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Best of Colour Me Happy 2018

By 12/29/2018January 3rd, 20194 Comments

This year I celebrated 10 years of writing the blog. And in the last six months of the year, we travelled to Chicago, Vegas and Fiji, participating in Tony Robbins events. If you want to learn anything (Tony says) you need to learn from the best to even get half-way good at something.

The infinity pool in our villa in Fiji

We also held nine (mostly sold-out) Specify Colour with Confidence events all around the country. This course is NEVER the same which is why there is always a line-up of former True Colour Experts who want to volunteer at the back of the room. There’s so much information to absorb.

Terreeia and I have learned a lot about leading and scheduling events over the years. I am especially grateful that the courses fill simply through word of mouth and writing this blog.

After all, it’s the only colour course in the world where we spend exactly 5 minutes on colour theory and the rest of the time is spent learning the ‘Here’s-how-you-do-it-in-the-real-world’ working with real-life  examples along with current AND dated, fabrics and hard finishes.

Okay, so here’s the best of the blog starting with the insider scoop on planning your new build. This post is also perfect for anyone who is doing a complete renovation and you don’t know where to start:

10 Steps for Planning Your New Build

I opened the year talking about the right way to make decisions for your new build.  It’s so important to know what to choose first and how that sets the tone for all the rest of your selections.

Our New Build eDesign package has been a huge success and we’ve helped so many clients through the process.

Almost every decision you make in a new build is a colour decision first. If you’ve never been responsible for choosing everything, it’s impossible to be an expert the first time around. And very easy to make many, many, very expensive mistakes.

Living with someone else’s bad choices is much easier than living with a choice YOU MADE that cost a LOT OF MONEY and now you HATE IT.

Think about it.

The first room I decorated 20 years ago looks radically different and from one of my current rooms (which is oh-so-much-better). Now that I have accumulated 20,000 hours.

Read the full post here.

My new build package is the antidote to the stress and decision paralysis that often goes along with the excitement of designing your dream home. See what it includes here.

5 Reasons You CANNOT Paint your House Art Gallery White

White walls was THE topic of 2018. While white walls have been trending for several years now, this year they became everyone’s obsession.

We have all been seduced by the blown out bright white rooms on Pinterest.  And the trend has hit it’s peak.

I spent a lot of time talking about when white walls are not going to look as fabulous as you expect.

The Shocking Truth about How Most People Choose Colour

Good interior design is like a functional capsule wardrobe. Start with the right classics as foundation pieces. Then you can add in fun patterns and accessories to indulge in the trends and create interest.

Too often a mishmash of trendy finishes is chosen for  interiors because everyone is always in love with the current trends.

Read on to find out why that will not leave you a classic and timeless interior.


Pink and Navy Master Bedroom + Ensuite; Before & After

We did a complete renovation and redecorate for my lovely client Crystal and it was such a great transformation, I was just dying to share it with you. However I had to wait for it to be published in the April issue of Canadian Living this year.

You can see all the befores and afters here.

White Bathrooms | Walk In Closet Design | Closet Organization | Closet Styling Ideas | Decorating with Pink | Cheetah Area Rug

How to De-Tuscanize Your Home; Before and After

And then the rest of the main floor including the fabulous green staircase which is everyone’s favourite feature see all the before and afters here.


Beige is Back! (You Heard it Here First) Trends from HPMKT for 2019

A turn toward warmer palettes for interiors has been on the horizon for a while. This Spring at High Point it was obvious that beige is back as an alternative to so much grey. See the entire post here.

That post basically declaring that the grey trend has peaked and is now waning, sparked a lot of questions about whether greige is now “out”.

I’m here to say that pale, versatile GREIGE IS CLASSIC. It’s the mid toned grays and choosing everything in gray by default that looks tired. I talked about that here.

Ask Maria: What is the Most Timeless Colour?

And with all this talk of which neutrals are trending, let’s not forget: if you decorate with your favorite colours instead of playing it safe with the current trendy neutral, you will always love it.

I just can’t say this enough. In this post I talked about how it’s especially obvious to spot the trend cycle in hotel renovations. Because they tend to go all in with the trendy neutral of the moment. It’s a game I love to play.

But if you land in a rare one that went with colour, it’s almost impossible to tell. This post is about the Breakers Hotel in Palm Beach when we were nearby for one of my colour workshops this Spring.


Is Forest Green the New Grey? Yay or Nay

This one is a shocker for any of us who came through the 80s and 90s. Those days where countrified forest green and knotty pine were all the rage.

Honestly, I didn’t expect it to come back in the exact same combination that I grew up with.  But the trend cycle is fast, and what looked old yesterday, looks new again sooner than expected.

This time around, moody forest green is less lumberjack and more glam. Paired with brass, blush and other rich jewel tones it has a whole new look. Many of you weighed in on this one.

Your Clean and Dirty Images are IN and Here’s My Take

This summer I asked you to send me images of rooms or exteriors where clean vs. dirty colour appeared to be the issue.

First, I want to say that a lot of people get reactivated by the term ‘dirty’ when describing colour. So before you judge, read this post first and tell me if there’s truly another word you could use in this context (there isn’t).

We spend a lot of time on this distinction in my Specify Colour with Confidence workshops.

Getting colour right is not just about understanding undertones. You also need to learn how to COMBINE colours correctly.

Anyway I ended up writing a few posts about this subject starting with this one. 

The other three are here, here and here, if you’re interested in learning more.

Ask Maria: Will my Cabinets Look Dated Even if I Paint Them?

It’s often an Ask Maria question that brings up an issue that many of you relate to.

This reader had a very good question about what it would take, beyond paint, to make her kitchen look current.

With everyone eager to paint their wood stained cabinets to update their kitchens, it’s important to know what else needs to be considered.

For example, dated layouts. In this case she was wondering about her wood window valance.

There is also a great tip in this post about how to close the gap above the uppers to create a more current and high end look if you’re planning to update your kitchen. Go here to read the entire post.

Maria’s Timeless White Master Ensuite Reveal; Before & After

A bit crazy, maybe, but we renovated all three of our bathrooms at once in the summer of 2017.

We spent several weeks running to my mom’s place for a shower.

But it was so worth it! I love my new ensuite bathroom! I now bathe daily because I love this room so much.

You did see my powder room in 2017, but the reason it took so long for me to reveal my other two bathrooms is because I needed to get the sheers made for this bathroom (below). See it all here.

The main bathroom in classic black and white is here.

Decorating with Colour | Master Ensuite Bathroom | Bathroom Design | Bathroom Artwork | Styling Ideas | Classic White Bathroom | Blue and Yellow Bathroom | Gold Bathroom Mirror | Botanicals

The New Look of Wood Kitchens: Timeless or Trendy?

2018 brought us a new look for kitchens with fresh looking wood stained cabinets. Check them out here.

Inside Elizabeth’s Library Room Transformation; Before & After

One of my most recent mini projects was one of the most rewarding.

I helped my sister transform her unused living room (turned into the laundry folding room) into a gorgeous sanctuary that everyone wants to hang out in.

It seems like you only see four wing chairs when it’s created by a designer.  However, it’s an amazingly versatile and social arrangement. Perfect when you have a room that does not properly accommodate a sofa (because a love seat only comfortably seats one person anyway).

This room was immediately named #themostbeautifulroomintheworld by the family after it was finished, haha.

And because I spend so much time with my sister, it felt like a finished room in my house!

Do NOT miss the before pics, they are so good.

Hope you are enjoying this Christmas week!

Happy New Year to all my lovely readers!

Read the last 8 years of best post round-ups here: 200920102011201220132014, 2015, 2016, 2017

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  • Susan Telfer says:

    Thank you, Maria. What fun to look at them again, some I was just studying recently, and some I haven’t looked at in a while. What a treasure of an online library you have created here.

  • Tina Meyer says:

    I want to thank you, Maria, for the lovely posts that you continue to write. I really do enjoy reading them and I feel that I have learned so much from you over the past couple of years, especially with the clean and dirty issue. As I go walking I look at houses that have that problem, where the bricks and the paint work on window frames, etc., clash terribly and I know why. I feel like knocking on people’s doors and telling them that their home would look much better with the right paint colour. And, the one’s that look right, I often wonder if they know the secret or got it right just by chance.
    Anyway, thank you so much for all your information and I want to wish you and Terreeia plus your family, a healthy and happy New Year.

  • Gina says:

    Happy New Year to you and Terreeia! I especially love this post. Your teaching and leadership style just keeps growing, and that’s spectacular. You should be very proud. Being in the same room with Tony Robbins must have been so inspiring, to say the least! I’m meeting this week with a high-end builder, his partner, and a local craftsman, to discuss working as a team on their new builds. My dream job. I’m grateful to currently be working with a local building company where I guide their clients through their finishes and color choices, but it’s usually pretty basic. I’ve gained A LOT of confidence in my presentations, though, and often think of your simple answer regarding my recommendations, “the end.” I don’t continue to pussyfoot around their uncertainty and babble. I have you to thank for that! XOXO

  • sandyc says:

    Dear Maria, great summary post. And a reassurance moving into a new decade that, even though your color training classes and travel have taken over a great portion of your and Terreeia’s life and work, the personal-ness and immediacy of your blogs has not been lost – your wonderful and inherent teaching skills come through in every post and I always take away something significant even when the subject seems unrelated.

    In this case, although all of the blogs you reviewed had takeaways for me, the best was from Ask Maria: What is the Most Timeless Colour? “And with all this talk of which neutrals are trending, let’s not forget: if you decorate with your favorite colours instead of playing it safe with the current trendy neutral, you will always love it.

    I’ve done that and although, after six years, my home is still not complete, my favorite moment of every day is still waking up and walking through each room opening the curtains and letting in the light and smiling while I do it. I can’t imagine getting tired of that experience.

    I think for you and Terreeia for 2019 this quote which I found on a nontraditional “new year’s card” is so appropriate: “Year’s end is neither an end nor a beginning but a going on, with all the wisdom that experience can instill in us.” May the two of you experience a wonderful “going on” in 2019.

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