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About meAdvice for DesignersTrue Colour Expert

A Good Professional is like a GPS but Better

By 05/15/2015February 21st, 201712 Comments



When was the last time you got lost?

If you’re anything like me, you’re tempted to say it’s been awhile. Technology has made getting lost pretty much impossible. If we take even one wrong turn, Google Maps will frantically start recalculating to put us back on course before we hit the next intersection.

It feels like a relief to those of us with no sense of direction. We’re going to end up at exactly Point B in exactly the time estimated, and it doesn’t matter if we pay attention. In 500 meters, turn left? OK, Google.



What struck me the other day, though, was that as dependant as we are on our GPS systems, they’re dependant on us, too. They can answer only the question that we ask, and because all we can ask for is a Point B, all they can give us a series of turns in that direction.

What if we want the scenic route, or a recommendation for a sandwich shop along the way, or a place to park when we get there? What if we don’t know what we want, but it’d be nice to learn why we’re going this way instead of that way?


Amalfi Coast

The GPS can’t help there. (Not yet, anyway.)

In growing my business over the past few years, I’ve invested in the best “GPS systems” I could find. I’ve taken courses and hired consultants, some of whom claim to be THE answer to end all questions. And while some have been helpful, others have been nothing more than a detour and a waste of time and money.

I can tell you from personal experience that there is nothing like finding someone to follow whom you can trust. A strategy that not only tells you how to get where you’re going, but why, and how to navigate out of every possible dead end. An answer that is so much more than a GPS because it teaches you how to become a GPS.

With the colour/undertone system I’ve created, I’ll teach you not only how to make confident colour choices for your home or your clients home, but also the why behind each of those choices. I’ve made all the mistakes in advance and It took me 10,000 hours to get here. . .  actually, I’m probably at 20,000 hours now if I were to add it all up.

Screen Shot 2015-05-15 at 6.41.29 PM


And now you can get all the shortcuts, just by GPSing your way to Toronto or Vancouver this spring, to spend three days with me.

Now that I have a U.S. Visa, I will not be in Toronto again for a while. When I have a course in the U.S., it’s always sold out, and then my attendance in Toronto is a lot lower because so many of you are in the Eastern U.S. So if Toronto is a more convenient location for you than anywhere else, the time to jump is now. I’ll be there the first weekend in June!

The Babylonian Talmud says, “There is a long way which is short and a short way which is long.”

Take the short way; you will save so much time, money, and angst, and you might even become the only True Colour Expert in your area!

Are you following me on my 25 Days of Undertones on Facebook? When I introduced this series and asked y’all to guess the undertones of this vest, most of you got it wrong. But the True Colour Experts™ mostly guessed it right.


As a bonus, on Day 3 (when we talk about the business of colour), I will walk through the process of how I conduct online consultations so that you can stop worrying about your computer not showing you accurate colour and just start making money with online consulting.

Colour consulting online, when you Understand Undertones™, works 95% of the time. There are times when it doesn’t work, and I’ll teach you what to do then, too.

To really make money being creative, you need to have multiple streams of income. In other words, you need to figure out 4-5 ways that you can make money, either by selling e-books, courses, products, or design services.



I was at a Mastermind event a few weeks ago, and I met someone who makes $35,000 a month selling men’s shampoo and hair products on Amazon.

I was thinking, WHAT? How can I do that? . . . haha. No, I’m not going to start selling shampoo, but my point is this:

I have been looking for a Mastermind group for six years. Because I’m one of a very tiny percentage of designers with an online business like the one I have, who has figured out how to leverage my traffic, and because I have such a specialized niche (undertones–what the heck is that??), it’s taken me forever to find a group where I actually fit.



It’s the same with my colour course. Once design professionals attend my course, they realize, the other ones were just the path they took to get to this one.

Why was I able to get a Visa to do business wherever I want in the United States? Because I teach a system that EVERYONE in the business of choosing colour should know.

So, is this the course for you?

Well, if you’d like to understand way more about colour than just choosing paint or sticking random colour palettes together (which is basically useless), and if you are serious about design, and serious about making money in this business, then you need my system.

You’ll discover not only how to see colour like only a select few do but also how to add huge value to every design job you sell because I will reveal, step by step, exactly how to do it with your clients.

Register here for Fall 2015 courses. Right now you’ll pay $997, and then three weeks before the course, the final balance of $1,000 will be due.

Here’s what Kathy Bestwick from West Vancouver said after attending my training:

I took Maria’s TCE training after following her blog for a couple of years and hiring her for a personal consult. 

I am NOT a decorator consultant.  I am the owner of a couple of homes that I want to feel good in – I want the furnishings and finishing to not be fighting with each other or screaming for attention.   Being up with the latest trend and constantly on the lookout for something I should buy, covet or change is FAR from my strength or area of interest. 

And what I love about Maria’s advice and training is that it worked for me as well as the professional decorator.  Firstly, it is practical and honest.  Maria’s training shows you how to break the decision making into manageable components- differentiating between fixed and trendy elements, identifying priorities, and understanding what will boss you around no matter what other great decorating decisions you might make. 

This has really helped me handle being overwhelmed or intimidated in the decision making process.  Maria is not a decorating snob – she gives straight shooting advice, has a sense of humour, and can acknowledge where she has made mistakes.

Register here.

2 pins


  • Terri Davis says:

    When are you coming to Flordia?

  • tara dillard says:

    The ‘system’ fights good color choices.

    Selling my home, integrity says I replace a kitchen counter/cabinet. Should have done it sooner, for me to enjoy. Choosing the surface color, from stock, 90% of the undertones are pinky. WTF?

    It made the choice easier, within my price range, very few to choose from.

    Chosen, done. Confidence. Happy.

    You are right about the GPS of knowing how to make choices. More, once you know how to choose, you can make your space MORE YOU.

    Why does an attitude of quackery hold sway over decorators? People think we just make stuff up at a whim? Design is science, and art. The decorator, or garden designer, image consultant, etc, improves the most with the greatest of simplicity, in economy of time & funds.

    Like you I’ve done thousands of designs, and learned a lot in the process. Began traveling out of state 2 decades ago to design for clients. I had done their home’s here, when they moved they all said their home sold fast because of my landscape design.

    I own 2 homes close to each other, 1 is an office/guest cottage. Decided to sell recently & staged the interiors, landscapes were (obviously) already done, both homes sold within 24 hrs of listing. Staged a friends vacation home, been on the market 6 years/3 realtors, put it on zillow by owner & I sold it this year too.

    It’s a bad market here, my results show what works. DESIGN. Not only sold, top dollar for all 3.

    Garden & Be Well, XO T

    Cannot wait for this layer of life to conclude, and get on to my blog changes. At present my houses are boxes & stuff everywhere, looks like a flea market. Choosing colors for my new house next week. Won’t design the new garden for a year, want to know how I live in the house first and how the land/light live. Focal points on axis begin inside the house, into the garden.

    • KNJ says:

      Why does an attitude of quackery hold sway over decorators?

      – It’s rather simple to understand – when one see’s a room decorated by an uber successful decorator that is truly hideous and no one calls them out on it – that hurts the profession. Currently, Bunny Williams’ Kips Bay living room comes to mind. Yes, she’s done fabulous work but this was atrocious and almost everyone in the profession swooned. Those not in the profession saw it through clear, unbiased lenses and that is one reason the profession at times does get proper recognition.

      That’s why I love Maria’s Blog – she calls a spade a spade. Always learning and broadening my knowledge base. Thanks!

  • Mary-Illinois says:

    I hope you enjoy yourself in the Windy City.

  • Angela says:

    I send in a vote for Fl too! 😉 I’m not a professional but LOVE decorating and can see how I could possibly turn my passion and hobby to a business.

  • Norine says:

    I love the rich images on this post!

  • catherine says:

    I can’t wait to take your class next week in Chicago! Just following your blog for the past few months has been so enlightening. I already look at color differently now. I used to be able to spot what I liked and didn’t like about color, and color combinations…but now I’m learning WHY those colors don’t work. It is starting to take the guess work out of color selection. I can’t wait to see what I learn in 3 days of training.

  • Jean Windham says:

    I have been following you for at least two years and appteciate your honestly. I live in the south and my husband and I are buiiding a new home . I appreciate all of your color advice. Maybe someday I will be able to attend one of your courses . Thanks Jean

  • Lucy Haines says:

    Maria, I love your analogy! Come to think about it, we are like a GPS. Also like teachers.

    What great pictures. I would like to any of the above right now.

  • Deborah says:

    Just wanted to say that I’ve done two phone consults with Maria — one for paint colors for my entire house, and one for the design of my dining room. Totally worth it. I not only stopped fretting about whether the colors I’d chosen would be just a little bit wrong, I also learned to think about things I would *never* have considered on my own. Plus, talking with Maria is just plain fun. 🙂 (Maria — before and after photos are coming, I promise. Got sidetracked by some other projects, but the dining room is coming together beautifully!)

  • Hooray for the scenic route! xo Leslie

  • Michele Quick says:

    I’m trying to find a “Good Professional” in central Florida. Is there a listing of professionals who have completed your course that we can contact?
    Thanks –

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