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This is the view from their home.

My lovely clients Crystal and Rob built their home almost 10 years ago when the Tuscan brown trend was going strong. Five years ago, they bought the property next door and built a summer house which I decorated for them. Suddenly, they loved being in that space more than their own house!

And since this is their forever house (because of the stunning view), they decided to update to a much more classic and timeless look.

How do you de-tuscanize your house? By adding colour! Colour is timeless after all.

In the past few months, you have seen Crystal and Rob’s mudroom, master bedroom & ensuite and their upstairs bathroom.

I was thrilled to have their main floor featured in May’s Canadian Living Magazine, here’s the spread:


There’s nothing better than a stream of good befores and afters right?

BM 2028-30 Tequila Lime

This happy front door sets off the tone of this house!

Since this is the North side of the house, and the door is tucked into the overhang, everything real eventually died in the pots beside the front door so we found these faux boxwoods at, where else? HomeSense.


Glass Waterfall table | Art (no longer available) Ginger Jar similar here

Here the feel is light and airy as the glass table is almost invisible. We found the ottomans at Overstock here. It’s always nice when you can mix high and low with clients. Given these ottomans will be mostly decorative, they didn’t need to be custom made.


Photography by Barry Calhoun

Here’s the powder room. A powder room this big with only a pedestal sink was obviously built on a budget at the time so Crystal was very happy to have a full vanity in this renovation:



The backsplash is 5 inches so it clears the faucet and I specified a curve detail on each end so it would look more decorative. Notice I specified knobs for the doors and drawers. Keep it clean and simple.

We found some botanicals on Etsy and had them framed.

This is the upstairs window seat with a bookshelf for all their kids books (below):


After {Paint colour SW Agreeable Grey}

See the penguins in the bookshelves? I found a box of them at a thrift store and knew they’d be perfect on these bookshelves with all their kids books.


My favourite space in this house is the green stairwell! I just love the dramatic after photo!

The existing spindles were brown so I specified green for the handrails because then they would read black instead of brown. Had they been painted black or grey, they would have been more noticeably brown.

And how could you get tired of this happy green in the middle of the house?

Staircase green {AC-160 Cloverdale Paint} Bird Art Wisteria

Crystal and Rob live on Promontory Hill in Chilliwack where they have the most spectacular view of the mountains and it feels like they live in the tree tops so a collection of bird art was perfect here. I filled them in with mirrors to coordinate with the colours in the artwork.


(Carpet runner by Banner Carpets)


Eames office chairs 

To create flow from the great room, I specified this gorgeous hydrangea blue which is the same colour as the sectional (keep scrolling).

And here’s the great room attached to the kitchen and dining room:


Sectional and Chair {custom} Area rug {IKEA}

And here’s the colour me happy living room!


Custom throw pillows | Coffee table | End Table


After { Table lamp similar here}

We found the World map from Etsy and had it custom framed. It’s a great conversation starter for all their travels as a family!

Brass and Marble side table {Similar here} Floor lamp {similar here} Black lantern {Pottery Barn}


Black lantern {Pottery Barn} | Coffee table {West Elm}

We installed classic white penny tile on the surround and the hearth is black granite

I repeated the kelly green on the bookshelves with green paperweights.


X Desk (No longer available) similar here and here | Wishbone Chair here | Brass task lamp similar here

And the kitchen of course is the most dramatic transformation. Here was their typical Tuscan kitchen before:


Counter stools come in brass and brushed stainless | Pendant Lights 

Because the window above the kitchen sink was not symmetrical in the space, we couldn’t incorporate upper shelving so we created the feeling of space with mirrored cabinets on either side. You can’t see the left side here but it’s a single cabinet.

The countertop is black quartz

Notice that all three colours of brass in the surface mount, pendant lights and counter stools are different but they all work together.

Remember the post I wrote about our dilemma on what to do here (above)? Crystal did not want two eating areas but they did want a designated spot to serve drinks when they entertained, so Jan designed an integrated bar fridge underneath the counter here (below).

All millwork design by my good friend Janet Romanuk

Ginger Jars {One Kings Lane}



After Cabinets: BM Chantilly Lace


 Runner {here}

Notice the length of the pulls are custom to the size of the drawers. Looks less busy than installing two on each drawer. Also, I’m loving the smaller size of 1 inch pulls, it’s what I’m specifying in all my renovation and new build eDesign consultations these days.


The coffee maker is hidden in the appliance garage beside this vignette (above).

Before (see the mudroom transformation on the right here)

 Chandelier & Area rug (no longer available)

To keep the chairs kid friendly, we upholstered the fronts in faux vinyl and the backs in a colourful stripe that picked up the colour scheme to create flow.



Lily plates | Table lamps similar here


Here’s Crystal with her two adorable kids Bella and Bobby, even dressed to coordinate 🙂

Hope you enjoyed the tour! See the rest of the house in the links below.

Also, since my clients will be reading the comments, if you have constructive criticism for me, please email me directly!

And if you are local (in the lower mainland) and need help decorating your home, contact me here.


I’m in Nashville for the weekend where we’ve just finished our second Specify Colour with Confidence workshop of the Spring season. Next we’ll be in Long Island where we have one seat left, the course starts Tuesday, April 24! We still have seats left in Chicago May 15 – 17 and Dallas May 22 – 24 is completely SOLD OUT.

Related posts:

Turquoise Kids Bathroom; Before & After

Pink and Navy Master Bedroom + Ensuite; Before & After

Indigo and Turquoise Summer House in the Fraser Valley; Before and After















2915 pins


  • Emilie says:

    Hi Maria, this looks lovely! I’d love to purchase some of those items, but I’m unsure how you get items over the boarder? Have you had luck with a particular mail forwarding company? (I’m in Canada too). Thanks!

    • Maria Killam says:

      Well I’m lucky enough to live only 20 minutes from the border so we ship to Sumas and pick it up from there. Maria

  • Kim says:

    OH! This is just a stunning transformation and showcases exactly what COLOR can do for a home. Beautiful job, Maria. I think my favorite thing might be the lighter colored flooring. Were the original floors refinished or are these new hardwoods? That green staircase is also fabulous!

  • Arlene says:

    Wow wow wow. You did awesome decorating again Maria.

  • Ange says:

    What a beautiful transformation. ❤️❤️❤️

  • Nancy says:

    The transformation is AMAZING!!
    Would hardly even know that is the same house !!
    Love the colors !!!

  • Carol says:

    Such a dramatic transformation, I love all the pops of color. What I also love are the fresh light color of the walls. 2 questions:
    Did I miss it, or can you tell me what paint color that is? It seems to go with everything.
    We have a very traditional house, antebellum style, with lots of white wainscoting. And just painted Edgecomb Gray walls, with lots of color coming from the antique artwork, and throw rugs. About to make a decision on the wood floors. We were going for a medium to dark hickory wood floor with wide planks. Is there a reason I should not consider the darker wood floors for the contrast pop? While our house is not as transitional or modern as some I’ve seen, I continue to see pretty light wood floors.

    • Maria Killam says:

      It’s on the post, SW Agreeable Grey which is very close to Edgecomb grey. Nothing wrong with light floors or medium. Maria

      • Joni Theis says:

        SW Agreeable grey is amazing! I would have never guessed! It looks pale beige to me but sometimes light grey too. Oh my lighting… I’m so happy you are so talented because I could attend every single class you offer and still not be able to choose a paint color ?

  • Corinne says:

    Absolutely Fabulous! You and your sidekick Tricia have such a wonderful gift! Thank you for sharing!

  • Constructive criticism follows: please try to not have so much fun decorating a house and making it utterly happy and joyful. Simply not allowed. Knock it off.

  • Penny says:

    Beautiful transformation, Maria! I am sure your clients feel like they have a brand, new house. An excellent lesson in lasting “classic and timeless” fixed finishes. If they want to go in another direction 10 years from now it is just a matter of paint, area rugs and accessories . . . Not an entire, expensive renovation. And congratulations on your work getting published in Canadian Living, too.

  • Sherrie Hodgins says:

    Looks beautiful! Could you please comment on the decision to make the island all one height? I’m weighing the pros and cons for my kitchen right now.

    • Maria Killam says:

      I prefer it because it looks cleaner, I’m not a fan of multi-level islands or shapes. Also, you’ll rarely see a multi-level island in House Beautiful. Just sayin. Thanks for your comment! Maria

  • Janet says:

    Love this! Light, bright and happy!

  • Maria, you knocked it out the park with this redesign. This is my favorite of yours! I would not have thought of painting the railings of the staircase that bright green but it totally works. I like how the runner grounds everything, and yes, it looks like you’re in the treetops. Brilliant!

    What a fun and cheerful house for a young family. Congratulations! XOXO

  • Louise says:

    Fabulously happy and fun! I love the before and afters. They really show what you have done!

  • Margaret Jessen says:

    I liked everything you did—take a bow Maria!! I am big believer in your idea about white bathroom and kitchens. Love your blogs! Thanks!

  • Barbara says:

    I’m in love! All that green – so fresh, so wonderful. Love everything!

  • Lswi1 says:

    I am looking to buy pulls and knobs for my kitchen renovation, and was a little confused by the 1 inch pulls mentioned above. Do you mean 1 inch knobs? If so, are you talking about their projection size? This home is simply stunning!!

  • I love it Maria! So colorful and fun! Just looking at it makes me happy! I wish my clients were brave enough to do this….I’ll be showing them your pictures!

    Susan Matheis
    Coffee Creek Interiors
    Overland Park, KS

  • Mary-Illinois says:

    Wow! If this doesn’t prove your point to do use colors that make you happy, nothing will. This also shows how you get colors to flow throughout. It’s all beautiful!

  • Rosemary says:

    Fabulous transformation, I wouldn’t change a thing and that says something as green is my least favorite color!

  • Brooke says:

    So much fun seeing this! Thank you! It is a perfect example of a neutral wall color that would be dead without the color accents. Before Maria I would’ve copied the wall color thinking my house would look happy but it would not.

  • Cheryl Bloom says:

    Stunning transformation Maria! The owners will never tire of this now very happy and timeless home. Forgive me if I missed it but couldn’t see a comment anywhere about the hardwoods — did you replace them entirely, or refinish with a pickling? I love everything about this project. Well done!

  • Jennifer Neuman says:

    I love it all. What is the wood floor in the house. It’s lovely.

  • Kitty says:

    I rarely comment on blogs, but I have to weigh in and say I love this refreshing space! And I’m so thrilled to see medium and light wood floors coming back. Our house has a Tuscan “before” kitchen that we’ve been living with since we moved here nine years ago. I’m realizing that earthy Tuscan colors really bring me down. Time for a change!

  • Kim says:

    Maria – just a wonderful transformation. I’m sure your clients are thrilled. You’re getting me to start embracing color so thank you. Question about the kitchen cabinets, though. Did you have those PAINTED? I was going to chalk paint my cabinets (I’ve done so in 2 bathrooms and love them) but I’m terrified to paint my kitchen cabinets creamy white because, well, it’s a huge job. Do you have any tips on how to paint kitchen cabinets? Thank you!

    • Maria Killam says:

      The cabinets are new. I have never painted cabinets myself but there are lots of tutorials online. Thanks for your comment! Maria

  • Linda says:

    It makes me feel happy to se all the beautiful color. What a beautiful transformation!

  • Donna says:

    Beautiful transformation. House says “welcome”. What flooring did you use throughout this home?

  • Lucy says:

    Maria I am just overwhelmed! All I can say is JUST Brilliant!! The flow of color, texture, fixtures and all of the appointments are so creative. This deserves a five star rating! I absolutely love the green staircase! It is so unexpected and is the star of the show. Each room has been so well thought out and reinvented. Love it, love it and love it! Can’t give you enough applause!

  • Yvonne says:

    So pretty. Well done.

  • Robin says:

    Wow!! Simply stunning! Uplifting, sunny, happy!

  • Anne says:

    Its beautiful, Maria!! So fresh and pretty, and cheerful. a wonderful space for the whole family to enjoy!!

  • Norine says:

    I love the complete transformation. I cannot believe the difference, but, of course, Maria was on the job.I am sure the floors and kitchen were quite an investment – but, now it’s classic and timeless. I would love to visit; based on your descriptions the outdoors is wonderful and the indoors is too.

  • Laura says:

    Maria, you are so talented. All of this follows together so nicely. It is an awesome combination of stylish and functional.

  • kelly says:

    Beautiful Maria! Absolutely love it. Great job! House looks so happy now.

  • JaneB says:

    Wow. It’s simply stunning and positively happy. I keep thinking I want to paint my cabinets and that exact color. But. It terrifies me that it won’t look good or last. These look great. And she has small(isn) kids, so….Hmmmmm…

    • Fra Na says:

      I have painted my kitchen cabinets white in virtually every home we have owned over the past 4 decades. I love the freshness and brightness of the space. When people said “Don’t the kids and dogs get it dirty?” I reply “Of course, but with a white kitchen its easy to see so I can clean it. After all I want my kitchen to be clean”. In the long run I think its easier to keep that way when its white so you get to things right away.

  • Kay says:

    Happy is the word! What a transformation. Just beautiful!

  • Ellen Shook says:

    I am totally in love with this house, especially the green staircase and the kitchen stools. Fabulous update!

  • Cindi says:

    Love it! What is the new wall color?

  • Jennifer Johnson says:

    Beautiful and fabulous!! Absolutely LOVE everything!

  • What a lovely, happy, friendly family home. I’m loving it and learning from every shot. Great work, Maria!

  • Marie says:

    I am in love! We are about to start a renovation and I really want to use blue and green. I can’t believe how happy and light this home feels. I could only dream! Did you post which flooring you selected? My husband wants light floors. I was opposed until I saw this!

  • Sonja Bermingham says:

    Hi Maria!
    The “before” pics don’t look so bad, until you reveal the “after” beauties…from “drab to fab.”
    Really inviting and “happy” colours?

  • Joanne Michael says:

    Absolutely beautiful. I love the staircase color and the carpet.

    The powder room is night and day. One question: Any reason why you didn’t extend the cabinet wall-to-wall?

    Hugs To The Whole MK Team.

    Miss You.

    • Maria Killam says:

      Because if possible it always looks better when the vanity looks like a piece of furniture. Maria

  • Fran W. says:

    What an amazing transformation. I especially love the powder room (right down to the beautiful knobs!) and the kitchen. Have fun in Long Island!

  • mrsben says:

    First of all Maria; a big congrats on this project being published and job well done! My favourite space has to be the kitchen as IMHO its transformation is awesome as there are so many elements I ♥ with the mullion mirrored cabinet doors being one among the many. That said; do have two questions though; re the sink is it a smart divide and the reason why it has two faucets and the second being, is the range vent built into the unit? -Brenda-

  • Andrea Brankin says:

    Looks like they can now vacation in their own home! What an uplifting and fun transformation.

  • Sharon says:

    Very nice! I read the post twice and couldn’t figure out what you did to the floors…are they white oak with natural finish?

  • What a cheery and happy space. Love all of it!

  • Molly Walpuck says:

    Hi Maria –Love this house! I might incorporate the brightly-painted stair railing into my new build. Also, where is the light in the kitchen window from? Would be perfect in my kitchen windows. Thanks!

  • Mary Etta says:

    Love the fact that the clients went for it with you on the green bannisters and stair treads. Beautiful.

  • Cathy Z says:

    The green staircase and gorgeous runner is killer.

  • Elizabethe says:

    I love it.
    Can I ask what the source for the chandelier is?

  • Nicole says:

    Just beautiful Maria! I am going to be replacing the flooring in our house and was hoping you could tell me the manufacturer and color of the hardwood flooring that was used in the remodel.


  • Brenda says:

    Oh my gosh, how fun! It is perfect for a young family! I love it, Maria! Congratulations on having this home published. I love how you respected the personality of the homeowner as well. This is the mark of a truly talented interior designer.

  • Whitney says:

    I got excited for a sec when I saw the “before” counters because they look like the ones that came with my house; I thought maybe you had found some magical cabinet color that would make them not-ugly. Ha. It doesn’t exist, I know.

  • Amber says:

    Oh my goodness, I love love love this house Maria!!
    You’re kicking it up a notch, girlfriend, that is some seriously high style. I don’t even like green (at all!) and every picture I was like, “yes! YES!” LOL
    Very well done and certainly magazine worthy xo

  • Fra Na says:

    Maria you took a very nice house and turned it into a beautiful and happy home. I love that from the front door clear through to every room its all flows together so beautifully.

  • Fra Na says:

    Maria the painting the entry is stunning. Would you be willing to share the name of the artist and where I could see more of his/her work?

  • Ellen says:

    I have never, ever liked Tuscan. Same reaction I had to so-called “Country.”

    That green staircase was shocking, but I think I love it.

  • Karen says:

    This is all soooo beautiful Maria!! Love the green handrail and the way that your colours flow throughout this happy feeling home! CONGRATULATIONS!!! xokaren

  • Barbara says:

    So fresh and youthful! Love it. Thank you for the link to the kitchen pendants. They are gorgeous. Could you give any info on the sconces in the powder room ?

  • Tom Field says:

    Absolutely love the bold application of colours here – it’s made everything so upbeat and vibrant. The dining / accent chairs are a particular highlight for me. Great job!

  • Amy KS says:

    This home is spectacular! So bright and fresh, not a dirty color in sight.I think the green staircase makes the home though.

  • Gloria says:

    That’s amazing work Maria, a total colour power. You work proves that colours can play a major role when comes to interior designs. The images are stunning, a blockbuster of a work. And I do like your other work also.
    Keep up the good work. Cheers…

  • Tracey says:

    Just completely …. wow! You used my favorite colors and lifted those spaces to such heights! Well, well done … beautiful, whimsical, cohesive, and inspiring!

  • Judy Adler says:

    Love both the sofa and chair! Are you able to share the info on those?

  • lynn says:

    Bravo! you have created a happy home for your clients.

  • Tuscan Tragedy says:

    This is beautiful, but I wish your suggestions included practical ways to de-tuscanize your home. If I gutted every room and floor in my tuscan house, of course it would be de-tuscanized!

  • Mary Anne says:

    Wow! Beautiful! Your use of colour is amazing!

  • Irene Madrid says:

    I as well wanted to DE Tuscandy my kitchen…and it turned out so well. I added wainscoting all around my big kitchen and painted it several shades darker than the textured plaster above, ripped out the ugly brown backsplash that had always ‘uglizied ‘ my beautiful swirled granite ( it was x’s choice ), by adding handcrafted teal mermaid tail backsplash which goes to well with my almond wraparound canines with Etsy pink/gold/ivory ceramic pulls, blush velvet;vet stools/chairs/oversized floral teal Anthro sofa. The quarter round island is topped with distressed black walnut, and at either end of the kitchen I have an embossed apron sink, with another embossed apron sink at the butler’s end of the kitchen.Dark floors compliment the island top color. Makenzie reindeer prance about. It is my ‘cabin’ in a much larger home and becomes a home within a home.

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