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If picking out a paint colour seems hard, imagine trying to choose the perfect white paint colour–without considering any finishes inside the home. While the world continues to embrace white walls, here’s a story that might sound familiar to you… 

But first, a NEWS FLASH!!!

I’m excited to announce the fall dates for my virtual Specify Colour with Confidence workshop!

We’ve scheduled four dates throughout September and October, and for all of you who have been asking for a long time—our first-ever weekend course! This course is specially set up for those of you who work during the week, and haven’t been able to carve out time to spend two days with me learning all about colour.

I’m so happy with how our jump into the pool of virtual training (where you stay in your own home and join me via a video computer link) has gone in my two previous workshops. The in-person workshops are so powerful I worried that I wouldn’t be able to teach as effectively over Zoom. But that hasn’t been the case.

My students are still learning to build confidence in their colour-choosing skills. Check out the YouTube video further down in this post to hear what some of them have to say!

A true story from Irene Hill, a true colour expert

The other day I answered a phone call from Rosemary* asking,

“Could I hire you to help my husband and I redo our new-to-us home? We’re going to be replacing the wood flooring and the kitchen and bathrooms. Maybe take out the carpets and we need new paint colours, and really, everything. I’m looking to create a beachy-feeling light and airy home with white walls. You came highly recommended and we’d love to have your help.”

Maria keeps me very busy working for her so I’m extremely limited in the number of design projects I can take on on top of the plates I’m already spinning for her.

I regretfully told Rosemary that my schedule is full from here till kingdom come, and I wouldn’t be able to carve out time to take on a new project. She was so clearly disappointed that I felt bad for not being able to help her.

“Well,” I said, “If you think it would be helpful, I could carve out a two-hour window of time and come to give you my best advice and suggestions for a plan that will move your project forward.”

I then informed her that if that worked for her, she needed to prepare herself and her husband for a two-hour bossy, yet charming whirlwind. (Clearly, I parrot Maria every chance I get as I learned from the best.)

She asked me what I would charge for this, and I quoted her a number I’ve never given anyone before. Another tip I learned from Maria—if you’re too busy to take on more work, you should raise your prices until you’re closer to being as busy as you want to be.

She let me know my price was “perfect,” so we booked a time for next week and she happily hung up the phone. And this is where things started to get very interesting and I experienced, yet again, the confidence that comes from being a True Colour Expert. 

The most helpful colour training on the planet

Here’s a not-so-secret secret about me. I have a suspicion that I don’t have as many cones and rods in my eyes as other people do. Cones and rods are what lets you see colour properly and yes, my suspicion is purely a non-medical one. 😉 But even if I do have a full complement of cones and rods, I definitely don’t have highly developed spidey senses when it comes to colour. 

But I don’t need to have every cone and rod that gets handed out. Nor does not having spidey senses around colour stop me from being a confident True Colour Expert.

Because I’ve learned a system for understanding colour—with saturated colours, neutral undertones and white gradations. I’ve gained experience in “seeing” colour for what it truly is by using Maria’s colour toolbox—her colour cheat sheet; her Understanding Undertones colour wheel and her colour boards.

Understanding colour is the transformation that comes on Day 1 of Maria’s Specify Colour with Confidence workshop. A proven system that lets you see and identify colour correctly. Of course, just identifying colours for what they are is simply the foundation of learning the how and why of making colour choices.

A foundation for understanding colour

Building on the foundation of understanding colour you’ll also learn:

  • how to choose colours (this can be applied to anything, not just paint—home decor, textiles, fashion, etc.)
  • in what order to make colour choices (because that’s the real sweet spot to coordinating colour successfully)

Day 2 of the workshop guides you through those concepts. And this is where you’ll start to see how powerful it is to know the answer to the question, Why? 

Why this colour and not that one? Why can’t I have this counter with that tile? Why can’t I pluck a wall colour out of thin air?

the answer to the question why

Part of the confidence an expert feels is when you know the answers to your client’s questions—even their unspoken ones.

A typical client colour conversation

 Back to Rosemary. Within half an hour of our call, a text from her pinged on my phone:

Can I ask you a quick question? We get possession of our house tomorrow and want to start painting while the house is empty. So what is your thought on white walls and what paint finish?

I texted back: 

Your wall colour should always be informed by your hard finishes and inspirational pieces. I understand you want to paint before you start to install your finishes and move in. But it is really putting the cart before the horse to choose your paint colours before you choose your finishes. Don’t misunderstand that your finishes need to be installed—they just need to be chosen so all the colours relate throughout your house.

Can you help me choose a paint colour?

Rosemary: Even if it’s just white?

Me: I’m so sorry to break the bad news to you, but there is so much criteria about which white is right for your home. It’s never as simple as choosing any white and hoping it will be the right one that pulls the look of your house together.

This is where the bossy comes in even if it’s inconvenient news. 🙂

what about white paint?

Rosemary: I understand. We wanted to paint while it was empty and our container is coming on Monday.

Me: I totally understand. Sorry to mess with your plan that would make your life easier. But truly, waiting for your paint colour will make your life better.

Rosemary: Okay, perfect. Thanks for your help. See you next week. 

Are you Rosemary? Or do you know someone like her?

Rosemary is looking for help with making her home a place she’ll be happy in for a long time, and it is my job to help her achieve that goal. And I know that the convenience of painting a house while it’s empty isn’t more important than knowing whether there’s enough natural light to make white the best choice for a wall colour.

Or if she needs either a complex cream or greige colour to work with her kitchen or bath finishes, or maybe she might love to paint a bathroom or bedroom a pretty blue or green to help create a beachy look and feel.

Knowing I can be bossy, yet charming and give the answer to the question, “Why?” fills me with confidence and happiness.

And in case you think Rosemary’s questions are atypical, here’s a question Maria just got within the last couple of days:

“Wow!!! I just discovered your page!! You are a color design genius! Color is so complicated!!! I love your videos! They are informative, and entertaining!! I’m doing a full townhouse reno in Brooklyn and trying to keep things classic!!

So, what is the best way to choose the right white for a kitchen cabinet? I don’t want sterile or too bright white…but I do want it fresh and warm and inviting!

Where does the color China White by Benjamin Moore fall? I saw it on someone’s page and it looked nice. Thinking of sampling it. Also, what do you say to a two-toned kitchen? I love blue/green. Was thinking of doing a white and blue-green cabinetry. Does this make it not timeless?”

Obviously, this delightful follower is a new and excited fan with some excellent questions. And you know what? These are the questions you get answers to when you spend two days with Maria (from the comfort of your home).

Here’s a brief glimpse inside the virtual workshop:

Two days that start your journey in becoming a true expert when it comes to choosing colour. You will be transformed in how you see colour, how you narrow down endless colour choices to a few useful and helpful ones and where you need to start when you are making colour choices.

See Colour Differently

I still sometimes marvel at how my design ability has been transformed by walking into Maria’s Specify Colour with Confidence workshop ten years ago. Where I lost more than a night’s sleep fearing my colour choice might not be right, now I sleep like a baby. Where I let myself be persuaded by my client’s uninformed opinion, now I’ve become charmingly bossy and right.

And where I worried I was just an average designer, I’ve become confident that I truly can help people love their home every time they walk in their door.

This training is for ANYONE who wants to see colour differently. New fall dates: CLICK HERE TO ENROLL

If you’re a designer, decorator, stager (or even a builder) who wants to work smarter, have happier clients with less stress and flourish in your business, make the best possible investment in your career—enroll in Maria’s next Specify Colour with Confidence workshop.

If you’re a design enthusiast or homeowner who wants to have confidence in your colour choices for a new build, your renovation or simply creating a home that fills you with happiness, give yourself the gift of spending two days with Maria. The money you save by not purchasing finishes you regret or wall colours that just aren’t quite right will pay for the course many times over. 

No one else on the planet has a system for choosing colour like Maria. I haven’t read, followed, seen anyone else who taught me how to see colour correctly, and how to make all the million and one choices needed when it comes to choosing colour for a home. How to have a language for it and really, what it comes down to, is how to feel like a true colour expert. 

And truly, how to do all of this in a bossy, yet completely charming way.

Register here.

Note: Because we will be mailing you a special Killam Colour System kit with all the tools you’ll need for the workshop, registrations will close 3 weeks prior to the event date – so don’t delay! 

*Rosemary is not her real name.

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