I can’t believe it’s been 15 years! That’s 15 whirlwind years with YOU! My amazing community. You have made it all possible!
And because I’m so grateful that you’ve been along this amazing journey with me, I’m doing 15 giveaways, one for every year! 🎁 Keep reading to find out how to enter.
It all began on my least favourite holiday
It was October 31, 2008, 15 years ago. And since Halloween is far from my favourite holiday (I can’t handle horror movies of any kind), it happened to be the day I started this blog. While everyone else was out at a party, I wrote my first post here.
I was 41 years old.
Tough times offer positive pressure to change
The events leading up to starting the blog was the 2008 real estate crash. I watched my designer friends closing up their retail locations and moving their offices back home.
And not surprisingly, my design business had been dead for months. Luckily, I had a client that placed an order for silk drapery for several large windows in her home and that took us through Christmas!
There was a two day online conference that I wanted to attend but it was expensive and I couldn’t afford it. So I borrowed money from a friend. I’m happy I did! It was during that conference where I got the idea to start this blog.
I had no idea back then how it would completely change my life.
In the beginning
In the beginning I posted four times a week and spent most Sundays writing Monday’s post. It was a lot of hard work but I loved it. I had no idea when I started writing that I had so much to say about colour and design.
However, up until this point, I had spent my 20s decorating for my friends and family and my 30s in the design industry, selling furniture, working in a paint store doing colour consultations and running a decorating business.
This was where I lived in October 2008. Terreeia and I had found a super cute rancher to rent, high above the hill in North Vancouver with sweeping views of downtown Vancouver.
The owners were renting it out with plans to tear it down and build their retirement home because the location was so fabulous.
I decided we were going to make enough money to buy it from them with visions of adding an extension to it. The house was a small 50s bungalow with three bedrooms, laundry in the kitchen with this living room and small dining room.
So I was wildly disappointed when we were given notice to move out. I truly felt that my manifesting abilities had failed me.
My first eBook
We found a townhouse that was much bigger but it faced completely North and was super dark with an overhang and large shrubs that blocked out even the tiniest ray of sunshine.
We lived there for two years. It was during this time when I launched my first ebook on the blog, How to Choose Paint Colours; It’s all in the Undertones.
The price back then of my first ebook was $49.00, so I did some basic math and decided to manage my expectations of how much we would make by drumming up some ultra conservative numbers.
Because I had 400,000 monthly readers, if 1% of them bought my ebook, we would make $30,000 a month.
Seems reasonable right?
It was not that easy unfortunately. Our ebook did add approximately $4000 per month to our bottom line and we now had an assistant’s salary to pay for along with all the expenses that go along with running a website with a shop.
And then after two years of living in the dark town house and saving our money, Terreeia suggested we move out to Chilliwack where my family lived. She reasoned we could afford to buy there and also create more content with a renovation. After all, real estate prices in Vancouver are out of reach for the average homeowner
So that’s what we did.
What I asked for but better
When I walked into this rancher which just needed a renovation instead of a renovation plus an addition–plus the fact that that it was two minutes away from my Mom, nephews and sisters–I realized I did manifest that house, the original one was just in the wrong location.
Read more: Window of Happiness
It looked a lot different when we moved out last October:
Read more: See the interior of this house here
We lived in this house approximately four years longer than we should have. It was definitely over renovated and over decorated by the time we moved out. That was another reason we wanted to move, I was finished with this house.
Making our next move
Over the years we looked for a different house but given what I do, everything required major renovations or was just plain unredeemable.
We looked at some property to build but the prospect of building also overwhelmed me because of what I do. Building a house would become a full-time job and I already had one with the business we were in.
Then last summer I unblocked myself. I had been working with a coach for about a year and one day he called me and said “Maria, you can’t build, it would cause too much stress so you need to buy a house, start looking again, NOW”.
When the sign is unmistakeable
So we did and we toured only one house right before the one we bought. And if you’ve been following me for long time you’ll know my goal in this world is to be the Martha Stewart of Colour.
And this house is on Stewart Road. Do you look for signs like this when something major is about to happen?
This house had so much potential but it had been neglected inside and out for four years since the second homeowners had purchased the home. That was lucky for us because I had vision while other people just saw a mess along with overgrown trees in the back and front yard.
What makes this house the most dreamy for me is the oversize Southern living room. I have poured over rooms like this for years in magazines. And this French country house, which is completely my style, only needed paint (on the exterior). Which was another miracle since so many homes not only need paint but structural work as well.
Beyond my dreams
I would not have been able to dream up a space this perfect had I been able to build my own house. I am obsessed with the french doors on both sides and the way the morning light floods the house.
To be clear, other than the custom corner sectional (below) that arrived right before summer, the rest of the furniture in here is from our last house (other than a few tables I’ve picked up on Marketplace).
A dream in progress
I still plan to add coral to this room which means the cream chair will be replaced with a coral one, an oversized ottoman will be custom made in front of the fireplace and coral in the pillows (Using my Colour Balancing Method® I teach in my two day workshops) in addition to drapery on all the windows.
However, right now the landscaping project (below) is priority so that’s where our budget is going!
Here’s Terreeia and I in a photoshoot with the family this past summer.
The sweetest addition
And last but not least our biggest source of constant joy is our mini goldendoodle Lucy. She became ours 2 1/2 years ago and we are completely obsessed with her.
Everyone loves this baby girl she’s so full of love. She’s the biggest proof that just constantly telling someone that they are the best in the world 100% works. I have never once been mean to her (except to yell, ‘enough barking already’, when she sees another dog, haha) and she’s just perfect all around.
This is her “Mom it’s time for our walk” look (left). And she’s never far away from a ball she loves to chase (right)!
Your last chance to take my colour course in 2023!
I hope you enjoyed the whistle stop tour of the last 15 years. This all started with a course I couldn’t afford but I did it anyway.
Which brings me to the course I’ve meticulously adjusted and refined to be the best colour course you’ll ever attend. And if you don’t feel that way by the end of the first day, I will give you your money back no questions asked and you can keep the materials.
We just had 90 people in the virtual class last week and the only regret people have when they finish my course is that they didn’t do it sooner (or, bring a friend!)
It’s a complete game changer for the homeowner/colour enthusiast who wants to make more confident colour choices for everything for their home and the design professional who needs to gain the confidence of their clients by giving them certainty.
Learning the ‘why’ behind colour choices is what make this course a step beyond everything else you’ve ever done.
There’s one more event this fall and it’s in one of my favourite cities, Dallas! It’s going to be amazing and so fun to see each other in person! I can’t wait to see you there!
Thank you for being a part of this journey!
So here it is! I’m giving away 15 prizes for 15 years.
HOW TO ENTER: please post a comment below and let me know the most useful thing you have learned from me in my 15 years of blogging!
ONE seat in my Expert Colour & Design Training course in Dallas on November 15th and 16th – 0r a seat in an upcoming spring session Virtual class if you prefer (Value up to $1,997)
You already know you can’t get this colour training anywhere else! Enter below to win a chance to attend!
FIVE Colour Wheel + ebook bundles (Value $69 each)
The bundle includes both my essential eBooks, How to Choose Colour: It’s all in the Undertones and White is Complicated, a Decorator’s Guide to Choosing Whites. AND the most powerful tool for identifying the neutral undertone of anything.
FOUR Exterior Colour Selection Masterclass online course (Value $349 each)
In depth self guided learning to tackle any exterior project! Learn how to choose colour for a wide variety of exterior styles ACCURATELY to create perfect colour harmony to make your house, or your client’s, the envy of the neighborhood!
FIVE Learn How to Create Mood Boards online course (Value $149 each)
Do you, like most homeowners, spin and delay decorating your room because you don’t know where to start? Here is the essential guide to teach you not only where to begin, but how to pull a room together using mood boards!Plus you’ll learn how to get colour right when shopping online.
Prizes may not be redeemed for cash or exchanged for previous purchases.
Winners will be drawn THIS FRIDAY!