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Colour Consultation

Proof That I Don’t Judge When I’m Consulting with You

By 05/21/2009February 28th, 201938 Comments

When a client hires a designer for a consultation, sometimes they find themselves apologizing for the state of their house. Perhaps because it’s dated (What? You mean we can’t all completely re-decorate every 5 years?) or messy, because of their children, or that it’s dirty, eg. there’s drywall dust everywhere, etc.


First of all, I really need you to understand that I don’t judge.

And here’s why; because if you knew exactly what to do, you wouldn’t be hiring me in the first place!

And I am so happy to be here, why would I have a problem with the fact that you don’t have enough lighting?

Or that you need some help decorating your living room?

Or that you are having a hard time distinguishing between a pink beige vs. a yellow beige for the interior or exterior of your house?

The other thing you need to know is that I am so busy looking at the colour of your flooring, furniture, window coverings, etc, that I don’t notice a little dust or dirt.

The following story illustrates my point perfectly:

A few years ago, I was picking colours for a clients bedroom. I was walking around, holding my 12 x 18 colour sample next to the bedding, behind the artwork, and on the wall next to the baseboards to see how the colour looked with the carpeting in the master bedroom.

Suddenly my clients face turned beet red, as she leapt forward and grabbed the condom off the floor, right in front of me.

Until she did that, I had no idea it was there! I’m serious. Completely missed it!

I like to tell this story to make people feel comfortable when they worry too much about how their house looks.

So the moral of this story is; we designers are simply thrilled to be in your space doing what we love to do!

I have a client that recently said, “I trust you, please do what you think is best”, just like her clients trust her–she’s a financial planner–to do her job because that’s her area of expertise!

And don’t forget (there was a point to this post in the first place), I love everything about your house that needs some TLC.

Related posts:
Happiness is. . . Having the Career that you Love
What everyone should know about Beige
Insider Secrets to Testing & Selecting Paint Colours

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  • Bethany says:

    SO funny. I will have to check Sara out.

  • sallymandy says:

    Thanks, Maria, for a post that has a little bit of everything–gorgeous pix, some funny stories, and words of wisdom. That’s what I like about your blog. love, sallymandy

  • hello gorgeous says:

    Great headline! I was wondering if you were color-matching bedroom walls to condom colors…

  • g. says:

    This is a great post. And Sara is the best.

  • Christine says:

    This made me laugh out loud! I wasn’t sure what the connection would be to color before I read the story, but I doubt you could come up with a better illustration of your point.

  • Awesome Sara says:

    MAria!!! I think i am in love wit you!!! My blog should always be mentioned when the word condom is involved! I love this post, thanks for the way awesome shout out!!!! just wait till tonight, i will post a weirdo feature on karl lagerfeld’s home and i think you’ll like that! I’m going to feature this post on my bloggie. kisses and condoms!!!

  • Maria Killam says:

    This comment (from Velvet & Linen) was posted on the last post so I moved it to this one;

    Another great post, Maria.
    You always impress me with your honesty, humor, and courage! You give the greatest advice.
    You are absolutely right on several levels.
    Yes, we designers are way too busy looking at our client's wall color to see the "condoms"!
    Yes, I always enjoy blogs where I feel connected to the blogger. Usually this is because of their honesty and ability to infuse their personality into their posts.
    I certainly know that is why I never miss one of your posts!


  • Wise Space says:

    Hilarious and so you Maria!
    You are a woman of honesty, wit and truth and you are brave…very brave. I love it.

  • Ideezine says:


    I just reat a post from Monday at
    titled Protest Through Design: Ingo Maurer’s “Euro Condom”. German lighting designer Ingo Maurer launched something he calls “Euro Condom,” in protest against the new European guidelines on lightbulbs. Do check it out this blog has great info on lighting.

    So of course this was funny that your post was a totally different situation.

    As a designer, one of my clients once had her whole house clean (throughly) before I came into her home.

    I stress to all my clients that what I see helps me to help them. A designer is a house/space whisperer.

    We are trained professionals with lots of compassion for people, that’s why we do what we do. We love people and want to be there from beginning to end. So relax and just be yourself and leave some clues for us we like it!


  • Anitaj says:

    heheheheheeee…. you’re funny

  • Esther Steinfeld says:

    What a wonderful, witty article! And I love the vibrant colors in all of your photos. Perfection.

  • Kelly says:

    Hahahha!! That’s too funny!!!

    Ummm… was it still packaged or used?! 😯

    Love all the pictures, and your advice is great, as usual 🙂

    Now I have to go check out Awesome Sara… and I guess I better leave her a comment!! 🙂


  • DesignTies says:

    Whoops, sorry, used the wrong identity for my comment… sorry about that!!


  • Lauren says:

    hahahhaa too freaking funny!! have to go check sara out now!!

  • nkp says:

    Those gorgeous yellow billowing curtains will be seared into my brain FOREVER! Great post and now I’ve got to go “meet” this Sara that you so fondly speak of…

  • drollgirl says:

    i am pretty much crazy gay for sara. her blog is rad, and so is she.

    and i am excited to see YOUR blog too!

  • Brillante Home Decor says:

    You know I read all your posts as soon as I can…I just read this one faster in search of the condom!

  • Renae says:

    Very cute Maria! It’s so true about getting the apologies from people, We all have our gifts and design is why we are hired!
    I adore all the pictures you posted with BOLD colours!

  • VictoriaArt says:

    It is so funny how CONDOM makes people run….to it? From it?
    Yeah, it was funny and clever, you are just perfect, love all your posts, well you know that by now, just wanted to tell you one more time.
    I love to read something with wit and humor, it keeps me going!

  • Maria Killam says:

    Brilliant Home Decor, you are too funny! When I spoke to my mom this morning she said, “when I saw that headline I read every word of that post instead of just looking at the pictures”.

    Good lesson for creating a catchy headline 🙂

  • Slices of Beauty... says:

    Lovely pictures.
    Beautiful blog too.

  • Alina says:

    Man, if my interior decorator found a condom on my bedroom floor, I would be like “that’s right I’m gettin’ some”

    However right now my dry spell has been so long I would be greatful if I had a reason to even keep condoms in my bedroom.

  • Design Junkie says:

    I always find it funny when clients start apologizing for the mess in their homes (and usually I can see no evidence of this mess) without knowing about the piles of mail, drifts of pet hair, and shaky stacks of books and magazines that great my guests. I’ve also learned to tell clients directly that I’m not judging when I ask questions about whether or not certain room elements are staying…I just need to know what factors I’m working with.

  • Southern Chateau says:

    Oh Maria, I know what you mean! This is priceless! I have seen people’s underwear, you name it. I always tell them don’t worry, I’m not here to judge, just to do what you hired me for. GREAT post!

  • Lynne Rutter says:

    ha! nice story! id’ be tempted to use the word “safe” or “latex” in my next 10 remarks.

    btw i LOVE the yellow drapes in the first image.

  • Cote de Texas says:

    What a title!

    I adore the first image – love love love.

  • Haven and Home says:


  • Under a Green Roof says:

    so funny! Love the post though, its nice to know that most of us don’t have a perfect house all the time 🙂

  • Material Girls- Emily says:

    HAHA- Amen!

    So funny- I had a similar client to yours- except she was apologizing for the bra on the ground! I always tell them- you should see MY house! 🙂

  • Carol Ann says:

    That was so funny, I laughed out loud and made Linda in the desk behind me, jump…
    We talked about the stuff we see at clients homes all the time, but it never has anything to do with judging them…it is just funny…
    My tape measure has pulled out weird stuff from behind furniture, the weirdest “underwear” in the livingroom…I took down the measurement of the wall and quickly tucked it back under! Her cleaning lady will find it and she will never know!
    Interesting to know…the title of a post is that important…
    They do say “sex sells”

  • qerat says:

    Loved this post 🙂
    Absolutely loved it

  • Beaman the Interiors Chap says:

    I loved reading this post. The title naturally got me here in the first place but the content was super.

    I agree with you in regards to humour. It can really brighten up a blog as much as your colours do in an interior.

  • Karen Eubank says:

    Um , and when you move the bed, well, there are often shall we say "electronic devices" that of course we never "see". Focus is the word!

  • Donna says:

    I'm so so loving reading your old posts Maria! Tim is on a trip and I'm kind of blah..I don't want to clean anything or pay bills tonight. So I'm reading all your old posts. Sorry, you are going to get lots of comments from me. This is absolutely so entertaining! I'm having the best laughs I've had in a month.

    I'll never forget when my pastor and all our church friends were moving. Our pastor is such a kidder. He said something like "Hey guys, lets pull out the drawers on Donna's dresser…hmm.. I assured him that I had packed away everything that was not for 'public view'. But I had to laugh. When someone is messing with your house…somethings are just going to get pulled out from under the rug. Too funny.

  • Donna says:

    PS. It's funny how a title will get you. My friend Caroline, has a blog called Church Sexy. I just had to find out what in the world she meant! Turns out her hubby wants her to look good all the time…not like she was dressed up for Sunday morning. She does lots of refashion sewing. Cute blog title…and great post title you used. Bet you got a lot of traffic when you posted this!

  • Meg says:

    I googled white kitchens and found you was reading some of your old blog posts…

    I am curious what happened to the famous Sara? When I click on the links to her blog, blogger tries to redirect me to a bogus website??

    I so do not understand this whole blogging thing.. should I not be clicking on those links? Do I have to be worried about some weird computer stuff since I did?? DId she go away since May?


  • Maria Killam says:

    Hi Meg,
    Lots of bloggers simply stop blogging after a while and pull their site which is what she might have done.
    Thanks for reading my blog!

  • Shannon says:

    I have a similar problem, I am a pastry chef and people always think there are sweets and goodies in my house. No, not really. I taste things as I go but I rarely eat what I bake. Do I want to bake on my off time? no, not really. I make no excuses when people come over to my house after I have baked a huge cupcake order or wedding cake. Yes, my kitchen is going to be messy, it just proves that I use it. Same goes with my house yes, it is messy….. just goes to show we use our house!

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