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About meUnderstanding Undertones

It’s my Birthday Plus an Update on my Colour Wheel

By 06/06/2019August 2nd, 2019170 Comments

This photo was taken at 10:00 pm in Finland by my mom who’s already there.

Last summer and now again this summer we have ended up on an epic trip to Europe. Last year we had a three week trip to the Amalfi Coast planned and then Terreeia generously invited my mom to join us halfway through, so we extended it another week. We ended up being gone for four weeks.

Mom also went to Finland exactly two summers ago with one of my sisters and when she did that I realized that all my sisters have been to Finland with her except me (being there when I was 3 years old doesn’t count). On previous trips I was always too busy or just didn’t have the money and I really wanted to go while my mom is still fit and healthy! Hopefully she stays that way forever and ever!

Anyway, we planned to go this summer. My mom figured going the following summer was too soon to impose on friends and relatives.

Helsinki, Finland — Photo taken by my mom Hellen

Then last year Terreeia and I signed up to attend another Tony Robbins Business event which happened to be held in Amsterdam, so then it made sense to tack on the Finland trip with my mom to those dates in June.

But then I thought if we were going all the way to Amsterdam and I was going on to Finland to join my mom, it made sense to go somewhere a week before the event. Terreeia has never been to Paris so we decided to go there the week before our Amsterdam course


Are you still with me? Haha. This means, I will be gone for 5 weeks which, given how much we already travel, is a long time to be gone.

I will still be working and blogging on my trip — that is one of the perks of owning an online business.

Anyway I just thought I’d tell you about how things are going with me, it’s been a while since I’ve written a personal post.

It’s been a little over 7 years since we moved to Yarrow, the little village we live in now (that’s actually considered Chilliwack). It’s kind of been like a best kept secret that’s a secret no longer. We can’t believe what houses out here (one hour East of downtown Vancouver) are selling for now. We feel lucky that we got into the market when we did.

This town is still missing a great little grocery store and a local pub but a cute coffee shop did move in a few years ago that serves great espresso and organic pastries. I helped fix the exterior colours here.

One thing we love about all the travelling we do is the fabulous restaurants all around the country that we get to enjoy. We don’t dine out much when we are at home because there’s only one restaurant worth going to out here and that gets boring.

My mom Hellen and I drinking green juice (well it’s hard to say what I’m drinking 🙂

We live very close to the Vedder River (above) and in the summer the locals hang out and sunbathe and watch their kids splash around in the pools created by the river.

Markus and William

I really love living so close to my sisters, nephews (above) and my mom. My sister Elizabeth and her husband were the first to move here, along with my mom, then my second sister Lea and her partner Greg moved into a townhouse in the Eco Village literally down the street from us, a few years ago.

I’m still a mad scientist/artist, geek and at times, socially awkward, and my family means everything to me.

In one of my Specify Colour with Confidence workshops this past spring, one of my students said she lived on the same street as her parents along with four other siblings and their families. I loved hearing that, I feel blessed living here and I really love my frequent early morning visits with my family, especially when we hang out in the most beautiful room in the world, haha.

Okay, so many of you have been asking about my new colour wheel I hoped would be available this May. Well, we printed 10,000 of them and learned a hard lesson about printing processes that turned out to be a blessing in disguise.

Colours printed on a press will never be as accurate as the identical colours in paint. Not going to happen.

The ONLY way to make sure the colours are 100% accurate would be to paint them which would make them expensive. As a side note, did you know that fan decks are painted? They would simply never be accurate otherwise. I only learned this while going through the process of creating my Understanding Undertones colour wheel.

Here’s an example of a strip in one of the fan decks that got swiped before it dried (below):

My new colour wheel is not a tool to create colour palettes anyway. For that matter, taking any colour wheel — mine or a traditional colour wheel and creating colour palettes is an exercise in theory, not one that helps you in real life when you are building, renovating or decorating your home.

I created this colour wheel as a way for you to have confidence in identifying nine useful neutral colours that you will use over and over again when working with the category of neutrals. This wheel will let you see the key difference in warm and cool neutrals, an important part of understanding how to specify colours.

And here’s where the blessing in disguise steps in. To make this colour wheel even more effective and helpful, I created the ultimate cheat sheet that lets you customize it for you. I’m calling this cheat sheet Maria Killam’s Curated List of Neutral Paint Colours and it gives you the equivalent paint colours in four major paint lines: Sherwin-Williams, Behr, Benjamin Moore and Farrow & Ball.

When the wheel is ready to launch, you’re not just going to get the colour wheel, you’re also going to get a list of each of the nine neutral colours on the wheel in lighter and darker versions. In the paint brand you use.

How is this going to be a game changer? Once the wheel shows up in your mailbox, you’re going to take my curated list, go to your paint store and pull the paint chips in the paint lines you actually use.

Now you’re going to go home and have fun with scissors and a glue stick. Cut the violet grey paint chip (Collingwood for Benjamin Moore, Popular Gray for Sherwin-Williams and Moth Gray for Behr) down to size and glue it on the violet grey area of your new colour wheel.

That’s step one of creating your customized, personalized neutral colour wheel. One that is completely accurate in your favourite paint brand. Step 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9? Do the same thing for the rest of the neutral colours on the wheel.

And here’s more good news. I’m going to give this first run of colour wheels away to anyone who wants one. All you need to do is pay for shipping and handling.

That means I will need a fulfillment house that can process and handle the orders, so if anyone has any suggestions, please email our office here.

PLEASE DON’T EMAIL US WITH YOUR ADDRESS OR ORDER YET. When we find a fulfillment house, as I just said, we will set it up and my subscribers will be the first to know when you can order one! Hopefully very soon!


Printed version front and back

Understanding Undertones Color Wheel - Maria Killam

Digital Version


And it’s my birthday tomorrow, Friday (June 7). This year, I want to ask for the same favour as last year:

Will you leave a comment telling me one thing that my work has helped you do? That would be the best birthday present!

It could be building your dream house, or your dreamy white kitchen. Or your business experienced a transformation after you completed one of my colour workshops.

Also I’d like to know what kind of posts you’d like me to write more about.

This is what makes writing Colour Me Happy worth it!

All I ask is that you be specific, include actual numbers if that’s appropriate. Share your story.

Thanks in advance — and here’s to the best year yet.

PS. We leave for Paris on Monday, follow along on Instagram and my insta stories, it’ll be fun!

I love my community of followers and am so grateful for you all!

Related posts:

My 50th Birthday Party

10 Happy Years of Colour me Happy

My 5 Best Tips When Travelling to Italy (Including packing Carry-on ONLY)

4 pins


  • Barb Southwick says:

    Happy Birthday! Per your request, I will share something of my experience post-training. I took your Toronto course some years back. I have greatly enjoyed sharing my new insight with family and friends as I help with interior color decisions. I never intended to create a business as a color consultant but love learning new things and knew I would enjoy helping others decorate. Recently, I joined the Architectural Review Board for our Naples, Florida HOA. They were struggling with approving paint colors suggested by Homeowner applications. So I compiled a Preferred/Approved color Palette Guide with Body, Trim and Fascia color combinations. Organized by neutral undertone, the Guide has been very welcome by both Homeowners and board members.
    Thanks so much for discovering your mission in life and sharing your knowledge…

  • Becky says:

    To the Birthday Girl

    Dear Maria,
    I have been following you for a number of years now (from the very beginning) and I cannot begin to tell you how much your color theory has helped in preventing costly mistakes & lost time. Before, I could recognize what was “off” but with your method, I can now readily explain the “why” it is & what to do about it. I no longer have to purchase multiple cans of sample paint. I know, now & I like that. Thank you so very, very much!

    Happy Birthday!

  • Heather says:

    Thank you so much Maria for reminding me that simple is beautiful. Like a capsule wardrobe, our decor does best when we have a solid neutral base like a white (or off white in my case) kitchen which we can dress up or down within trend decor pieces.

    Not trying to stay on trend has been a release. As much as I do love the fish scale tiles in all those gorgeous colours, or those encaustic style tiles, in 5 years when we are likely to be moving I wont have to worry about them being out of date.

    But the main thing you have helped me with is to not put in a white kitchen. I have taken time to look at my kitchens setting and realised I need an off white kitchen. Just a touch creamy to work with exposed brickwork. Seeing it undercoated in stark white let’s me know its going to look perfect. Without you I probably would have put in a classic white kitchen and it never would have looked right.

    Happy Birthday!

  • Diahna says:

    Happy birthday Maria! Your ebook helped me sell our home. I was able to choose accessories that matched the undertones of our cabinets, floors and furniture. The offers came in after I started accessorizing our home. I can’t wait for the color wheel. I will use it to help decorate our new home!!

  • Happy Birthday Maria! I used to love the quaint village of Yarrow when we travelled through on our way to Cultus Lake. Thank you also for sharing pictures of your family and our old fishing grounds, the Vedder River. I am so glad that you are going to be in Finland with your mom. I tried to take my mom back to Norway before she passed away but her poor health prevented the trip. Enjoy! Enjoy! Thank you for my eDesign colour consultation! If it weren’t for you I would still be wasting time and money trying to figure out what colours to paint my new home. I would be sitting in my white interior surrounded by paint chips and be totally overwhelmed! I was in the Ben Moore store in Prince George yesterday talking to one of the owners, Meredith, while waiting to pick up paint. Long story short, I found out that we are both fans of yours and follow you. All I had to do was mention “undertones” of the colours I was selecting and we made the connection. Have fun in Europe and we still need a bathing suit picture even if your luggage made it this year 🙂

  • Brenda Hileman says:

    Happy Birthday Mom!

    In the midst of planning/building our dream home….. I came across ”Maria Killam!” I purchased two of your webinars, and started over selecting the hard finishes! My tile choices went from an accident in waiting to simple, clean, and neutral. The biggest “aha” was discovering who’s the Boss in the
    room. Thanks so much for your candor and talent! Brenda H

  • Loren Snyder says:

    Happy birthday to youoooo?
    One of the things that you’ve taught me is how to look at colour. Everywhere I go — stores, clients’ and friend’s homes, driving down a street — I’m thinking about undertones, their identification, and what I’d do to improve that space. It can be difficult to turn off! Haha. Many thanks.

  • Kristin says:

    We’re in the process of building a new house, and our interior designer sort of vanished on us partway through. I’m much less overwhelmed with all the selections we need to make thanks to your blog. When we have a new idea (black kitchen counters was this week’s inspiration), of the first things I do is google your name and the idea to see what you have to say about it (in that case, a thumbs up!). We chose black windows to fit the modern style of our house, and your post on windows has been particularly helpful in making sure the house is designed to best compliment them (hence the black counters). Your advice is invaluable!

  • Rusty says:

    Happy Birthday Maria!
    I’ve been following you for several years but just now am I finally ready and able to start my long overdue decorating. One thing that has held me back was choosing paint colors. I do feel far more confident after avidly reading your blog!

    Taking a deep breath and diving in!

    Thanks for all that you do!

  • Happy Birthday ? you have been a great inspiration and guide for me. It would be hard to mention only one thing. I have done a live training with you as well as online courses with yourself and Penelope. So “one thing”would be you inspired me to create my own blog and subsequent website. Plus I got to write a guest post for you when you travelled to Europe the first trip which introduced me to Chantel, whom I then referred to my mom as her editor! Thank you for everything ? Bon Voyage!

  • Laura Koshel says:

    Dear Maria,

    Happy Birthday to you!

    Thank you so much for the knowledge that you share with all of us, design professionals and homeowners. Thank you for the effort you put in to have more harmony around us.

    My color consultations became a breeze now and I can get colors right without hesitation.

    Thank you for your passion. And your dedication. Hopefully see at High Point at some point!

    Happy birthday and have a fabulous, inspirational trip!

  • Dina says:

    Happy Birthday Maria! Today is my birthday too. I always love reading your blog. I recently remodeled my kitchen on my own. Reading your posts has helped in so many ways, but especially when I chose a backsplash! There were a million options and I there were several mistakes I might have made if I listened to friends and others that said that the tile should “pop”. I chose a subway tile in the palest soft blue that I think works beautifully with the off-white cabinets. Thank you!

  • Fra Na Ready says:

    Dear Maria, You were instrumental in helping me build our retirement home. This is a “production” home in an over 55 community with minimal options (8 shades of beige!). We basically bought a house with no almost no upgrades then before moving in replaced the pink beige carpet & beige linoleum (medium brown wood, marble tile in bathrooms), backsplash and shower tile (white subway), busy formica countertops (black granite, marble), all of the light fixtures, then painted all of the interior (BM gray owl, a beautiful blue, and white for all millwork & trim-don’t remember the names). We love living here in a home that feels so right. Also it is fun that everyone when they visit for the first time talk about how beautiful our home.
    I cannot thank you enough for you wisdom and guidance in helping me create a home we love.
    Fra Na

    • Gwendolyn says:

      Dear MIss Color Me Happy Birthday!! You.are the best! In 2016, I was planning the color palate for my “new construction”. I had asked if it was as ok for a homeowner to come to your live workshop. You and Terreia were so welcoming and supportive and because of you, I learned timeless and classic- I now have a black honed granite surround with carerra quartz island. I have Extra White Kitchen cabinetry and light, neutral brown LVP, open floorplan- eastern and southern windows almost the entire spanse. I learned about window treatments and where to place the rods overhead from you. Pure White in the main room, Snowbound in my master with Chanel Pink in my walk in. S-W Caviar S/g for powder room and carerra herringbone floor. Without you, I would have gone “matchy-matchy” in my open floorplan hard finishes.

      Fast forward 2019, You gave me the CONFIDENCE I needed and have helped my clients far beyond what my employer wants me to do!
      My boss said I’m too “Maria Killam-esque”! and that’s NOT the way they do things- (stupid corporate). I supported/defended my method I have incorporated, because of YOU, and I have thrilled clients and help them create happiness in their homes! Haha! I am carefully preparing to go out on my own and leave corporate thanks to your work and courses.
      BTW- “grey-beige”? What the heck was I saying at dinner??!! Lol- must have been the Prosecco. 😉
      ABTW– I have two livestock guard dogs- Italian Maremmas named Chianti and Prosecco ??. HAPPY,HAPPY BIRTHDAY MARIA!!!!!
      You have a termed coined from you!! How flattering!! “ Maria Killam-esque”!! You go girl!!!

  • Nancy says:

    Happy birthday Maria,

    I’ve been following you a long time. I’m not a designer just interested and love what I’ve learned from you. An early take away from you was your blog post about how painting a dark room a light color will not make it lighter. Very true and I’ve recited it to many a friend and told them to read your blog.

    Enjoy your summer travels 🙂

  • Beth says:

    Maria, you have helped me understand why the paint color in my living room has never been quite right. Now I can tell that It’s gold beige and of course the carpet is pink beige.

  • Nancy says:

    Happy Birthday to a beautiful talented lady !
    How can I ever put in to words how much your blogs have meant to me and have helped me .
    Before I followed you I didn’t even know what a undertone was let alone find it in a paint color .
    Now when I look at color that’s the first thing I try and look for .
    I’m not perfect r even always get it right .
    But I’m lots better then I was , thanks to YOU !!
    Enjoy your vacation !
    Safe journeys .

  • Cheryl Bloom says:

    To the birthday girl…….MARIA!!!!

    Happy Birthday, Dear Maria. You’ve blessed my life with your fun view of color (colour) and undertones -who knew there was such a thing as an undertone ??!! Years ago, I muddled my way through selecting paint colors for clients, with fingers crossed. Today, I am confident and professional — all thanks to you! What you’ve taught me has also translated into my artwork (just learning) and even in the garden! Thank you for enriching my personal and professional life.

    Here’s to health, happiness and years ahead of the richest that life has to offer you and your precious family. xoxo

  • Maggie Seymour says:

    I would like a printed copy of your colour wheel, please.
    Let me know when you need further info about shipping.
    Thank you.

  • Robin Stanley says:

    We recently bought a second house near our kids. Your blog has been so helpful for picking paint colors and tile ( white subway, thank you). However, I think my husband may be tired of hearing me say “but that color doesn’t relate to anything else in the room”! Happy Birthday

  • PursuitofPerfect says:

    I’ve been following your journey for years and everywhere I look now I see materials, colors and tones that should never have been chosen together. That doesn’t mean I could do better but I know enough to never attempt such big decisions without expert input. Our life situation is pretty static at the moment. Next Spring, however, if things work out according to plan, we will be relocating to Vancouver Island. Judging by the properties we’ve seen so far, some updating will be in order. (I kinda hope that’s true, in fact, cause I’m dying to have the chance to engage your help). There – my b’day present to you. Have an awesome vacation, Maria.

  • Nikki Bryce says:

    I always look for undertones now. I’ll not soon forget the lesson in Seattle when the LE Leader wore a jacket and slacks in different beige tones. It drove you nuts. Now it does me, too.
    You helped us choose colours for our house a decade ago. (Time to freshen those up.)
    And I paint, so I have another tool
    In my colour box thanks to you.

    Have a wonderful birthday! ????

    And I would like to order one of your colour wheels. I’ll watch for that.


  • Pamela says:

    Hi, Maria! Happy Birthday!

    1. You’ve taught all of us to see the truth about color and how it relates. Total game changer!

    2. I would love one of your color wheels. I can’t imagine how frustrating the color inaccuracy must be for you. Thank you for letting all of us benefit from your hard work anyway. How can I order one?

  • Susan says:

    We designed the most beautiful black and white bathroom with white 4″ by 16″ subway tile and a black granite shelf. Thanks to reading your posts about tile, I was confident in my choices and we love our new bathroom. Happy Birthday!

  • Maggie S says:

    Happy Birthday!!
    Your blog was the very first one I found and followed -I think it was about your second year. I spent a whole week reading ALL your old posts…and loved them all!! I have learned many things from your blog but the best thing about reading your blog was finding and following the home staging blog of Kristie Barnett -The Decorologist. I eventually went and took her training and became a HOME STAGER!! (I even do a little color consulting with my staging). I have a job that I love all because you inspired me and showed that a creative career was possible. I still love to read your posts and I learn something from every one!!

  • Pam says:

    I have followed you since you lived in the city. You have taught me I’m not crazy when I look at colors in context and know something is wrong. You have explained in such a wonderfully direct way about color being timeless vs trendy. And I just consulted to have my kitchen remodeled to classic white and I know what color to pick!
    Thank you for sharing your passion for color.
    Happy, happy birthday may you have a fabulous celebration!

  • sharon says:

    OMGosh Maria, Happy Birthday! One of the many things I have learned from you is the importance of the color of stone versus painted flat surfaces/color, versus front door on the exterior and flooring inside if that is the area being worked on. There really is so little really wonderful architecture anymore (the 20’s 30’s and 40’s homes were the best) that you see such dreadful combinations that do not work well at all. Thank you for your expertise, Maria. You really are so talented and I am so happy I found your blog. Plus you are very down to earth in such a good way which means you are easy to relate to.

  • Nagle Gaile says:

    Love your blog I’ve learnt a lot but have come to know when I need help.You helped me with the colors for my family room which I now love and I’m currently doing an outside repair which involves painting my house which you’re helping me with. I see pink undertones everywhere I go lol. Have a great birthday and have a fabulous trio.

  • Mimi says:

    Dear Maria,
    It is hard to choose one thing for which I am grateful to you. I look at color completely differently since I started following you. I love your blogs, the way they are a mix of personal and professional, you bring them together so we’ll, the same way you do your magic to a space!
    Wishing you continued joy, health, inspiration!
    Safe travels and here is to all the luggage staying with you!
    Happy birthday!

  • June says:

    Happy Birthday, Maria!!!!!
    On YOUR birthday, you are giving US a gift…You are so generous with your creativity. Very sorry the printed color wheels are not up to your high standards….but so like you to share with your followers!
    This fellow Scandinavian THANKS YOU for classic & timeless and undertones and understanding whites–more gifts from you!

  • Gillian says:

    Happy Birthday Maria! Your blog helped me so much two years ago when we were building our retirement bungalow. I read and re-read your articles which were incredibly helpful in assisting me to make the right choices. I followed your advice and chose classic, timeless finishes. I’ve had many, many compliments and I am incredibly happy with all of my choices. Thank you so much for all your help. We are off to France and the Netherlands in two weeks time also – maybe I’ll see you there!

  • Susan Johnston says:

    Wishing you a fabulous birthday and year ahead! Have been following you for a couple of years now. I am not a designer or decorator (wanted to be but couldn’t afford to quit the day job and change fields lol!) so I live vicariously through your posts! The one thing I have really benefited from your posts is understanding undertones better. I still struggle a bit with it but definately notice when things are not right … hubby laughs when I point out clean and dirty all the time everywhere we go! I enjoy all your posts but especially the Ask Maria ones with examples, I can’t tell you how much I have learned by your patient explanations and examples. All the best for your birthday and upcoming trip…hope your luggage doesn’t get lost this time. Every time I travel I think of you and keep my fingers crossed mine arrives. Cheers!

  • Beth says:

    Happy birthday! I’m a mostly retired color consultant (IACC-NA), and undertones were key before finding you, but you gave me more vocabulary words to talk about them – like bossy (as in bossy color)!

    – Speaking of bossy, I became more comfortable reminding clients they apparently hired me for a reason – which was not necessarily to agree with them, which could be disrespectful to them and their home.

    – And the large samples – thank you for saving me from needing to paint even more.

    I’m sure there’s more which will immediately come to mind after tapping the “Submit” button.

  • Anne- Louise says:

    Happy Birthday Maria!! I love your posts and I love the work that you do! My husband and I have just bought a house in Whitby Ontario and we are moving back to Canada after an 8 year stint in the Atlanta area. I have been following you for some time now and love to read anything you post! I totally relate to your comments about family! I am so looking forward to being with them as much as possible this time. I feel like Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz going home – so hard to say goodbye to the wonderful friends I have made, but at the end of the day, there ‘is no place like home’.
    I think about you a lot right now because the house we bought has some really nice features and lovely renos however the colors are way different from what I would do myself. I now find myself in a new sea of warm undertones and hot colors that I am going to try to neutralize. My kitchen is really pretty but the stain color is ‘brandied peach’ :-0 I am a white kitchen girl, so this is a true departure for me. Thank you for your priceless information about undertones – this house is a bit of a schizophrenic mix of hot, cool, clean and dirty so I have my work cut out for me. After much consideration I have decided to paint the entire main floor BM Cloud white to unify everything. The carpet upstairs has a decidedly mauve undertone in the brown but I am still going with Cloud white. I think purple and yellow are at least complimentary LOL. I can send you pics before and after if you like – my shoulder is a little frozen from painting the blueberry bedroom a soft Linen white – 3 coats of paint… tomorrow I am working on the brick red powder room – aghhhhhhh! I am hoping to take your redesign course when things settle down at my house – I need to start up a new career too 😉

  • Patricia Borgula says:

    Happy Birthday sweet Maria!

    The years of reading your blog has taught me how to spot the undertones of neutrals at a glance, and to figure out why a room or exterior is off. My favorite tip of yours is always buy a colored sofa! Such a good tip, and so obvious now you pointed it out! I hope you have a wonderful birthday and feel celebrated all month long!


  • Patricia says:

    Happy Birthday sweet Maria!

    The years of reading your blog has taught me how to spot the undertones of neutrals at a glance, and to figure out why a room or exterior is off. My favorite tip of yours is always buy a colored sofa! Such a good tip, and so obvious now you pointed it out! I hope you have a wonderful birthday and feel celebrated all month long!


  • Elle says:

    A very happy birthday to you and another great year!

    I am not a decorator but wish wish wish I were better at artistic things. I am retired and have taken up photography. Your teaching about undertones has helped me so much to develop my eye for colors and that has helped me in my quest to be better photographer. I am constantly learning and so appreciate what you share and teach us.

  • Kim says:

    Happy Birthday, Maria! Following your blog for years, reading all your books, and taking your Renovate With Confidence course helped me renovate my bathroom. I hired a contractor to do all the work but I did the entire design. White and timeless. It’s now my favorite room in our home and I love showering every morning in my beautiful space. Thank you!

  • Yohanna says:

    Happy birthday, Maria! After making many changes you recommended to my decor and color scheme, someone recently commented my living room is “so happy!” The ultimate compliment someone could give me about my home so thank you! Also, no wonder your blog is called Colour Me Happy! Thanks again and happy birthday,
    Your #1 fan!

  • Ursula Schmelcher says:

    You helped me coordinate a condo in Vancouver in one afternoon when I needed it done fast. Ever since then I’ve been reading your posts and loving how you can see exactly what’s wrong with a room and make it right. Also love reading about your family and travels. Happy birthday! Ursula

  • Brenda says:

    Happy birthday Maria! Following your emails and blogs over the years has really taught me to see the undertones in whites and other colors that I may be considering, both in respect to paints, tile, and fabric before making decisions. We just redid our powder room and when choosing the granite, I knew right away I didn’t want ones with a taupe/pink or tan background because because they would not give me the crisp, clean look I was going for. The African Rainbow granite I chose looks awesome with the beautiful cherry vanity my husband built!

  • Mary Lewis says:

    Happy Birthday Maria!
    I am forever grateful for your help. I have enjoyed your blog immensely. A few years ago you taught me the undertones of color. Somehow, in the 90’s, I picked my tiles, paint, carpet and everything else in my new home with that wonderful pink-beige undertone. Pretty yes but terribly limiting. Years later when it was time to replace furnishings I couldn’t understand why nothing was looking quite right. I mean beige is beige right?

  • Jill says:

    You are the best, Maria! Happy Birthday!!

  • Cathy says:

    I hope you have your happiest birthday yet! You should absolutely glow with pride knowing how you have transformed our design careers! I’ve followed your blog for years and would be arrested for assault if anyone tried to take my paint boards! I still hope to make it to one of your live classes but your online information is invaluable.
    I also thank you for inspiring me to step out and go to Paris for the Maison & Objet this year. I am unbelievably excited and would never have ventured to Paris (my first time) and traveled alone to Europe without reading about the wonderful trips you all take. I enjoy your design blogs and your personal blogs so I really have no new suggestions.

  • Amy says:

    Happy Birthday!

    I have enjoyed reading every one of your columns and your e-books. I am grateful for the vocabulary and language of color you have taught, including my mantra- “classic and timeless”. I have also appreciated your e-design service, thanks to you the colors I have chosen since moving into our new home are perfect! My favorite posts are the ones that explain decorative choices that relate and improve a room. Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge and expertise. Happy vacation!

  • Lorraine says:

    Happy, happy Birthday, Maria. May you have a wonderful day, a terrific year and a future filled with yet more accomplishments in design that ultimately brighten all the lives of those who follow you.

    I always enjoyed reading about design and recommendations as well as the methodical way used to attain the final desired outcome. Since I discovered you, I am constantly learning about and better understanding colour and how best to use it. Many thanks

  • Susan S says:

    May this be one of your happiest birthdays ever, Maria! I grew up in a neighborhood that included not only my grandmother & great grandmother, but multiple aunts, uncles & cousins and I tell everyone how wonderful it was! That’s what’s missing from many peoples’ lives today since we’re all scattered. It’s all about the tribe—be they family or friends. My husband is actually half Finn and so I’ll share your Finnish photos with him. The pic your mom took is breathtaking! Have a safe & wonderful trip, Maria, Terreeia and Mom!

  • Cynthia says:

    “Cynthia McCrae-Foster found my blog when she was looking for information on painting cabinets and here is the result!”
    That was 2012! Still loving my from 80’s oak to white kitchen!
    I also just heard Maria speak at the Small Home Show at the Tradex. As always her information is timeless and classic!!
    Thanks so much Maria! Happy Birthday and God bless you!!!

  • Norine says:

    I love your family stories and all the decorating tips.
    Your writing style is getting better and better – maybe because I have been following for quite a while and consider you an online voice of wisdom – a friend.
    Happy Birthday. . . and many more!

  • Maria,

    I love your blog and have purchased several E-books. I found them so pertinent that I created a notebook of swatches, categorized as you recommend. Our family has moved very frequently over the years and that has given me the opportunity to renovate and decorate a lot. While I am a professional artist and “Color-swatch-aholic”, using color as a way to create atmosphere in an environment and learning to work with existing hard finishes has been a challenge. (Way too much pink beige!) Your books and blog have helped tremendously!!! Feel so grateful! Happy Birthday to you and hope enjoy your trip!

  • Margaret says:

    Happy Birthday Maria
    I have enjoyed reading your posts and found lots of useful information which really came in handy as we just built a summer home by the ocean. There was the window color, the kitchen hardware, hiring a professional and I could go on. I just found your posts help me make more informed decisions. Thank you

  • Gayle says:

    Happiest Birthday Maria. Enjoy every minute of your delightful trip!

  • Happy birthday girl!!! How wonderful to be going to Europe again, and adding Finland to the mix!
    The thing that stands out to me, that I learned from you, is that you provided me with the tools to be 100% confident, that I’ll nail the colour correctly the first time. The knowledge you impart is absolutely essential to anyone, especially those in the colour business! I’m thrilled to have found you all those years ago and things just keep getting better and better!
    All the best, for a wonderful year!

  • Beckie says:

    I found your blog shortly before starting to build our dream house. In 2013.I obsessively read all the posts bought your ebooks and Sherwin Williams paint boards.
    I learned so much, gave me confidence to choose colors for my new house. I continue to learn as with each post.
    Your system just makes sense! Love

  • Beckie says:

    I forgot Happy Birthday! It’s also my daughters birthday.

  • Tina says:

    Happy Birthday from one gemini to another. Wishing you a happy, healthy year filled with joy.

    Reading your blog helped me to understand colors, I had to get new siding and reading your blogs helped me choose a cohesive color scheme between the siding, gutters, fence, light fixtures , patio pavers. I think it worked put well, thanks to you. Keep up the good work, I learned a lot from you,
    Thank you.

  • Nguyet says:

    Hi Maria, thsnk you for your blog. Happy Birthday. . I bought your E book called Undestanding undertones. I have not read every single page but as I’m reading the first few chapters I’m wondering do I your color wheel you mention in this blog post. Does it matter if it is digital or physical.. Thank you. If I need the physical one, then yes I would like one. Thank you.

  • Michelle Murray says:

    Happy Birthday! I am new to your sites but have loved what I’ve seen so far. You’ve given me a better understanding of the beiges and the use of pattern in a room. I can’t wait to learn even more!

  • Shelley says:

    Well Maria. I guess the thing that comes to mind first is that I see colours differently now, Where I used to think in complimentary and monochromatic colours palettes, etc. I now find that focusing on undertones makes for colour choices that are more pleasing. Happy birthday and bon voyage. Looking forward to your travel pics and stories.

  • Kristi says:

    Happy Birthday! You’ve given me the best gift ever – a home that fills me with happiness whenever I see it! Your White is Complicated e-book helped me with our all-white new build. White walls everywhere, white kitchen, huge windows, and beautiful sun streaming in (or light reflecting in off the snow, for most of the year!). Your blog helped me choose every finish in the house myself, and it could not have turned out any nicer. The most helpful thing was giving me the confidence that I was not screwing up the once-in-a-lifetime (for me) experience of building my dream home. I feel like I totally nailed it, and could not have done it without years of faithfully reading your blog.

  • Misia says:

    Happy Birthday! You helped me realize that black exterior/interior windows were not the best choice for the build we were planning. They are absolutely beautiful but our home would have neighbours and the windows look awful with coverings! But more than that, you have such way with breaking down design elements into easy to understand concepts. A lot of Aha! moments when reading your blog posts, that’s for sure. I hope you come back to Ontario, I’d love to take your course. Enjoy your holiday!

  • Steph says:

    Happy birthday Maria!! ?
    Your posts have been very helpful as we renovate our home. We do the designing and a good portion of the actual work, because we like to! Your rule: ‘boring now is timeless later’ has been my guide as we have gotten beyond 2×4’s and into choosing materials. Thank you! I needed that! Also, we embraced your second rule ‘waiting now means beautiful later’ (paraphrased…). So true. It also ensures having fun along the journey for me and my husband!

  • Tracy B. says:

    My husband and I prefer carpeting….we just feel it’s cozier so I was thrilled to read your post on choosing the perfect carpet! I feel so much more confident when I’m speaking to my flooring guy and we are looking at the sample boards. I now know what undertones I’m supposed to look for and what to avoid (pink beige!). I passed the information on to my sister who was also looking for carpet. Thank you so much for this valuable information! I’d love more articles on how to move out of the Tuscan phase, but still keep some of those traditional elements….not having to resort to a completely new color palate.

  • Kim says:

    Your blogs are varied and interesting, and I love variety. I have read all your books and I attended one of your Dallas workshops, and they all enlightened me about UNDERTONES. That word, UNDERTONES, is now a vocabulary word my entire family hears a lot, plus COMPARE, COMPARE, COMPARE! We are getting ready to paint the exterior of our home, and I have had great fun choosing a color with confidence! I purchased all of your color boards, and recently, I helped my sister choose a color to paint in her mother-in-law’s home. My sister and my daughters follow you now, also, and I follow you, because you know what you’re talking about, so I TRUST YOU! The only thing I can think of right now that I would like to read more about…hmmm…something funny on occasion….maybe some of your blunders from earlier in your career. Or is that a horrible idea?!! Anyway, I am wishing you a sweet celebration….HAPPY BIRTHDAY, DEAREST MARIA!!!!!!….and BON VOYAGE!

  • Carol says:


    I’m an oil painter and I’ve been reading your blog for years. I have learned so much about undertones from you — it helps me with my artwork and my own personal interior design. Also it has been a pleasure to watch you grow your business; your ambition and enthusiasm inspires me!

  • Jane H says:

    Happy birthday and happy travels, Maria! The best thing that I’ve learned from you is that you should only have ONE busy hard surface (at most) in your room. I’ve learned a lot of other things too, like to stick with a common undertone. Thank you for all you do!

  • Marta says:

    Happy Birthday! Wishing you a great birthday and a wonderful trip.
    You and your team are helping us so much with our new build! In the middle of the tremendous stress, emotional and financial, having your recommendations for colors and hard surfaces took all the stress out of this part. And I’m very thankful for that! Your exterior and interior e-design have been by far the best part of this whole process, and we are 6 months into this 11 month deal.

  • Mid America Mom says:

    Happy b-day! I wonder which bits you do not like on the wheel…

  • Ruth Banks says:

    Happy Birthday Maria, have a fabulous time in Paris and your other destinations.

    Taking your class gave me amazing confidence when selecting colors for my client. My clients love my color recommendations for their homes and businesses.

    I used to hope I was making the right choice, I now know I’m making the best choice and can explained why it is the best choice.

    Your training is amazing and as you said, I no longer see neutral colors, I see undertones. The investment in your class has paid for itself many times over. Also your color boards are life changing.

    Thank you and Happy Birthday!

  • Sheila says:

    Happiest birthday Maria! Your books and this blog helped me pass a class I’m taking. You were recommended by my instructor and I read your books alongside the course manuals, but is was your explanations of things that worked for me! 97% in Colour and Light! Thx for your help. When I finish the course, my grad gift to myself will be attending the workshop!

  • KimberlyAnne says:

    I have always had trouble “seeing” color. Your posts have helped me so much to understand color better.

  • Cathy Z says:

    Happy happy Maria. One of the most interesting things about living here in Europe is seeing just how often the clean and dirty rule gets broken…and it looks good! OK, maybe not “good” but at least your eye gets used to it so that it’s not offending anymore. The layers upon layers of history here and the effect that has on the physical world in both interiors and exteriors allows us to forgive that sin 🙂 Enjoy your Grand Tour.

  • Katherine says:

    Happy Birthday, Maria! I am a homeowner and absolutely love interior design, something I didn’t even realize until I stumbled onto your blog ten years ago while googling in frustration over trying to remodel our 1990 orange oak/pink beige house. At the time I had absolutely no idea what I was doing.
    My husband and I learned so much from that house, and from your ecourses, blog and paint boards. Thanks to you, our new build has a gorgeous, classic off white kitchen and bathrooms with off white tile and medium hickory floors, We put a couch in the open concept great room in our favorite color, navy, and have used a large piece of art in that space as the color inspiration for the home. Sadly the builder only offered a bossy stacked stone fireplace option, but I know what to do with that; very soon it will be sporting a nice coat of SW Pure White (our trim color)! I learned every bit of that from you, and if I hadn’t found Colour Me Happy, I believe that I would not be sitting in the home of my dreams right now, one that we plan to spend the rest of our lives enjoying.
    You are a true artist. Thank you so much for sharing you gift with all of us.

  • Brittany says:

    I went to design school after I began reading your blog several years ago! Thanks for the inspiration! Happy birthday!

  • Ilse Marx says:

    Happy birthday Maria! All the way from Cape Town, South Africa!!
    We think your next holiday should be here!! Have a lovely day!

  • Happy Birthday, Maria! While I’m not one to post comments often, I couldn’t let your birthday go by without wishing you good cheer and many more years of health and happiness. I have read your blog for 4 years and attended your wonderful course in Chicago several years ago. After returning to interior design after 15 years off, your blog and course were just what I needed for inspiration. I especially appreciated the verbiage you gave me to explain color to my clients. I’ve always been good with color but your course helped me make selections much quicker and more confidently. My biggest challenge to date is the gut remodel of our personal townhome. Why oh why is it so hard as designers to do our own spaces. But….as a devote of timeless interiors I found a soulmate in you who put perfect words and ideas to that concept – ones I have shared with many clients. So with only one true color mistake on a bathroom counter (which I sucked up and paid to correct) I can say our newly renovated home is looking mighty fine thanks to you. I also love the digital color wheel I printed. So often when I’m sourcing things the lighting isn’t great in showrooms. Being able to lay the wheel over items assures me I’m on the right track. Thanks for your candor, humor and knowledge. Enjoy exploring the world!

  • Val from UK says:

    Happy Birthday Maria and many happy returns!

    I’ve learned a lot from your blog, I even didn’t know the word “undertones” before 🙂 We are planning a major renovation of an Edwardian house in UK. I bought your books, bookmarked most of your posts, and will refer to them when choosing colours. Can’t wait to start.

    Have a great birthday!

  • Elizabeth Kidder Ambler says:

    Happy Birthday Maria and I hope you have many more. Thanks to you I never look at a house without looking for an undertone and usually thinking of what it should be painted.

    Remember to bring your passport while shopping in Paris!

  • Carol-Anne Powell says:

    Not trolling here, seriously interested in your take on this, as I’ve followed you for years….

    You don’t have any reservations with continuing to support Tony Robbins? You don’t believe all of the women accusing him of sexual misconduct?

    I will be honest with you, this has really made me question your ethics & judgement.

    I’ll be interested in your reply, whether privately or publicly.

    • Maria Killam says:

      Hi Carol-Anne, to be honest, I didn’t know until your comment that women are accusing him of misconduct (I had to do a search). I thought the recent press around this was the same as before, where people were upset because he was talking about responsibility. We’ve paid to attend now and obviously until there’s proof there’s no point in jumping to conclusions. That’s where I’m at about it at the moment. The man has made and continues to make a huge difference in literally millions of lives around the world for 40 years, I think that has to be considered as well. Thanks for your comment, Maria

  • Lydia says:

    Another year gone by, and you continue to prosper through your hard work, generosity and the joy you beam out to the world. Happy, happy birthday Maria, and happy and safe travels with Terreeia and your Mum. I’m looking forward to your photos.
    I check your blog every day, a habit of some years. The undertones are probably the central most important thing I’ve learned about, but also being strong in going against the trend tide to use the colours I love. I’ve learnt patience too, I’ll wait and track down accessories I want. I carry swatches of my fabrics with me, pull them out in cushion departments, carpet sales rooms etc.
    It’s a funny thing, just this week two friends over for dinner on different days, said they feel so comfortable in my surroundings. I smile to myself. Thank you Maria.

  • Beverly Anderson says:

    Happy Birthday, Maria! I’ve been following your blog for quite some time. You have taken the guesswork out of what tile to select for my soon-to-be renovated bathroom. White subway tile! I love white! Thank you, and have a wonderful European vacation!

  • Happy Birthday Maria. I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again. Your class change my life/business because I earn more money it gave me more confidence in not only choosing colors but as a designer and how to run my business! Then volunteering was the icing on the cake sitting next to Terreeia and getting to know her- I can see why you two make a great team! Living close to family is also important to me- I loved that I was close to my parents and sister so my kids got to know them so well while growing up. I loved that I got to help my mom (like she helped me growing up) go through the stages of Alzheimers and was there after to support my dad. I would love to live in a city that was more progressive, but family is home-and that’s more important to me! Have you thought of having Terreeia do a post on the business side of the design business….I would love that!

  • Karin says:

    Happy Birthday Maria! Enjoy a wonderful trip to Europe.
    I don’t really know what I am doing when it comes to design, but I have always ‘seen’ things that work together and things that don’t work together. Because I am not a designer, I never understood why things worked or didn’t work together, I somehow thought it was either good luck or bad luck in picking colors. Your work has helped me understand that it isn’t luck – it is a process. You have a special gift to take a complex and mysterious act of picking colors into a process that mere mortals like myself can understand. I have a lot more to learn and I enjoy the process for improving my own home. With your help I updated my bathroom and am working on the kitchen. Thank you so much and have a great day today and every day.

  • Sabrina says:

    Happier of birthday greetings from Ottawa, Canada!
    I read your blog all the time, and thoroughly enjoy it. I am not a designer/decorator, but I do love understanding how to make my home look better. The biggest thing I have learned from you: HIRE A DECORATOR! And be willing to pay them good money. We are doing a very big living room Reno with lots of decisions, and I was able to convince my husband to hire someone, based on what you have shared with us over the years. I love hearing about the travels and tales of you, your wife and your family. Wishing you many happy, healthy years to come!

  • Myriam says:

    Happy birthday darling! You tought me not to try to make an old house look new ?. Greatest advice ever – thanks for that ! Have a wonderful day and trip to europe. Hugs and greatings from Hamburg – Germany Myriam

  • sandra hoffman says:

    Happy Birthday! I found your site when I was designing my new home. I had seen so many odd colors put together that almost worked in model homes and could not put my finger on what was wrong. I just knew it was wrong and didn’t want to make the same mistake. After reading your blog and e-books and working with a very good design professional, I have a harmonious color palette that works inside and outside of my home. In fact, the builder and trades brought people through my home during the build because in part they loved how I put the colors together. One of the consistent comments I received was that this is a place they would like to be. I think it is because my colors don’t fight with each other, they work together. There is a sense of calm in and around the house because the undertones of the colors work together.

  • Kristin says:

    I’m a happy subscriber because of the ‘Maria Killam Package’. Yes, I found you because of your decorating/color theory/business smarts talent. But, I’ve stayed because of the rest. I appreciate how relatable you are. Your posts are professional enough without feeling censored and edited to perfection. I appreciate how matter-of-factly you share some of your personal life, especially your partnership with Terreeia. And, I appreciate how you handle the infrequent post of a somewhat disgruntled subscriber. Even this post is an example of your openness. You shared that you love living so close to your family, in part, because of your sometimes social awkwardness. I feel like I know you, and would like to know you! Well done. And a very happy birthday to you.

  • Cheryl Fortunato says:

    You selected the perfect colors for my master bathroom & bedroom through an email. I sent you pictures of the fabrics and it was the easiest, stress free process! 5 years later, I’m still loving it! I’ve been following you for many years, and enjoy seeing the evolution of your business and the added bonus of your personal travel. Your blog is fun and informative to read even when I don’t have any more rooms to decorate! Happy Birthday!

  • Nancy says:

    You absolutely helped me with the remodeling of our newly purchased condo. We chose colors based only on your system with great results. I had trouble finding a neutral for my kitchen as nothing seemed right with the new cabinets until I realized that the semi custom white cabinetry color actually had a violet undertone. Then it got easy. I chose the wall color last based on your advice. Pale Oak. It is beautiful, clean but soft, and is the neutral for all the living space, paired with Dove White trim. That is the only trim color which works well and knowing why helped me be completely confident with my choices. I am a homeowner who loves to decorate and redecorate various places and not a professional.

  • First in line please! I am so eager to get one. Let me know how to pay.

    • Maria Killam says:

      Hi Judith, Obviously I was not clear, but we are looking for a fulfillment house to mail out orders, we are not ready to send then out yet! My subscribers will be the first to know when they are ready to ship! Maria

  • Jane Cassidy says:

    Happy Birthday Maria !!!

    What a lovely post to read, full of life, love and excitement, do you truly need anything else? Uh, ok, money but only for the excitement portion haha! I come from a family of 10, with spouses and grands it’s a family reunion for the simplest of events, and we all live close by, so I truly embrace your happiness to be close to your family ! For those who are not close in proximity, thank goodness for facetime and all the other gadgets to make it feel real! I love your posts about how happy your family makes you feel and I don’t think I have ever seen a picture of your mother not smiling!!! She is just wonderful ! I have followed you for years, and I learned how to be much more brave when it came to choosing color ! I used your interior consultation and for the first time in 26 years of living in the beige and pale greens of ‘fear of color’, I blasted a dark navy on my living room and dining room walls !!! YES !!! so when you enter my home – bang! that’s what you see with a beautiful cream crown molding and deep red/rust tile floor. Gold accents and my “Maria taught” vignette, and you just want to ask for a glass of wine when you enter! I also love how you share other bloggers talents !!! After seeing your transformed yard, I wrote to Mary White in NY, and she and I are working on something for our backyard ! I realize not everyone will write to you to let you know how wonderful you have made their lives and their surroundings, but I hope you realize that you have, that you have shared so many years of your hard work with all of us, and I want you to know that it is not received without true appreciation and admiration for what you and Terreeia have built with each other’s love and support. A very happy birthday filled with health and happiness !

  • Amy says:

    Happy Birthday Maria!
    I’m not a designer, just a homeowner with lots of projects. Your blog has helped me pick out a fantastic blue for my kitchen and the perfect bathroom color that relates to my granite countertops and floors. I’m sure that it would have been a disaster otherwise.

    I really enjoy your blog — you are so down to earth and keep it real!

  • Laura says:

    Happy Birthday Maria! I have enjoyed devouring your blog for four years now, and had the wonderful opportunity to take your course two years ago. I have used all kinds of your advice and your lingo in my job as a kitchen and bath designer, and since taking your class, have been helping specify exterior finishes for customers at the company I work for. Recently, the piece of advice I keep hearing in my head when helping a few customers is “pick a lane” because they have mixed finishes and are wanting to make updates. One thing I have noticed is people here seem to have a strong aversion to green gray and green beige. When they want gray cabinets, they always pick the violet and blue gray door samples. I guess battleship gray is what they actually want.

    My family is very close as well. I am half Finnish, and I describe our family as clannish. Get togethers and holidays always include multiple generations of aunts, uncles, and cousins.

    One thing I would love to see you post more on is decorating. Like how to coordinate fabric patterns and rugs, or wall decor placement, especially in non-open floor plans with lots of wall space. They do still exist!

  • Debra says:

    I found your blog years ago (2001?) and it sealed my conviction that my kitchen needed to be white with marble countertops, even though most people in my area were opting for wood cabinets, granite countertops and fancy backsplashes. My kitchen looks like it has always been there and more importantly, belongs there whereas other kitchens completed in the same time period look quite dated.

    More recently, your website has helped me to see the importance of being able to discern (dirty or clean, warm or cool) undertones when choosing colors, and it drives me crazy when I hear people say that, “As long as it’s a neutral that it goes.”…and even crazier when I see that theory executed in million dollar plus homes, with no thought to undertones. When I see cool, clean color next to muddy it has a visceral affect on me.

  • Louise says:

    Happy Birthday Maria! May you enjoy a great day and a happy and healthy year!
    What I love about your blog is that through your colour theory you always make colour choice and decorating timeless. I only wish that I had come across your website 15 years ago when we moved into our home. Then again, after 15 years of living here, maybe it’s time to bite the bullet and find the time and energy to redecorate. If and when that does happen at least I know that I will be well armed with the ability to choose colours and finishes better – and even more so with the knowledge that I can hire your resources to perfect the choices!
    All the best for continued success and inspiration!

  • Brooke says:

    Happy birthday Maria! It sounds like you have a fantastic adventure planned. You have taught me so many things but the most important is confidence. I no longer care about for instance about the new tile trend because classic always wins. That doesn’t always mean white, I still can’t get over the pink subway in your last post! I think most of your readers also have picked up your habit of checking undertones everywhere we go. Looking forward to seeing your vacation photos. Thank you and safe travels! xo

  • Karen says:

    Happy birthday Maria! Your blog is one of my very favourites and I so appreciate your educational approach to all of your posts. I have learned so much. I think the biggest thing your blog has taught me is realizing there are undertones, and there is a reason when colours look off to me. I am still working on trying to decorate my own home, but I believe you have helped me avoid mistakes. And when the time comes to redo my kitchen, I know just how I want it to look, thanks to you. Have a wonderful birthday!

  • Laura says:

    Oh Maria, how very many things I have learned from you and your blog!! Since I’ve been reading it since 2011, it’s hard to know where to begin?
    1. Create ‘a look and a feel’ through decor – don’t expect the paint to do all the heavy lifting. If the color is off but can’t be changed, start styling!
    2. Paint color needs to relate to a hard finish in the room or on the exterior – “The world is not your oyster, folks!”
    3. Trends come and go, what you love now is what you will probably always love – like a sofa in your favorite color. (Just make sure you pick a classic-styled arm and also know after 10 years, you’ll probably want to replace it or recover it anyway, even if in the same color : )
    4. Smile – I think like you, I can be a little too direct or bold and smiling helps soften the hard edges. Nonetheless, but don’t be afraid to tell someone “No” because after all, you are the expert and that is what they are paying you for, just try to do it with a warm Marie-like smile and laugh.

  • Penny Hood says:

    Happy, Happy Birthday Maria!!! I have followed you for at least 10 years and maybe longer. I am not a designer, etc – just a girl who loves anything to do with home design and all of the white subway tile I have in my home is due to you and the confirmation that it is timeless. I relate to you in many ways and so enjoy reading your updates. Just this morning, I showed the picture of you and your Mom to my husband. His Mom was from Sweden and is now deceased – the smile of your Mom and his Mom remind me so much of each other. Enjoy your trip and keep up the great work.

  • Glenda says:

    Happy birthday strong and quirky, intelligent and deserving woman! I have been so fortunate to work with you have you in my home. I hear your words in my head and make better decisions because of you. Thank you for sharing your candid opinions. It’s so refreshing in this “let’s please everyone” world.

  • Lilly says:

    Happy birthday Maria! I love reading your blog. I started my own design business just over a year ago and have learned a lot. I have a couple of clients but the large neutral paint samples I ordered have been such a good investment…and my clients agree, the colour is so much better on a large sample! I reiterate to my clients what I’ve learned from you and in turn, they have confidence in me and what I’m talking about. I still want to come to one of your colour workshops in Vancouver☺️
    Do you have any office processes, worksheets, or forms you recommend for making the job easier, in terms of being organized? That is one area where I’m lacking. Thank you for any advice you can give! Have a great holiday!

  • Kim Brown says:

    Happy Happy Birthday!!!

    Years ago I learned about undertones the hard way. Painted a room grey – turned out light blue. Another room taupe..became purple. It wasn’t until my daughter introduced me to your blog which resulted in taking your course a few years ago in Toronto that gave me the beginning of understanding undertones….and then so much more! My husband and I (certified ID) have been building cottages and homes in Central Ontario for over 37 years and because of your instructions, both online, e-books and classroom, I am able to consult and direct our clients from the planning stages all the way to completion with better knowledge and confidence. The final results are beautiful homes and very happy clients. THANK YOU for being passionate about colours and happily sharing your knowledge to so many of us that needed that clarity.

    On a personal note – I love following your travels especially with your Mom. My first trip to France was over 22 years ago with my mother to visit my brother who lived in the south of France. Now he lives in Paris and about three weeks ago I took my parents (Dad will be 87 next month) for a visit. We do this every few years and travel through other places like Tuscany, Venice, Florence…it’s fun!! This trip to Paris was extra special as one of my daughters went with us and the other flew in from Singapore to surprise my parents. Three generations in Paris….wonderful memories to cherish. So when you’re in Paris, relax at a cafe (outside, of course), order a Cafe Gourmand and enjoy just being together!!

  • Kathy says:

    CONGRATS!!! You have found your calling in life and have blessed all of us with your knowledge and talent. We sold our home in 6 hours because I followed your advice on colors, tablescapes, and styling. We’ve lived in this house for 20 years and it viewed like a model. Our new build will be ready at the end of this month. And , though blind companies and other vendors are trying to get their foot in the door and sell us their products, we are waiting until we have lived in the new place awhile. I want a home that fills me with happiness, so I’ll be reviewing your posts and anxiously watching for your new ones. Thanks for being YOU!! And, thanks for the color wheel- can’t wait to get one.

  • DJ says:

    Happy Birthday! I recently purchased an exterior consultation from you for our new home construction, and I have gained much relief and confidence from your color advice and recommendations. Your blog is so educational, and I enjoy seeing what’s “wrong” as much as what’s “right.” We all learn from our own and others’ mistakes. I especially appreciate knowing that my desire for calm finishes (like white subway tile) leads me to classic selections, not boring. You’re my imaginary cheerleader to trust my instincts. Thank you!

  • Sharlene says:

    I paid for a phone consultation maybe 5 years ago. I was agonizing over what color to paint my bedroom and master bathroom (kept buying samples, but nothing worked). You told me it needs to start with the bathroom floor tile. I matched Woodlawn Blue from the tile and you said to just continue it into the bedroom. Done! The color makes me happy every day still! My other best takeaway from that consultation: stop focusing on remodeling projects and spend some money on decorating to create the “feel” we want in our home. You were right again! Happy birthday, Maria, and thanks!

  • Jacqueline Haycock says:

    Happy Birthday Maria! My gift to you is to tell you about my little beach house in Parksville BC.

    I bought the house in 2013, just after I started reading your blog. I was starting my life over, my husband had died four years previously, my children and grandchildren had all moved to Parksville from Vancouver, and I decided to leave the job and home that I loved and follow them. The new house was 25 years old and just waiting for a new life too.

    Paint colours on furniture and walls inside and out, new kitchen and bathroom (one more to renovate), lots of shopping at big box and thrift stores for accessories, a great view, and a love of decorating have all given me a home to be proud of. And many, many compliments!

    But one of the things we don’t always talk about are the mistakes we still make, even with all the best advice and intentions. And I certainly made those! But once again I received good advice from you. Decorate around it! And it works!

    Thank you so much for helping me to move on to this happy place in my life.


  • Pam says:

    To add a pop of black to a room, check undertones, and to compare my paint choices using a white background. Happy Birthday and have a wonderful trip!

  • Carolyn Johnston says:

    Happy Birthday, Maria! I have been reading your blog for several years and you have helped me tremendously with simplifying my home renovation choices and understanding color. Reading your blog is always a bright spot in my day! Thank you for sharing your knowledge and expertise!

  • Happy Birthday! I’m a banker not a designer. I found you just before we started making decisions on the new build of our forever dream home. Thanks to you I have a classic white kitchen, medium brown wood floors, and the undertones of my fixed surfaces are all match! I’m in love everyday! Thank you!

  • Karen Aamodt says:

    Maria has helped me to think beyond my pre-conceived notions of what makes for good design. I’m still learning and still experimenting, but I now have a better understanding of undertones (not yet perfected, but better) and how to tweak traditional design to be timely yet not trendy.

    THANK YOU Maria and I send you the very best HAPPY BIRTHDAY WISHES and may you be safe and happy in your travels.

  • Kimberly says:

    Happy Birthday!
    You’re blog has been so inspiring?.You have (unknowingly) given me so much confidence in myself as I’ve worked through building our custom home. I needed someone to tell me “boring is timeless”. And, show me so many examples of what classic looks like in 2019. While I knew that I wanted a bright, cheerful non-gray house, I needed guidance to find what I wanted. Your books introducing me to basic color theory were very helpful. Especially when things did not go as I expected. I started envisioning a creamy/white home, until the brick my husband selected needed clay/greige trim to look right. Then, naturally the windows looked best with same color trim. Having, learned from you, that I needed a cohesive plan, I first switched to a white with greige undertones for my granite. Found coordinating paint colors with proper undertones. Painted samples on full size poster boards to try in house. Found colors that I love. Carried them with me to every supplier I used. I love my house. It just looks right. Thank you for not only your help, but the feeling of contentment I have within me. You’re been a blessing in my life! My talent is not in decorating, but I’ll try to pay it forward in other ways❤️

    P.S. Thanks for telling me the powder room was the one room to pick a bright color paint! And, I love the hexagon tiles in the bathroom. Would have never chosen them without your blog?

  • Happy Birthday, Maria!
    Thanks for all the color in a rather griege world! Hope to meet you in Boston! Working on the business to make that happen!
    Enjoy your family and beautiful trip! And eat cake! Lots of cake!

  • Michi Keys says:

    Happy Birthday Maria!
    I give thanks for you every day when I walk into one of my Maria inspired rooms. I don’t even know how to explain that your words and suggestions appear in my mind on a pretty frequent basis. And I have never even done one of your workshops! I love that you share your expertise with your readers.

  • Angela says:

    Oooh, very exciting! Can’t wait to request one! 🙂 And Happy Birthday!!! I turned 50 this year, and I feel like I have a new lease on life! ~Angela~

  • Paige says:

    Your blog has helped me know that the tile in my new house is a different undertone than they trim tile they installed around the inset wood flooring in the family room. That and my new granite counter top is crazy bossy and the floor tile they put for the backsplash (with accent tiles!) is why I don’t like my kitchen very much.
    SO, I’ll be sending in pictures for a color consultation for a new neutral (I think the agreeable grey on the walls is too yellow) and some accent colors to start with.
    You taught me I need help!

  • Lucy says:

    Oh Maria it gives me such great pleasure to watch how you have grown since I first started following you! You have certainly made a huge statement in the realm of color. People now that I speak to have finally heard your name or have taken your course! Such a joy! The main thing that your system has taught me personally is confidence in my choice of specifying colors for my clients. After being a certified designer for many years your system taught me everything that I didn’t know about color. It was kinda like a new awakening. I can now even see undertones in clothing, the sky, flowers etc. Amazing what I can now see.

    I hope you have the best birthday ever and will enjoy all of your travels without a hitch!

  • laura says:

    Happy Birthday Maria!!! I have been following your blog for seven years and still every time I open my email and see that I’ve received a post from you, I get excited. I love how you taught me about undertones and made clear what I could never quite grasp before.
    My favorite posts are the ones that you answer questions from your followers.
    Hope you have a delightful time in Europe!

  • Diane Oster says:

    I love all of your blogs and especially the before and after pictures.
    You do a wonderful job with out being technical or long winded.
    Thank you

  • Lucy says:

    Maria I forgot to add that I also would love to have one of your color wheels and am so sorry that they didn’t meet your discerning eye and needless to say the expense! I certainly will offer to pay for it!

  • Lynn Power says:

    I am doing a happy dance now that the color wheel is so close to being launched. I follow your blog religiously and love to see your feed open in my Instagram!
    Holding my breath until I can send my shipping costs and address! All the way to Texas!

  • Ad says:

    Maria, have a wonderful birthday today.

    As far as your influence on my decisions, they are many. The most mentionable is when my small galley kitchen was being redone. I used your kitchen as a guide. My cabinets are white where previously they were honey oak in color. There were no knobs or handles, and I recalled at one time you saying that the hardware are the jewels in the kitchen, so I selected (after many hours of reviewing and ruling out) wonderful brushed silver handles. I used only handles because my kitchen is so small and all of the handles are the same size – I did not want it to look chopped up. Used a white subway tile as backsplash from bottom of cabinets to top of counter and all of walls are tiled. Then for the small amount of wall that needed painted, we used a beautiful color of blue. All of the crews who worked in the kitchen loved the color of blue of the walls. That is enough about my kitchen that you helped me with just by looking and studying your kitchen. Thank you. And, as previously stated, have a wonderful birthday.

  • Diane says:

    I did my kitchen makeover all on my own, and I call it my Maria Killam kitchen—I painted my cabinets (white, of course) and added a backsplash (white subway tile, of course) making sure the undertones of the whites coordinated with each other and my granite. I added pops of my favorite colors navy and yellow. It’s been a couple years and I love it every day!

  • Barbara says:

    Happy birthday Maria! I love all of your posts. Whenever a new one comes out, a little “yay” goes on in my heart.
    “Boring is classic!” I will be building a new house soon and plan to rehearse those words over and over. I am not a professional decorator, but consider myself a paint color fanatic. Your writing about undertones has made a huge difference is just how I see the “interior” world. I also appreciated your posts about black; how it needs to repeat in the room, and too much can become overpowering.
    Thanks for being able to see color in such a new way and developing your system!

  • Diana says:

    Ok, everyone standup who thinks Maria is the most generous and giving person in the world. Alright, alright, sit down you are shaking the Earth.
    Maria, the world is a better place with you in it.
    You are a blessing to the blessed.
    Your blog is a joy to read.

  • Heather B says:

    Happy Birthday.
    Your work has helped me identify when something doesn’t work. I understand why it’s off.
    Thank you.

  • Happy Birthday, Maria! I hope your vacation is perfect in every way! I am a photographer and enjoy design. I have loved learning about clean and dirty colors and undertones from your blog this year. As we sold our home and moved back to our hometown to be close to both sets of parents, I was able to take the things I learned from you to choose new furnishings and art with more confidence than ever before. I also use your color ideas to help my photography clients choose appropriate clothing, frames and styles for their finished wall portraits. I look forward to your posts each week and can’t wait to see what the next year teaches me in the world of design!

  • Deb says:

    I bought a colour consultation 2 1/2 years ago and I recently (2 months ago, ha!) submitted the survey and got the recommendations. I’m very grateful about you still honoring my initial purchase. Wall colour coming nicely together I must report. It’s still a work in progress as the trim and doors are not done yet.
    Happy birthday Maria!

  • Liz says:

    Happy Birthday Maria. Your blog has helped me stick to my guns and choose timeless finishes for our condo remodel in Florida in the face of all the recommendations for “great new encaustic tile” or “beachy” glass or colored tile. And I proved over and over to the contractor’s designer that white is not white and I do know what I’m talking about!
    Thank you!

  • Sue Ross says:

    Happy Birthday Maria!
    I have been following you for years, my girlfriend attended one of your first workshops and I flew to Vancover shortly after. Before then, I was in design school, and really insecure about selecting colors. Because of you, I now have confidence and the words to explain my choices, and that is fun! Just the other day, I read your blog “More Time Does Not Equal More Color Advice” and when asked to pull together a really vibrant color scheme to match a mosaic tile, I confidently repeated your words…”Based on your fixed elements, you only have these two options”. It felt so good to be so sure, so thank you! Love your posts just they way they are, especially quotes and tid-bits you pick up from other designers/entrepreneurs. Enjoy your vacation and have a happy birthday.

  • Katherine Roesler says:

    Happy Birthday Maria , ( my 70th is Sunday ) .. Creative Geminis!,,I took your workshop in Charleston . It has totally changed how I look at all color schemes , rooms , house fronts , landscapes, business fronts …you name it !…I am helping friends chose colors , furniture , rugs and it has sharpened my confidence . .Now I just have to figure out how to transition to making some money ! ..One big thing that happened to me was the day I got back from your workshop I walked into our master bath and HOLY COW …so many bosses , it was unbelievable ….Problem solved thanks to you . I would attach pics but no place here to do so . New wall color , took all the doors and drawer fronts off and painted them , new drawer pulls , removed a large busy shelf and and VOILA new room that is “quiet”…Thanks agin and HAPPY BIRTHDAY !!

  • Donna Hoover says:

    Happy Birthday Maria, I’ve been quietly following you since early days and very proud you’ve developed a business that allows you to live the life you love by making people happier with their spaces. I knew undertone influences from painting classes and used in my Interior Design practice. Your blog featured this so well in photos, and continues to tells color stories in pictures – I have enjoyed and loved ever since! I am probably nearly your Mom’s age and early member of ASID -Ben Moore Historic (more than a paint brand) has been my boyfriend since 1980 as I restored historic buildings and homes north of Boston. My current home in Florida – now open and very modern has gorgeous Revere Pewter walls. I have not been to your class but have ordered your materials and books, which are great. Some paint samples are lost or showing wear and tear, they are made with your love and used well. Thank you for creating the educational body of work “how to understand and use color correctly” that no one else in our industry did. The color education I received in painting art classes taught me what they didn’t teach then in interior design school. Can’t wait to see your color wheel: as imperfect as the colors may be, it will still be instructive tool to show others the concepts and simplify the color selection process. Many Thanks and enjoy your travels!

  • Carey Steenbruggen says:

    Maria, Queen of the Undertones………pinky beige doesn’t stand a chance with you!!!!! Thanks to you , I see all the color mis-matches people choose…….can’t wait for that color wheel….. Happy Birthday.

  • Cyndia says:

    Happy birthday, Maria! My beloved twin grandchildren turned five yesterday! June babies are pretty special!

    I want to thank you for all I have learned from you over the years. When I think of color consults I initially did (before I learned about undertones from you) I want to cringe. That dreaded pink beige carpet did me in several times! Not only have you helped me with choosing colors in my own home, but buying your samples along with the knowledge I’ve gleaned from you has made color consults so much easier and happens much more quickly! No agonizing back and forth over WHICH ONE! I haven’t been able to attend your workshops YET but I am hoping to one of these days!

    Have a wonderful trip!

  • Jonelle says:

    Happy Birthday, Maria!!! I feel so blessed to have attended your workshop–it has given me so much confidence and I feel so happy knowing you/or the other talented True Colour Experts on the private Facebook page will assist when I have any questions. I love your enthusiasm and wish you the very best in all that you do!

  • Linda O’Brien says:

    We bought a new house from a track home builder where we got to select the finishes. Having a designer background was handy however understanding undertones from your post and ebooks was the icing on the cake. I was able to pick finishes with confidence that I love and don’t regret. I also took your advice and went with white cabinets and white subway tile. I have always wanted a white kitchen and understanding why from your post made it a no brainer. I also kept my finishes simple and neutral so I can change my colors of accessories through the years. I didn’t want to have any bossy finishes later telling me what I can’t have. Happy Birthday and THANK YOU!

  • Diana says:

    Happy birthday!! The trip sounds wonderful and fun! I’m glad you get special time with your mom. I am so excited for your color wheel! I’ve learned things from you that I wish I knew 10 years ago when building a house. So last years building went much better. My hard surfaces are neutral that I know I will love for years. You’ve made me more aware of undertones which I kinda knew existed but didn’t know what to do with them. Another reason I would be excited to have a hard copy to refer to.

  • Susan says:

    Happy Birthday! I have loved quietly following your blog. Although my budget doesn’t allow for big changes, I’ve been able through your blog to make small changes to my home that make some of the more dated features more current. Also, my daughter is building a house, so I’ve been able to refer her to your blog and have encouraged her to seek classic finishes so that her home will not date itself. Love following your blog and would love to have one of the wheels when they’re available.

  • Barbi says:

    Happy Birthday!

    I took your course almost 6 years ago and have used what I learned from you in countless ways. I try and use the beauty of correct color in my design work, wardrobe, food and garden and would never have figured things out so quickly without your great system. Thank you!

  • Crysttal Steiner says:

    I so appreciate your awesome blog and user-friendly tools! Thank you, and I hope you have a wonderful birthday and vacation!

    I am anxious to hear what the next color trend is going to be. Frankly, I am getting quite tired of gray and never really liked the brown, earthly trend. I guess the older I get, the more I appreciate the various shades of white and cream.

  • Cheryl says:

    Happy Birthday Maria! Great choice to go to Finland with your mom – priceless memories.
    So, what have you helped me with? When I was deciding whether to have black windows for our new build, I found your article – dodged a bullet there! Later when I was figuring out where to add stone to our new build, again I found your article and the results are so much better! Thank you! Love your direct writing style that leaves nothing to question.
    Next post? How about transitional kitchens – what is it about bespoke kitchens that are so inviting?!

  • Adeline says:

    Happy birthday Maria
    I wish you many more wonderful years and, from a selfish point of view, I also wish you many more blog posts.
    Some of the lessons that I have learned from you include: dirty vs clean, white with grey and beige with brown, and trendy vs timeless.
    My husband went shopping and bought new flooring as the start of our kitchen reno without bringing me with him. Gasp ! The flooring has shades of beige and brown. Without your guidance I would have picked bright white kitchen cabinets and bright clean blue for the walls, because I love those colours. He wanted a trendy, multi-patterned backsplash and a brown granite countertop because he is a guy. Yes, I love him. LOL. This would certainly have resulted in many decades of outdated, busy patterns and clashing colours.
    With your guidance I have learned about undertones and will be picking different colours for the cabinets and paint. He agrees with your insight on the boring – timeless – subway tiles that we will now be choosing and a more subdued counter top. Thank you !
    Of course I would love to get your new undertones colour wheel when they are ready and will also be contacting you directly for specific colour advise.

  • Alison says:

    I must have started following you in 2008, right after I finished a significant addition to my home. Fortunately I used classic black and white for bathrooms and kitchen and wall colors in the other rooms that came from fabrics or art, so not much that you have said over the years made me feel bad about my choices. This past year I finally got to change the dark brown trim on my Tudor style home that had been bugging since we moved in. With orangey red handmade brick that my husband wouldn’t let me paint and a cement tile roof, the house, I knew, couldn’t handle the white trim that this clean color girl would prefer. After making several large sample boards, I chose “Dropcloth” by Farrow & Ball for the trim (my painter had Ben Moore match it) and BM Covington Blue for the doors. It’s given the house a whole new lease on life. Everyone loves it! Reading your blog definitely gave me the confidence to make the change with lots of sample board testing all around the house. Thanks so much for all the great advice over the years, Maria, and Happy Birthday!

  • Kristyn White says:

    Happy Birthday Maria! I’m a scientist and decorating does not come naturally to me. Previously when a color was “off” I could sense it and it would bug me but I didn’t have a clue how to remedy it. Thank you for generously giving me and your readers the tools and methods to analyze and correct. I used to feel boring for choosing plain Jane materials. It’s very reassuring to hear you remind us that boring is timeless. Happy travels!

  • Cathy says:

    Happy belated birthday! (cuz I’m late catching up on emails). Just wanted to add that I too have learned so much from your blogs and am in the process of making the transformations you recommended in my color consult. The family room is painted and looks SO great—the paint color tied everything together & it just makes me smile everyday! It was only after I submitted my questionnaire that it dawned on me that I could/should have painted my fireplace brick but now even the fireplace looks good! I’m still waiting for my kitchen cabinets so haven’t been able to transform that room yet, but I can’t wait to see how it turns out! Thanks! Happy birthday!

  • Stacee says:

    Happy Birthday, Maria! Oh my! What haven’t you helped me with over the years! I’m not even sure I knew what an undertone was until I came across your blog several years ago. I just knew when something wasn’t right, but your system helped me understand why. I also can’t look at trendy tile and deco strips without thinking… What would Maria do?
    I also (like another reader mentioned) get excited when I see an email from you in my inbox! Oh Yay!! Another Maria post!!

    Thank you for all you do! Hope you had a wonderful birthday!

  • Keira says:

    Happy Birthday, Maria! I appreciate the message that you reinforce all the time to be yourself!

  • Nancy H. says:

    I have learned so much from your blog. As budget allows we will update our 1967 original mahogany kitchen (I had always thought I would go with wood cabinets to make it “agree” with the rest of the house but I’m leaning towards white now) and so I’m picking up ideas and concepts here and there along the way. Also, I loved the landscaping guest posts – some very helpful things there. Thanks so much for what you share with us!

  • Paula says:

    Dear Maria,
    My husband was sooooo happy when I ordered your ebooks White Is Complicated and How to Choose Paint Colors! He was tired of spending hours looking at paint chips and riding around looking at colors on houses. That was 3 years ago when we built our retirement home. Thank you for giving me the tools I needed to finish our home.
    I love reading your posts. You contnue to inspire me so much as we use color in decorating the inside. Future posts: I’m interested in how to put unexpected colors together in decorating a room.
    Thank you and Happy Birthday!

  • HI Maria ~ . Happy Birthday!!!!
    Your course was amazing and upped my interior design game! Your color boards and the way you categorized them by undertone was genius! Thank you for giving me that confidence!

  • Penny Waller says:

    I’ve been a designer since the early 80’s – there just isn’t your course available out there offering this information- odd when it’s critical to the finished product.
    I took your course while I was at the beginning of 3.5 yrs of caregiving and found it invaluable when i able to return to work. It simplified the process of getting the undertones right!
    I can hardly wait to get my hands on the colour wheel.
    You’re a genius ! Thank-you.

  • Mary says:

    I just in last 6 moths found your blog and have enjoyed it ever sense. I could finally see the undertones and get what was bothering me. I hired an interior designer and she helped me see what I could change and it all involved undertones. I did correct one large fixed item that 10 yrs ago was an expensive oh no. I changed from black granite to white quartz. I repainted all my trim, doors, fireplace surround to match. It was too costly to paint the cabinets. But this change coupled with the trim and wall color change brought cohesiveness to my adjoining rooms that was so needed. I am a fiber artist and color is so important to me. Your blog helps with my artistry also. Thank you so much. I love reading your blogs. I sit down with coffee and delight myself reading.

  • karen breitman says:

    Hi Maria,
    In consideration of your printing process problem, it would be useful if you could specify a paint color from a fan deck that illustrates the undertone specified on your colour wheel. That would help us appreciate the differences accurately.

    • Maria Killam says:

      Yes that’s what I will do, this way the colour wheel can be used as a guide but everyone will have the corresponding paint colours. Maria

  • Pat says:

    Never thought I would style a table or shelf. Been discovering that it can be fun and really kind of relaxing to live with a bit of planned housescape. Thanks Maria Happy Birthday

  • Kelli Pachlhofer says:

    Happy Year ahead Maria! Looks like you will be enjoying spectacular places while you are away. I am not sure what one thing I appreciate most about what I have learned from you….but helping me organize and think through colors in my own mind has helped me choose and explain colors to my clients. A real benefit and something I wish I had learned decades ago when I went into this business. Thank you

  • Fran W. says:

    Where to begin? Your guidance, both online and in person, has helped me tweak the colors in my house to perfection. Plus, it has been a joy to get to know you and Terreeia. I loved your workshop and learned so much. Thanks to you, I’m doing some color consulting in addition to writing about interior design. Your blog is educational and fun, and I always look forward to reading it. I hope you had a very happy birthday and that the coming year will be your best ever!dd

  • Seattle Sue says:

    Happy Belated Birthday! I’ve been following your blog since the beginning. When we started a remodel last year on our retirement home, I bought one of your sample paint board packages. Using your advice I kept the cabinets, the quartz countertop, and the tile backsplash all in the same off white and cream undertone. I also read your two books on using with whites. I was going back-and-forth between seashell and natural wicker for the primary wall color throughout tthe house. I knew I didn’t have it quite right when I accidentally rolled BM Natural Wicker over a wet patch of an older formulation of Swiss Coffee (from back when it was a more ivory color rather than a version.). The heavens parted and the perfect cream ivory showed up. We just moved in and with your advice our ivory home is perfect ((with no clashing undertones) and the walls work in all lighting. Thanks for all your advice and examples across the years!

  • Niamh says:

    Happy belated Birthday! Workg with Colour for over 20yrs in Ireland. Specifying many paint brands for over 6yrs and now Benjamin Moore.I Purchased lot of your Ebooks and I will do your course one day. I don’t need to,I want to as we are never finished learning. My work is my hobby so my treat would be to do your course in person. I am going over soon as I can or else I’ve got to get you to Ireland! Love your work Maria. Niamh Courtney

  • ClaireSN says:

    Your wisdom and generosity in sharing that wisdom is making houses all over the world (including mine) into happy homes their residents love. Many, many thanks! And many, many more happy birthdays to you, Terreeia, and the rest of you family.

  • Molly says:

    I celebrate you, Maria, with the joy, brightness, and warmth you bring to us through your work. Happy Birthday!
    I would love a post with photos that demonstrate your “Light Test” described in your Whites Book. I’d like to see what “light streams through filling the room” looks like. Sure, the extremes are easier to determine, but how much light is needed to make a room look luminous after painting walls the creamier offwhites, greiges, and whites? I also wonder if, as you say, whites appear dingy with gray shadows in a room too dark, why do greige wall colors present as a better alternative? Aren’t greiges already dingy/grayed whites that would also present as lifeless in a room without enough light? I welcome learning more! In the meantime, best wishes for a wonderful trip. May it be a year of health, happiness, and color for you and your loved ones!

    • Maria Killam says:

      Yes technically greige in a dark room would also look wrong. . . or if you took a dated house with bad carpet and painted the walls greige that would look bad as well. Greige needs lots of crisp white trim to look right. Basically the best rule of thumb with neutrals is that they should relate to the undertone neutrals in the room. Or, like my living room, have lots of bright colours so that greige becomes a good backdrop. I will have to think about how I can write that kind of post! Thanks for your comment, Maria

  • Linda says:

    Wishing you a very happy birthday Maria. Thank you so much for your generosity in sharing your knowledge over the years and thank you for your honesty and your personal posts. Including your personal stories and being yourself keeps you real to your audience. Could you do a post on balancing colour/pattern in a room please…… when purchasing items for a room how do you know when the balance is right up front.
    Sorry to hear your luggage went missing. A friend suggested that it’s a good idea to put some of your clothing/accessories in your partners luggage so that if your bags go missing at least not everything is lost.

  • Jodi says:

    Happy Birthday Maria!
    Some of the best things I have learned from you:
    1. white subway tile is timeless and then you can change up decor more often and it will not be as expensive as ripping out horrid accent tile 🙂
    2. If a horrid thing is not going away because it would be too expensive to replace it or a spouse loves the ugly thing, ignore it and decorate around it. That really gave me a huge sigh of relief!
    3. Your color wheel is genius!
    4. 11 X 14 painted boards are the only way to compare and determine undertones.
    Best wishes to a fellow Gemini!

  • Jennifer Johnston says:

    WARNING: overuse of the word “literally” in this reply, but necessary for proper emphasis! Becoming a TCE has changed my entire life. Literally. I now see the jobs of designers I once thought knew it all and see ways the colors could be changed and improved. I LITERALLY see the world in a whole new way. I was on the (pink beige) beach recently and a gold bird landed nearby. “Poor bird”, I thought to myself. “You’d be so much better if you were the right shade of blue”. It was automatic – you taught me how to LITERALLY SEE in a new way. Your three “basics”, for example clean vs dirty, etc. was the foundation for understanding. The traditional color wheel that is taught in color theory be GONE! YOUR system is the way. I also learned to compare, compare, compare!
    HAPPY BIRTHDAY PLUS 27 DAYS!!!!! xoxoxox

  • Heather says:

    Any update on your neutrals color wheel? I have trouble telling green undertones from pink and this is exactly what I need before I go carpet shopping.

    • Maria Killam says:

      Yes the update is that it should be live on the site in 3 weeks! Hooray! It’s very exciting! My subscribers will be the first to know! Maria

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