask my self, should I go grey (insert joke here), two tone cabinets, statement backsplash, standout granit countertops…what’s a moth…I mean girl, to do….but I learned with trends you eventually you get burned LOL! After reading your information, I see that classic is the way to go….for me, a white kitchen. Does that mean I can’t have trendy or a little WOW to my kitchen,, oh no not at all. I learned that when you start with classic it doesn’t go out of style, and you can add style in subtle ways with smaller elements, and pops of color. Now if I could just figure out what color white to use!!!! Who knew there were so many different whites? Oh yes, Maria that who!!!. Love our website!

  • Suzanne Davis says:

    Happy Birthday Maria! I agree about celebrating all month long! The best thing I learned from you is recognizing undertones. I am better than than I was but I do need to win the trip so I can become an expert. Have a great year.

  • Pamela johnstone says:

    Maria I have been receiving your blog on my email for years! You were living in North Van I think. Your HAPPY colours, and bright colours made me happy!
    I have really learned a lot about clean and dirty colours from you and all the different undertones in Whites. My friends think I am very smart about colour choices and regularly ask for my ” free” advice. They don’t know I have a secret source in your blog!!
    I am retired,and I am a visual artist… my next life I will be an interior designer( don’t know why it didn’t happen in this life?), as I have been interested in colour and design my whole life!
    I live vicariously through your adventures,advise,and your philosophy on your life with
    Terria… wishes on your 50 th birthday( I could have had you at 20)…. And another happy , healthy 50 more!!
    Fondly( I feel I know you as a friend), Pamela

  • Julie Richards says:

    Happy Birthday, Maria! I’ve learned so much from you over the years. I now see colors in a whole new way and enjoy being surrounded by color and appreciate the subtle differences I see. I now live in a technicolor world and it is exciting and beautiful!

  • allison says:

    Happy Birthday Maria! I already follow you on Instagram! I have learned so much from you this last few years. The big one being: whites need to match solid surfaces. I got granite installed in a kitchen a few years ago, and I made the mistake of choosing it off a small sample. When it went in it was COMPLETELY NOT what I was looking for. I about cried. But then after a few days, I picked myself up, went to your blog, figured out that I could make it look intentional with paint, and painted the cabinets a coordinating white. It turned out beautifully. I never loved the counters, but because they were the only patterned thing in the kitchen (I installed a white subway backsplash), It made the whole thing look pulled together. Your blog and insight took an “oops” moment and helped me make it into something that was beautiful. Thank you:)

  • Jessica says:

    Happy birthday dear Maria! What a way to celebrate your next decade!
    I have all of your products but my colour boards could certainly use a refresh, after all of the construction sites they’ve seen! Most of all I would love to win your course… I’ve been a fan for years and your work has made me a much better designer, decorator, and stager. Thanks for all you do!!

  • Luanne Funk says:

    I first took maria’s course in Vancouver a couple of years ago and what I learned has been so helpful in our home construction and renovation business – we deal with many clients and always get asked to help out with choices which I love to do and it allows my husband and I to offer something as a team that not very many contractors do – we are the whole package – one of the most valuable tools for me is the colour boards (I have them all) and using them to compare always compare colours in the actual space you are painting along with deciding which undertone you are working with – thank you Maria for all of your valuable advice I follow it religiously!
    Web address is (note the system would not let me leave it in the website section for some reason

  • teresa says:

    The biggest lesson I learned was to buy one’s sofa in one’s favorite colour and go from there! Mine is now a beautiful cerise cranberry velvet and it make me happy everytime I come home! Thank you for that. I’d love to be entered for anything, but I already your colour book, so I’d love the one for whites or anything else. You look even better than when I first started following you, fellow Gemini. Your yard is looking fab; I hope post some more pics of it this summer.

  • Rosemary says:

    Your birthday garden party looks oh so pretty but the best part is to share the joy with your beloved family and friends. Cheers!

    • Karen says:

      Happy, happy birthday, Maria! Have a wonderful year ahead! Like others, I find it difficult to choose just one thing to highlight that I learned from you. But, today, I’ll just start with “trusting my gut reaction” to pattern, busyness, variability in colors, and making whatever they’re on, permanent. The illustration of clean vs dirty colors has to be another big one. A third is learning how all these ugly patterns, colors, and finishes enter our lives and how long they stay and “WHY”. I always want to know *why* something should or should not be used. Now, I *so* get it. Maria, you are a genius!

  • Julie Richards says:

    Oh, and Maria (and Terreeia), I forgot to say THANK YOU, for your professionalism, your wonderful attitude and your generosity to all of your followers and class attendees. We truly think of you as our friend.

  • Diana s says:

    I have learned a ton about beige (too bad it was after I purchased my pinky beige carpeting) and love your advice about whites and classics (white subway tile). Keeping my fingers crossed for any of the awesome giveaways. Happy Birthday!

  • Barb says:

    1967 was a great year, happy to celebrate a common birthday year ! Time flies, but we are only as old as we act, so enjoy the ‘birthday year’ and Sparkling Hills, its amazing.
    Just started reading your posts a few months ago and as the co-owner and ‘office girl’ of our custom home building business, I am asked more and more to weigh in with our clients on the finishing touches. From a previous renovations, I know all about 50 shades of Grey, but from the paint colour side of things.
    Looking forward to getting more involved in the design end of the business and your blogs have inspired me.

  • Angelina says:

    oh my gosh what a fabulous birthday! The most important thing I have learned is about undertones and using your control whites to compare colors! Happy Birthday to you!

  • kig says:

    My favorite lesson is boring now is classic later. And, of course, one focal point per room.

  • Sarah Hacker says:

    I have absolutely loved learning from your blog and so happy to have found it by reading on houzz. I have dreamt of purchasing any of your color or design products and even attending at Specify Color Conference as we begin renovating our 117 year old home. I would be so blessed to celebrate your birthday with you ?
    My husband is also turning 50 this year! Praying your 50th year is all you’ve hoped it would be. Thank you so much for sharing your wisdom with all of us! It has made me very happy to finally be able to tell why certain designs bother me. Many blessings, Sarah from KS

  • Becky H says:

    I’ve followed your blog for years! I’m in the middle of a stucco redo on our adobe home in Santa Fe. My undertones are spot on!! Happy Birthday, thanks for saving me from so many mistakes over the years!

  • Happy Birthday, you spring chickie! Every other 50 year old should eat their hearts out! xo

  • Sil F says:

    Hi Maria. Happy 50th to you! I really enjoy your blogs – you do wonderful work indeed – thank you so much for sharing your knowledge and expertise! One of the key things I learned from you is that beige isn’t always what it seems. Nowadays when I see something that is “beige”, I am always looking for the pink or yellow or green undertones that lurk within. Thank-you for this great tip, and for re-enforcing it in your many helpful blog posts. I look forward to hearing more from you on this and the many other interesting design topics that you write about. Many happy returns! Sil

  • Mo says:

    Although I am not a designer, I have followed your blog for years and am a fan. I use your advice in my own home and make suggestions to my friends when they are painting or renovating. I can’t believe how much I have learned from you! Would really, really love to win either of your last three prizes as I’m hoping to paint the exterior and interior of my house next year and I really don’t want to mess it up!
    Happy birthday, Maria, and many, many more!
    Please keep up the great work you do with such passion and energy! All the best!

  • Brigitte Hayes says:

    The best thing I learned from the blog was not to fear colour! There is a process for getting it right and ensuring that you will love your surroundings.

  • Elizabeth says:

    Happy 50th Maria! Looks like you had a wonderful day.
    Best lesson from you has been recognizing the undertones in beige for sure! I have referred to the colour comparisons a number of times. I can’t thank you enough for that lesson. I know there’s soooo much more to learn. I would LOVE to attend your course in Vancouver.

  • sharon says:

    Maria, Happy 50th! What an exciting way to begin another year. Your Terreeia is one special spouse! Please enter my name in the draws. I have been following your blog for quite a few years and the best lesson I have learned from you is that white is not one colour but many colours and to have a truly white room that looks and feels right you need lots of light! Growing up I was taught that you paint a room white in a dingy basement to bring light, or a dark room. All we got from that was grey and shadows! Thank you for bringing beauty and joy of colour into our lives!

  • Marta says:

    I’ve learned so much from your blog Maria, that it is hard to narrow it down to just one lesson. Perhaps the one that I come back to again and again is about undertones and how choosing the incorrect pairing can make the colours look dirty and unappealing. I look forward to learning more!

  • Lucy Haines says:

    Maria,. You definitely have become a celebrity and I couldn’t be happier for you. You have more followers and students that adore you including me. You have already given me so many gifts that I couldn’t ask for more! The best gift was being able to take your class and learn to look at color with new eyes. You have taught me everything that I NEVER learned in my college color classes and more. I just wishI had this knowledge years ago because I would have been so much more confident in my whole design approach. Color is the basis for everything!

    What a fabulous birthday bash to honor your 50 years on this Earth. Everything was done to perfection! Loved the picture of you and Tereeia and also that fabulous birthday cake!

    Happy birthday once more and many more successful ones to come!

  • Debbie says:

    I learned that Muslin is a great alternative to white that goes well with travertine floors. I used it for the hallways throughout my house!

  • Jacqueline Hedges says:

    Happy Birthday Maria!

    I definitely have learned A LOT about undertones from your blog and e-books but the best lesson has been that ‘black roofs are best’ and ‘white subway tile is the way to go’.
    It was the best because it was the advice I followed and TRUSTED and when you are investing $12,000 in a new roof, that is no small thing!!!

  • Laura Fliege says:

    Happy birthday Maria! The pictures from your party are beautiful. Reading your posts has given me confidence to install a white kitchen, subway tile, Guilford Green walls. Thank you for your work.

  • Coreen Smith says:

    Happy Birthday Maria! To date the very best lesson you have taught me is to stay away from trends when it comes to kitchen tile (I would apply that to bathroom tile too). This helps keep your kitche