Skip to main content
About me

Today (June 7) is my Birthday. 2 Lessons I’ve Learned

See the before photos here.

I can’t believe I’ve been writing this blog almost 10 years (the anniversary is coming up in October).

Because of my blog I was able to buy my first house, and renovate it from top to bottom. And if that wasn’t enough, rip out my front and back yard and turn it into an English garden.

It’s so beautiful now that it’s maturing, when people walk into my backyard they think they’ve arrived in a secret garden.

Garden design (Long distance eDesign) by Maryanne White in New York

Here are the 2 best things I’ve learned in my year of being 50 and almost 10 years of writing this blog:

You’ll NEVER get to the end of your to-do list

In the world of on-line marketing, there’s always another ground breaking article to read, social platform that you should join, or posting that needs to happen on the social media accounts you already do have. There’s always another blog post to write, and when you get to the end of all that, online programs to create and launch.

Depending on your business model, your list looks different, but if it’s on-line, it’s a never-ending list.

I’ve learned that I need to stick to what I’m good at, which is creating content that I’m interested in, rather than focus on a to-do list created by anyone other than me.

In the end, I’m just going to do what I want anyway regardless of any to do list I might have with a bunch of should’s on it. It’s floating around here somewhere (no idea where it is at the moment).

Maybe you’re OKAY just the way you are

I live in the country, where affordable housing exists (Downtown Vancouver is one of the most expensive cities in the world to buy a house), but the biggest reason I live kind of in the middle of no-where (because I am a city girl) is because my Sister and my Mom are my two closest friends.

There’s no-where I’d rather be than in my Mom’s Carriage house at 5:30 am (located a 2 minute drive from my house) with my Sister Elizabeth (who lives in a house on the same property) on any given morning analyzing life with a good cup of coffee.

Maria and my Mom Hellen

Because I work alone and don’t get out much (unless I’m travelling around the country leading my colour workshops) I have no one to compare myself too. Except other people on-line, and their highlight reel, which always looks better than my life currently does.

I see other bloggers and influencers working with brands and I worry that I should be doing more of that.

I see other designers launching product lines and I worry that I don’t have my name on a can of paint some where.

And then, I read a book by Gretchen Rubin called The Four Tendencies. I saw her speak at a conference last Fall and immediately purchased her book.

It’s truly groundbreaking and I highly recommend it.

I am a questioner/rebel. I question EVERYTHING. It’s likely that side of me that had me create a system that is changing the way the world sees colour.


The rebel side of me resists being dominated by anyone. This perfectly explains why when I worked in the corporate world, I was fired about 7 or 8 times.

Writing this seems obvious now but it wasn’t so obvious until I realized my tendency.

And I’m grateful that the colour workshops I lead all around the country every Spring and Fall, are so popular and well attended! That people continue to buy my eBooks and colour boards online and that my eDesign department is such a big success!

The so-what of all this is that I have a very successful business model that works for me and my personality.

As long as I have wi-fi and a laptop, I can work from anywhere in the world, including Palm Springs where we’ve spent the month of January the last two years.

If you look around at the life you have right now, and notice what you’re doing right now, that’s what you’re committed to.

So the biggest lesson I’ve learned this year in my 50th year, is that I’m okay exactly where I am right now.

And it’s not like I’m going to stop growing and improving, but I really can stop comparing myself to everyone else that’s doing something a little different from me that looks more glamorous than what I’m doing right now.

This year as I turn 51, I feel blessed.

Last year my best friend and sweetheart Terreeia planned a fabulous 50th birthday party for me and this was my favourite photo, taken by my sweet Mama. It was the the best birthday I’ve ever had. Everyone I love was there, it was a very special day.

Maria and Terreeia

This year, I want to ask for the same favour as last year:

Will you leave a comment telling me one thing that my work has helped you do? That would be the best birthday present!

It could be building your dream house, or your dreamy white kitchen. Or your business experienced a transformation after you completed one of my colour workshops.

This is what makes writing Colour me Happy worth it!

All I ask is that you be specific, include actual numbers if that’s appropriate. Share your Story.

Thanks in advance — and here’s to the best year yet.

PS. We leave for Spain and the Amalfi Coast on Monday, follow along on Instagram and my insta stories, it’ll be fun!

Related posts:

My 50th Birthday Party (last year)

My Snowflowering Tree Blooms on my Birthday; Before and After

Refresh of my Mom’s Kitchen and Sitting Room; Before & After











  • Geo55 says:

    Happy Birthday Maria! You’ve created a great blog filled with countless inspiring and enlightening posts. Probably my favorite one is:
    I also think of your advice: undertones need to coordinate, white kitchens and subway tile are classic and always work and have only one busy hard surface element in a kitchen design. I know you have enough on your plate, but one day I would love to see a design book on Colour by Maria Killam on my coffee table!

  • Lisa Kudukis says:

    Maria, happy birthday to my fellow Gemini. Through your personal stories shared during your, 3-day course, you showed me the power of perseverance, that just because some people “don’t see you” isn’t a reason to change who you really are, that people recover from what might feel like a failure and move onto be great successes, that bravery is real, and that if I really want to do something, I can do it. And you taught me a shit load about color, too. 🙂 Let this be the best year yet…

  • Teresa Mchaney says:

    First. Happy Birthday!!! I found you talking about “whites”on video late one night somewhere on-line. I thought this lady is helping me realize what I already knew in my head (but could not express) but you were expressing it exactly for me! Helping me pick the right white! Hope this is making sense. Anyway I have been a faithful follower since that late night. ? I love following your blog!

  • Carmen Ellis Vecchio says:

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY, and may you have many, many blessings in the years ahead! I am so thankful for your website for helping me diagnose my “pinky beige problem” with tile that was bossing around so many of my interior design choices–from adjoining carpet to paint on the same walls. Several years later we are in the middle of a major renovation , and thank goodness my husband relented to remove all that bossy tile! We are using your advice to make timeless, classic choices so our design choices won’t date our home in the coming years. Thank you!

  • Karin says:

    Your garden is truly beautiful. I love the restrained palette of white and green.

    I would suggest adding some planting closer to the kerb. It will make your garden look bigger. And add break up the big expanse of flat, though very lush lawn. This planting could be trees or a mixed bed. The idea isn’t to screen, but to frame.

  • Happy Birthday Maria! I have followed your blog for 7 years, and your advise is always terrific! I renovate multi-family properties which I then hold as rentals. Because of your excellent advise, I have a period-appropriate style guide for my renovations that is based around a classic wood floor, a white kitchen (with knob and pulls, and white subway backsplash), and one of your “best paint colors for a rental” – Edgecomb Grey. Your advise has streamlined my decision-making, and resulted in beautiful results. I get positive feedback on the look and feel of the properties from tenants, and I feel good I have invested in long-lasting finishes that will have broad appeal for many years to come. As you say, ugly costs the same as pretty! I have built substantial equity and passive income from my rental properties. I attribute so much of this success to your guidance. Thank you Maria!

  • Katrina says:

    Thank you so much for sharing your inspiring story with me. I have been doubting my ability to succeed again after divorce and moving to a Melbourne Australia from a country town. I have just decided in the last 7 days to rebuild my life, career, finances & my confidence by focusing on one aspect of my interior design business to the one thing I was and are good at. For 2 years I have dithered on too many things. My story sounds just like what you have said so thank you beautiful talented lady and happy birthday. Mine is this month also so I might give myself one of your books. I haven’t been able to purchase from you as yet but have always wanted to. Bless you x

  • Kay says:

    Happy birthday, Maria!

    Your blog and two personal consultations changed the way I look at decorating and enabled me to plan a kitchen and other house renovations that not only make my husband and me happy, every day, but wow everyone who enters our house. You also gave me the confidence to discern good decorating that does not appeal to my taste from decorating that is simply bad. Thank you!

  • Farha Syed says:

    Happy Birthday Maria

    Your Colour Me Happy Blog has taught me how to find my voice in my writing, your colour boards and ebooks have helped me immensely. I dont have specific numbers because my business is still in infancy, just started to see my mention on posts referring the inquirer looking for design help. So I am at a happy place because I am beginning to see the fruits of my labor. Still a ways to go, but I now know what I did right.

    And you are absolutely correct, that we cant keep comparing ourselves to others. I have learned as long as you have a goal and you are working towards it, even if you have to side-step to make yourself more polished and confident its well worth it. Side-stepping has created connections and opportunities I may not have had. So I am thankful.

    And I have a big smile on my face when I see an email from you. I have learned a great deal from you and still do everytime I open it.

    Have a fabulous birthday.

  • Fran W. says:

    Happy birthday, Maria!!! You are the best! Your helped me fine-tune my entire house with the perfect paint color selections. Now, my home feels ‘just right’ and there’s a harmonious flow from one room to the next. I’m wishing you a wonderful birthday and a year filled with happiness! Love to you and Terreeia!

  • Natalie says:

    Hi Maria and happy birthday! I’ve been following your blog from Australia since you first started and love how you share so much of yourself. It really comes across that you are a beautiful person. I thank you for giving me confidence to use colour in my home. I now have a teal blue velvet sofa (my favourite colour) and I absolutely love it. My bedroom is also monochromatic (pale mauve) and its my favourite room. Both ideas came from reading your blogs, so thank you for making my life happier!

  • celeste says:

    Congratulations on 10 years of teaching others! I think what I have learned from you is that MacMansions have many mistakes and poor decisions; expensive and big doesn’t necessarily equate to good taste or good design. Seeing how discordant house exteriors are with many finishes (brick, stone, wood) is really fascinating, and you stress that in kitchen design as well. You teach simplicity in a modern way. Thank you!

  • Maryanne says:

    Have a wonderful birthday my dear friend.

  • Bonnie says:

    Happy Birthday Maria! Although I live in a tiny studio apartment, your blog has given me many hours of pleasure seeing how any space can be transformed with colour. I especially liked your tutorial on tablescapes.

  • Sharon Shearer says:

    Happy Birthday Maria, many happy years more of spreading your unique lessons. Now that I’ve had my eyes opened to how to figure out what the right way to use color is, it’s liberating. No more throwing up of the hands metaphorically,and actually, saying I just don’t know what to do. You are still the only designer out there who can explain why to use one color vs another. I read lots of bloggers and enjoy them too, but when it gets down to why, why did they use that tone of white, or how did they come to the decision of using a certain color, the information just isn’t there. Thank you for your leadership and the ability to explain it all.

  • Lynn says:

    Happy Birthday! Well, I, for one, am very glad you are no longer at any of those other jobs; that you had the courage and creativity to carve your own space in the world of decorating. Your flair for writing as well as color brings it to life for me and shapes it to make sense so I can understand why it works and use it for my own home and wardrobe choices. I hope you have a wonderful day and another amazing year helping us all create a beautiful space.

  • Amanda says:

    I can ignore the fads and create a comfy pleasant home with the simple color facts that you taught me. Be yourself. Love who you love without fear. Happy birthday!

  • Christian P. says:

    Happy birthday, Maria. Mine was yesterday and this post is a wonderful gift. Thank you. When I moved into a new home that was wall-to-wall Tuscan orange-beige, your e-books helped me select the right colors to make the house ours. Everyone now comments on how light, bright, and refreshing it is. Having an abundance of choices overwhelms me and your books presented us with a perfectly curated list of options. Your guidance made us more confident in our selections.

  • Rosemary says:

    Happy Birthday Maria! Your advice over the years has helped me avoid costly mistakes when renovating my kitchen! Its beautiful, unique and everyone who sees it, loves it. Though my furnishings in the adjoining rooms are still from the Tuscan trend, everything got a beautiful uplift in paint from colours like Manchester Tan, Natural Linen and Jute. Taking your course and purchasing your colour boards helped immensely and has bolstered my confidence in making design decisions.. No matter how full my email inbox becomes, I have never unsubscribed to your newsletters. You always offer worthwhile, quality content and a fresh perspective. You explain why things work or don’t work, which helps in growing our knowledge base in the world of colour. I have learned to be cautious in choosing fixed elements and avoiding selecting something that Is clearly going to be the “boss in the room” when decorating. I love your relatable style. Enjoy your day!

  • Beth Curtis says:

    Happy birthday, Maria!
    I took your color class last May in the Chicago area, and was blessed to be chosen to assist this May. There are so many ways that you have helped – I know you wanted a sentence, but it cannot be done!
    The color boards are extremely helpful. I do many, many paint consultations because I work with a painting company that offers my services to their customers. I always try to educate when I’m doing the consultations, and having the large boards helps explain the undertones and why we need to choose a specific color. You have taught me to be bolder and speak with more conviction.
    You preach timeless over trendy., and it is making a lot of sense with me (I haven’t always followed that rule). Yes, there is a place for trends, but it’s better that they are in the accents, not the expensive fixed elements.
    Finally, I love color, as you do. Just seeing the way you use color in your posts and in life makes me smile.

  • Gail says:

    You confirmed my decision to rip out a dark backsplash and install cream subway tile. The blog was instrumental in my wall and carpet choices in my open plan house.

  • Michelle says:

    Happy Birthday Maria! I found your blog from the Ballard podcast. In January I was desperately trying to figure out how to design my new house. It was not a total tear down, but we only kept the studs of the house. Through your e-design, I have a gorgeous timeless house. I have a white kitchen, medium tone wood floors, classic bathrooms (without an accent stripe), and perfectly picked paint colors! I have a beautiful house and grateful for your guidance. I would love to share before and after pictures if your are interested. Thank you so much and have a very happy birthday!!!!


  • Norma Fournier says:

    Happy Birthday Maria! I’ve read all the comments and agree with all of them. I’ve been following your blog, buying everything you’ve ever offered, including your color course, and it has changed my visual life!! I see the world of color differently. I’ve always loved color and you made it all come to life and make sense for me. I know you want specifics but how can I when your creativity, knowledge, color system, and how you share yourself have so generally added so much to my life and joy! Here’s to many more!

  • Sybil says:

    Happy Birthday! ?
    Came across your blog a couple years ago while planning our kitchen remodel..from 1960’s brown wood cabinets to creamy off white. Planning was a bit stressful as design & work was done by me, hubby & his brother with the exception of tile & countertops. No doubt in my mind that I would have chosen something with the wrong undertone without your blog. I also had been going back & forth between white subway tile and something I (and others who gave input) considered more “interesting”. Of course white subway , in the correct undertone, won and I couldn’t be happier with the outcome! Looking forward to tackling our bathrooms next.

  • Stephanie Frees says:

    Happiest of birthdays to you! Thank you for opening my eyes to truly looking for the undertones. This has been invaluable to my clients as I can now easily explain WHY a selection they like doesn’t work as well as another with their whole look.

    Thank you as well, for the gift of this blog. I’ve been feeling pulled in all directions and truly questioning where I’m at and if My work is good. You nailed it with the demon of the internet and everyone’s “perfect” that we compare ourselves to.

    I needed to read this today and so, thank you for gifting me on your birthday!

    Best and blessings!

  • Catherine Morgenstern says:

    You have helped me make my house a home! I never knew before why my house would grate on my nerves and just not look “right,” despite all the effort and money I poured into it. Now I have a basic understanding and a strong bias to hire a professional when spending my money on these long term decisions!

    Thanks very much. I’ll be asking for your expertise for a stair runner next!!

    All the best.

  • Adelaide says:

    Happy, happy birthday Maria!
    I moved into a new, to me, 3 year old house in February of this year. It has 2 lounge areas – one being what I see described on N American sites as a great room. Do you know what you have taught me over the last 8 years or so? Take my time, think it through, find the fabric that will be central to my other furnishings, then look at the block colours etc and paint colours. Presently I feel that I am the only person on earth who wants a coral lounge, but I cannot live with neutral. My walls are nicely neutral to take the colour I need to feel warm and happy in my home. Repeat the colour three times….I could go on. I’ve studied your colourful home, and am so grateful for photos where a few views are revealed that show how the colours flow and tie to each other from room to room. There is so much in your blog for anyone open to learning. You are amazingly generous with your advice and I thank you for it. Happy travels and continuing good fortune in your life in every way to you and your family.

  • ann cariola says:

    Happy Birthday Maria!!!

    I loved meeting you in Northbrook this year and your course was the best 3 days on so many levels…I learned so much from your course and importantly, your straight forward and fun manner has given me the confidence to move forward in starting my business, something that I have wanted to do for many years! Thank you, Thank you and have a wonderful birthday 🙂

    PS…I think my friends are going to slap me if they hear one more time…”well, maria says…”!!!! hahaha!

  • Nancy says:

    Hope my comment won’t lead you to “question” or “rebel”, but I say you ARE just where you should be, and many of us are blessed because of it. Happy Birthday!

  • Anne says:

    Happy Birthday, Maria!! Just wanted to say that your advice has saved me from floundering around and shopping mistakes and wasting so much money and time on stupid and ugly. Now I am less stressed and have more time for the good things in life. Thank You.

  • Roxanne says:

    Happy Birthday Maria!!

    I subscribe to your blog and look forward to every single post! I currently stay home with my young children but still do some work in interior design (have my BID) and LOVE the industry. Your teaching on colour and the nuances of it is excellent, and while I haven’t done one of your courses (yet), I have learned a lot through you.

    Thank-you for being a “rebel-questioner”, for sharing what YOU are passionate about, and for inspiring me to continue creating beautiful spaces, even when starting from scratch isn’t always possible! Actually, that’s one of the things I love about your blog: showing how you can make less than perfect look pretty darn perfect 🙂

  • Julie says:

    Happy Birthday!
    For me, its having become aware that light exposure affects the way color looks.
    And as I have tested some of the paint colors you have recommended, I really like the suggestion of placing white poster board next to colors. Boy do you see the color more accurately by doing this!

  • Lynn-ri says:

    Happy Birthday, Maria! Reading your blog has helped me tremendously in a full renovation of a dated, 1980s condo which we down-sized into a few years ago with the intent of aging-in-place. The goal was to create a classic, timeless interior that would look as good twenty years from now as it does today. Your “voice” was like true North that kept us on course! Your blog is not only beautifully illustrated with photos but is the most “educational” blog that I follow. I am grateful that you are so available to your readers and have resisted brand sponsorship.

  • Maggie S says:

    Happy Birthday Maria!! Your blog was the very first one I found and read –it would have been about 8 1/2 years ago. I spent a whole week reading ALL your old posts!! I have always been picky about color so your blog was fascinating…and I could now understand why I liked some colors and why some colors don’t look good together. I have to also thank you for my new career as a HOME STAGER!! I found Kristie Barnett (the Decorologist ) from your blog and took her home staging class!! I LOVE my new job as a home stager (I had one that I was VERY tired of but I didn’t know what else to do) and I do some color consults for staging. I hope to take your class some day and do color consults for everyone!! THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU for all the information you have shared and for all the inspiration you have given me ..and thousands of others!!

  • Gina says:

    Happy Birthday! Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts. Turning 50 was a time of new insights for me, too. I’ll be 57 in the fall (*#!&#) and I must say, 60 doesn’t sound too great, though I’m sure I’ll feel differently when the time comes.
    I’m still hanging on the coattails of your spring workshop held in 2014. My game changer. I’ve gained a great reputation in our area working with builders, homeowners, and tradespeople. I’m not a “set the world on fire” kind of gal, yet perfectly delighted with the life I’ve created for myself. Comparing ourselves to other people online is indeed a recipe for self-doubt. Just keep scrolling!
    You, Maria, played a huge role in designing my dream house! My heart is still filled with joy when I drive up our lane and my home is there to welcome me. I indirectly thank you every day that I’m called to advise my clients on the choices they make in their homes. And I make those recommendations with confidence, thanks to you! I choose to work part-time, but was still able to pay for most of the new furniture for our home, custom window coverings and bedding, and on-going tweaks. It’s a great feeling of accomplishment. I share my home lovingly with family and friends. Everyone feels welcome and very comfortable. Thank you for sharing your all with us!

  • Millicent Yount says:

    Your books and color boards have helped me understand color so much better. I’ve taken what I learned and applied it to my embroidery and monogramming business. Thank you. And…Happy Birthday!

  • Penny says:

    Happy Birthday Maria! Your gardens are beautiful. Thanks to your blog, e-books and training, my husband and I smile every time we walk through the door of our happy cottage. I can’t put any numbers to that!!!! As they say . . . Priceless.

    Continue to save the landfills from poor choices. You have every right to feel confident in your business model. Your name on a can of paint or fabric would not have the same impact on the environment!

  • Anne says:

    Maria- Happy Happy Birthday to a wonderful, generous person!! You saved me in the middle of a kitchen Reno-I found you accidentally thru someone on Houzz- the kitchen planner/designer was showing me pencil tile that was gray,black,white, and stainless steel… I felt it was too strong and”masculine” for my cottage-type House!! After a few sessions of going back and forth, SHE FIRED ME! Because I was “ not able to make decisions, and move forward with the project” HA.

    The money lost was worth it-thanks to you, I have a beautiful white cabinets,white subway tile, and soapstone countertop. It can be styled many ways, but it is always fresh and pretty!

    Also I am doing a powder room Reno currently, and the gray marble hex tile is being installed today!
    I am keeping in mind”is your bathroom perfect, or perfectly nice?”

    Thank you for all you do, and know that you are loved by many?❤️

  • Debra says:

    Happy Birthday Maria,

    Because of you, I began to formulate a plan.
    Sold my home for a nice profit $10,000+ over asking price. ( the colors and design advice helped!)
    I moved across the country to Pensacola Florida.
    Now I’m finding my way, starting a design and staging business in a place I thought I’d never be lucky enough to live in.

    So your dreams, inspired other dreams.
    Did you ever see the movie The Butterfly Effect?
    I think that first beat of a wing began with you.

    Thank You.
    Have the best birthday ever!

  • Lorraine Gray says:

    Dear Maria, I am a TCE and I took your course as a homeowner, not for a business. But I have loved interior design from a YOUNG age and see it as a passion of mine. I am so glad I took your course, because now – I understand colour. Before, I had an innate understanding but I couldn’t pick paint colours. I would do things, and knew something was wrong but I didn’t know what. Now I can pick my wall colours, fabric, finishes etc. I love your classic style, and maybe because it is my style. Thank you for making it possible for me to understand colour and now enjoy interior design for me and my closest friends!

  • Lori says:

    Happy Birthday!!! Because of you, I was able to build my dream home (after 31 years of military service) with confidence… and it looks beautiful!!!

  • Julianna Mathers says:

    I’ve only just discovered you and your color system has made such a difference in the clarity of my thinking about how to use and recommend color! It’s like you have pulled back the curtain and showed us how it all works underneath. I’m just a home design enthusiast, but because it truly is a passion for me and I can’t stop reading design blogs and magazines, I have friends ask me all the time to help them pick their paint colors and their furniture etc. I feel so much better equipped now to know how to help them without guessing! Before really understanding your system, I made some updates to my kitchen that were almost but not quite. It was so upsetting and disconcerting because in the past I’ve gotten color pretty right based on my instincts. You graciously help me figure out why things weren’t perfect through ask Maria. Thank you! Of course it had to do with a fixed element of a peachy beige Tuscan floor tile! I’ve been to Tuscany. The floors look nothing like this!

    Anyway, I bought your e-books and found them to be so clarifying. Truly it’s a brilliant system! I’m grateful to have discovered it. I’ll let you know when I fully diagnose my kitchen problem and hopefully figure out a solution! Currently I am in the middle of your book on whites and trying to discern what the heck these whites are that I’ve picked! I feel like a detective on the case. And you’re so right that just understanding why things aren’t fully compatible makes me feel so much better!

    I wish you a beautiful birthday! I can tell you live life vibrantly and love your people well. Truly those are the great riches! I just turned 50 in December and have found it to be very rich and lovely time of life. Be blessed this year. I will be pouring over more of your blogs as I catch up with your other devoted for readers.

  • Angela says:

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY Maria! You changed my life in terms of how I see colour. Thanks for the great posts over the years, I learn something new each time I read them. Hope your day is all you want it to be. Hugs OX

  • Nancy says:

    Maria – Happy Birthday!
    You are one of the most talented / inspirational decorators I have ever came across .
    You have inspired me beyond words.
    Hard to write all that I have learned through out the years reading your blogs .
    But the one things that has helped me a lot is understanding ( trying ) undertones .
    Thank you for your blogs and all your inspiration.
    Have a awesome Birthday !!!!

  • Karen Aamodt says:

    I hope you have a lovely Birthday!

  • Mary Anne says:

    Happy Birthday Maria!! Fabulous and 51!!!
    I have been reading your Blog almost since you began. I have loved seeing you evolve and I purchased your e-book about White Paint Colors and learned so much. I have always loved the white kitchen and white subway tiles! I am on my second kitchen with that same look! We were blessed to be able to build a new home from scratch and incorporate good old classic elements ! We never tire of the clean look, and people who come in say,”Oh, I wished now I had done this, or I wished I didn’t use so many tiny tiles for my backsplash.” Thank you for all you write about and especially the posts about color undertones. I knew some of it before I read your blogs, but you put it into the words that can be easily understood! Many Happy Returns!!!

  • Kay says:

    So what your blog has meant to me: First and foremost, I read every blog. I go back in the archives to review various blogs. I share with clients the importance of timeless design and “bossy” countertops, etc. that influence color decisions, etc. That trends have an end and you don’t want to design xxx only to look at it in the years forward and realize it is so 2018, etc. These are just some of the lessons that I have learned. I, too am a “complyer” if there is good rationale for an approach. You have taught us the “why”. I am so very appreciative. Happiest Birthday!

  • Bert says:

    Happy Birthday, Maria. My daughter put me on to your blog many years ago when I was agonizing about my oak kitchen cupboards. She showed me your post on oak cupboards and the idea took hold. I was back and forth on it for 2 years til I took the plunge and decided to treat myself to a consultation with you. It was a lot of hard work but I painted 41 cupboards and doors, changed my counter tops and painted the walls. It was like a new kitchen. And I got so many compliments. We’ve since moved but I’m applying all your advice to our new house. Now I’m nearly finished renovating our master bathroom and I’ve replayed your video quite a few times to make sure I’m getting it right. So I will say that you’ve definitely changed my outlook on decorating. The timeless/classic look makes the most sense. Thank you for all your help over the years.

  • Brenda says:

    Maria! Happy Birthday! I have been reading your blog for a really long time. I have learned A LOT, and your blog is one of the only ones I read on a consistent basis. I have referred back on many occasions to previous posts as well. I would say that the most important thing I have learned is that all whites have an undertone. Learning how to read and classify those undertones is instrumental in choosing a cohesive design palette. Thank you so much for all your hard work and honesty in your blog. Yours is one of the best out there! I hope you have a wonderful holiday, you deserve it!!!

  • Kristin says:


    I have enjoyed occasionally reading Laurel Bern’s blog. Several months ago I searched for a video of her and found the presentation that she and you and another designer did hosted by Claire Jefford. That was how I found you! I’ve always been fascinated by color and seem to have an innate sense of color compatibility which is one of the reasons why I found your angle so appealing. I’ve been enjoying reading your posts ever since.

    Here’s your birthday present: One thing that your work has helped me with is to resist over complicating things with color and pattern. I really took to heart your words about how a white kitchen is timeless. As I move closer toward being financially able to do some renovations, I will likely honor the beautiful images I have in my mind of using predominantly neutrals (white/cream/beige) along with smaller indulgences of colors and patterns – rather than the other way around – in part because of your blog.

    Thank you!!!

    And a very happy 51st birthday to you.

  • Gretchen says:

    Happy Birthday!!! Great day for a birthday. My husband is 40 today!?Our kitchen reno starts in 4 weeks. I’ve had much more confidence in choosing hard fixtures since finding your blog/books. They have helped educate me tremendously!
    Have a wonderful day and vacation! ❤️

  • Deborah says:

    Your work helped us to create a (previous) home that, a.) when we put it on the market, had everyone asking if the owner was a decorator, and that b.) sold within a week (we are in a slow market, unlike much of the US). In our new home, your recommendations gave us the confidence to move forward on a rather expensive exterior painting project. Perhaps the best part of that was that you chose the exterior color I predicted you would choose based on my diligent reading of your blog and eBooks.

    For those of you wondering why this felt like a good thing instead of a waste of money, let me say that I was completely flummoxed by choosing a trim color for this house to go with the new color on the shingles. Our house has A LOT of trim and repainting it if I chose incorrectly would be hideously expensive. Hiring Maria for an exterior consult was a great investment.

  • Suzanne says:

    Happy Birthday! With your help, we built a new home a year ago and I couldn’t have done it without your blog. I poured over your articles and ordered your ebooks and they were so helpful. (I referred to your ebook on whites constantly.) We love our new home and I know it would not look this good without your help. The biggest piece of advice for me was that there could only be one boss in a room. Coming from a very traditional cut-up house to an open concept was a challenge. I kept going into model homes and wondering why I didn’t like them! I liked all the parts individually but together they were way too much. It was as if everything in them was screaming Look at Me! You showed me that even in a larger area, one boss is just right. My more timeless look doesn’t look like most of the neighbors, but it feels so comfortable to us. I love that I can change out accessories, pillows, etc and get a totally new look. Thank you!

  • Renee says:

    When will you unveil your home’s bathroom renovations?! I’m certain I’m not the only one in dying to see it!!

  • Martha says:

    Happy birthday, Maria! You gave me the kitchen of my dreams! You showed me how to work with the ‘dirty’ floors I had to keep yet design a beautiful, timeless white (cream) kitchen. Two really great designers couldn’t help me get to a place where I felt good about the plan. I’m glad I waited almost two years before starting the work with a third designer who listened carefully and embraced my vision. You had a post showing how Saltillo floors COULD work great with soapstone counters and (very light) cream cabinets and walls. (One designer said she couldn’t possibly work with orange and green!…not green at all). Anyway, I don’t believe I will ever tire of this beautiful space you, without even knowing it, helped me create. Bless you and best wishes for your continued success!

  • Susan S says:

    Maria, Maria, I wish you the happiest of birthdays!! I think that it’s actually been your honesty (both professionally and personally) that has gained you the following that you have. As far as what I’ve learned professionally, the major takeaways are undertones and dirty/clean colors! And personally, as a fellow Geminian, I can relate to similar personality traits. Thank you for so generously sharing your hard-won knowledge. May you and Tee have a full-of-fun vacation!

  • Michelle says:

    Happy, happy birthday Maria! What a blessing that you’re living the life you love! I found your blog about three years ago, continue to eagerly devour every post and have purchased your ebooks, a design consultation and Your Renovate with Confidence online course. Your advice has helped me figure out where best to spend my design dollars and helped me create a family room that just feels perfect. Thanks to you, I now know why some of my former design decisions didn’t work and how to make better decisions going forward. I’m not a designer, just a homeowner who loves design. I hope to attend one if your workshops in the near future.

  • Karen Brons says:

    Hello Maria. I got my Residential Decorating Certificate and then my got my Canadian Staging Professional Certificate a few years ago. I then worked as a stager in my own company for 5 years. I loved the work, but I always struggled with colour. A couple of years ago when googling colour courses I found you. I could not afford your hands on courses, but bought your ebooks. The undertone theory all made so much sense. I just renovated my own kitchen and family room, and picked out the colour. I love love love the Horizon Gray chose. I can now chose colour that works, does not clash, etc. You are a marvel. Love your books, and blogs.

  • Rochelle says:

    Maria, Thanks for such a wonderful post! As someone facing 53, your energy, passion and story are inspiring. Your work has changed my home and perspective and likely saved my marriage. After my husband tested upwards of 57 paint colors for just one room, your amazing eye directed me to the spot-on choice. And since then, I have gained a tiny bit of knowledge to make it easier to see these colors for myself. I am grateful that you share your knowledge with all of us — and I continue to recommend your work to friends and colleagues who are also thankful for your insights.

  • Laura says:

    Happy Birthday! Your work has helped me realize I need to keep my kitchen a classic white 🙂 And that we choose the right neutral for our home by going greige instead of gray!

  • Karen Nickl says:

    Happy Birthday Maria!

    I have followed for about 9 years. I have read each ebook several times and actually made my own color boards following your instructions. Since following you, I have renovated a 70’s suburban home, built another house in the country, and am currently breaking ground on my “dream house”. You have taught me “why” something looks wrong and given me the discipline to make fixed elements boring!

  • Diane Donnelly says:

    Dear Maria,
    Happy birthday! When I was renovating my kitchen in March 2017 I bought one of your packages for suggestions on paint color. The painter was arriving in two days and the paint color I chose was way too dark, according to you. You chose accessible beige and I love it. I was thrilled that I didn’t have to paint over my first choice and waste thousands of dollars with a bad paint choice. Thank you Maria ! I never doubted you and it paid off. Love reading your blogs! Diane from Illinois

  • Dana Tucker says:

    Happy Birthday Maria!! Your color system gave me the confidence to start offering paint color consultations in our kitchen cabinet painting business. That went so well that I now do full kitchen renovations and design thanks to the confidence I was able to build by successfully specifying color and keeping to your rule of one bossy surface per kitchen!!!

  • Linda says:

    I am currently working with a designer to design our retirement home. So far we are still working on the floor plan and elevation. Once we get this finalized, the designer will develop the house plan that the contractor will use to build our house.

    Even though we are still in the very early stages of this process, your blogs combined with several of your videos and e-books that I purchased have already proved to be invaluable. The more I can visualize our house at this stage, the better prepared I am to make decisions, even at this early stage.

    I already know that I want light-colored wood floors and kitchen cabinets that are white or cream. I have a friend who recently remodeled her home; she chose black soapstone countertops, which I like. I may follow her example and go with the black soapstone, or I may look for a granite or quartz that resembles Carrera marble. In the bathrooms I want black & white tile floors, with white, cream or woodtone cabinets. Not sure yet about the countertops and shower surround, but they will definitely be neutral and “boring.”

    Before I finalize the floor plan and elevation, I will be traveling from Missouri, where I currently live, to South Carolina, where our new house will be built, so that I can meet with the cabinet maker, a designer at the floor covering company and a designer that works with fixtures and lighting. Thanks to all of your valuable information, I may begin to start picking out finishes at these meetings, even though we have not yet even broken ground!

    Discovering your blog through Pinterest has thus far been the single most helpful tool in helping me make decisions about what I want our retirement home to be!

  • Robin says:

    Happy, happy b’day, Maria! I’m new to your blog and just purchased the “Get Me Started” package this week, but the one thing you’ve already given me is hope. We’ve been in our home one year and I’ve been struggling to create a beautiful, harmonious interior. Moving here was an attempt to begin a new chapter in our lives after a significant loss. I can hardly wait to see what you recommend and am hopeful that creating the home of our dreams will be a step toward creating a new life. Home is such a personal reflection of soul. Wishing you a day filled with the same colorful joy you bring to others!

  • JoAnne says:

    Wishing you a very Happy Birthday! I’ve followed your Blog for years but am not in the industry. I love learning about color and the impact it has on your soul. In the next year or two I’ll be moving into, hopefully, my forever home. I’m not building it. I want one that will be made into my place over time. I am going to take advantage of the wonderful services you offer and am excited about deciding on that! I’m not someone that goes with the trends, I’m more conservative and like timeless. Your designs speak to me! I can’t wait! Enjoy every minute of life!!!

  • Tara Redenbach says:

    Your blog has helped me make color choices with more precision. I am more daring in these choices, because i am more confident thanks to your blog. My life has had number of changes as a result, in my home, in my garden and in my fashion choices. Which my friends and family tell me i have “such flare”, ha ha.
    But what i appreciate the most about your blog is you! Your willingness to share, your talent, your opinions, your life with all of us is so appreciated. Happy Birthday! May this year be filled with all your hearts desires.

  • Sheila says:

    The most important and useful thing I have learned is not to mix clean and dirty colours. I am overly careful about everything I put in my house now.

  • tt tomas says:

    I look forward to reading your blog. One thing I have learned from your blog is not to have to many bossy finishes in a room. Example: A very bossy busy countertop with equally bossy tile in the same room. Less is more. I am looking forward to redoing my kitchen which has gold oak cabinets to a nice classic white kitchen. Even my husband whom I share some of your advise, has picked up on clean colors vs dirty colors. He now points out mistakes when we are driving around of bad color combinations on different buildings.

  • Julianna Mathers says:

    Happy Birthday Maria! You live your life so vibrantly and love your people well. Those are great riches! Your love and happiness shines through your blog posts. I just turned 50 in December and I’m finding this season of my life to be lovely and meaningful. I see you are too! Blessings for the coming year!

    I have just recently found you and already you have been so incredibly helpful to me! Through “ask Maria“ you helped me identify my peachy beige Tuscan tile and how it’s messing up my pretty new updates in my kitchen. Incidentally, I’ve been to Tuscany and the floors do not look like mine! Ha ha. I’ve purchased your online books and am finding them so eye-opening! It’s like you’ve pulled back the curtain and showed us how color relationships work. I’m just a home design enthusiast, but because I am truly passionate about it my friends often ask me to help them pick paint colors and buy furniture etc. I’m so grateful for your guidance to know exactly why things work and why they sometimes go terribly wrong. I feel like a detective on the case sometimes! I’m still determining the “fix“ for my kitchen and I’ll report back when I think I’ve solved it. I don’t want to rush it! In the meantime I will keep pouring over your blogs and catching up with your other devoted readers in learning the artistry of color. ❤️

  • Barb says:

    HAPPY HAPPY BIRTHDAY MARIA!! I don’t think I can name JUST one thing you have helped me with – there is so many – here are my top three!! The most important – is the confidence you have given me to specify colors to my clients because of the system you developed – I no longer waffle on which beige or grey is best – it either has to be the green beige, yellow beige etc. etc, depending on the finishes and furnishings! Second your wisdom and experience with which you have shared so eloquently and freely with us all, is priceless! I have used your explanations in soooooo many of my consultations, which has helped me with landing jobs I would not have before! I can easily and intelligently explain why this grey is the “right” grey in a particular home. And lastly your honesty about the business of design and the design world in general has helped grow my business and become a better designer!!!
    PS – thank you also for introducing us all to some of your favorite bloggers and designers!!

  • Beckie says:

    Happy Birthday Maria,
    I found your blog in 2013, read every post, we had just started building our forever home. I choose white cabinets, gray island, white subway tile and Cirrus quartz. Convinced my husband that wood floors were the best through out the house. I purchased your SherwinWilliams boards to choose paint colors for the entire home (my builder allowed 5 colors – he is right any more and it’s too much). It’s been 4 years – to this day, everyone who walks in loves it. thank you for your passion and vision.

  • Shannon Nembach says:

    Happy Birthday Maria! Congratulations on all your success. I love your blog and have been following you since 2013.

  • Christina says:

    Your garden looks beautiful! Happy birthday and bon voyage! Your blog has helped me figure out what the house we bought in September needs as we make some tweaks (laminate countertops: gone, dark green walls in our bright living room: gone) to transform it from a very 90s house to one that feels more now-but-timeless and also very personal to our family. Thank you!

  • gesneramor says:

    Happy Birthday Maria!

    I am new to your blog and your products. What you’ve helped me with? Understanding why I am no good at picking colors — I can’t see undertones worth a darn. And I decided to hire you to do it for me. I am so glad that you are here, explaining something that I will never truly grasp on my own, and here to help people like me.

    I hope you have a terrific day today and wish for you that the coming year is your best one yet!!

  • Betsy says:

    Happy birthday, Maria!

    I’m not a professional designer, but I love design and have worked hard to make our house a cozy, comfortable (and still elegant) sanctuary for my family; so much so, that friends seek me out for design help. Your insight into undertones has been especially helpful when choosing paint colors and fabrics – reading your blogs about undertones has given me my own “Aha!” moment!

  • Mary says:

    Happy Birthday, Maria!
    You first entered my life when I was searching for decorating ideas for our new home being built in a beautiful 50+ retirement village in Northern California. One of your first posts that I read was one asking how Pendleton Woolen Mills affected readers’ lives. That question prompted tender memories of my father (who I had recently lost). I don’t usually respond to blog sites, but that day I wrote about a little mysterious miracle that happened to me regarding my deceased father and one of his Pendleton shirts. This little writing act helped me put my grieving in perspective. I realized that as long as I held him in my heart, he would live in me. I don’t think that I actually sent that response, but that was the first day that your wonderful blog affected my life.

    Since that time, your practical advice has helped me make design choices for that home in Northern California and a move two years later to a new (1930’s) home in Portland. Your advice has also helped me when my children ask for design help with their homes. I am just one person who’s life has been touched by yours. Think of the multitude of people you have helped through your advice about design and living life with gratitude. Truly, your life is worthwhile! Happy birthday, Maria!

  • Robin Fishbien says:

    Dear Maria,
    Sending warm wishes on your special day……enjoy a very healthy and Happy Birthday!!!!
    I have interacted with many, many teachers throughout my teaching career. There are the good, and then there are the great…..the good, teach…..however, the great, inspire. You, my dear Maria, are clearly among the few in the latter category!!!
    Congratulations on all of your wonderful achievements and for having inspired so many others along your journey.
    I loved your workshop and have not looked at color in the same way since.
    There are no coincidences in life,,,,,,,,,,we are waiting for our white open concept kitchen, complete with white subway tile and quartz counter-tops to be installed today………imagine on your Birthday!!!!!
    Sending hugs to both you and to the Amazing Terreeia!!!
    Robin / Mark

  • Nancy says:

    Happy Birthday!
    I have read your blog for years, and was able to take your course last spring. I’ve always loved color, and your system has given me a way to categorize and understand it better.
    We recently did a major remodel, and your advice and class instruction helped me make it gorgeous! Hickory floors, white cabinets, white backsplash, simple white/grey counters. Even when contractors/sales people tried to get me to change to something more “interesting”, I knew to hold my ground. I smile every time I walk in there.
    With your large sample boards, I’ve been able to help friends make good paint choices. I have no desire to go into business, but it’s nice to have the knowledge to lend a hand when asked. Now if I could only walk the neighborhood without all the horrible color choices people have made jumping out at me…

  • Matilda says:

    Dear Maria, Happy birthday! Beyond the obvious you-taught-me-how-to-really-see-colour, the biggest lesson I’ve learned from your blog is that it’s possible to live life on your own terms, from who you love, to doing a very specific thing you love if you’re open to new ideas and work hard. Thanks, Maria!

  • Alana says:

    Happy Birthday, Maria! I have learned everything I know–worth knowing–about colour from you. I work in the paint department of a big box store and while I have colleagues who won’t help customers pick colours with a ten foot pole, you’ll hear me saying things like, “What colour is your floor? Or cabinets? or whatever.
    Because of your wonderful example, I have gone back to school to become an interior decorator–at 54!
    I do have one suggestion for that “to do” list, however. I believe you need to start “training Trainers”–people who can teach your workshops just like you do. You could take applications and do one “Masterclass” a year. Soon you’d have Maria Killam Colour System trainers everywhere.
    I hope you’ll think about it.

  • Irene says:


    It’s been a pleasure to watch you in your life since I first met you Some 12 years ago when we were in an advisory board together. I knew at that time you woukd succeed at whatever you did. You follow your heart and not what others think, you are a free thinker that believes in what you do. You value what means the most in life family. I always refer to you as my success story

    Keep being who you are. Never change. The world needs more people like you kind, loving, compassionate and takented

  • Pat says:

    I love all your advice.

  • Susan Besser says:


    I took your course 5 years ago in Toronto. Since then I have won two Tennessee ASID state awards. Because I was more aware of whites & their undertones I made better decisions on finishes for these projects. I am so grateful for the knowledge & wisdom you impart. Happy Birthday Maria!

  • mary says:

    Happy Birthday! Thanks to you, I am starting my interior decorating business, (slowly, still caring for my young children full time). I am working on my third project, and I have the confidence to tell my clients why to make a certain choice. The color workshop has really helped with everything. Thank you!

  • Laura says:

    Happy Birthday Maria! Since attending your workshop one year ago, my confidence in my design skills has greatly helped in my professional life as a kitchen designer, as well as personally. My husband and I recently purchased a rental house and have been doing mostly cosmetic changes (paint, flooring, countertops) People who see it are wowed by the transformation. It’s a great feeling knowing future tenants will enjoy their surroundings. Your blog, over the last 3 years I’ve been reading, has validated my feelings of classic timeless design over the current trend or fad over and over again and put those feelings into words that I preach every day at work now.

    I too, have caught myself comparing my life to the appearance of others in social media and blog posts. It’s so easy to do, especially when you’re feeling vulnerable. I remind myself that what people post online isn’t necessarily their real life. It is just a filtered moment in their life that they choose to edit before showing the world. Just like the beautiful shots in a magazine, heavily staged, edited and Photoshopped so the image is just right. Sometimes seeing them just makes me feel sad because my space will never be that beautiful. Then I realized, I rarely see radiators or ugly heat registers, or even lamp/tv/cable box cords! That room in that picture may not even exist in real life. Now I try to remember to embrace the imperfections and quirks of my home and my life, rather than compare.

  • Ruth M. says:

    Happy Birthday! We are looking for a new home in another state & one of your tips in particular has been very helpful. Walking into many model homes, we have been dazzled by all the glitzy furniture and surfaces. Your advice about sticking to one pattern in the kitchen “hit home” on our last trip. We went back to a model we had seen before. Instead of being dazzled by granite counter tops, patterned shiny backsplash, AND multi-toned wood flooring, I thought “wow, is this way too BUSY”! Thanks for your insight!

  • Kim says:

    Happy Birthday, Maria! Currently, I am at the “happiest place on earth” and now that I’ve read your blog for years and attended your three day Live Colour Workshop recently in Dallas, I would like to share that my complete kitchen remodel has made my mornings happier and calmer because of the big changes that were made. Also, I want to change a wall color in my kitchen after attending your workshop. As I’ve gone around Disneyland, I noticed that somebody got a pinky beige undertone floor tile matched well with a pinky beige wall color in one of their hotel breakfast areas! I have been looking at everything differently! (If anyone were celebrating their birthday at Disneyland, “they” would give the birthday person a birthday pin, and lots of Disney employees all around the park would share happy birthday greetings to them! 😉 My husband enjoyed celebrating his birthday here yesterday.) Wishing YOU a sweet celebration, a beautiful vacation and a wonderful year ahead!

  • Ginger Runnels says:

    Just finally meeting my color guru at the course in Charlotte made me so happy… You gave me and so many others Color Confidence! Thank you for your classic and timeless aesthetic- I say those words every day to my clients. Happy Birthday-
    You are the Best!

  • Helen says:

    Happy Birthday, Maria. Hope your day is extra special. The biggest thing I’ve learned from your posts is that to look at the undertones and make sure that they agree.
    Hope you have a fabulous day with all those you love.

  • Dona says:

    Happy Birthday Maria!!
    Without your concepts I would not have the courage to take on the large renovation my husband and I are planning. Thank you sooo much for making TIMELESS and CLASSIC trendy!

  • Mary-Illinois says:

    Happy Birthday! I’m sorry we couldn’t get together while you were in Chicago.
    My biggest take-away from your blog has been undertones. Back when I found you in 2008, I had never even heard of the concept that colors had undertones. And the idea of clean & dirty blew my mind. I’ve learned so much since the beginning & continue to do so.

  • Julie s says:

    Happy birthday! I have a budget that requires me to create my beautiful home using not much more than my brains, paint, fabric, elbow grease, and very inexpensive secondhand finds. (Thank goodness for a good eye and helpful decorating books on how to achieve a “look” which makes my goals possible!!) Your many blog posts on undertones have cracked the mystery of color harmony with neutrals and whites for me. I am 100% positive that you are responsible for bringing my home’s look to another level as I am able to see undertones and bring in the correct ones (or identify what’s off about it when I get it wrong). I may not be able to afford your color workshop in this season of life, but between your blog posts and eBooks your knowledge has lifted up my environment and provides me daily pleasure.

  • Gilda says:

    when, 2 yrs ago, i was having to build a home very close to my aging parents (during and after my husband died from cancer), I relied on all of the information from YOU that stuck in my head about color; I already had your books and took detailed notes so that I could lead my builder, not the other way around..and I was successful! I have the most ‘boring’ house around!!! it’s fabulous because of YOU

  • Gery S. says:

    Happy birthday, and thank you for the opportunity to say that, as a customer, I leaned from you that it is ok to want my surroundings to make me feel happy. That is a healthy type of selfishness. Also, that spending money on a designer is the best money spent on a home project.
    Congratulations on being a Questioner/Rebel too.

  • Katherine says:

    Dear Maria

    You have been a huge part of my life since one day in 2009, when I found your blog. You helped me understand why the travertine and blotchy granite with a pink undertone were all wrong for my fireplace and bathroom counters. The contractor was so gobsmacked that I wanted white cabinets! Nobody was doing white cabinets. Thanks to your blog, your generosity in taking the time to respond to my emails, and your ebooks, I was able to make wiser choices with confidence, and that remodel turned out lovely. Now, nine years later, we moved into our dream retirement home last week. We were required by the builder to choose every finish for this home within a two week time period, before we broke ground. No changes allowed afterward. It was nearly effortless! Like you, I live in the PNW, where almost all of my neighbors have dark wood stained kitchens and black or busy countertops. I was afraid my husband would want the same, but he said “nope, you have convinced me that I want something absolutely timeless, since this is the forever house”. I purchased your renovation ecourse, and specified sw incredible white walls, sw pure white trim and kitchen cabinets along with an off white beveled subway tile, ebony stained cabinets in the bathrooms, and off white quartz counters throughout. The floors are medium brown Hickory. Bathroom floors have 2 inch white hex tile. Master shower is floor to ceiling subway tile. Alas, we were only offered stacked stone as a fireplace option, so we chose a very light grey engineered stone with subtle caramel highlights, after re-reading your post about the most timeless fireplace stone. I want to do color in this house, and was afraid I would pick a stone that would violate the clean vs dirty rule, but bright colors look great with the stone! We also had to specify 2 exterior paint colors, exterior stone, trim color, and stain finish for timbers (its a contemporary craftsman).

    The compliments on our finish choices just keep coming!

    I could never, ever have accomplished this without your teachings. I am actually a veterinarian, now retired, and friends ask me for color advice all the time. I didn’t even know I had an eye for it, until I found your blog. I have helped several friends avoid costly design mistakes by advising them on choosing paint and hard finishes.

    We have hired a designer to help us select art and furnishings. I will send you some pictures of our new home after it is furnished and styled.

    Thank you ever so much, Maria!

  • Robyn Stearns says:


    Happy birthday. My two girlfriends and I love your blog. When we are talking about decorating we always refer back to you. Our favorite saying is “Maria wouldn’t like this!” lol You’ve personnally really helped me to realize what you are married to while decorating and what your’e not married to. Your advice on hard finishes such as tile, countertops, flooring all of which are difficult to change often has really helped me. Also understanding undertones has made a huge difference in how I see things. Thank you for your contribution in the decorating world!!!

  • Robyn says:

    Happy Birthday! I first discovered you several years ago when I was Googling what paint colors would coordinate best with my “orange blast” kitchen from the 1990’s. The new paint color helped, but there’s really not much that can be done with a kitchen that has both floors AND cabinets in that intense yellow-orange tone. I just hate it. I’m now ready to re-do the kitchen, and I rediscovered you and your wisdom just in the nick of time!
    As I began to read more of your blogs and posts, I realized that you have been able to articulate something that I’ve believed and worried about for a long time: steer away from trendy colors and fixed finishes at all costs, unless you want to be completely out-of-style within 10 years or less. I am guilty of this crime, and it has always bothered me. I feel like you have given me permission (and plenty of good reasons) to avoid the trendy, and it’s such a relief!
    I’ve searched far and wide for concrete examples of timeless vs trendy colors and finishes, and you are the only one who really seems to understand the value of timeless design and what that means. I am so grateful. I was literally weeks away from restaining my “orange blast” floor a beautiful brownish-gray, but I know better now, and it’s going to be a beautiful neutral medium brown instead! I’m struggling a little bit with picking the perfect white glass subway tile that will coordinate with the new linen-white cabinets, but I purchased your ebooks about understanding whites and undertones and I’m ready to figure it out!
    Happy Birthday!

  • Anne Wilbur says:

    Maria, your business has helped me make my home beautiful! That’s HUGE because when my home is beautiful, I feel at peace. It’s not about having things; it’s about beauty and peace, which are strongly affected by color and design. And your books and blogs and online courses have helped me learn A LOT about color and design. So, thank you, and happy birthday!

  • What a beautiful way to celebrate, to find out how you have helped others! Teaching me how to understand color by seeing undertones has made a huge impact on my life. Just the knowledge has increased my joy when seeing color, which is. of course, all the time. Maybe that’s hard to quantify in numbers, but it certainly has enhanced my life every single day.

    Your ongoing blog posts continue to introduce more nuances of understanding that I find simply fascinating. Thank you for your commitment to sharing your knowledge.

    Wishing you a very happy birthday and enjoy your lovely vacation!

  • Happy Birthday Neighbour!
    Gosh, how do I summarize what your work has done for me?
    Overall, I’d say it gave me confidence to create beautiful homes for my interior design clients, to stick with the design plan I’ve created for them and to let them know WHY it works! Hence they trust me and the results rock!!
    Thank you form the bottom of my heart, for all you do and for who you are!

  • Deb says:

    Your blog saved me thousands of dollars and a lot of effort. Your advice to use samples with fixed elements before committing to a new color showed me the new wall color I wanted would have made all of my 2o+window blinds look dirty-not a good look. Turns out the same wall color had to be used, so I lightened the ceiling to brighten the rooms. Voila, very happy with results. Thank you so much.

  • Patti says:

    Happy Birthday! I have been slowly working on the interior color scheme of our newly built home with Maria’s help. Instead of constantly second guessing myself and spending relentless hours online searching for the perfect paint color, I’ve turned over this task to Maria and her team! It is finally coming together and is money very well spent.

  • Kelly Parkinson says:

    You hired me! Your sweet design assistant 😉 This month we celebrate my 2 year work anniversary, June 2016. You have given me my dream job that I had been painfully searching for way too long. You have helped guide me to live a life full of possibility and transformation that I am truly proud of. So THANK YOU! I will always look up to you! With love, Kelly xoxoxo

  • Mira says:

    Happy Birthday, Maria!!
    I’ve learned so much reading your blog for about 8 years now but one thing that sticks with me is that “boring” is usually timeless. Thank you for all you share!

  • Molly says:

    Hi Maria — Happy Birthday! I took your class last year in Chicago. At the time I was getting ready to retire after 34 years working for the U.S. government, sell our family home of 28 years, and move to Maine where we are having our new family dream home built on the coast. You, your class, and blog have given me more confidence and vision as I have taken each of those huge steps in my life. In my retirement I am hoping to find something new to do that taps into the creative side of personality — maybe a blog about the house build and life in Maine? The specific skills I learned in your class enabled me to prep our house for sale. I was grateful to have concrete guidance to fall back on during a time that was very difficult emotionally. And now I am using those same skills as I make the millions of decisions about finishes for our new house. It is going to be an amazing home! Thank you! I know you will march boldly into this new year!

  • Brooke says:

    Happy Birthday! Thank you for all of the knowledge Maria! For sure I would have purchased charcoal paint for my cabinets instead of white and since I have your ebooks, I knew I needed an off-white. There are so many other things I have learned and I look at design a whole different way now.

  • Diane says:

    The best thing is photos of your family and the love that you share!

  • Stephanie says:

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY! Your class and writings have flat out given me CONFIDENCE. I can’t believe that people are wowed by my color expertise and refer me to other people who may need my help! I would not have this confidence without learning about undertones from you. Thank you, have a fabulous year!

  • Jena says:

    Happy Birthday, Maria!! We completely renovated and refreshed every single part of a shabby 1250 sq. ft. house. We expected to stay there for a long time but sold it after two years with a net gain of $30,000. It was gorgeous. Your insight and advice made tough decisions easier and they came out better. Everything in the house flowed. I’m in contact with the owners two years later and they still love it. Thank you for all you do and for following your heart!!


  • Rae says:

    Hi Maria, I love in New Zealand and we decorate quite differently to Canada and the USA. But the basics of colour remain the same. I work as a Colour Consultant, mostly in new builds, and enjoy your like minded way of describing colour and the nuances of undertones. I have even shared some articles of yours to help to prove my point. Keep up the good work and enjoy your milestone birthday.

  • Kathi Steele says:

    Maria, HAPPY BIRTHDAY! Thank you for your blog and for all of your ideas that you have shared with all of us lovelies!!
    We renovated our kitchen 3 years ago….has it really been that long?? Because of you (and my sister and my husband) I was able to find my voice and insist on having a white kitchen. I had collected pictures from Southern Living magazines from the early 80’s on. When we renovated, I pulled all of them out and my husband and I started a story board….thank you for that advice! He was on board and did not try to over ride any of my decisions, he just wanted to understand them!! Which was fine.
    We did our whole kitchen using the same footprint and my husband doing the demo, for $32,000. I have custom cabinets, a new 10″ bar instead of a kitchen table, a not in the middle of the kitchen 4′ desk area, a smaller island so you can walk around, a range hood, a countertop microwave (because I am short), Cambria countertops in the kitchen and Formica Argento Romano on the bar, etc. etc. etc.
    I chose to make all of the hard scapes in white and use color for the accents, which I can change whenever the wind blows!!
    I found pictures on line for which I was able to find reasonable replacements….EF Chapman Grosvenor lighting at $1800 was out of my price range but the ELK Chadwick lighting at $690 substituted nicely!
    But, because of you, I was able to see what I wanted in that space and I was able to make the substitution and not feel like I had to sacrifice.
    So, thank you for all you do for us and I hope you and Terreeia have a wonderful vacation.

  • Wendy says:

    From you, Maria, like so many others, I’ve learned to see colour with a more informed and educated eye. I can now see the undertones in neutrals and feel confident choosing colour and when I get it wrong, I can see why. Plus, you’ve been a great model for how to become an expert in something very specific by staying focussed on in, continuing to learn, blog and create about it. Happy birthday and thank you!

  • Deb says:

    Happy Birthday, Maria!

    Your blog has taught me so much about how to choose paint and colors for everything in design. My house is WAY better for your influence and I have some remodeling underway and because of the color boards I purchased from you, it is going to turn out PERFECT! Thank you for making the world a more beautiful place and saving me from mistakes.

  • Jo Galbraith says:

    Happy Birthday Maria! I took your True Color Expert training in 2014 but I continue to learn so much from you thanks to your wonderful blog posts. This helped me so much when I designed and built my house 2 years ago. I have all white fixed elements in my kitchen and bathroom and I couldn’t be happier! Whenever I feature my simple white kitchen on Instagram @jogalbraithathome I get so many positive comments and I really have to give YOU the credit for teaching me all about colour! In fact, I think my white kitchen is what has grown my account! So thank you for continuing to inspire us with your talent and hard work!

  • Diane says:

    Happy Birthday Maria! You’ve taught me undertones, classic finishes and to understand when something is trendy. I am looking forward to see a blog post on your bathroom renovations. Enjoy your upcoming vacation!

  • Emily says:

    Reading your posts and following your Instagram has taught me 1) there is a lot for me to learn about color, but 2) I’m already learning from you and have more confidence in the color choices I make. I really appreciate that you share your knowledge freely through social media platforms and your blog. I think it just helps people and if anything makes more people want to do your workshops. It’s helpful, and it’s also great advertising. Thank you!

  • Lindy says:

    Happy Birthday Maria!!!! I only subscribe to one blog….yours. I just love it and I am not even a homeowner, but just appreciate great design, innovative thinkers, and people who do what they do so well….you have my admiration. I am a landscape designer, and I can tell you that your gardens and landscaping are very well done and I have enjoyed watching it evolve. The best part….it brings you joy. That’s everything. And just keep doing what you do…..we are all loving it!!!!

  • Debbie says:

    Happy Birthday!

    Clean vs. dirty . I always knew there was something about some colors not working together but I didn’t know why. You clean vs. dirty posts were the aha moment where I understood why.

  • Nancy Andreano says:

    I just completed the complete
    Renovation and 2 story addition to my 1950 Cape Cod and it would not be as beautiful, timeless and casually elegant inside and out without your assistance! I not only purchased your paint samples, but also a couple of your online programs and re-read your blogs on choosing hard fixtures every time I would start to go too trendy. Thank you and know that I’m spreading the word! Happy Birthday! Would attach photos but don’t know how!

  • Cynthia says:

    Have a blessed and Happy Birthday!!!
    As on your Oct 20 2012 blog you inspired me to paint my oak cupboards white. Still love them all these years later!
    Just recently we did a mini renovation and had a sunken living room leveled. Best part, as inspired by Maria, all the flooring on the entire first floor is a mid tone brown -vinyl plank. I love it!
    My home is becoming, classic, timeless and exactly what I love, all thanks to Maria and her amazing information. I no longer fall for trends, I am much more aware of color and love the changes we have made inspired by Maria!
    I continue to be your groupie LOL

  • Laurel says:

    Happy birthday!! I have learned so much from your blog and Instagram posts. Your best lessons to me are: don’t be afraid to love color and use the colors you love in your home, classic SEEMS boring but is beautiful, and find your voice ( your writing style is like I can hear you in my head as I read the posts) thank you ?❤️

  • Char says:

    Happy Birthday Maria!! You’re my favourite blog to read. I’m excited when I see your name in my mail box. I’m not a professional decorator but I love home design and decorating – always have since I used to sew curtains and bedding accessories as a pre-teen in the sixties. I love that I can relate to where you call home as well, having lived in a nearby city for several years and calling BC home although I’ve lived in other provinces. I’m disappointed though that I didn’t come across your blog until after we built our retirement home on the Sunshine Coast. I think I may have made some mistakes. I won’t know for sure until we return to Canada after a 2-year stint in Australia and I can walk through my home with ‘new Maria eyes’!! I knew about colour undertones from a colour course I took but the information you share is so much more in depth and interesting. I learned from you that I like bright not dirty colours. I may have to lure you and Terreeia to the Sunshine Coast for a weekend to help me take my home from ‘nice’ to ‘WOW’!
    Can’t wait to read about your Italy trip. I think you’re going to love it!

  • Sandi says:

    Maria, Happy Birthday! I’ve learned so many helpful things from you, both on your blog, in your ebooks and through the several online consultations, it’s hard to pick just one. For me personally, I think the biggest revelation was in your first e-consult where you said “What you need most is contrast.” At that moment I realized I had been afraid of contrast not only in design, but in wardrobe and many other aspects of my life… “Blending in” had been my thing. No more! Ever since I transformed my overly woody great room instantly with a creme/black geometric Moroccan shag rug you suggested, I’ve been expressing myself more confidently using contrast at home, in dress and in the workplace, and it feels so good! As a longtime realtor I’ve always been aware that color and decor influences the energy and appeal of a room. With your generous wisdom, I understand more of the “how” and “why”. I will literally interrupt anything going on in my day to read a blog post from you, and if it’s really juicy and I’m too busy, I look forward to savoring it that later evening. You rock. Thank you for sharing your awesomeness! And thank your mama too!

  • Catherine says:

    Happy Birthday, Maria. I love your honest voice and your commmitment to what works for you. I love that you haven’t succumbed to a formula. When I started reading your blog I “knew” I didn’t like certain things in my house. I thought I had to start over with everything. Thankfully, you proved me wrong. As we look for a new house to move to, I find that I can very easily evaluate what the priorities would be for any work / improvements / reno. I had a real estate agent tell me hat it was so refreshing to hear someone say “it’s mostly needs just paint.” Here’s to being in your 50’s and fabulous!

    • Catherine says:

      Hmmmm … replying to myself. I know you’ve committed to your formula of understanding undertones, etc. My comment referenced the fact that you don’t seem to be following the formula of other bloggers – who often appear to be trying too hard and not delivering half of the meaningful content you do. It all starts to look so pre-packaged and fake. You remain an original!

  • Suze says:

    First of all HAPPY Birthday!!

    Second of all I have learned to embrace color and neutrals alike because it is about choosing the right undertone. My home is so much more cohesive!

  • Corinne says:

    Happy Birthday! The one thing you have helped me do is move forward. I could not for the life of me decide what colour to paint the walls in my new home. I had them painted Oxford White by Ben Moore until I could decide. I spent hours on Houzz and Pinterest looking for the perfect wall colour. It wasn’t until I found your blog that I realized I was going about it all wrong. Your online E-Design called “Save Me From Myself” was the perfect solution! Now I have a plan and I can move forward and enjoy my home. I wish I had found out about you sooner! Enjoy your upcoming holiday, Cheers!

  • Durf says:

    Get a gray paint color for my living room with a green undertone – Edgewood Grey.

  • Annie T says:

    Reading your blog for years helped me have the confidence to do a (very inexpensive) update of my 1943 tiny powder room. I also had the knowledge to keep the permanent fixtures white. The floor has white tiny tiles which I left as is. I painted the vanity light grey, got a Carrera marble remnant for the countertop with a small undermount white porcelain sink. I Painted the medicine cabinet to match the vanity. Replaced the toilet. Installed a $14 pleated white paper window shade. And – painted all the walls including the yucky tile that went 2/3 of the way up a fresh white. It looks like a completely new room – and we spent just a few hundred dollars. People complement it all the time. It looks so pulled together! I added terracotta towels and some art work that brings in that color. It is simply transformed. I know that if I want to switch to blue – I can just get new towels and art work. And all of this is thanks to you Maria. I knew what to do and how to approach it. I knew I could keep the medicine cabinet if I painted out the wood. I knew to stick to white . I knew to accent with color but to repeat the color within the space.
    Sending many thanks! Now – – onto the master bath and bedroom.

  • Ellen Shook says:

    Happy Birthday! I love Spain, so I am rather jealous. I have found a lot in your blog over the years that has reinforced my own thinking about color. I am 20 years older than you and a retired designer and former blogger. I am also definitely, solidly in the rebel category, having always gone my own way. I will have to check out Gretchen Rubin’s book.

  • Susan Flynn says:

    Happy Birthday Maria!

    I’m a newbie to the world of Color by Maria. I have read (some of) your blogs, downloaded your ebooks and have started trying to learn. It’s fun and SO useful, but also takes time. Since I’m about to start two renovations, my birthday present to you will be buying eDesign packages to help me through it until I’ve learned enough to do it on my own! It is such a stress reliever to have this option and to feel confident about it. If only I had met you before I bought those two Ivory (wrong undertone) chairs ugh… 🙂

  • Dawn says:

    Your course is exactly what I needed to give me knowledge, confidence and attitude! I never wanted to run my own business as I wanted someone else to take the ownership for all the decisions….. but, I have taken your course twice and would take it again as it changes as I change and as life changes.
    I confidently take my colour boards to homes and I KNOW when I walk in the door where we are going to go but have to spin it out for the hour! YOU have done that!
    Please don’t take on a brand as it will change you. You are an educator without bias – so appreciated!
    I do approx 3 – 5 colour consults a week, not a lot but every place has it’s own spin and I never get tired of going through my boards to find the right fit for each home.
    I just completed a set of design boards for an 80 unit complex and the boards are amazing, people are following the set ups that we did at the flooring store….they are not completed with labels etc but the colours clearly were all meant to be together.
    I cannot thank you enough for your passion, your dedication and honesty that cuts through the time wasting ego saving stuff that most people feel necessary to express.

    My very best wishes for a very Happy Birthday!!!

  • Nicola says:

    Happy Birthday Maria! You’ve not only equipped me to make colour decisions with a ‘why’ involved (another ‘questioner’ here I think – can’t manage without ‘whys’), but you keep inspiring me to follow my own version of the colour and design dream. I’m so glad I found you 🙂

  • Monica says:

    Happy Birthday Maria!
    I hope to atttend your colour workshop in the Fall!
    I babysat my grandson all day – exhausted ha ha!
    Your blog and online colour courses have helped me as we renovate
    our Harvey flooded home in Houston – a shout out to Kelly too:)

  • Sunny says:

    Happy Birthday!
    Number One: Your amazing undertones system. I’ve always had a good eye for picking colors but never had the explanation of why and would make some mistakes with my eyes (and teensy color chips) here and there. Now, along with your color boards, I am fully confident in choices for other clients and know how to explain the why.
    Number Two: Your classic/timeless aesthetic. As someone who also loves this look, I am always praising Amens to all of your “common sense” suggestions and strong opinions on what looks good and doesn’t. And of course, always having the why all of your choices are right. It’s helped me find my own voice of explaining whys to clients too which I never had before.
    Number Three: Your no nonsense and getting right to the meat if the matter approach. You cut through so much fluff and get right to the solution. It’s what makes you so outstanding. And so good at what you do.

    There’s so much more but I just want to thank you for all you’ve taught me, and look forward to many more years of your blog!

  • happy birthday to you!
    You have taught me so much in the online training and using the color boards. I almost get it right everytime for my house but I’m a work in progress.

  • Deb says:

    Happy Birthday! I turned 50 this year. I learned that I still have a lot to learn about myself, even after all these years. The tendencies book sounds interesting! You and your blog helped me to choose exterior paint colors so that I now love the exterior of my house. For 13 years, I did not like it. That’s sad for an expensive house, for so many years. I learned about colors and undertones, and I accounted for what the color looks like in spring and summer with green leaves all around, and winter with blah brown or white snow all around. I feel happy when we drive up to our house now. I’ll soon be painting our kitchen cabinets, accounting for the honey oak floor and trim that already exists. I feel much more competent at choosing colors that will work. Thank you!!!

  • You helped me choose what color to paint my front door! THANK YOU SO MUCH!

  • Teresa says:

    Happy birthday Maria! Your blog has taught me so much about undertones and good design. I purchased your renovation ebook and that has given me much more confidence with clients. Especially when they are convinced they want the lastest trend instead of timeless finishes. Thank you!!

  • Robin says:

    First—Happiest of Birthdays to you!! Hoping you enjoyed your special day:)
    You changed my world that’s what you did. I’ve always been particular about color and design but you make me really think. And compare, compare, compare. Because of your advice I was able to create a pretty and functional, timeless and classic laundryroom while tying in existing cherry cabinets. Thank you for that. And thank you for all the amazing e books and courses too. I’m always so excited to learn and grow. Have the best day Maria.

  • Karen M says:

    Happy Birthday! Finding & reading your blog confirmed for me that the color I was having my oak kitchen cabinets painted was the right white! And also confirmed that the rest of the kitchen redesign, including NOT putting in accent tiles in the backsplash, but instead using a marble subway tile, was what I needed to do. Basically, my instincts were right, so thank you! Glad I’m not the only one greatly influenced by color.

  • Michi says:

    Many happy returns Maria!

    You have saved me tons of money on bad paint decisions! And even more important than that, I am working on loving my environment… decorating in ways that make me happy. I am 60+, on a limited budget, but I am slowly changing out what doesn’t make me feel light.

    Thank you!

  • Lauren says:

    Stumbling across your blog was a beautiful day for me in two ways. First, I found comfort that there is someone else out there who cares as much as I do about color, being such a perfectionist about it and realizing how significant color plays in the way a space feels (with lighting a close second). Going back to 1994 when I purchased my first flat in San Francisco I hired a designer. She admitted she wasn’t confident choosing wall colors and since the bid to paint the entire flat was quite high, we hired the best color consultant firm at the time. A palette was proposed which included yellow based neutrals (this was the 90’s). One color selected for the dining room was a sophisticated looking neutral but it was a pink-beige. My gut knew it wasn’t right but I didn’t know why and expressed my concern to the designer who suggested “we trust the professionals” and go with it. The day after the paint went up my designer called with a “I’m so sorry” tone in her voice and offered to pay to have it repainted. Over the years and moving several times I was tortured with color selection and the labor of repainting when it didn’t turn out as I imagined. Finding Maria’s system of undertones was like discovering the Rosetta stone. Really! It’s simplified my life. Thank you Maria!

  • Mid America Mom says:

    Happy B-Day!
    I am sitting in my kitchen at the table in-between work tasks as I write this. Glancing around I see what I created and in my mind hear you. The dominate trees that I see through the uncovered patio doors go perfectly with our medium green dining chairs (outside colors/light influences inside), my touches of beloved red (use your favorite color – be happy), the modern high gloss kitchen in white and blue that is a work in progress. On our new carrera laminate counter (that stone look is classic) I see our backsplash and flooring choices of the moment. Thin plank wood in various shades of brown and a whitish gray wood look LVP. “Trendy. You will grow tired of it ” and I have learned enough to know it is true and also what that means if we indeed go with them- an update in the future. All is not lost! We need paint but waiting (paint is last). 🙂

  • Karen says:

    Happy Happy Birthday – I am sure you notice we fit better in our skin after 50 – it is another way of saying we truly no longer have to give a damn about what others think, especially if we don’t agree.

    What you have taught me? – classic and straightforward is timeless and elegant – and it goes for PEOPLE as well as decor.

    Have a wonderful trip – you will be with two loves in your life.

  • Vanessa says:

    I’m an Upholder! Your wish is my command.

    I think what you have done for me is to clarify that different whites don’t necessarily look good next to each other. That the easiest thing to do with a house is pick one white for the whole house and go from there. I have recently been to a house where the creamy white of the kitchen ended as it turned the corner and then became a grayish white down the rest of the hall. I might have thought “hmmn” before but now I think “hmmn, the designer should have specified the creamy white throughout.” It seems so simple to say that, but I honestly didn’t know that prior to reading your blog. So thanks, and happy birthday Maria.

  • Fra Na says:

    Timing was perfect, I found you just before we built our retirement home. I went back and read every entry from the beginning. Medium brown wood floors, white cabinets and trim, white subway tile, marble bathrooms, solid black granite kitchen counter, the perfect colors for our things, ideas for art and decorating he mantel, …. Thank you so much for helping guide me to a harmonious happy home.
    Happy Birthday

  • Jane Beard says:

    We had to renovate our bathroom our to a plumbing emergency and we did NOT go trendy. We stayed white. And the same values of white (which is hard) with a gray that went with it. You told us the order of trades that we had to have in and when and that we needed to account for lighting WAY earlier than we thought. It’s gorgeous, functional and an oasis that makes me happy every single time I walk in. And lord KNOWS what it would have looked like without you. You are a goddess in human form, and you DO make people happier all the time. HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

  • Mary Beth says:

    Happy Birthday, Maria. Your blog has taught me that a good designer is worth her weight in gold! And timeless beats trendy every time!

  • Debbie Vendetti says:

    Happy belated birthday Maria! Hoping for my friend Linda and I to be able to see you the end of September for your Color Workshop. I have been anxiously waiting for a year and a half or so. Excited!! What you have done for me is with your knowledge and expertise of color and your passion and how you share your knowledge, it’s given me an excitement and hope for me to pursue the talent and artistic ability God has given me. I’m eager to learn and grow. Art has always been something that fulfills me. I appreciate and enjoy the beauty that others create. Looking forward to seeing you in the fall. Have a wonderful time at the Amalfi coast in Italy, country that my mother and ancestors are from. Best wishes!!

  • Kimberly Wright says:

    I’m sorry this comment is belated. I hope you had a lovely day celebrating your birthday! I may have written you last year or at some point, but I have updates and I often think of you with gratefulness, so thanks for the invitation to share.

    I had been a stay-at-home-mom for 17 years, homeschooling our 6 children for 10 of those, when I flew to Toronto (first time out of the US by myself) to take your course. A year prior you, through your blog, had helped me through a major kitchen renovation and I was so grateful and inspired. Although I had gone to school to teach elementary school, my passion has always been interior design- I just hadn’t had the confidence to pursue it at 18 because I didn’t feel I could draw well enough. I saw your course as my ticket into the design field without the (impossible) task of going back to school for a design degree.

    Your course set me on a path- it gave me the confidence to pursue that passion for design I never dreamed I’d be able to. Also, watching your business grow has been an inspiration for me- I love how you don’t hesitate to share your failures along the way to where you are now. Your “realness” made me not afraid to fail. In the 6 years since taking your course I went from doing word-of-mouth color consultations, to getting a job in marble and granite sales, to going back to school and getting a certificate in Kitchen and Bath Design, to getting a job as a kitchen designer this past January- at 47 years old. I still want to pinch myself every day! I love what I do and I credit you and your course for giving me the initial confidence. From the bottom of my heart and most sincerely, thank you so much, Maria!

  • Tara says:

    Helped me do? How about STOPPED me from doing? I’ve been battling the beige/white fight forever and reading everything you’ve written has stopped me from picking the wrong beige AGAIN! (Just can’t get on the gray train.) I still haven’t decided what to do with our family room and knowing I could be making a huge mistake has forced me to question all of my choices at this point. Couch color, chair color, curtains, walls. Will it go with the adjoining kitchen? Will it work with the dining room and living room even though they’re a bit separated? My husband thinks I’ve lost my mind but I’m evaluating everything before deciding on anything. And that’s a good thing. Happy belated birthday and happy travels!

  • Martha Yong says:

    Hi Marie
    I’m from Malaysia and this is my first comment. Happy Birthday and may all your wishes come true. I’ve been reading your blog for a long time and it’s refreshing and inspirational. I’m not a fan of so much white in the house but still I love reading your blog. Thank You.

  • Kai Jones says:

    Because of your advice, I am sitting on a navy-blue leather couch that makes my heart sing. It is my favorite color, and goes with everything I already own. I bought it used a week ago to replace a pair of chairs that were my only seating (divorce a year ago, ex-husband got most of the living room furniture). I had the courage to buy a blue leather couch because of you! Thank you Maria.

  • Maria, I can’t begin to tell you the confidence you gave me by me attending your class. I know for sure I went from charging $65/hour and (sometimes not charging friends at all) to charging $125/hour! I’m so much more confident and secure in what I do for a living…and doing what I love. Thanks to you and Happy Birthday!

  • Kirsten Pool says:

    I love your blog and have faithfully followed it for many years. The best part is your clear and simple explanation of the “why” your color/art/decor/hard finish selections. Some of the most valuable posts for me discussed exterior trim colors for orange brick. The post on black windows and how they need high contrast also very valuable for my friend. I truly appreciate Tricia’s art background and how she ties that in with her posts. Thank you for having highly qualified people work with you! I think your general advice to ask yourself “would they have done this when the house was built?” is also of tremendous value when considering updates and renovations. I love that you do not have a lot of sponsored content. Sometimes those are OK but mostly not. I think it would be fabulous if you could get your understanding undertones system in a series of coordinating paints that somehow made it easy for a homeowner to make foolproof selections. But its not necessary. Please continue with the fabulous work!

  • Lauren says:

    Happy Birthday! Your courses and blog helped me feel confident in my decisions as I renovated my kitchen in my new house. White cabinets, white ‘marble look’ quartz counters and medium toned wood floor. I thought it would be so boring at first, but now when I walk into a clean, bright kitchen I just feel relief, it’s like a zen moment in our house! I’m currently deciding our exterior paint color scheme and did not feel confident in my color picks, but I purchased your exterior color course, found out I was on the right track with my picks and now I have a few to test and choose from. I know I’ve picked the color – green gray – that will make our hideous orange/brown shingle roof look the best it can! Thank you for all your help!

  • Lisa L says:

    Maria, happy belated birthday! Someone spoke a word from God into my life about 25 years ago. They said God was bringing me out of a black and white world into a world of color. I took that to mean emotionally/psychologically at the time, based on some things from my past. I didn’t know it also meant literally. All I can say is that my life has been inwardly transformed in many ways since then, and also outwardly. Much of it has been getting into the design industry, which I love. But the color part, that was from you!!! After following your blog for several years, I had an inner prompting to take your class, even though it meant flying across the country to where your next class was taking place. I am now doing color consulting and trying to grow my little business. But the main thing is, I love it, I love color, I love your system and it has changed me to know what I’ve learned through you and to help others enjoy their homes as much as I do. All through you!! Thank you.

  • Cheryl says:

    Have a great vacation in España! I lived in Madrid as an American teenager and loved every minute of it. We are currently building our home to retire in. It’s a semi-custom in a lakeside community. After hearing you speak as a podcast guest, I found your blog. Going to the builders design center, armed with a large whiteboard, I had so much more confidence when selecting from their minimal options. Of the THREE wall color choices, it was easy to choose the one with cream, with yellow beige undertone. All white kitchen cabinets, white quartz countertops(“No, I do not want the gray veining like everyone else loves, I need something to tie in with the light tan(yellow beige undertone) floor tiles”). They pushed the fancy, EXPENSIVE, back splash. “Nope, give me white subway, I’ll add my own color with accessories” THANK YOU for giving me the confidence to choose simple finishes. After seeing so many new homes with the dark wood floors, dark cabinets, glass mosaic brown backsplash, I KNOW I am going to be thrilled with my new home, #killamstyle

  • Claire says:

    Maria, I hope you had a lovely birthday. I don’t read your blog every day, so I missed your request for comments, but here is mine a few days late!

    Thank you for all your writing about color! I just started a new job at a framing shop. Coming from an industry where I was always very much behind-the-scenes and not involved in design decisions, this new role where I am helping clients make the right color and texture decisions for their artwork has been challenging for me. Reading your blog has helped me gain confidence in helping my customers put together a perfectly framed piece. I still have a lot to learn (and will continue reading as I plan to buy and decorate my first home soon!), but I want to know how helpful your writing has been in this new phase of my career.

  • Nancy says:

    Thank you for sharing all of your helpful advice. I bought and enjoyed your ebooks.
    I know understand how undertones affect decorating choices. I also appreciate your support of those of us who like neutral decor and consider it peaceful and not boring. Happy Birthday!

  • I’m tardy reading this, but wanted to reply anyway. I was in the process of creating my own color consulting business near Kansas City when I came across your blog over eight years ago. The timing couldn’t have been better! You became my role model and inspiration!!! THANK YOU! I’m nearly 65, and also spent those years as a family caregiver. I’ve never had the drive or focus you have. Now I’m widowed, and my business is in the background, but it still brings me joy. I love helping people feel better about their homes.

  • Joanne says:

    Maria, long overdue response. I have been following you for about 7 years and I have learned so much from you. I have your books, your boards, and your online courses. You had me hooked with your passion for white cabinets, as I have always loved white cabinets) It’s hard to separate what I learned this particular year, but I think the lesson that resonates most with me is the importance of color, how a modest home can look fabulous with the judicious use of color (and conversely a very expensive home can look just okay if color is ignored). What I appreciate most is that you make beautiful living possible for anyone willing to learn. By the way, I was doubly hooked after reading White is Complicated, as it taught me a method to avoid the great sofa disaster of 1989 – one I had to wait about twelve years to correct.

  • Candice Hill says:

    Hi, Maria..You gave me confidence to try new things! I was wallowing in a sea of mismatched whites! I would choose what I thought was the right white, which would be wrong, til I finally let you sink into my psyche. I would pick paint colors that I thought would work, without comparison, which has completely changed the way I look at things. It took awhile to get out of my bad habits, but I think I’m finally getting there. I practiced a lot in my last house, and feel confident in my new one, to begin any rejuvenating. I’m even not so worried about if things are not coordinated, just knowing why has been such a relief. Love you, Candy ?

  • I’ve been torn forever about my kitchen. It’s smaller and darker but was newly renovated before we bought it (with finishes clearly picked by a builder not a designer, you know how it goes). The backsplash tile is just a short accent brick colored glass that clashes with the deep cherry stained cabinets. But the cherry actually looks good and hides dirt far better than white would, and it’d be SO expensive to refinish them in a way that would hold up (and I hate DIY and hate chipped paint that I never bother touching up). Thankfully the granite countertops are a nice not too busy black and blue-gray speckle I quite like.

    So… I made a Maria plan! I spent about $400 USD on a curtain valance in a Dwell fabric with a blue gray background and a bit of rust and charcoal in the pattern to tie together the cherry with the granite. Eventually I am going to get a tile guy to take out the cheap looking brick-glass backsplash and replace it with clean white subway tile that goes all the way up to the ceiling, so I can splash and make messes fret-free and so can my kids. ( I ran out of project mojo after I had a baby, but I’m gearing up to get the tile work done sometime this calendar year. Before an eventual second baby, so I can actually enjoy it sooner rather than later!)

    This decision saved me money and was loads easier to make after reading your blog for many years. And to think, I thought I didn’t like decorative balances and didn’t think this window needed one! It looks much better now aside from the part where it ties colors together.

    Your blog also helped me think about scale when I had to replace my kitchen faucet and I did a bar height instead of the full-size one because the area we’re putting it wouldn’t handle the extra height and it wouldn’t have looked out of proportion. (but for faucet style tips I went elsewhere because we have really different styles and I wanted the best of the best so I got a Dornbracht. But your blog helped me avoid getting an all black faucet that wouldn’t have blended well with the rest of the fixed elements in my kitchen; there’s some black but it “disappears” more in the appliances and the trendy black faucet would have stuck out in a bad way.)

    Oh yeah, And your blog helped me very much in choosing the right color blue for the exterior of our home to not clash with our fixed pinkish mid century brick. And making sure it was a different enough value that it stood out from the neighbors’ home which is also blue and brick.

    So yeah, you’ve helped a ton! My next Maria tasks are painting the unremarkable, mottled, dirty toned brick fireplace a clean white or pale gray ( I am one of those women that has trouble painting over brick or wood on principle but I finally realized it really just doesn’t look good even though it’s original, and I read another blog Vintage Revivals that told me an easy way to refinish brick if you don’t like the paint so I feel like I have a possibility of reversing the decision now by using a Dremel which had never occurred to me before. So that option helped me get over the commitment phobia of painting brick.)

    Last thing is that I’ll finally paint our original fake cherry stained fir trim to match the walls because it’ll look so much cleaner and less busy. But first I have to find a magical primer that prevents the need to strip and sand it all because ugh.

    And next after THAT will be following your advice to hire a proper landscape designer but the $ for that is way down the road.

    Thanks a million for all your help!

    • Valances, not balances! Also I forgot to say that I decided to replace my kitchen/back door with one that has a giant glass panel to let in more natural light. Doing that was way cheaper than refinishing the dark cabinets and it helps loads with making them feel less heavy.

      That’s less of a Maria tip but I’m not sure I would have come up with ANY of these ideas without your blog causing me to rethink things differently!

  • Happy Belated Birthday, Maria!

    I can’t tell you (but I’ll try! 😉 how much I have learned from you not only about color, but home design in general! I eat up every word you write, and it’s the most helpful info out there. Truly.

    At 53, I have just begun my career as a Redesigner and Occupied Home Stager. It is my dream job, but I really “messed up” my first project because I hadn’t read your ebook on undertones yet and ignored the fixed elements, the lighting was florescent, and I didn’t know where to start the decorating process. Thanks to you I know exactly where I went wrong.

    Your blogs and e-books are empowering me to not only help my clients, but my family as well. We are beginning a handicap accessible bathroom remodel for my son, and it’s going to be easy (thanks to you!) to keep it within our tight budget AND create a beautiful timeless bathroom that I will love, too!

    Thank you, thank you, thank you! My family and business will prosper with your generous guidance. My next step, is to buy those color samples!

    Much love to you and yours. Your desire to be close to your Mom and sister is a beautiful lesson in family, as well.

    Donna Henderson
    Lemon-Lime Redesign

  • Annette Petro says:

    I’ve only recently been reading your blog and I’m surprised at how I now look at undertones when looking at colors! I’ve never been an artist. Professionally, I taught fifth grade students for 23 years and incorporated art into my curriculum in addition to styling three homes that we’ve lived in. At times I hired someone to help me select furniture pieces and incorporate rugs.

    Now we have purchased a lake house with the intention that it will become our forever-retirement home some day. We have not moved permanently there. I have tons of ideas to make it ours (with needed additional rooms). There is no timeline for the renovation at the present and we are enjoying it as is for now when we can escape (it is two states away). From experience I’ve found that it is best to live in a home for a while to see how it functions and how WE function in it.

    My daughter and I have discussed color undertones together which is something I never would have thought of before. Thank you for this. There will be so many decisions to make when we take on this project that I will keep reading and perhaps contact you for advice as we go forward.

  • Karen Schaeffer says:

    Hi Maria,

    It goes without saying that I now see color in an in-depth way, but because of you, I see everything differently. You had the brilliance to articulate what YOU saw, so the rest of the world can understand. That, to me, is Genius. Furthermore, you share insights and personal understandings and observations about your world. That makes you fascinating to me and helps spark my creativity! It’s all wonderful! As the song says, You Light Up My Life.

Leave a Reply