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I Make House Calls

By 03/01/2018March 29th, 201812 Comments

I Make House Calls

Last year was the first time we rented a house in Palm Springs for the entire month of January. It reminded me that, yes, I make house calls.

Everyone always thinks we are on vacation

And we were there again this year. Everyone always thinks we are on vacation, and I constantly get emails saying “Hope you’re having a relaxing time in Palm Springs”, but here’s the thing, we’re just working in a different location.

When you have an online business like we do, our office is on our laptops. January is dark and gloomy in Vancouver and it helps to get out of winter to keep our energy going for all the projects we’re working on.

My new website launched last January and it had some glitches that needed to be worked out. I have never met anyone with a big website that didn’t have issues when they launched.  Thank goodness for my web developer Terrence Murtagh. He was my lifeline.

This blog is in it’s 10th year

Anyway, this blog is in it’s 10th year. And over the years, whenever I would announce that I was taking a trip, I would get an inquiry from at least one or two readers asking if I’d come to their house to consult with them.. I’m not always available, depending on my schedule, however I love to make house calls locally or when I travel if at all possible.

Since you already know me from reading this blog, we are instant friends as soon as I arrive. It’s one of my favourite things to do.

And get this, suddenly these inquiries stopped almost completely, since the launch of my new website (one year ago).

Photo by Ella White Photography

Also my new website is obviously designed to sell my live workshops and my eDesign consulting since I have so many readers all around the world who need this kind of specialized colour advice.

My primary business model is teaching and writing. However, I find the time to take on one or two decorating projects each year because it’s all I have time to do and I love decorating. It keeps me fresh and keeps my readers aware that I know how to pull a room together with colour.

Many designers, once they achieve a certain level of success in their business, (and develop a well-rounded portfolio that shows their work well) only take on bigger projects. Often they stop taking one-off consultations because they have so many projects on the go.

I still love in-person colour and design consultations

However, here’s why I still love in-person colour and design consultations:

I was in a clients kitchen a few years ago who had charcoal glazed cabinets. I noticed that even though they were glazed, they looked quite white at the same time.

So I pulled out my white fan deck to determine which white they were painted. They were off-white. That’s when I realized that the glaze had only been applied to the traditional raised panels around the cabinet door, it had not been applied over the entire door (example below).


Until I saw that in person, my general advice about glazed cabinets had been this: Once you glaze your cabinets, they turn beige. If you use a green glaze, they will be green beige, etc.

During the tuscan trend, glazed cabinets were huge because we weren’t decorating with true white or off white like we are now. Everything was cream and glazed and that coordinated well with the browns and golds and richer colours we were using.


You can see the overall glaze on the kitchen cabinets in the above photo. And how the window trim and coffered ceiling is whiter because they are not glazed.

My sister Elizabeth has a cream, glazed kitchen (above). Her cabinets have been covered in a ‘mocha’ glaze which essentially turned them pink beige. If you look closely, you’ll notice the glaze has a pink undertone.

Making personal house calls from the East Coast to the West Coast keeps me on the pulse of colour and in tune with all the nuances I might otherwise miss.

I’ll still make a local house call if you are planning a renovation or a new build

This is why I’m writing this post. To remind you that I’ll still make a local house call if you are planning a renovation or a new build, or a decorating project and need some colour and design advice to make sure all your colours are going to be right.

If you live in Vancouver or the lower mainland, my rates are located here.

And I’m off to Los Angeles tomorrow morning with my team for 3 days, back on Sunday! Follow me on Instagram and Instastories to see what I’m up to!

Related posts:

3 Ways to Refresh Your House For YOU, before you Sell; Before & After

Is Hiring a Designer a Luxury or a Necessity?

The 3 Most Important Words in a Consultation

8 Features Every Log Home Should Have

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  • Alana says:

    They also make for great stories, like this one. I’ve never seen charcoal glazed cabinets before: is this new?

    • Maria Killam says:

      They certainly do 🙂

      The reason why you haven’t seen charcoal glazed cabinets is because it’s simply another style of cabinet that kitchen companies offer, but they are not very popular. They were introduced when the grey trend came along but I would not specify them given they are trendy. My sister would love her kitchen more right now if the cabinets were simply cream and did not have the pink beige glaze on them from the brown trend.

      Hope that helps!

  • Rochelle says:

    Wish I had better planned for a house call to my home in Los Angeles during your visit!!! Hope you have a wonderful holiday in Southern California.

  • Andrea Brankin says:

    Maria, thanks for all you do in showing and sharing your business and decorating sense. I use your advice all the time, currently now as I’m replacing windows (all those gross colors: mushroom, almond, taupe). Nice to know you still do individual projects. Now I can more realistically play the game: “What color would Maria suggest? in my own home…..a girl can dream, right?

  • Lynn Gillespie says:

    I note that your seminars are never offered in Alberta, and mostly offered in the USA. Would you or have you ever considered offering seminars in Alberta?
    Thank you.

    • Maria Killam says:

      Hi Lynn, My courses don’t fill as fast in Canada so that’s why I lead them in the most densely populated cities which is Vancouver and Toronto.

  • Lucy says:

    Maria you always have such diverse subjects to keep our ” gray” matter alive. I look forward to each post wondering what Maria will post this time. It seems like glazing always gives the paint kinda a dirty look. I have never been a fan of it even in the Tuscan era. One house that I specified Swiss Coffee for the cabinets the clients decided to glaze them after they were finished. When I went back to help them with another room I looked at the kitchen and to my astonishment the cabinets were pink! They told me why they glazed them was because it would make them easier to clean.

    Hope it doesn’t rain for your visit to LA this weekend. It has been predicted.

  • connie says:

    this made me wonder: is there a list of designers who have taken the coursework so we could find one in our area?

  • Mary-Illinois says:

    Hi Maria,
    I’m wondering if your sister has considered painting her cabinets. I bet she knows someone who can help her pick the perfect color. ?

  • I hired Maria for a consult in my home when she visited Houston, Texas for one of her seminars. Awesome investment! Not only did she share fabulous ideas, but she taught me how to style my own vignettes and gave me so much knowledge that now I can decorate on my own. (In no way am I at Maria’s level of expertise, but rather, that with just one consultation of 3 hours, I have a home I adore and love to adorn.) By spending time in my home, Maria saw my decorating deficiencies and targeted those for my “lessons”. I am a doctor, not a designer, but when company comes, I am frequently asked who decorated our beautiful home and for the first time in my life, I love my house. I highly encourage you to bring Maria to your home.

  • Lisa Robles says:

    Hi Maria,
    I second the question Connie asked below. I live in a big city and would love to find a designer who took your color course.

    Lisa from NYC

  • Karyn Meadows says:

    Hi Maria, we live in the SF Bay Area. If you are here, I would love to get a color consult from you. My house is “just ok” color-wise because I picked the colors. I do not like them, but have no idea what to do to give a uniform palate through my house. Please come!

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