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About meBefore and After

Home Sweet Home: All My Homes, Before and After Social Media

Remember the days when our homes were private sanctuaries, the only people who saw inside of them were family and close friends?

Before the era of social media, our living spaces were personal, tangible reflections of our lives, untouched by the ever-scrolling feed of digital validation. Now, I’m grateful to use my home as a learning tool, sharing its journey and transformation with the help of social media.

My birthday is coming up this weekend. It’s the perfect cue for gratitude and reflection. Join me as I look back at my three previous homes and reflect on the makings of my colour business.

Our first home (before social media)

I started my blog on Halloween in 2008. And this is the house we were renting in North Vancouver.

North Vancouver rancher

We loved the large picture windows, the 180 degree views towards the water and the city of Vancouver AND that it was a rancher.

My goal during the three years that we lived here was to buy it from the owners, so when they told us we had to move because they were going to tear it down and build their dream home, I was truly devastated. 

I also seriously questioned my manifestation abilities. I thought perhaps they were broken. More on that in a minute.

Dear Maria, I need your help…

Almost immediately upon starting this blog, my followers (most of them from the US) started asking me if they could fly me out to their renovations or new builds. But since I was in Canada, that wouldn’t work (without a Visa).

So I immediately had to figure out a way to help people online.  And that’s how my eDesign services were born.

If you are keeping up with the math, that means I’ve already been doing eDesign for 15 years. Yes, 15!! My process looked a little different back then.  I emailed potential clients a document that outlined what they needed to provide in order to schedule a consultation with me.

This document had my rates and it outlined when, how and where to upload photos. I learned quickly (for example) that photos taken when the sun was slanting into the room in the late afternoon was not a good time to take them.

For years I started most mornings on the phone with my clients with a coffee and a link to their photos. Since the majority of my clients always seemed to be in the East coast I always booked them in the early mornings. 

As we chatted and I scrolled through their photos, I would pin my recommendations onto a Pinterest board and they would continue to refresh the page until they saw all my specifications and advice laid out in front of them during our consultation. 

How eDesign has evolved

Fast forward to the present. Now my clients receive very professional detailed PDF with slides that outline all the paint colours, finishes, and advice with links for everything else included in their package (i.e. exteriors, bathrooms, kitchens, new builds, and renovations).  

My eDesign recommendations also include customized lighting and hardware specifications, which are two details that make or break any space immediately. 

And rarely will you find my eDesign packages on sale but for the next 4 days only, these two packages are:

🎉 SHOP THE BIRTHDAY SALE HERE! 🎉

Our 2nd home: Growing my online colour consulting business

The list of what I’ve learned about consulting with clients online over the years is long! Not only did I MASTER how to choose colour correctly ONLINE with a revolutionary way to identify and test colours, but I also discovered how to scale this portion of my business with a team of five colour designers who assemble our design packages.

Now Hiring: By the way, we are looking for two part-time junior colour designers to add to our growing team. If you are interested or know anyone who might be, here’s the link to apply.

Then, in May 2010, we moved to this townhouse in North Vancouver. It wasn’t that far from where we were. While this home was a lot bigger, the main living areas were fully North facing and I have to say that was really hard on me during the two years we lived there.

Vancouver condo

It was in this era of our business that we launched our first ebook  How to Choose Paint Colours; It’s all in the Undertones and hired our first team member.

I’ve said this before here on the blog, but I always laugh when I think about my expectations for sales.

Since I had around 400,000 hits on my blog each month, I calculated that if I sold a copy of my eBook to 1% of those readers (the ebook was $49 back then, but much cheaper today) then my sales would be $30,000 per month.  Spoiler alert, it didn’t go like that.  It was more like .002% 😆.

How to Choose Paint Colours eBook

During this time we also launched our in person True Colour Expert training events. Here’s a look at what our first class looked like:

colour workshop

Our third home (after social media)

However, the sales of the ebook, combined with my successful online consultation business and our workshops, allowed us to save enough money to buy a house in Chilliwack two years later. This new home was just five minutes away from my sisters and my mom.

Here is the house on the day we took possession with my nephew William jumping for joy because we had moved nearby!

Chilliwack rancher before

Back to manifesting… I realized that the rancher I had been envisioning was actually meant to be in a different town. The universe had planned this specific rancher for me. Unlike the first one, which would have needed an addition, this one was already the right size and only needed a renovation.

We accomplished a lot in the 10 years that we lived in this home. 

We launched our second eBook: White is Complicated; A Decorators Guide to Choosing the Right White:

White is Complicated eBook

 

In 2014,  we spent 6 months attending all kinds of workshops about how to build an online business (there wasn’t a lot out there back then). At the very last event, Terreeia was flying home from one of those conferences, and sat next to someone on the plane that she had met recently at the conference. It was in a conversation with him that she learned exactly what we needed to do to get a Visa so that we could teach our workshops in the US.

This was a huge game changer for our business! 

Maria Killam colour workshop

The best way to master colour for exteriors

Back then the course included a two hour overview of how to choose exterior paint colours. But because everyone kept asking me for more exercises in the workshops, to make room, I turned the exterior colour selection lessons into a digital course. This worked way better because you could do this at your own pace, and go back as many times as you want to rewatch it.

In this course you’ll learn how I apply the Killam Colour System to exteriors, I also walk through all the exterior claddings, step by step and teach you how to get the details right.  Details are what make or break any design project. Also, if you’d like some options over black and white, this course is chocked full of every other neutral plus we added a colour module in 2023. 

If you are painting your exterior this season, I would consider ANYTHING over black or white. Here’s why. We are 7 years into this trend and those in the know (that’s you) are moving on to warming things up. So take some time to make a thoughtful decision. Trust me, you will thank me later.

Oh, and for the next 4 days only, you can save almost $100. 

*If you already have this online course, simply login here to see the updates and new downloadable guides.

🎉 SHOP THE BIRTHDAY SALE HERE! 🎉

Here’s what my exterior (existing pale taupe vinyl siding) looked like in 2022 when we moved out:

Chilliwack rancher after garden

Here’s what the studio in the backyard looked like before:

And here’s what it looked like 10 years later:

studio out building

 

 

all white garden

Our fourth home: Timeless Acres Farm

Fast forward to where we live today! Finding this house was a true miracle, especially because we still live minutes from my Mom and sisters. 💛

French country exterior

garden installation

For years I have swooned over large southern living rooms so I was overjoyed that I didn’t have to build a house to have one!

We did a renovation when we moved in, but we were able to work with so many existing elements of this home, like the staircase railing and the kitchen. And, all we had to do was refinish the wood floors to make them lighter.

We also replaced the taupe tile in the entry and added a herringbone floor, it was finished to match the flooring everywhere.

If you want to know the best wood flooring colours and options, I brought back my Timeless Wood Flooring Guide for THIS WEEK ONLY! Consider it my birthday surprise to YOU!

🎉 SHOP THE BIRTHDAY SALE HERE! 🎉

living room yellow and green

Here’s the backyard with the new landscaping just installed this Spring. 

yellow pool furniture

YOU are the most rewarding part of this journey

None of this would have been possible without you!

I am so grateful for all of you, and growing this platform to be able to share, teach and inspire!

🎉 SHOP THE BIRTHDAY SALE HERE! 🎉

One more birthday surprise: a giveaway! 

To show my gratitude, I am giving away TWO SEATS in the Create Your Dream Home virtual classes this fall. To enter, all you need to do is comment below with something you have learned from me! Good luck!

october 2024 colour training for homeowners

And if you are a designer who wants to get a lot faster choosing paint colours in addition to learn how to professionally explain WHY your suggestions are correct OR you want to turn your talent into a design career or a side hustle, this course in Dallas, November 7 & 8, 2024 is for you, register here.

Related Posts

A Colour Expert with an All-White Garden?

My Nearly Finished French Country Exterior (& Expert Colour Advice for Stone)

Stop Buying the Neutral Sofa on the Showroom Floor

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249 Comments

  • Laura P. says:

    Hi Maria, Happy Birthday Week!
    What a fun post. I have been following you for years and have learned so much from you! Your e-books, colour wheel, and blog posts have been invaluable to me. Every time I have a decision to make I check your blog to see WWMD (What Would Maria Do)?! The biggest lessons I have learned from you are that medium wood floors are like blue jeans (yay), compare, compare, compare when choosing paint colors, neutral couches can be colorful, and of course, lamps belong everywhere! All that is just a drop in the bucket as I believe I have read every post on your blog! Thank you for sharing your expertise so generously and most of all, kindly. You are a treasure! Have a wonderful birthday!

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  • Paul Austin says:

    I don’t have to be afraid of color. I know who’s to look for undertones and what goes with what. I am picking out timeless over trendy or whatever I am seeing everywhere.

  • Debi Pizza says:

    I have learned that if you repeat a color or element in your room, it looks intentional and the eye registers that it matches.

  • donald choy says:

    Greetings from Chicago,

    You offer simple direct suggestions.
    Keep it simple to keep it timeless.
    Why install black kitchen hardware?
    Try to understand the correlation between colors used or not used.
    Don’t hesitate to add extra lamps to a room.

  • Donna Thibodeau says:

    I knew nothing about neutrals. When we built our house, I have a green beige bathtub and a pink beige bathroom. Through reading your blog, I learned to find something to relate to both beiges in the room and make it look intentional. I got your color wheel and went around my house, identifying all the beiges. When I needed to paint my kitchen cabinets, I was able to pick the perfect beige to go with my countertop and backsplash tile. I could not have done this earlier. Thanks so much.

  • Sabra Schroder says:

    I’ve learned so much from you Maria: exterior color considerations, how whites really are complicated, importance of color in a room…but I must go back to the reason I first found you and stuck with you and that is the whole issue of undertones. I was googling looking for help around 15 years ago, and there you popped up. It took a while for me to grasp what you were saying but now I share your color wheel with others who complement my pretty house. Your voice was my first teacher and still is. Would love to take your virtual Create Your Dream Home since that is what we will be doing next year!

  • Glenda LaBruyere says:

    One thing? How about the myriad things I’ve learned from Maria over the years? Firstly, undertones are so important and can be the difference between loving and hating your space. Secondly, don’t be afraid of color! I’ll never forget the first time I saw those lovely, striking pink drapes in her living room. Also, lighting is terribly important so buy more lamps. Lastly, use black carefully and sparingly.

  • Jana says:

    We are in the midst of planning a renovation so I have been going through your blog and IG posts. One thing I keep telling myself when picking out tiles and finishes is “don’t be a special snowflake”. It’s ok to keep it simple and timeless rather than trying to be different or too trendy. Thank you for all the helpful tips

    Wishing you the happiest of birthdays!

  • Rachael Davis says:

    Happy Birthday, Maria!
    I’ve learned about undertones enough to give my kitchen a refresh that’s beautiful and timeless! And I have the confidence to choose boring now to achieve it.

  • Marlene Trevisan says:

    I learned so much from you about undertones and how not to make a mistake. But mostly I learned not to be afraid of color and dare to be bold both in the judicious use of color in my home and in what I wear (I love your outfits). I learned how not to have a boring home.

  • Marie-Josée Chabot says:

    Dear Maria,
    Your straight-forward way of explaining colors and design hooked me when I read your first article. Love your no BS style 😉
    There are many lessons I took away by reading your articles, but I would say that the importance to vary your lighting sources (and putting some on dimmers) was a game changer for me. My home is inviting and a great place to unwind & relax. Lights DO set the mood in a room! Thanks for all the advice through all these years! Cheers to your continued success!
    MJ
    Montreal, Quebec

  • Susan says:

    So much learning over the years. And validating already held beliefs with the ‘why’. Thank you, Maria and Teeria, too.

  • Stacey L. says:

    A great birthday post – enjoyed the walk down your house memory lane! The lessons I have learned the most from are boring now equals timeless later, importance of lamps / lighting, easy to start your design palette inspiration in a rug / artwork / duvet, and being able to explain the “WHY” can help make you stand out in business and (really) life!

  • Laura Alexoff says:

    So many things, but Order of selection is something I hadn’t considered before. Going backwards order is hard! I have so much more to learn. Hope to attend!

  • Sheryl Taylor says:

    Maria, I love your blog and have been following you since the beginning! Have learned so much, one of them understanding the different undertones and secondly using a medium width hardware floor so when the trend for narrow or extra wide widths are in the floor won’t appear outdated by contrast.

    Keep it up Maria! I am addicted to your blog and the information you so generously provide.

    Would love to win this draw. 🙂
    Sheryl

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  • Julie says:

    Long ago one of the downloads I purchased from you was the Exterior Color book. I’m painting our historic reno BM Stratton Blue per your page on blue greens. I can’t wait to see how it turns out! Thank you and happy birthday!

  • Karen Ernest says:

    I’ve learned so much! Boring now is timeless later, white will never bring a dark room to life, clean versus dirty colors, no linear fireboxes in traditional rooms, don’t forget the ceiling can be a fun color, sofas do not need to be beige or gray and lamps, lamps and more lamps…

  • Deb Landy says:

    Happy Birthday Maria! Thank you for all you have done for all of us! I’ve been a follower for probably 10+years. I don’t even know how long, but all your posts, plus the class I took in person in the Washington DC area years ago…it’s all been so valuable for me. You untangled the mystery of color.

  • I’ve gotten so much confidence in color selection! Jobs that used to be gut-wrenching decisions, days of second-guessing and feeling like an imposter designer, with the Killam method hod it’s clear what’s right and wrong! I won over a very successful Dallas agent as she watched me flip they wheel on the stone, brick, concrete, window frames and in minutes we’d picked the perfect door color for a client’s $3M horse farm with a portico and wood walkway down to a second entertain area of their back porch. The 6 doors on their back porch were a yellow 🙁 and when painted S-W Adaptive Shade the house now looked like a million dollars! It was my first 🙂 job with the wheel and I had Maria’s advice whispering in my ear the whole way!!!😁

  • Anne says:

    In today’s post you mentioned the importance of lighting and hardware, so when we designed our kitchen and bath showroom, we made sure not to skimp on those areas. And the comments we’ve received have proven your advice true. Thank you for sharing your knowledge and expertise. Happy birthday, Maria!

  • Erin says:

    I’ve learned sooo many things from your blog! A sofa in your favorite color is timeless. Lamps should be in every corner of the room and placed about every four feet. Boring now is timeless later. Medium brown wood floors are timeless. Tons of stuff about whites and undertones. Clean versus dirty colors. The list goes on and on!

  • sherri clark says:

    I have followed you for years Maria, read all your books, have the undertone color wheel, paint boards and videos…but I have never attended a live class! It’s difficult to choose only one thing I have learned from you, but because we are getting ready to build our dream house on Big Sebago Lake in Maine the article “My Best Advice for Your New Build” was very helpful and timely…and my husband is a custom home builder! Enjoy your birthday week Maria, and thank you for all you share with us!

  • Susie B says:

    I have recently enjoyed your styling tips, but I am so grateful for all your advice. I find myself walking in my neighborhood trying to decide WWMD to improve each home . Thanks so much and happy birthday!

  • Trish John says:

    Happy Birthday, Maria! I began following you in the summer of 2023, and your color wheel blew my mind! Even after completing an interior decorator course in 2022, I still struggled with selecting paint colors and understanding undertones. Since following you I’ve also embraced the idea that you can never have too many lamps—such a game-changer for creating a warm and inviting space. Thank you for everything you do as your guidance has been invaluable Wishing you a fantastic birthday filled with joy and celebration! Take care, Trish P.S. I had planned to join you in Chicago but unfortunately had to cancel. I’m now hoping to attend your in-person class in Dallas.

  • Karen E says:

    Happy Birthday, Maria!
    More lamps — and soft lighting — forever,
    Karen

  • Renee says:

    The color wheel has helped tremendously while we build our new home. Learning about undertones has helped us choose colors that blend and don’t clash. We also went with neutral hard surfaces to achieve a timeless look!

  • Lisa Richardson says:

    Happy Birthday! I have your color wheel and e-books. I don’t think the books are a one and done kind of thing. I am going back and reading them again like a text book. Biggest takeaway so far for me is: I learned why my bathroom remodel 13 yrs ago bothers me so much. I have three different undertones. Everything was rushed because we had a shower leak and had to tear it out. Decisions were made quickly and were made incorrectly. We need to redo it and I won’t be rushing it. I will use what I have learned from your books, blog, and Instagram posts. I would love to do your virtual class. Thanks for the giveaway opportunity and thanks for all you share!

  • Amy Morgan says:

    I’ve learned to keep my hard finishes classic and use color and anything “trendy” on accessories and things that can more easily be swapped out with minimal cost. I also am looking for undertones constantly!

  • Marisa Bernard says:

    I’ve learned so much from Maria. Before I found your Instagram, I did not know how to identify undertones. Now through reading the blog, ebooks, and using the color wheel I can confidently identify most undertones and I can also explain why a certain color is not working in a room. Thank you Maria and Happy Birthday!

  • Rehana Hamid says:

    Happy Birthday Maria! Your blog has opened my eyes to the world of undertones. Before you, I never understood WHY colors looked “off”. I have learned so much from you, but things that stand out are “boring now equals timeless later”, repeating a color in a room to make it look intentional, the need to acknowledge the “bossy” component in a room, the importance of lighting, the fact that white will never brighten up a dark room, and perhaps most importantly, if you live with a “design disaster “ there is always something you can do to make it better. Thank you.

  • Anna Bolster says:

    I have learned to pick your sofa in your own favorite color, not in the trendy neutral of the day. I am in the process right now of shopping for sofas, and am looking for my blue! 🦋 I have also learned that no matter what, if you mix the wrong undertones, it will bother me until it gets fixed! 😂 I found your blog early on – since 2010, and have loved seeing all of the transformations of spaces, tips, ideas and sound advice along the way. It’s helping me be braver in my choices and embracing my style, especially in a time when the home industry has been loud with their own agendas. I have loved your voice, Maria. Thoughtful, stabilizing and filled with wisdom.

  • Ruth says:

    Maria-
    Your color wheel has totally changed the way I approached using neutrals . Thank you so much!

  • Jeannine Geiger says:

    Happy Birthday Maria!

    I found you when I was trying to pick out paint colors for the interior of my house. I learned to pay attention to bossy elements such as a fireplace or tile in your space when choosing the paint color. I have purchased several of your color wheels…love the new updated one! It makes so much sense! The undertones are a deal breaker.
    Now I notice, when in a vacation rental, if they don’t pay attention to the undertones of the existing hard features. For example, I think in my head, “If they had matched the pink beige tile, it would have looked so much better!” I notice when they get it right too. It creates a more restful, enjoyable space to be in.
    I’ve been enjoying your house renovations. Gorgeous! When you helped at the women’s shelter, what a difference it made! You created lovely spaces for the women and children.
    Thank you for sharing so many tips with us!
    ~Jeannine Geiger

  • Mae says:

    I first learned about you when we bought our first home and I knew I wanted to repaint. I didn’t realize all the technicalities in undertones, so I will forever be grateful to you for teaching me that! My husband is still salty about having to paint most of the rooms in our house “white” over the existing “white” 😆

  • NJ says:

    Maria… happiest of birthdays
    I have been reading through the comments before I got to the leave a reply box, and wow, I think you are a true influencer that really resonated with many. I learned a lot from following you since 2019… it wasn’t very common to find a Canadian who is into southern style, but here you are , with all the passion for color, again something rare to find in one era then another of neutrals. I learned a lot from you , just like all the other comments mentioned, but the reason I stuck with you, was you were a person who believed in that there must be an answer for ” why???” I am a person who thinks in a very straightforward manner and the reasoning behind things is the only way to sell me on something. You did that perfectly… and that’s why I am still here today. Thank you sooooo much Maria and happiest of birthdays!

  • Karen Campbell says:

    Happiest of birthdays to you Maria! What a wonderful look back at the remarkable things you and your team have accomplished. One of the best gifts is being able to share your passions with others. I have only stumbled upon your blog recently but learning that undertones exist explained right away why our white walls looked dingy!! A new coat of paint and now our house feels bright and airy. Cheers to you!

  • Bette says:

    I loved this recap of your business. So many people think you just wake up one day and voila, you’re a success. It’s so many little steps (and missteps) that build over time. Congratulations to you on all you have achieved! (And PS, love the story of Terreeia on the airplane, randomly receiving that one little nugget of information that helped you achieve a breakthrough. A reminder that we don’t do it alone!)

  • Stacey says:

    Maria, I’ve learned so much from you. It’s your birthday, but you’ve been a gift to me! I found you while searching for timeless design so I’m going to go with boring now equals timeless later.

  • Holly says:

    Should all front door sidelights be painted the same as the trim color and not the door color, even ones with only one sidelight on a ranch home or is that reserved for a more traditional home?

  • Jessica Toomajian says:

    I’ve learned that not every neutral is the same and the color wheel has been so helpful in determining those differences!

  • Cheryl says:

    THANK YOU for teaching me to look for the undertones!!!

  • Kelly-Anne says:

    Happy birthday Maria! I’ve learned so much about colour from you. Most recently I learned about how choosing black and white for exteriors is not a great idea. As a new designer, I see so many people wanted to follow trends in the things that are really expensive to change and I always advise against that. I’m excited to keep learning from you, hopefully in your live training class one day!

  • I have learned to embrace color a bit more and that the undertone of those neutrals matter. My neighbor was recently painting his front steps after repaving his walkway and while I couldn’t put into very good words…I could really see the differences in his paint chip choices. Thanks for the education! When we finally get our own house, I can’t wait to use all your tips. 🙂

  • Sheila Rowan says:

    Happy Birthday Maria! I have always been a colour enthusiast, but before I discovered your blog, some of my decorating experiments looked garish or even perhaps childish. From you I learned that boring now equals timeless later, and I learned to use pops of repeated colour against a neutral background. I recently renovated a kitchen and two bathrooms and added lighting to several areas of my home; I think the results are gorgeous, and I could not have done it without your wisdom!

  • Holly says:

    Happy Birthday!
    Since I started following you I have learned so much! My favorite is “boring now = timeless later“. It helped me evaluate why there were certain areas of my house that I have never wanted to change. I believe it’s due to the fact that it is more timeless than I would have thought. With what I have learned I have helped steer my Sis-in-law away from some bad home decisions.
    Thank you for your content!

  • Robin Mansfield says:

    Happy Birthday Maria🌼.
    You should be so proud of your achievements and following your dreams and gift of color.

    I have been a follower forever. It was so nice to find an outlet to funnel my desire for color done right. Your best advice for me has been to always do timeless. Thank you so much for your expertise and sharing with us.

  • Melissa D. says:

    Not enough space to mention all I’ve learned. The two biggest I’m applying right now are how to coordinate neutral undertones and the color balancing method. I was so afraid to use color before. No more fear, just joyful color!

  • JaneO says:

    I found you in the beginning, color Me Happy days, and have learned and applied so much in my business and personal home. Happy Birthday!!

  • Nikki says:

    I think just being able to categorize colors into groups is what helped me the most. I’ve taken classes on color theory (as an artist) but the neutral colors always stumped me. I’m kicking myself for not ordering your undertones book sooner. My home would have been painted a different color if I had.

  • Michelle C says:

    Wishing you the most fabulous birthday ever, Maria! I’ve learned many things from you, and am so glad I started following you shortly before our last build. I’d say the 3 top lessons, all of which dovetailed for me, are

    boring is timeless
    hard finishes that are difficult to change should be timeless, not trendy
    there should only be 1 “star”, AKA bossy item, in a space

    okay #4, mid-toned wood floors are timeless

    Thanks to these rules I have a kitchen that makes me smile every day.

    I’d love to take the Dream Home course because while the big stuff has been done for several years, I lack the confidence to decorate and accessorize.

  • Zhaleh says:

    Not to be afraid of color and every space needs another lamp! I’ve been following along for 10+ years and you have encouraged me to be more colorful in my home and in my wardrobe 🙂

  • Patti says:

    Maria,
    I cannot tell you how helpful you have been to me. I wish I had discovered you prior to building and selecting finishes for our present house but alas, better late than never! I totally can see the whole “undertones” thing now and before your system, I just couldn’t and wondered why things looked “off”. I also tried to do too many special finishes when simple would have equaled “timeless” but again, better late than never!

    Thank you for what you do and what you share. We are hoping to build again and you will definitely be consulted! I absolutely love the things you have done to transform your present house–it looks divine!
    Patti

  • Beth Stansell says:

    Undertones are everything and everything is connected!! I used your design services to help with color selection in my new build and the info you provided was timeless and priceless!! We have recently bought another home ( we sold the new build for a nice profit, part in thanks to you!),
    and I would love to attend the create your dream home class!!
    You provide info that is useful and makes your home feel good when you walk in or see it from the street.
    Thank you Maria and have the best birthday ever!

  • Happy, happy day of your birth to you and your mother! Unfortunately I found you just after our new build was finished. I could have saved time and money had I known what you teach.
    My home would please me more if I had found you earlier but with your help our home is slowly becoming the home I love. One thing I still have to work on is changing my fireplace to relate to our kitchen. I never knew that until I had an on-line consultation.
    I also had spent time selecting BM paint colours to match my hard surfaces. It wasn’t until my colour consultation that it was pointed out to me how these BM colours did not go with the hard surfaces. I tracked down the paint cans only to realize that the builder had chosen paint from the local hardware store, NOT the BM colours I had selected. There is a big difference! This decision had me thinking that I couldn’t “see” colours well and that I couldn’t trust my own judgement on colours. With-in 5 years of building, the whole interior was re-painted with the advice from the consultation.
    Thank-you, thank-you!
    These are just two of many cases where you have helped me with my home.

  • Wendy Couch says:

    I learned the importance of lighting in quantity, bulb color, height, and location. I put a lamp on my kitchen counter 😁. I am learning about undertones which is a skill that needs practice.

  • Lorraine Stillaway says:

    Happy Birthday Maria!
    Like so many others, I’ve learned a great deal from you in the 8+ years I’ve been following you.

    I learned from my first e-design with you that sometimes when you choose the wrong colour it can actually result in making further changes that you’d never have considered that make things even better. I then started to learn about undertones and in my second e-design consult I discovered that I was starting to see the undertones and making better choices so I shouldn’t doubt myself as much. After taking your last online True Colour Expert course I started to get a much better understanding of undertones and of how to decorate with accent colours.

    While I in no way consider myself an ‘expert’, now I see undertones everywhere and have been able to improve the way my home is decorated. Thanks for the education and the confidence boost Maria!

    With gratitude,
    Lorraine

  • Rachel says:

    Undertones are everything! I’m finally able to choose paint colors I don’t hate immediately because the finished product isn’t a surprise. I researched timeless wood floors and waded through lots of misses before finding a flooring with longevity. I was able to confidently choose a fabric for a new sofa knowing ahead of time what undertone I would be working with for decorating. Thank you!

  • Andrea Claassen says:

    Happy happy birthday, Maria! I’ve been reading your blog for relatively short time compared to others here, but already I’ve learned so much. You’ve given me the confidence to buck trends, understand undertones, and choose bright, happy colors if I want to. You also taught me that the missing element is often lamps: a room or vignette looking blah? Add lamps for instant ambience! Love your directness, too.
    Anyway, hope you have a wonderful week with your loved ones!

  • Helen Kap says:

    Happy Birthday, Maria. I will never look at colour the same way because of your blog. Harmony is all about the undertones.

  • Allison says:

    Happy Birthday Maria!
    I have been following you for about 2 years now and really enjoy your honest perspectives on everything. I have learned a lot especially about undertones and I hope you be able to purchase one of your edesigns this year as we are embarking renovating our 22 year old home. I also have learned about timeless fireplaces and what shape should be in what home – along with styles of countertops and types of tile. Thank you! I also really appreciate that you mean what you say. You have mentioned lots of times that getting a designer for your home will save you money in the end because they are the experts. You show that example by getting a landscape expert for your home to beautiful your lawn and gardens – recognizing that you are not the expert in landscape. Truly refreshing indeed. Enjoy your birthday week!

  • ML says:

    Happy Birthday Maria!

    I email and text links to your website incessantly! I’ve purchased your color wheels and e-books over the years. I use your concepts about undertones now almost instinctively.

    You’ve been my favorite and go-to interior design “Yoda” for years now. May “the Color be with you” forever!

    Sincerely,

    One of your biggest fans.

  • Diane says:

    So many things, like understanding undertones in color come to mind. In the last couple of years, I have enjoyed your video makeovers and reminder that when you can’t change major things in your home, decorate! Like others who have commented, I think the Home Sense stores near you have a lot more to offer than Home Goods and Home Goods/Marshall stores in our area.

  • Sarah Russell Crow says:

    Happy birthday, Maria! What I have learned from you is that every redesign decision I made back in 2005 wouldn’t make it onto my mood boards today (who knew about the pitfalls of pink beige – at least I do now, LOL). Have the happiest of celebrations and cheers to many more years of helping us make our homes timeless (not trendy).

  • Liz says:

    Happy birthday, Maria!! 🎂 🎈
    You’ve done an amazing job with your homes; I would think Timeless Acres Farm will be in a shelter mag soon?! And clearly, an amazing job w ur biz! The world needs what u have to offer & I’m only sorry u didn’t start sooner as we built the year u started, & I did make some undertone mistakes. And I had a designer look everything over!
    So – I’ve learned there’s a ‘fine tuning’ to discerning undertones (compare), and now I want a teal sofa badly!! 😆 Have a fabulous bday week! 💕

  • Courtney Petteplace says:

    Happy Birthday! Ive been following for a couple years and have learned so much since following. The importance of lighting and lamps, undertones and what finishes are most timeless have been my biggest takeaways! I’ve added so many lamps to my spaces and my home feels so much more complete!

  • Becky says:

    Happy birthday, Maria! I have learned… so much from you. You are the blogger I never get tired of. Top points that changed my thinking are:
    you can not put everything you love into a room, and get a room you love.
    Color is freeing and timeless! I love having a colorful, personal home, in a world of matchy grey/white tasteless-goes-with-anything homes.
    Most problems can be solved with decorating… and more lamps. No room has too many lamps or plants.😄🪴🛋️
    Thanks for empowering me to have a home I love, without regrets.

  • Laurina says:

    Happy Birthday Maria! Ive learned that when things arent perfect, decorate! That bit of advice helped pull together a less than perfect bathroom i was deallng with.

  • A Simons says:

    Happiest of birthdays to you, Maria!!! I have learned soooo much from you. One thing in particular that I’ve learned, with the help of your amazing Colour Wheel, is why my kitchen has bothered me since we bought the house. It was newly remodeled when we bought the house, but something always bothered me. The backsplash tiles and countertop are different neutrals. 😭 The countertop is busy granite. The floor is busy travertine. My discontentment with current kitchen confirmed, I feel so excited to remodel sooner than later with a design that will have me loving my home forever. ☺️ Your class would certainly my help.

  • Shelley says:

    Hi Maria! Happy Birthday! I constantly search your site and read your blog for tips, ideas and inspiration from your beautiful home. Your color wheel and ebooks have been key during some recent updates we’ve made and have taken the stress out of dealing with all of the overwhelming options. Thanks for making the process feel less complicated!

  • Trina MacPhee says:

    Happy birthday Maria!! I hope you have a wonderful day! 🥳🎂🥂 I have learned so many things…clean vs dirty, boring now is timeless, one bossy element in the room, more lamps, and I love your undertones colour wheel!

  • Sheree L says:

    Happy Birthday, Maria! I’ve learned that: “boring now = timeless later,” you can’t have too many lamps, you need to consider the undertones, repeating colors in different “doses,” and so many other great nuggets! Thank you so much for sharing your talents with us. I hope you know that you are making a difference and helping the world be a little more beautiful 🙂

    1
  • Colleen says:

    During my kitchen renovation I learned from you that stark white walls with white cabinets was not the best choice. I went with a soft gray white and have been extremely happy with my choice. This is not an area were I am talented so I rely heavily on your recommendations. Thanks!!!

  • Maxine says:

    I learned the elements to make a classic white kitchen that brings me joy every day. You opened my eyes to using clear colors and incorporating those elements that could not change. I was then able to keep a sentimental painted shelf by finding a drapery fabric that had just a touch of a related, but lighter, shade in a large joyful print. Your yellow couch is wonderful! I like the polka dots on mine!

  • Sarah says:

    Happy birthday Maria! I hope you have a great day doing something you enjoy!

    I have learned so much from you over the years. Your wisdom about spreading the wealth around and “boring now equals timeless later” are time and money savers. They are also something you never hear any one else say. Thanks for all you do!

  • Margaret says:

    Hi Maria! As a color loving person, I have learned from you to really embrace color! And to not be ashamed of avoiding trends

  • Karen M says:

    Happy Birthday Maria! I’ve learned to trust only YOU when it comes to color education!!! (And that my instincts on undertones and clean/dirty are usually right…)

    • Karen M says:

      And that you can’t have too many lamps! After seeing 8+ lamps to put in our investment property, he remarked “that’s a lot of lamps” lol. It’s not even all of them…

  • Ann E Crutchfield says:

    Happy Birthday, Maria! I’ve picked up lots of tips from you over the years! Decorating with books is the one that surprised me the most. Surprised me because it worked. I have 2 bookcases side by side in my living room, one has books with red colors, the other blue covers. I also have added 3 coffee table books to each of my tablescapes. A surprising difference that elevates the look

  • Rosa G says:

    Hi Maria,
    Happy birthday!
    “Grey floors are out!”

  • Rosa G says:

    Hi Maria,
    Happy birthday!
    “Grey floors are out!” Keep it timeless!

  • Rosa G says:

    Hi Maria,
    Happy birthday!
    “Grey floors are out!” Keep it timeless! color is your friend.

  • Fran W. says:

    Happy birthday, Maria! So glad I took your course and had an opportunity to get to know you and Terreeia! Best wishes for a wonderful year!

  • Cindi S. says:

    I found Maria at the perfect time; I was redoing my bathroom and was just about choose a trendy black and white bathroom. I learned just in time that choosing whites and neutrals for hard finishes will allow you flexibility to update your accent colors when you inevitably get tired of them. My bathroom is stunning, thanks to Maria!

  • Kyong A says:

    I learned that neutrals can be mastered and that shades of colors make a difference!!

  • Christina says:

    Maria wisdom – something like:
    Boring now means Timeless later!
    Color is more timeless than the current trendy neutral.

    I really enjoy your blog and the ebooks and courses I’ve purchased from you. Thank you and HAPPY BIRTHDAY MARIA!

  • Jessa says:

    Happy Birthday Maria! I now know I have been reading your blog for over 10 years, because i remember when you and Terreia bought your Chiliwack house! Things I’ve learned from you fall into design, personal, and professional! Too many to list, but here is one from each category. Design: boring now equals timeless later. I can’t tell you how much that frees up creativity in the decorating side when we gift ourselves a clean canvas! Personal: that being outspoken about one’s thoughts and life is not just possible, it’s helpful (and courageous). Professional: that with time and consistent commitment and investment, we can build our dream businesses and lives! Thank you for living the example, and for all the insights you have shared over the years. Happy birthday!!! Here’s to many more. 🥳🥳🥳🥳🥳

  • Arlene says:

    Happy Birthday Maria 🍰
    I have learned much from you over these many years, lamps, dirty / clean, and all the things everyone has mentioned above, but for me it’s the learning the name of the colour that has helped me soooo much…..Rockport grey is the Colour closest to concrete

  • Jenna Hollister says:

    Happy Birthday Maria! I found you and your amazing resources waaayyy back in 2014 when we gutted 80% of our home and went from 2400sf to 4000 sf to accommodate our large family and our youngest son who is a wheelchair user.

    You helped me pick timeless ‘wood’ flooring (tiles) and coordinate with wall colors and cabinetry. You have me confidence to put in a white kitchen, white bathroom tile, while painting the walls with color. I am over a decade in to our home – and all our timeless choices have aged well!

    Thanks for sharing your wisdom! I was delighted to use tour large paint samples to help my daughter and son in law when they bought their first home and needed to find wall colors to work with their orange undertoned wood floors. Thanks to your system they love their floors – because their wall color works WITH their bossy floors.

    Thanks and happiest of birthdays!

    Jenna

  • Sharon Sjerven says:

    Hi Maria and Team! I’d love a chance to do the virtual workshop again! I was quite sick when I did the virtual last year and would love to participate more fully and absorb more, too. I even volunteered to assist in Chicago but didn’t hear back. I have learned so much and look forward to learning more each day from you. We are planning a new build and will need all the help we can get! Really appreciate your sharing your home and life with us! xoxo 🍀

  • Fiona says:

    Happy birthday week! I would love to win one of the two seats. What a great giveaway.

    I am a fairly recent follower. I found your blog via your post about pink carpet. I bought your e-books and color wheel and have been reading the blog ever since. I expected to learn a lot about choosing colors, but my biggest takeaway has actually been your advice about basic, boring hard finishes. I would totally have previously been seduced by interesting tile or counters, but I am so glad I learned your philosophy as I now am totally on your side. “Interesting” hard finishes = more expense long-term, and more contributions to a landfill. As someone who tries to be eco-conscious, I will be bold and experimental in paint and decor, and make my hard finishes something that will be less likely to end up in the trash someday. I also really appreciate your advice about keeping existing hard finishes for the same reason. Let’s see if I can make my ugly tile work!

  • Antonia says:

    Love a freebie! And a chance at a freebie! I’ve learned that it’s not just instinct that leads to good choices, but a systematic approach. Maria’s system works.

  • Betsy says:

    I have always loved white kitchens and white for wall color. I grew up with white walls and found them to be soothing and beautiful. However, I always tried to talk myself into color. You taught me that white kitchens are timeless and classic. You also taught me to choose white for the home that I have.
    Happy Birthday, Maria!🎉🎂🎈

  • Kerstin Ridderström says:

    Happy birthday from Sweden👋💛
    I’ve followed you for some years now and I am so greatful for learning about your coloursystem as it has explained so much about why a room or a decoration or outfit goes together with harmony and why it doesn’t. You could never unsee it now! And I’m truly surprised when I see leading designers and stylist lacking this skill. You’re the master!
    Love your posts! / Kerstin

  • Dana Dalbak says:

    After painting my living room a half dozen times…, I learned how to match the undertone in the existing sandstone fireplace. I choose an orange beige, Navajo White, and the entire room came together. It is soft and warm and lovely and soothing, because there is no jarring disagreement between the stone and the wall color. Thank you. 🙂

  • Lisa says:

    Hi Maria,
    I think I’ve been following you since the beginning – a happy stumbling across your blog that has provided SO MUCH fabulous information! What really resonated for me was the new/old thing. Ensuring that a renovation will fit the rest of the house so you don’t get that jarring effect of walking into a bathroom that clearly belongs in an entirely different house. I think we’ve all felt it, but maybe couldn’t articulate it. Another “ah ha” moment.

  • Jessica says:

    I’ve learned so much, but I think the most important is the “boring now = timeless later.” I used to think tile needed to make a statement. But I’ve started to get more cohesive and timeless in my decorating, and it helped me so much in a recent kitchen renovation. Though I’m sure we still made some mistakes, I’m really happy with the overall result. Thank goodness I found your blog at the time we were choosing our backsplash/counters and before we decided on cabinet colors! I probably would have selected them in the wrong order. Next up is ordering a color-wheel, because I’ve got some existing busy beige tile in a bathroom that just needs a new wall color.

  • Susan Braach says:

    We are looking (albeit at a leisurely pace) to relocate nearer our son in Southern California, from northwest Washington. Obviously, there is a big step up in price to value and we will need to renovate to get close to our desired home. I don’t know yet what that house will need, but after following you, I do know that you are one of the resources I will tap to make it right. Thank you for you.

  • Tricia Major says:

    I have a better understanding of how the undertones and amount of natural lighting can affect the overall look in a room. I also feel more comfortable with starting the color selection process for our new build we are planning to move into this late fall!

  • Deb A Kierstead says:

    What have I learned? Everything! The undertones in my newly furnished room were off so the room felt flat. Thanks to Maria, I learned that adding color was the solution. Thank you!

  • Karen Adams says:

    I learn something with every blog post! The most important thing I learned from you (so far) is how to pick my new countertops while retaining my orangey, maple cabinets and travertine floor. I was originally looking for stark white and went instead for a light beige color with light veining. I’d love it so much. Thank you forever.

  • Vivien Wulff says:

    I have been following you for years and have taken a number of your courses. I have learnt so much from your courses and look forward to your blog posts and outfits-of-the-day. Aside from your lighting recommendations which are game changes, I think your training on assessing undertones to is a critical learning. I am also using your advice from your on-line purchasing course to create mood boards to effectively assess on-line purchases which so important these days to access a depth of inventory.

  • Alex says:

    Congratulations on your hard work and vision, Maria, and happy birthday! I’ve been on this journey with you for the last 14 years. Thank you for your generosity of spirit. Wishing you more continued success and the realization of all your dreams. 💖

  • Andrea says:

    Hi Maria,

    I learned to distinguish the undertone in white which helped me pick the perfect one! I also bought a green couch ~ not afraid of color lol!

    Andrea

  • Laura Forshee says:

    What I’ve learned over the last 10+ years from reading Maria’s blog and buying her e-books and working with her on an interior paint color change is that “it’s all about the undertones” and I cannot unsee wrong color choices when I out and about—especially when people in our neighborhood change their exterior paint color, or when I am in a retail restroom (Dillard’s still using pink beige tile but updated flooring or counters that do not relate!). One day I hope to officially enroll in on of her Color Expert courses.

  • Terri Reynolds says:

    Happy Birthday Maria! I would LOVE to win this! I found you through our daughter, who sent me your link when I was refreshing our prior home. I have been following you since. I purchased your Flooring guide, Color Wheel and Ebooks and then the BM paint boards which have been so useful as I compare, compare, compare to learn your system. I just need to build confidence in using the tools. Ive learned White IS complicated!!! I recently purchased your Mood Board, ( I have yet to begin that, as soon as we get our Primary bathroom plumbing fixed so we can move into it). We bought a 110 year old home recently. I’m in overwhelm making sure I’m making all the right selections on Trim and cabinets throughout to go with art work we already have. So I picked a pale complex beige that I learned about through your ebooks. The house had not been painted in 30 years so a must to select a color before moving in. I learned thats not ideal from you but necessary in this case to feel clean. I’m very happy with it so thank you! : ). I keep re-reading your Ebooks and have learned so much. Your blogs are helpful and FUN too. LAMPS! When I get to decorating this place, I’m getting lots more lamps! Also the article you shared about husbands wanting a paint or selection decision fast and that they don’t realize how hard it is to get it right! I could so relate to this. I’ve learned so much already. Winning tickets to your course will help so much in building my knowledge and confidence in using the tools I have to make good decisions, while making this wonderful old house our forever home. Who knows if I get good at this, I can help others.
    Wishing you a beautiful birthday!

  • Laura says:

    Happy Birthday, Maria! You deserve all of the glitz and glamour and your new home is truly breathtaking!!! I love all that you have done. Thank you for inspiring me, for your generous doling out of your creativity and teaching me how to put into words the differences between whites because just like you said “White is a Snob”!

  • Christina Maughan says:

    Happy Birthday, Maria!
    Thank you for all of your timeless advice. Most of all, thank you for being mindful that most of us aren’t millionaires with oodles of money to spend. One of the most important things I have learned from you is to be kind to my past self for not knowing anything about color and interior design. I’ve made some pricey design mistakes, but through your courses, I’ve seen not only how to not make those mistakes in the future but also how to remedy those past mistakes. Thank you for your enthusiasm and for being real.

  • Anna says:

    Happy Birthday Maria! I have enjoyed following you for many years, and just love your new house and what you’ve done with it. The best things I have learned from you (so many):
    1. Boring now is timeless later
    2. Make sure every colour is repeated in small, medium and large variations to create a cohesive and intentional looking space.
    3. The best white is probably a colour.
    and so much more. Thank you for all the wisdom you share. I hope I win the virtual training so I can learn more.

  • Jeannie Johnson says:

    Happy birthday!

    The most important thing you’ve taught me is that I don’t have to be helpless and confused when shopping for tile,countertops, paint, or furnishings. I’m not at the mercy of the first thing I see in a store or online that looks like it would be kinda okay. There are logical, reasoned principles to making my home look cohesive and beautiful. And that has brought me peace! Thank you.

  • Sandra says:

    Happy Birthday! I love learning how to make decisions for timeless design instead of trendy that only look good for a few years.

  • Katie says:

    I think I’ve learned the importance of going timeless over trendy from you—and the need for lamps! You’ve also reiterated the importance of having things relate to one another in decor.

  • Connie Pouncey says:

    Happy birthday to both of us! (My bday is June 7th too). I don’t remember when I found your blog, but it had the color me happy stick figure girl logo. 😊 I can’t say what is my favorite between the blog, ebooks, color wheel, or just the fact that you always do quality work whatever content you provide. I’ve never taken one of your classes, but I’ve wanted to—just couldn’t justify it to myself. I have a degree in health care not design, but at present I have 3 houses I’m trying to maintain, including one that’s about to undergo a kitchen renovation. So, pick me Marla! I need your class!

  • Elaine says:

    I’ve learned so much from your blogs! My favorite is identifying undertones. What a lifesaver that little bit of knowledge has become!

  • Val says:

    So many! Medium brown floors- I have quoted to others and used advice during a reno. Love the posts where you solve a reader’s design dilemma and ask readers to find what is wrong a design.

  • Jayné E Franck says:

    Hello Maria,

    It was nice to travel down memory lane with you today in celebration of our time together. Happy Birthday! I remember how excited I was when you first released “How to Choose Paint Colours, It’s All in the Undertones.” I grew up in the PNW, and I had recently graduated with a BA in architecture where I had often been complemented on my color sense. When I read your Killam Colour System it made perfect sense, and I appreciate that you have made it accessible online.

    Over the years I have wanted to reach out and take a class from you in person. I bought the online Exteriors Masterclass which helped my confidence in choosing exterior paint colors for our house. There were multiple existing (I might add competing) elements that I wanted to incorporate into an intentional completed whole). I am happy to report that I have had many complements. I even had a stranger contact me for my color choices to use on their house.

    I know it has been years in the making. Thank you for sharing your design journey along the way.

    Best wishes,
    Jayné

  • JMMO says:

    Happy B-day! I Started following you during the pandemic when I was looking for a WHY to explain kitchen colour combinations! Since then I follow you daily on insta and have learned everything from you, Thank you, you are amazing! Just bought your wheel and can’t I wait to receive it since after placing my order, my floor got damaged! I love the WHY of everything and you are the only one with the answers 🤗

  • Lorri says:

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY, you colorful person!!!

  • Eva says:

    Dear Maria,

    happy birthday! Lamps, creating vignettes, (more lamps here), and repeating colours in large, medium and small. Such joy to follow you. You truly colour the world happy <3

  • Michelle Abbott says:

    Too many examples to mention but here are a couple. 1) It’s all in the undertones! 2) And timeless is the way to go! For example, I now have beautiful medium brown wood floors, along with white kitchen cabinets (I finally said goodbye to brown trend that was weighing down my kitchen). Rock on Maria and happy birthday!

  • Pamela says:

    My favorite thing I’ve learned is that you can’t truly “see” the right color that will work without knowing the RIGHT way to compare colors using the right tools! Game changer!

  • ANDEE says:

    Loved seeing your succession of houses over the years. I learned what “timeless means” (in real life and times). And now I am a true believer in the timeless background and the styling that keeps it ‘current’.

  • Fra Na says:

    When we built our home in an over 55 community there were limited choices. Having you class on choosing whites was critical in being able to pick the right white for all the cabinets and millwork and you gave me the confidence to fight for the boring tile I wanted instead of the trendy stuff they were pushing. Because of your teaching about undertones I knew that all of the paint colors for the wall wouldn’t work so we simply chose the lightest color and considered it a good primer. Then we painted all our walls and ceiling the perfect colors when we closed on our new home. We love our home and enjoy the many compliments from visitors. It is all due to you since the whole concept of undertones was new to me. Thank you for helping me create a beautiful space.

    1
  • Teresa says:

    Happy birthday Maria!
    I’m not sure I can pick just one thing I’ve learned from you. When I’m with clients, I often find myself repeating what I read or learned from one of your classes, or from your blog. Of course, all the great information and tips on color, and the color boards have been a lifesaver. Thank you for all the great information you have so generously shared over the years!

  • Diane in Wyoming, USA says:

    Happy Birthday Maria! I am so happy to be a part of this joyful community of uplifting people who love design. I have learned so much from you through the e-books, blog, and Youtube videos. The one tip that I go back to frequently, and can easily share with friends and family so that their homes look better with minimal cost and effort, is to repeat an element to make it look intentional. My daughter recently bought her first home, a fixer-upper! The olive green kitchen countertops are not her favorite, but she is embracing them and repeating the color on the dining room table and again in the living room with a vase and some thin stripes on the throw pillow. So much better!

  • Elaine says:

    Hi Maria!
    I love following you and am learning so much!
    I love all of your information regarding the black-and-white trend, especially how to work with black window trim!

  • Kristi Rolin says:

    Happy Happy Birthday!! I have attended your True Color Expert training in Dallas, and loved all that you taught. … From identifying undertones and knowing the trend cycle, to color balancing a room and selecting timeless finishes. I have a small color consulting and design business thanks to you. I so appreciate all you teach us!! Have a wonderful birthday weekend! My birthday is Friday, I’ll be thinking of you as we both celebrate our birthdays this weekend! Sending you big hugs!!!

  • Nicole E says:

    I’ve learned so much from you! I first discovered your blog when I was trying to understand how to create transitions between the colourful rooms in my home. I think the most valuable thing I have learned, however, is to decorate before freaking out about a colour choice! We were renovating our bathroom this past year and even though I was confident in my design, when the contractors finished their work I was aghast that I had designed such a boring room. Luckily, I remembered your advice of “boring now equals timeless later” and carried on with decorating to create a beautiful room. I would not have had that confidence in the past. So thank you, Maria.

  • Anila says:

    Happy Birthday! I am very glad I found you a few years ago. From you I have learned that timeless is a choice, we do not have to follow trends to have a beautiful and comfortable home. Now as we create our retirement home I hope to put all your tips and ideas into use. Thank you!

  • susan burch says:

    Honestly Maria, I am 73 love to decorate my home. Boy, I was such a smartass, thinking I could do this, until…… found your Blog. Wow, I knew nothing lol. well, ok…a bit. You made me by more lamps, pay attention to details, and colour! Your one day makeover are wonderful, we can learn so much from those. I look forward to more news, the part of your life you share and your puppy 🙂 We are moving from our 2400sqft lake from home to a 1450 sq ft condo in the city of Halifax, NS. I have been editing, going to the dump, omg.. we sold and bought on the same day…talk about hair raising. Today, everything was finalized and I cried lol. I do not want to screw up our condo so will be using your wheel to help me find the right colours.
    Happy Birthday Maria…thank you so much for being able to put your vision down for those of us who want to learn.

  • Monica says:

    Happy Birthday, Maria! First I learned that the outdoor light was a much, much bigger consideration than I ever imagined. Prior to finding you, a dozen or so years ago, I was quite convinced that my “intended” taupe wall turning Barney purple during certain parts of the day, in a room with a grey carpet with green undertones was the result of an evil hex upon my living room. Loved your first book … and your second. White is complicated! Loved learning that I could buy the SW fan deck! Woo! Loved finally realizing why so many spaces just seemed “off” to me. Learned how not to make the expensive mistakes, so I could buy more art! 😉

  • Wendy says:

    I hope you have a really lovely birthday week! I read all your posts and I’ve learned it’s all about the undertones, and every room is better with more lamps.

  • Shannon Sandlin says:

    Yay Maria! Have a wonderful Birthday! I love reading your posts and following along on your personal home improvements. You offer great advice and do it so pleasantly. You are inspirational and fun. I look forward to attending one of your classes in person one day. Until then, Have a Happy Birthday!

  • Debbie Fulton says:

    Happy Birthday Maria! I have learned so many things from you. But my favorite is how to understand the different whites and how to use them. Thankyou.

  • Margret Evangelista says:

    Happy birthday, Maria! Wishing you many happy years at Timeless Acres Farm.

    What have I learned from you? You have taught me how to ask and answer the questions: WHY, HOW and WHAT?

    WHY do some things work and why do others not?

    HOW can I make the best use of materials I have and make the best choices for new things to acquire?

    WHAT is the theory and vocabulary that explains what I am seeing and imagining, and how can I best communicate that when working with contractors and vendors?

    I would be deeply grateful for a place in your September class. Since discovering you two years ago I have been a one woman Evangelist(a), spreading the word of the Maria Killam color system to every designer, commission-based furniture salesperson, and fellow homeowner I know!

    Thank you so much for considering me for a place in your class.

    Kindest regards,

    1
  • Diane says:

    I’ve been following you for several years, Maria, so I’ve learned SO MUCH. Just a few – undertones (which is how I found you); boring now = timeless later (though truly I don’t think a timeless look is ever boring); in order to see color you have to compare, compare, compare; and by choosing color well and by styling, one can love one’s room/house even if a complete reno isn’t in the budget.

    Forgive me if this is intrusive or presumptuous, but I would love the opportunity to tour your house – have you ever considered offering paid tours? What a learning experience that would be. My sister and I live several hours from you, in the US, but the trip would be well worth it to us.

    Happy Birthday!

  • Mazuryk Vermeulen says:

    Happy Birthday Maria! I have learnt so much from you, I just love to watch how you transform your new house with fabulous colour. What I’ve learned, to choose white subway tile always! Oh and lamps, lamps, lamps:)

  • Jennifer says:

    Happy Birthday Week, Maria!!! 🥳🥳🥳
    I have learned so many things from you. I found your blog years ago when I was searching the Internet, trying to figure out why the beiges and tans in my house didn’t seem to work together. I read several articles on your blog and eventually purchased your e-books as well as your original neutral color wheel. Since then I have purchased your online shopping course and the updated color wheel. It is all been well worth every penny! I am not an interior designer, but I have learned so much and it has saved me so much money and time. My home is still in-progress, but it makes me happy, and so much of that is due to things I have learned from you! 😃

  • Nancy says:

    Maria,
    You are the first (and I think only) online “decorating expert” who understands how to deal with a house full of Saltillo Tile. I Love the tile, but hate pink beige. You got me past that. I still have a little trouble identifying undertones, but I am getting better and better as time goes on. But I am a true believer.

    Have a Happy Birthday, and congratulations on achieving success in the world of online blogging.

  • Rosanna says:

    Happy Birthday Week, Maria! I found you on Instagram at the most perfect right time! BEFORE we started our new build. I learned so much from your eBooks and blog that I truly LOVE my timeless choices! You made a huge difference in the finished look of our home. Thank you!

  • Mary says:

    Thanks to you, I hired a professional color expert to pick my exterior color. Our neighborhood hired her to put together a complete spec book for homeowners (we live in a neighborhood wuth covenants…its a Southern thing)r. I have your wheel, e-books, and follow everything you do. I also appreciated your willingness to speak up during COVID and support the Canadian truckers. Don’t @ me haters!

  • Nancy says:

    Wow, how much have I learned! The latest is what to do with my brown, black and beige granite in my kitchen. I love learning new color ideas and look forward to seeing new blogs and posts. Hope your birthday week is very special!

  • Susan Vincler says:

    I learned about the concept of timeless vs trendy from you. For example, how different types of subway tile could be timeless (or trendy) based on the style of your home. Happy Birthday!

  • Sharon Abel says:

    Choose a sofa in a colour you love! And thanks to that advice from you Maria, in a sea of grey furniture showrooms I chose two blue couches and still love them! That’s just one of your many lessons that I’ve followed. Boring equals timeless, colour is timeless, white subway tile backsplashes……your words are mantras that repeat in my head when I’m shopping, looking through pinterest, browsing magazines, and making any choices for my home. Happy Birthday!

  • Marion Lane says:

    Happy Birthday week 🍾🎉!! You are amazing, I am so grateful for all that you share. I have learnt so many things from you over the years, what stands out is “clean & dirty” & understanding undertones. I have all your E-books, the online shopping course, exterior online masterclass, own the neutral colour boards & colour wheel and invested in your E- design for our Kitchen renovation in 2021.

  • jackie p says:

    Happy Birthday Week, Maria ! You’re amazing !

    Well, you have taught me about the neutral undertones of beiges and whites, awesome. I still need help with comparing the different undertones . I’m still learning and challenged. I can not forget the clean vs dirty comparisons. It’s nice to know the why, in choosing color. I love knowing about having lamps and more lamps, one pattern in a room, small, medium and large areas, using classic and timeless not trendy, do not update a 1980s bathroom faucet with something modern, look at the hard elements of the room and much more. I would love attending your giveaway class to learn more! Happy. Happy.

  • Erica J. says:

    Happy birthday, hope it’s a magical year 🙂 I have learned a ton! I’m kind of a newbie to paint color, so my learnings probably aren’t earth shattering, but we’re in the process of updating our home (and possibly renovating?) and your advice has been well timed and on point. The most important tips are: 1. Landscaping can work magic on your exterior, it’s not all about the house 2. Don’t just pick what you love because the things you love may clash with reality 3. You can live with some of what you have by leveraging styling (who knew? most designers jump to tearing everything out = $$$). Thanks for all you do!

  • Barbra says:

    When we needed new flooring for our older traditional bathroom I searched your blog for answers. I almost got swayed and chose a vinyl charcoal soapstone look (just seemed easier and cheaper and maybe more exciting)but kept hearing you say 2 in hex tile. In the end that’s what I went with and I love it and know I will forever.
    I have learned a LOT from you. Next up…painting the exterior and following your advice.

  • JoDi says:

    I’ve learned so much from reading your blog, but the most useful thing has been learning to identify undertones easily. I have your color wheel and did the course about shopping online, and both have been very helpful!

  • Melanie says:

    I have learned that it’s possible to work with existing elements in your home and still make it look pleasing. I’ve also learned that it’s good to pick classic or neutral hard finishes so things don’t become dated quickly.

  • Amy Slowik says:

    Happy Birthday, Maria! Thanks for including your readers in your celebration. I have learned how to deal with pink beige hard finishes and still create a lovely timeless room. Also, lamps, lamps, lamps! And of the lamp doesn’t sing to you in one space, it may be just what you need in a different area of your home!

  • Amy Brazil says:

    Happy Birthday Maria. I love your blog and feel so grateful to have it as a resource. I have leaned that ugly is always on sale, how to identify undertones, clean vs dirty, that color brings joy especially when its a colored couch, always repeat the metals at least twice and its okay to mix them, medium wood floors are like blue jeans and go with everything, timeless over trendy every time, boring equals timeless, and if you can’t replace it, decorate around it. I am just a weekend design enthusiast helping friends and family make beautiful spaces! I have learned so much from your blog. Oh, and I love the large color boards. Thank you!.

    1
  • Teodora says:

    It was the first time I realized there were undertones, even though I intuitively understood their existence. That was game changing. The content in the site and social media is very helpful and each piece gives me a lot. Thank you!

  • Shelley says:

    Happy Happy Birthday! Thank you for sharing your journey! I’ve learned so much since I discovered you on IG about a year ago, but two things stand out. The first is that it’s contrast (e.g., color, texture, etc.) that makes spaces memorable, but perhaps the most impactful is that keeping hard finishes true to the style of construction helps keep the home timeless. While I may still blend eras and styles in my decor, now I feel more confident in making the big choices that will help me love my home forever. 🥰

  • Donna L says:

    Happy birthday, Maria!! Thank you for teaching me about undertones. I never knew why I didn’t like certain color combinations and now I do. And also how to use black properly.

  • Laura McCannell says:

    Your recap just revealed to me how long I’ve been following you (since your first rental house, I think!). I’ve learned so much from reading your posts over the years and have passed along your advice as if it were my own! lol! Would love to experience this in person!

    I think the biggest lesson has been about undertones – it’s something I always recognized was there but didn’t know what it was- and I can’t unsee it when it’s done incorrectly now!

    Anyway, happy birthday!

  • Tricia Taiz says:

    Happy Birthday! I have learned so much from you and I know I’ve only scratched the surface! My poor husband is probably sick of hearing Maria says…🤣. Thanks to you, I just refreshed a bathroom/laundry combo that has orange beige cabinets, faux granite counters, and faux slate floors. Now is not the time to rip it all out, but I was able to find a paint color and pull it all together including art from the At Home store and it looks a thousand times better already. You saved me from painting the room white and as my husband was reinstalling all the chrome towel bars I said we can thank Maria that I never tried to change out all the hardware in the house for black and that we are keeping the chrome!

  • Jan Taliercio says:

    Happy Birthday, Maria! You gave my “spidey sense” a good dose of support to justify my color selections and decisions and an opportunity to turn it into a business. Thank you for your wise tutelage. Following you from 2008!!

  • Adri Murdock says:

    Happy Birthday, Maria! I’d say you might have created a monster, as I’ve learned to analyze undertones in EVERYTHING! I try to keep it to myself so as not to drive everyone around me batty! Ha!

  • Angela Gallegos says:

    Maria, I’ve been following you for around 5 years now. You were the first to demystify undertones and give me a language to confidently classify them. When the undertone wasn’t quite right, I can now articulate “too green” or “too clean” instead of stare in a stupor at the samples. 🤣 It would never occur to me look at a beige color chip and say it was green, but now that I know the system, I can do just that!

    Once I had the foundations, I tried my hand at creating a digital mood board for my front porch. I learned how to practice patience and restraint- I didn’t purchase fabrics until I was pleased with how the colors looked together on the board. To my astonishment, the project exceeded my highest expectations! ❤️

    5 years on, I’m still learning and trying to soak in as much knowledge as I can. I can fairly quickly identify what’s wrong with someone else’s space, and I’m more slowly able to identify problems and opportunities with my own.

    1
  • Kerry says:

    I follow a lot of designers, but your advice is always what sticks with me the most. :-). Happy Birthday! Here are some of mine… Repeat a color so it looks intentional. Decorate around a design mistake. Hold your samples in the planes they will be resting. Look at the paint color against a plain white so you get clarity. Find your bossiest element and pick paint to harmonize it– even if that element isn’t your favorite. But go ahead and ignore an element if you hate it and can’t incorporate it in a way you like. Pick paint after you choose your decorating plan. Listen to the house you have, not the one that you wish you had or the latest trends, and make design choices in keeping with the style of the house. I could clearly go on and on 😉

    1
  • Lorna says:

    I learned undertones, that I need to repeat finishes, how to choose exterior colors – and I’m busy putting it to work in my own home! Happy, happy birthday, Maria! Many thanks!

  • Robin Y says:

    Oh, I’ve learned SO much! I had to tell my painter which exterior color to use just this week. I had it narrowed down to just two orange beige colors. He sampled the two on the house, and both my husband and I chose on the spot with no reservations. Never have I been so confident as I am in choosing colors after Maria’s training. Very grateful!

  • Diana Hubbard says:

    Happy birthday!
    You can never have too many lamps in a large room. Plus dont be afraid to take lamps with you on vacation 😁

  • Joyce says:

    Happy Birthday, Maria! My sister, mother and I all call you our “color guru!” Your teachings have shaped countless decisions in all three of our homes. Most importantly, you’ve helped me understand WHY certain color choices are wrong or didn’t feel right.

  • Jamie Russell says:

    Happy Birthday!!
    I’ve learned that I desperately need your class. You have a definite talent when it comes to color. I watch your posts everyday in order to pick up some type of decorating knowledge. Thank you for always sharing.

  • Catie N says:

    Hi Maria, I’ve learned so much from you on details to make your home cohesive that I never would have thought of- like making sure your living room fire place matches your kitchen!

  • Angie says:

    Happy Happy Birthday, Maria!! Until I found you, I never realized that I too could find the undertones in the neutrals. Now I look for them everywhere. While I now know to look for them, I still have sooooo much more to learn from you!

  • Bonnie says:

    “Boring now equals timeless later” is surely a design mantra for fixed surfaces, but “Ugly is on sale” is a delightful memorable gem! Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge and enjoy your birthday knowing you are helping so many others!

  • Stacey says:

    Happy birthday, Maria!

    You have taught me to choose plain, classic, and “boring” features for my house and to make it all beautiful with color.

  • tracy vanosch says:

    Hi Maria, happy belated birthday! You have taught me to not overuse black! But I refuse to give up my adorable BLACK yorkie!!!! She is actually black and tan so I think you would approve! Love always, your biggest black lover fan!

  • Mary says:

    Lamps, styling and pink beige complex creams. So much to learn.

  • Kim Smith says:

    I have learned timeless is not boring! I would love to win an in person classs with you! Happy Birthday!!!

  • Ellen Fitzpatrick says:

    Happy Birthday Maria and thank you for this fun post! Biggest thing I learned is to make something unattractive disappeared to paint it the same color as the surrounding area. Thank you!! ellen

  • Katie C says:

    Happy Birthday Maria! I’ve learned so much from following you. My goal is to create a truly timeless home and that is exactly your approach. I love your posts and can’t unsee undertones:) Your advice is ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️. Thank you for all you do!

  • Cyntia Chamberland says:

    Happy Birthday week!
    I’ve been following you for at least 10 years, so I have learned a LOT from following you and buying you books, some classes and the colorboards! But truly, just being able to see and compare the undertones in a room and have proof that I’m not crazy for being bothered about the clash they can create is a blessing!

  • Debbie Clarke says:

    Happy Birthday week, Maria! Greetings from Newfoundland,CA! I have been a follower for a few months now. I will be starting a new build very soon and I have been learning so much from your blog. I have already purchased your ebooks and creating mood boards course. I have been having sooo much fun planning all of my timeless spaces!!

  • Apra says:

    Happy Birthday Maria
    I have learnt so much from you. It’s all about the undertones, there are shades of white, don’t be afraid of color – I ended up getting a blue couch :), decorating is everything , don’t keep your walls blank, lamps lamps and lamps, mixing metals, repeating decorating element colors, boring equals timeless.

  • Justin says:

    Happy belated birthday! I’ve learned from Maria how to get the undertone right by using the understanding undertones neutral colour wheel.

  • Barb Perez says:

    Happy Birthday, Maria!! You taught me the value of LAMPS! When I added a lamp to my kitchen counter I turned to my daughter and said, “Oohh this is why Grandma’s house always feels special!” My mom always had lamps on when I was growing up, but I needed someone else (YOU) to tell me how wonderful they make your home feel. Thank you!!

  • Karen Smith says:

    Happy Birthday 🎉
    I have learned to really pay attention to undertones in paint. I now am so much better at noticing when wrong choices are made. I’ve also learned how to correctly incorporate black into a home.

  • Kelly W says:

    Undertones. Colour. Lamps. Artificial flowers (that one took me by surprise).
    I’ve learned so much!

  • Brooklyn Ellingson says:

    The thing I learned from you and instituted right away was MORE LAMPS! I can’t believe the difference it makes in my home. As I am doing renovations I think of keeping hard finishes timeless so they’ll never go out of style! Thanks Maria!! Happy Birthday!!

  • Rhonda says:

    How can I pick one thing? There are so many. My favorite is to make choices based on the bossy fixed items like countertops or floors that are staying. Happy Birthday, Maria! Here’s to many more years of creating wonderful content!!

  • Rhonda Walls says:

    How can I pick one thing? There are so many. My favorite is to make choices based on the bossy fixed items like countertops or floors that are staying. Happy Birthday, Maria! Here’s to many more years of creating wonderful content!!

  • Bebe says:

    Dear Maria,

    You have empowered me, at 50!, to decorate my home with new confidence and even joy for the first time ever! Color is starting to make sense! I’ve learned to loosen up and have fun being creative while cultivating a home for my family to enjoy. They actually love the small changes I have made which gives me even more motivation. I suppose I’m not a natural, but I love to learn and you are a wonderful teacher. I appreciate all the information you share with us. Your honesty and openness are lovely and welcoming. Happy Birthday to you! 💐💐💐

  • Martha foss says:

    I learned so much about undertones and boring now is timeless later!! Thanks for a great blog.

  • Wanda vanderveen says:

    I have learned so much it’s hard to narrow down. How to make a mood board and its importance is my biggest lesson. Thanks Maria!

  • Louisa Denomme says:

    Boring now = timeless later. Colour can be timeless (insert favourite sofa colour here). Medium toned wood flooring forever! Thank you Maria for all the expertise and advice. Would love the opportunity to attend the virtual event 🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼

  • Selina says:

    Happy Birthday, Maria! Many happy returns. Gosh, it’s so hard to think of just one thing that you’ve taught me. I love your no nonsense approach and can’t believe how much less complicated renovations are when you embrace the simple mantra, Boring now equals timeless later. Thank you so much for saving not just our homes but the planet too!

  • Melissa says:

    You have helped me with colors!! My wall color is green gray and your color wheel helped me complete my shopping of rugs and bedding and everything in between!

  • Lauren says:

    White IS complicated! Your e-book helped me pick the perfect one for me, though 😄

  • Julie S says:

    Happy birthday! I have learned to see neutral undertones, notice overarching color trends, and learned that color is FUN and HAPPY!

  • Terri Ledlie says:

    Maria you’ve helped me take the leap and fill my space with beauty. I have lived in my starter home for coming on 29 years and have done minor renovations here and there, but never felt I could put anything on the walls or any beautiful furniture or drapes around because I locked inspiration and money and had decorated simply in the Tuscan theme years ago. I had so many things that were given to me from other people over the years that I really did not know what my style was and what I wanted around me. Through listening to your videos over the years, reading your blogs, seeing your Instagram stories and following you on Instagram , I have developed a completely different understanding of how to go about decorating. You have simplified the issues and help me see that in a renovation which we are planning to do in the future of this house I will not use black windows which I was going to do.

    Thank you for pulling me out of my dark Tuscan unfinished, uninspired house and into myself.

    2
  • Katie S says:

    Happy Birthday, Maria! I have learned so many things from you but one of my favorites is how to make timeless selections instead of just following trends. Hope you have a wonderful birthday week!

  • Janna says:

    I learned just the other day that color theory isn’t what I really need to understand decorating.
    Since reading your blog, I feel much more empowered to make something beautiful. And the decorating process can be fun with the knowledge I’ve gained from you, rather than anxiety-producing!

  • Ruby Doerksen says:

    I have learned so much from watching your videos,reels and reading your blogs. My first purchase was the colour wheel and e-books and learned do much about tones. I have also purchased your Mood Board course and it was do good. I don’t have vision like you do but by learning how to create a Mood Board I can now put things together to if they work together collectively.

  • Laura Wilkin says:

    Hi, Maria. I’m not “in the business” and have no natural ability in decor and design, but I still want my home to bring my pleasure every time I walk in the door. That’s why I’ve been following you for (I think) about 15 years. Among the many things I’ve learned:
    -Boring now equals timeless later
    -Wood floors are the blue jeans of your decor.
    -Dark floors show every single speck of dust.
    -Choose the hardest-to-find items first; choose your paint colors last.
    -Repeat your colors in small, medium, and large formats to make it look intentional.
    -Every room needs a gourd lamp
    -Choose neutrals for all your hard finishes and things that are expensive to change out.
    -The money saved from preventing even one expensive mistake will more than make up for the cost of hiring a designer to help you get it right.
    Happy Birthday!

    1
  • Tracy Back says:

    I’ve learned that the large color boards are crucial to choosing a color. They helped me SOOOOOO much when I repainted the interior of our home.

  • Arlene Kaufman says:

    Happy birthday! And thanks for the house tours. Your new landscaping is just so beautiful! What have I learned? Go for timeless, add more lamps, pay close attention to the undertones, because that will make or break the look. When in doubt, ask Maria!

  • Alicja says:

    Hi Maria,

    Happy Birthday week to you! I have learned a ton from your blog and books! Here are a few examples:

    Always use large color boards to test paint colors.
    Position color boards in relation to fixed elements as they would be placed in the room.
    Color always has to relate to something, so repeat it in big, medium, and small elements.
    Neutrals always have undertones, and we should choose neutrals with the same undertones throughout the room.
    Each room needs at least six lamps.
    Coffee table books make vignettes look more sophisticated.
    Greetings from Little Rock, AR.

    Alicja

  • Adrienne McCartney says:

    Maria! Happy birthday! I recently got your color wheel because after finding you, I realized the reason I hated the bathroom we redid prior to selling our first home in 2020, was because the undertones of the beige did not go together. I had pink beige with other beiges and just…no! I vowed not to make the same mistakes as we head towards renovating our current homes bathroom and kitchen; a little too late for the paint color, unfortunately, as I discovered we chose a pink beige 2 years too late. But hey! I can at least choose the right tiles and things going forward! ☺️

    I appreciate the valuable advice you offer on Facebook and the affordability of your products; I hope to purchase a course one day!

  • Julie says:

    Happy Birthday Maria,
    I’ve learned so many important things about color and undertones but more importantly about the power of decorating to correct mistakes and bring life into a room.

    1
  • Lynn Simms says:

    Hi Maria, since learning from you, I can’t look at a room without glancing around to see if the undertones match… everywhere I go!
    Also, I’m introducing pops of colors into my home that I would never have considered before. Thank you!
    I also realize how much more there is to learn about color and undertones.

  • Robin Reid says:

    Happy Birthday week, Maria!
    I stumbled across your philosophy online very early in your career, and your explanation of seeing color was life-changing for my soft home furnishings manufacturing business. I finally understood the why of how colors worked, and I began designing my collections with more creativity and consciousness. I am so grateful for your work!
    Even tho I am technically out of the biz, I still follow your work and delight in how you have expanded your vision to provide a comprehensive training in the color an home design business.

  • Sandy says:

    Happy Birthday Maria! I have learned so much. Now I know wood floors are like blue jeans and go with everything. I know there are undertones in the neutrals, especially white paint. I’ve learned to compare and use a white background when comparing. I’ve learned to be patient and wait before purchasing new furniture or rugs. That one is so hard. And I’m currently learning how to do a mood board from your online course. All this info is grounding me more and more so I’m not out there floundering with now direction. Thank you so much Maria!