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Okay, so now that we’ve had some overgrown landscaping removed, you can FINALLY see what my new house really looks like on the outside.

The day after we took possession, a crew arrived to take down all the dead shrubs and especially all the ones so close to the house.

I don’t understand this kind of up-against-the-house landscaping. And when it’s not taken care of, it can get out of control very quickly.

Also, many asked why the exterior was so rundown and that’s because when the original owners sold it, the new owners rented it out for the last four years.

And it’s just as well, it’s unlikely I would have liked any additions to the landscaping.

The willow tree got a hair cut too!

And here she is now:

Here’s the back of the house before with the overgrown trees blocking the view and the light:

And here’s the after:

We need a big landscaping plan now! Thank goodness I have the talented Maryanne White who designed my last garden!

This house was built 11 years ago and the entire colour scheme is taupe from the exterior to the interior. 

Taupe was the most popular ‘grey’ in the grey trend because it’s warmer than all the greys and cooler than the beiges.

She desperately needs a paint job but that will happen in the Spring, although we’re still experiencing summer temperatures here in the West Coast, it’s totally crazy!

Here we are on the front steps on the first day! Watch it here.


We are so grateful to have finally found a house that we can use as a canvas for the blog and our business. Our current house is definitely overdecorated haha. 

And we’re renting it out, see the listing here.

Learn how to make the most of your renovation or new build project!

Okay, everyone, there’s only one more course in 2022!

Register here for my last Fall workshop. Become a True Colour Expert and learn how to choose the best colour to pull a space together QUICKLY and EASILY for a home you’ll love forever. 

Take a look at Breanna’s experience and why she says Maria’s system helped their design company stop overthinking colour!


Related posts:

Our Next Chapter; We’re Moving

Which Tile for the Entry of our New House?

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  • M says:

    Very pretty. what a difference with the overgrown shrubs removed. I don’t know why people plant so close to structures or fences either. It’s like they don’t consider they’ll grow. really sucks when planted near the property ine and neighbors have to deal with the falling leaves, fire risk and insect pests spreading, but I digress.
    I’m amazed how different the color of your home looks in the different pics, which pic have the truest representation? Same w the wood floors and beams in the last post regarding herringbone or checkerboard flooring in entry.
    I don’t know how you can do color consultations by photos only.


    • Maria Killam says:

      Because someone would send me 20 photos of their house taken from all angles. . . my house looks pink beige in the after photos because we have fires burning and the sun is orange because of it. Good question, Maria

  • Lori B says:

    It is absolutely gorgeous! And so spacious. I watched the FB video tour. I can’t wait to see what you do to it although it’s pretty fabulous as is. I agree with the fireplace molding comment you made and the bedroom ceiling wood in the ceiling.
    You can definitely do some great entertaining there.

  • Nancy Markon says:

    So happy for you and Terreeia! In this case, subtraction really added up to major beautification. Can’t wait to see the landscape plan. Maryanne’s work at your last home is gorgeous.

  • Kay says:

    People plant close to houses because they don’t consider the full size of the bush or tree. Tiny plants placed the proper distance from a large house look sad and lonely, so people plant them what seems to be a reasonable distance, and too close together. And many foundation plants are just wrong. What size do yews grow to—60 feet? They should never be used close to a house. All you do is hack and hack, and they look woody and awful. I know—we ripped a few out.

    Of course, experienced landscapers make mistakes too. We have a dwarf blue willow that reached the roof of the house before we cut the central trunk, leaving the new growth shooting up all around it. And the landscapers placed a double file viburnum next to the corner of the house. Unfortunately, I didn’t know then that they grow to a diameter of 25 feet and look their best when their branches aren’t shortened. They’re perfect as a specimen in the middle of a very large lawn. The branches of ours now reach around the house and form a canopy over the door into the garage. After 15 years or so, the poor thing seems resigned to its truncated existence.

  • M says:

    And great photo of you, Terreeia and your fur baby too!

  • BillP says:

    It’s a very ambitious plan! Congrats to both of you on your beautiful new home. I would be overwhelmed by all of the projects. It will be a fun voyage for both of you and all of the viewers. Thank you for sharing with us.

  • Char says:

    Congratulations on your new house! I’m sure you’ll turn int into a home to be envied. I have to say it looks so much better without the overgrown shrubs and trees. I can’t wait to see the new landscape design and the interior changes I know you’ll make. I hope you and Terreeia are very happy there!

  • Pursuit of Perfect says:

    So excited to see the transformation now the trees are removed. I always feel suffocated when a space is overgrown. Well done.

  • Onwards and upwards, I can see why you purchased that home, with all the overgrowth gone. You didn’t waste anytime! Also,your tenants are going to get a very pretty home!

  • Beth says:

    I’ll be the odd [wo]man out. It deeply saddens me that people love destroying trees, which are habitat for birds, small animals and beneficial insects, in order to see a bare house. Where we live trees over a certain size cannot be removed without certain criteria being met, though some people do it anyway. Congrats on the lovely house though.

    • Catherine says:

      I agree with you, too many people cut down too many beautiful old trees and leave gardens that are just lifeless concrete and lawn. I was concerned the beautiful big old tree tree at the front would be cut down but fortunately it was not. We need more trees in our gardens not fewer. Hopefully Maria and her family will plant some beautiful trees elsewhere on their property in future.

    • K. says:

      I hate seeing trees removed too. But when the 100% wrong trees are planted in the 100% wrong spot, a responsible homeowner has no other choice. It’s extra sad when people remove all the wrong trees on their property and never plant another twig (tree haters, I guess?). Thankfully, we know the 100% right new shrubs and trees will be planted in the 100% right spots and the landscape will, eventually, be beautiful.

      • Maria Killam says:

        Well said thanks Karen! Maria

      • M says:

        Agree K. Sometimes so close roots crack foundation and hardscape, brush against home and ruin paint, cause dampness and encourage mold, break windows and can be dangerous in a storm or create a fire hazard. Having to trim often also disrupts birds nesting so not good in that respect either. Plus if so large they can block a view, light and warmth in interior.

    • Annie says:

      I know Maria will replace the removed landscaping with something beautiful that isn’t suffocating her house. When we moved into ours in 2019, we had the same problem. The overgrown trees were blocking light into the house and were just reedy, half-dead (some fully dead) messes that had not been tended to in years. When I was trimming back some of the shrubs I found trash and soda bottles from the 90s! Others were getting overtaken with an invasive ivy-like weed. We finally had them removed this summer. Our house gets so much more light and our new plants attract tons of bees and butterflies. We had huge monarchs all over at the end of the summer. We left the trees in our lawn, although they got trimmed up so we don’t lose as many branches in wind storms. All of our plants are so much healthier, the wildlife is thriving like never before, and my house is so much brighter and happier inside. Sometimes you have to get rid of what you have to allow the new, better things in.

  • PD Gage says:

    Wow, what a post!! Pretty house! Congrats!

  • Sheree L says:

    What an improvement with those trees gone and the willow trimmed! I know Maryanne will create a beautiful landscape plan for you. Your new home is beautiful! And I loved looking at the real estate listing for renting your “old” house. The house looks so pretty! Will you rent it furnished? I’m so excited to follow along on your renovation journey. Thank you for sharing your expertise with us 🙂

  • Holly says:

    Beautiful! I also cannot stand trees and shrubs up close to a house blocking it. So much fresher looking now!

  • Marie In AZ says:

    So.Much.Better! The house is very attractive, what a shame it was so covered up by poorly designed landscaping. I know your landscaping will enhance the structure instead, and I’m looking forward to watching the process! Thanks for posting.

  • alex says:

    Your soon to be rental home is beautiful, what is the fireplace surround in the family room, it looks like a solid creamy stone, I’ve never seen that before?
    I wish you all the best in your new home!


  • Arlene says:

    Already it looks lovely. So surprised to see many windows at the back of the house. It will be extra ordinair. Excited to watch the transformation. Thanks for taking us on your journey. 😘❤️😘

  • Joanna says:

    I would have done the same thing Maria. Trees and overgrown shrubs do not belong close to the house. Gardens are ever evolving and we have to be brutal at times. You have a beautiful home that can now be seen and appreciated. I look forward to the changes coming to make this your home.

  • Mimi says:

    We are building a new home and the only plants near the house will be in low garden boxes or large planters. Any trees will be well away from the house and of an ornamental size when full grown. Our neighbors have enough very tall tress on the property line and we certainly don’t want to add to that.
    You have made a wonderful start Maria and it was done at the best time- Before getting attached to any of the trees! I believe that people struggle with removing trees because of memories attached- when they were planted, watching them grow etc. Any gardener can relate!
    So excited to watch this lovely project evolve- for years to come… Congratulations to you both!

  • Nikki says:

    Awwwwwwww you guys look so happy! I am thrilled for you both! Wishing you every joy and happiness in your new abode.

  • ClaireSN says:

    When houses are built here in the Midwest USA, builders hire landscapers to plan and install plantings to help sell the house. The landscapers then proceed to choose bigger baby plants that have more presence to make new buyers happy. It’s sorta like the difference between a baby puppy and baby elephant. Of course these elephant plants completely overgrow their sites as they mature. The way your new house looked originally just smacks of this approach.

    There’s a big difference between what landscape designers and landscapers may choose to plant. The cynic in me thinks the landscapers are guaranteeing future work for themselves so homeowners call them or one of their colleagues back in 5-10 years to rip out the overgrowth or remove every other bush in a screening hedge.

    Now that the bad stuff is out, Maryanne can plan more size appropriate plantings as she did at your old house. Much happiness to you and Terreeia in your new home!

  • Brenda says:

    Hi Maria,

    I took your color course a long time ago in Vancouver. I love the style of your new home especially the kitchen which I have seen from prior posts.
    I question why the exterior doors to the front of your home are black? They look heavy to me and I think they would look better white same as the other windows. What was your reasoning for your color application here?

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