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Which Room Do You Like Best? (It’s my Birthday)

William made me this birthday card. Which room is the happiest?

Here I am, dressed for my Birthday dinner:

The two Snowflowering trees in my backyard are so special because they ALWAYS bloom on my birthday and the blooms are very short. Two weeks and it’s over!

They started blooming a week ago and the petals are already dropping!

The sun was setting last night and the light was so pretty, I snapped a few photos.

This is the shadiest spot in my garden in the summertime and where all my Hostas are planted (below). You can see the lamp in my North facing darkish bedroom is on all day long.

My Sisters and Mom sang Happy Birthday outside my bedroom window this morning at 6:30 am. I am so grateful to live so close to my family, going through these past few months of unprecedented times has been so much easier in our little pod.

For my birthday dinner, my Sister Elizabeth put out the Lava lamp because they’re back! And weren’t they from the 60s?

One of the best ways to celebrate my Birthday is just dinner with my Family! And my nephews made homemade birthday cards:

William (13) and Markus (11) | They are so big remember when they were this little?

Markus made me a pop up birthday card!

Love this modern table and chairs with a cake and balloons! Perfect card for a designer Auntie 🙂

William drew four rooms and asked me which one I liked the best:

My nephews know me so well, haha.

Elizabeth says her husband walks around and turns lamps off and William and Markus turn them back on again. They have heard my rant about lamps many times since I am obsessed.

And if you’re new to my blog you may have missed the post where I was accused of being a lamp swindler. 

They are both excellent pillow fluffers as well. The boys tidied up the house before we arrived this evening and the pillows were perfectly placed by Markus:

This room had a makeover in 2017

Related post: 5 Lamps Everyone Should Have in Their Home

Lea Junttila, Maria Killam and Elizabeth Jacobs

My Mom Hellen! Best Mom in the world 🙂

Maria and Terreeia

Dress from Zara | Flats from Browns | Clutch

And just like last year, please leave me a comment on the most transformative design/colour advice you’ve picked up from reading my blog. That would be the best birthday present!

It could be building your dream house, or renovating a kitchen or bathroom. 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. Which room do you like best?

Related posts:

Today is my Birthday; Two Lessons I’ve Learned

Happiness is. . . Light

How to Create Instant Atmosphere in Your New House

35 pins


  • Lorri says:

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY! You look great. Is that a new lava lamp? It’s the prettiest one I’ve ever seen. Maria, I’ve learned TOO MUCH to list!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Would not know where to begin.

  • Julie S says:

    The room with no can lights, a lamp in every corner, and colorful accessories!!! I died laughing – my older daughter is 7 and I could easily imagine her making a similar sort of good decorating/bad decorating themed card for me because she’s heard me rant more than a few times too.
    Thanks, Maria, for your blog and happy birthday!! I’m a home enthusiast so I read every post. Grasping how to work with neutrals and whites is the main point of your work and over the years as I’ve practiced and kept reading, I am just not so stressed about getting it right because I KNOW how to make it work, or why X would not work in some cases. I’ve shared your site and e-books a few times and it’s so gratifying when the person comes back to say this was revolutionary info they never knew they didn’t have. Keep spreading the undertone goggles!

  • Linda says:

    Happy Birthday Maria. Lovely to seeing you looking wonderful and celebrating with your family. I learn the most from seeing before and afters and also examples of how you transform a room which isn’t working to a success.
    Cheers Linda

  • Kitty Kat says:

    Happy Birthday, Maria!!!
    So happy that you’re surrounded with such a loving family.

  • Terry says:

    Happy birthday, Maria! Love those birthday cards. Favorite design tip (if I can only choose just one): always start with the fixed elements.

  • Sara says:

    Happy birthday Maria 🙂

    I have been avidly reading your blog for a while. Thanks to you I have installed timeless subway tiles in my new kitchen and bathroom and it is amazing. Funny thing is that in my country subway tiles are the cheapest one.
    Also thanks to you I have discovered that actually I truly enjoy colors, I have been so tired of the grey trend. Although I still own grey sofa and can’t get rid of it at the moment.
    Hope that one day I will take one of your courses (I come from the low income country and I’m currently on maternity leave, those are the only reasons I have not enrolled).
    I really enjoy your blog and have learned many things from you.
    Love, Sara from Serbia

  • Laura L says:

    When I first discovered your blog, I was in the middle of a complete re-do of our master bath. There are large areas of “neutral” gray subway tile and I’d already purchased paint since the end of the job was approaching fast. Your blog/site helped me discern that the paint I’d already bought was NOT going to work. I got more samples, carefully checked undertones in my new paint possibilities, and selected a gray with a distinctly lavender cast – it actually reads almost a very pale, dusty lavender on the walls, whereas the sample was “gray.” Every day, I walk into that bath and sigh in happiness that I found your site and changed my paint choice BEFORE the job was done! Happy (now belated) birthday to you!

  • Mickey Wood says:

    Happy birthday! 1. I love your shade garden filled with hostas. How wonderful that your tree blooms on your birthday.
    2. I like the with the room with 4 lamps and balloons.
    3. Your hair is still amazing-makes you liik younger and more chic. Wish I could stand to grow mine out but the I would have to wish for the patience to deal with it
    4. Reading your blog has taught me about the trickiness of white, something g I had never given any thought to at all. I now understand why my now-white, formerly-dark sage bedroom does not feel quite right. It’s bright and fresh, but a bit on the cold side. Will have to live with it for a while though.
    5. Also,you reminded me how classic subway tiles are. Classic is my thing-I lean toward British colonial/English cottage/slightly minimalist all at the same time and it seems to work. At least for me.
    Sorry for the ramble. I love your blog & hope you had a terrific day with your family, whick I am sure you did! 😊🎉🎈🎊
    Mickey. mew121606 and mews978 (oldacct) on Instagram

  • Pattie says:

    Happy Birthday Maria! I still have so much to learn from you and I find your posts and blog so informative. I think the best advice I have learned so far is your paint choice must complement the hardscape items in the room such as flooring, tile, counters. If you can’t or won’t change them for whatever reason, you must pick a color that works with them or you will never be happy with the paint choice. Just because you love a paint color doesn’t mean it will work in a room. All things especially the undertones must “get along” together for a great end result! XO!

  • Karen says:

    The happiest room is definitely the one with balloons 🎈 and you and Terreeia!
    I’ve learned from your blog that exceptional designers like yourself take a lifelong learning approach with core beliefs (such a “boring is timeless”) but are flexible and open to new trends with the soft furnishings. I’ve learned career success is great, but spending time with family, friends and other loved ones is what makes a rich and happy life.
    “Hauoli Lahaina” (Happy Birthday in Hawaiian)!!!

  • Lilli says:

    This is adorable. Clearly they’re paying attention. Good job!

  • Bonita says:

    Happy Birthday Maria!
    The best advice that I have gotten from your blog posts – all so good…
    How important colour is.
    I can’t drive past badly-painted homes without thinking, “Maria could make that place pop with the right colours. ”
    I am still on the hunt for the perfect curtain/duvet set in blue for my studio.

  • Nancy says:

    Happy Birthday Maria!!
    Love your cards and sharing your life with Terreeia, your family, oh, and the goats. I’m in the process of building and purchased both your interior and exterior packages and the builder gives us positive feedback on our choices, from your recommendations. He even says” what did Maria say about…”. So fun!! I think so far, the best advice has been seeing the undertones of exterior stone/bricks. I find myself noticing that when I walk in my neighborhood. Thank you for sharing!
    Have a wonderful birthday week!

  • Sarah says:

    Color relationships! As an example, we need to re-stain our back deck. Our house colors are dark red brick, white trim, med-dark gray roof, black accents. I knew I needed to get the deck color to relate to something, not just be some random brown. I picked the roof. My husband was mostly patient with this process, Lol. I made some mistakes trying to use stock stain colors. I brought home three for him to paint — way off: too light, too purply-gray, too brown. I wanted it to look just right and make me happy whenever I looked up from afar while walking the dog back from the river. So I finally faced facts and asked Home Depot if they could color match a Behr stain to any of their Behr paint chips. They could, so I brought home 18 chips. I narrowed it to 3, bought $4 samples of those, and painted sections (well, my patient husband did). We all stood back and looked in the sun and shade and picked the just-right color. Now my husband is glad I held out. Thank you for sharing your wisdom! Happy, happy birthday!! PS – your nephews are precious.

  • Nancy says:

    Happy Birthday!
    Home Made cards priceless !
    Lawn and garden Beautiful!
    Bonus all the family together !

  • Angela says:


    My kitchen has been transformed from a miss-match of pieces to a room that makes me smile, thanks to your guidance.
    I look forward to reading your blogs as they are always full of inspirational topics:)
    Lovely to see your nephews growing up too.

  • sandi says:

    You look radiant!! Happy Birthday!! Love the cards…that is just priceless!

  • Tina Meyer says:

    Happy birthday, Maria. I hope your day was perfect. I love all that you teach & look forward to reading your posts & learning from you. Many thanks.

  • Shelley says:

    We love, love, love you Maria! Those cards were awesome! What clever boys they are!
    Thanks for sharing the family pictures! You mom and sis are charming! The photo of you and Teeria is so sweet! It’s wonderful to have a circle of people who support and love each other!

    From seeing your yard, you have inspired me to have a more formal, boxwood garden with the texture of the plants bringing a quiet beauty. I love the peace of the green and white color scheme outside. It was just put in a week ago- and I love it so much, and my neighbors have commented on it too!

    You have helped me more than words can express- During some large renovations I was able to stay on track- and not be swayed by opinions of the “ peanut gallery” I was at one point- fired- by the designer at the cabinet shop because-“ I was wasting her time and not able to decide what I wanted” Definitely NOT the pencil tile!! And BOSSY, SPECKLED granite that she kept showing me! “Ugly costs the same as pretty” I kept thinking to myself! And seeing other people share their stories of panic and discouragement kept me able to hold steady-and now I have a beautiful, CLASSIC kitchen- white cabinets, white subway tile and black countertops- that brings me joy everyday, and I enjoy being able to accessorize (or not!) as the mood strikes! Simple, clean lines have a beauty on their own! And yes! Yes! I have a lamp on my counter! As instructed by Maria! And I enjoy it every day!

  • jane says:

    white isn’t the best color for a dark room

  • Ann Crutchfield says:

    Happy bithday, Maria:
    Like the other’s who have commented, I’ve learned so much from you over the years of reading your blog. The best tip this year was about lampshades (that the straight ‘drum’ shaped shades are on and the ‘bell shape is out’). I’ve started switching out (it’s hard to find places that selll just shades at a reasonable price), and it’s an improvement!

    Getting your professional insight has been a gift to your readers.

  • Temima Goldberg Shulman says:

    Happy birthday Maria!
    I’ve been following since your 48th birthday, and I have learnt too much to list!
    I’m forever grateful I happened upon your blog. I’ve learnt about color-both undertones and how to use color in general, lamps, “timeless is boring,” working with neutrals, exteriors.
    As much as I’ve learnt that as much as designing a home is important, equally, or more so is the life you build inside the spaces-happy and fulfilling!

  • Happy birthday. What a beautiful garden

  • Kay says:

    Happy birthday, Maria! You’re looking terrific, as is your garden.

    How can I put this? You changed my life. Before discovering your blog in 2011, my only real experiences with decorating were redoing our daughter’s room shortly after moving into our house and planning our main bathroom remodeling (down to the studs). Both projects turned out well, but that was both accidental and the grace of God preventing me from making a hideous tile mistake. I knew nothing.

    Your blog gave me a framework of understanding in a way I could relate to, that didn’t require piles of ready cash to accomplish. When I inherited some money and started planning a complete kitchen remodel, your advice was my handbook. I called for a consult, and you steered me toward a hardwood floor (which, considering how the kitchen and dining room connect, was the only choice that wouldn’t have been a mistake) and gave me the perfect white for my cabinets. I used white subway tile and ran it up the walls. I thought about undertones. I took in everything you wrote about, and it all formed a new knowledge base that continues to guide the decisions I make about decorating.

    Because you teach us principles, we can apply them to all our individual styles. Even though my decorating is informed by everything I’ve learned from you, it looks nothing like your decorating. Judging by the trendy sameness I see in redecorated homes online, your approach is most unusual.

    Thank you, Maria!

  • kate says:

    Happy happy day to you Maria! I love the card with the lamps, hysterical and so clever. He knows you well.

    You are the blog I’ve been falling the longest of all and I’ve learned so much…look at the fixed elements first before choosing anything else, pay attention to the undertones and of course lamps, lamps, lamps (I’ve always felt that way too).

    I learn so much when you answer readers questions/dilemmas. It’s super informative and great at testing my knowledge.

    Thanks so much for what you are giving all of us!

  • Maggie S says:

    I have you to thank for my new career (that I love!) as a Home Stager!!
    I don’t know how I found your blog..but it was the first one I found! I loved it so much that I spent the whole weekend going back and reading ALL your old posts (I think about 2 years worth). I found other blogs from your “list of blogs” you followed …and found Kristie Barnett -The Decorologist!
    After reading her blog I knew that I wanted to be a stager. When Kristie started teaching I went to Nashville and became a ‘Certified Home Stager’. I love my job and life…AND none of it would have happened if I had not been lucky enough to read your wonderful blog!!
    I can’t thank you enough for all joy you have brought into my life!
    I wish you many years of success and happiness!!

  • Ann says:


    Housing trends. Save money, time and resources by making less trendy choices. It pains me to see the waste of materials from bad choices. Your advice leads to less environmental waste.

    How color undertones relate to each other, especially complex colors like beige, greige, and grey.

    Happy Birthday Maria. What a blessing to have such a supportive, close family!

  • Brenda says:

    Happy Birthday Maria! I love all the photos and those cards are THE BEST!!!! I hope you have a wonderful year. I have learned so much from you through your blog… I’m not even sure where to begin, really! All I know is that the renovations I have completed have all been done with your colour theory and decorating advice in mind. Our house is 20 years old and a few years ago, I established a long-term renovation schedule to keep my plans on track. As a result, I am really happy with everything I have done so far. As I type this, my maple kitchen cabinets are in the final stages of being painted (by a professional). About 5 years ago, I started a kitchen update with new backsplash tile (subway!) and quartz (white!) countertops. My cabinets are natural maple that had gone yellow over the years due to the lacquer that was used at the time. I also have natural maple hardwood flooring. So I lived with the update of tile & countertops for a few years and was pretty happy with it, but I knew that eventually I would paint the cabinets white. In the meantime, we completed other renovations in our home, in keeping with the timeless, classic look, as well as my long-term renovation schedule. As a result, we have done some really great updates that I am really happy with and because I followed your colour theory principles, I don’t have to second-guess my choices!!! Thank you so much!!!

    As an aside, I really feel like I know you because of the wonderful way you share your life with us. I am sure that if I ever ran into you, I would probably forget that you don’t actually know me! I would probably go right up to you in HomeSense and start a conversation about whatever because I would think we are friends or something! Ha!

  • Diana says:

    Happy Birthday!!!! Those cards from your nephews are priceless! It’s actually my daughter’s birthday today as well, but she’s only 7. 😊 Hope you have a fabulous day and thanks for all your amazing advice and content! I’ve learned so much!!

  • Christine McTague says:

    Just a short story for your Birthday. We are doing a bath remodel. I picked out the tile. Floor tile white with faint marbling, wall tile white subway hopefully matte with white grout, shower floor white marbled basketweave. My daughter looked at my choices and said, You are sooooo boring. I said thank you. Maria would love this!

  • Diana says:

    Everything is beautiful and especially, you!!!
    Happy Birthday

  • Kristin says:

    We just finished a new construction house (as in, moved in last week and still living amidst boxes and without doorknobs, as there was a mixup and the right ones are on order). I really can’t begin to tell you how helpful your blog was. We chose black windows, and your black windows post was SO helpful as I thought through the choice, and it gave me confidence that they’re right for our house…as well as the things I need to do to ensure they tie in to our decor. When the time came to chose our kitchen finishes, I used your e-books as a guide (off white cabinets, black stone counters, raw oak island). Our backsplash is off-white subway tile; our bathrooms are all either marble-look porcelain or plain old white tile. When it was time to choose the wall color, once again your e-books were my guide, and when the first color candidates went too green, I knew it was because we have abundant windows looking out on the surrounding forest, and so I tried an off-white with more red in it, and presto, a nice warm off white. When it was time for floor stain I eliminated all but the mid-toned browns, and we LOVE it. And I was able to avoid bad carpet colors thanks to you. Our interior designer vanished on us partway through, but thanks to your blog, I was able to navigate the choices and love the result.

  • Norma Fournier says:

    Hi Maria! HAPPY BIRTHDAY! You are beautiful and so stunning in that dress! I LOVE LOVE your nephew’s cards for you. Absolutely perfect! I am not a designer. But as a huge home decor enthusiast I have learned so much from you and your blog. My confidence is so much better and my friends now ask me for my color advice all the time. I even got one paid job when a friend opened a new business and wanted to do a gut re-do on the whole multi-office space. I love having the knowledge I’ve gained from you and sharing it will friends and family. For me it’s given me a way of expressing a creative part of myself that used to be sad and unexpressed! Now, because of you, I can put it out in my little corner of the world! If I have to choose, the one lesson most valuable is working with whites and neutrals. Learning the undertones is the ticket! Keep doing what you do, Maria!

  • Cassie says:

    First, identity your fixed elements!

  • Adriana says:

    Happy Birthday, Maria!!! Much love, health and happiness today and always !!! You look lovely! Where’s your cutie patootie mom? I’ve learned a lot from your blog…esp how to look at whites and beiges/tans to determine undertones and why when some things ( tile, carpeting, wall color, furniture, accessories, metals, etc) don’t look right together it’s probably because of their differing undertones:-)

  • Kellie says:

    Oh my gosh! So funny!! I especially loved how the mouth gradually changes from a frown to a smile as lamps are added in each scene. So clever!
    My best piece of advice from you this year was when you advised me to paint my main living area BM Gray Owl. It transformed my house.
    Happy Birthday!

  • Karen says:

    Happy Birthday Maria!

    Timeless is boring….last year we finished building our dream house in the country. I am so pleased with the end result and the restraint you taught me is in every detail.

  • Lucy says:

    Oh Maria I would have to write a book to tell you how much I have learned from you and how much more confident I have become because of you. With each new post you present new ideas and solutions. Some are things I have never considered before. Also I learn a lot from the comments of your followers. Thanks so much for being so generous and genuine. Taking your class was the frosting on the cake.

    Now I want to tell you Happy Birthday and wish you much success. Your family is beautiful and loving. You are so blessed!

  • Anne-Marie says:

    Happy birthday!
    William’s card is hysterically funny–the more table lamps there are in a room, the more the person in it is smiling. Markus combining of perspectives in the drawing and the pop-up is amazing.

    The most important lessons I’ve taken from your blog are :
    –don’t try to start with a paint color
    –work with the bossy surfaces you can’t change
    –match undertones

  • PAppel says:

    The advice you gave that I remember alway and put into place when I remodeled two bathrooms was to do neutral on the more permanent items. One bathroom has white picket fence (an elongated hexagon) tile, white quartz countertops, black vanity and stainless steel faucets.

    Second bathroom off-white square tiles, greige vanity and chrome faucets.

    Getting ready to build my dream home and as I look at tile and fixtures, you advice rings in my head.

    Wishing you the happiest birthday ever!

  • Fran W. says:

    Happy birthday, Maria! You seem to be aging in reverse! 😊 I’m glad you had your family around you on your special day. Those two little boys are precious!!! I’ve learned so much from you over the years, both from your blog and workshop, that it would be difficult to quantify it all. But I now have a color confidence I never had before. I’m so thankful I found you. Again, happy birthday and many more! P.S. I love your beautiful outfit (especially those shoes)!!!

  • Tim Minor says:

    Love the room with balloons.

  • Susan says:

    Happy Birthday Maria! Gosh, I’ve learned so much so I’m going to try to summarize via bullet points- beware it’s a long list:
    – Undertones (now I can spot pink beige a mile away!)
    – How hard finishes can boss you around and how to work with them if you can’t change them. (my daughters pinky beige tile in her bathroom)- changed the paint to Palladian Blue which works so much better than the original color we had. In some blog you mentioned that blues go well with pinky beige. (the lime green she wanted did NOT)
    – I’ve always gravitated to white kitchens so it was refreshing to have confirmation. And, I was able to convince my hubby to paint the brick fireplace the same color as white kitchen cabinets. (another post of yours) He was hesitant but agreed how much better it looked!
    – Boring now equals timeless later! So glad this was ingrained into my head before we remodeled our kitchen in our current house. So many people cringed when I said I was going to use white subway tile for backsplash. Then they saw it and they LOVE my kitchen. In our previous house I had originally planned on white cabinets with black counter and simple backsplash but being a rookie I got caught up with all those “fancy ‘look at me!’ granites that I ended up picking a very busy granite with cream cabinets. It took me forever to find a backsplash to coordinate. And then I hated how the granite “clashed” with the red brick wall in the kitchen – but I couldn’t explain why- I just know I didn’t like it. (And then I needed new furniture to better coordinate with the cream, brown, black and gold granite! And of course it didn’t match the new house… So those hard finishes are soon important) Fortunately the buyers did not notice because if we had stayed, I would have painted the brick cream which wrapped around to the family room. I hope the current owners do that or change the counters! 🙂 I’ve watched a few family and friends make the same mistakes… I have to bite my tongue…
    – Adding color! I finally was able to buy a new couch and chairs and I got an emerald green velvet couch and blue chairs! And I did it with confidence because of all I learned from your blog. I absolutely LOVE it.
    – Several years ago I bought your painted boards, but I had no idea how to really use them. (I just knew which ones were blue gray or green gray,etc) I now have the color wheel and am getting more confident picking paint colors…however, we have 25ft ceiling in our great room, so… I may be reaching out for a consult to make sure I don’t make an expensive mistake. 🙂 I’m not that confident yet.. LOL
    – Paint cannot do the heavy lifting- This came to life for me when I decorated my dining room. I hated the color, but once decorated, I didn’t notice it anymore. I’ll probably still paint it, but it’s no longer urgent. So I can take my time. Same with the great room- with my new furniture and decorating, it’s ok, but not great – but again it’s not urgent.
    _ My style is not quite as clean as yours because I’ve had to repurpose furniture which has a French country flair, but following your guides has still made a huge impact on my home. The best compliments I’ve received are “your home looks like it could be in a magazine!” and “it’s so fresh and happy”. Confession – yes, I too have those distressed Louis IV dining room chairs with gray seats – but I plan to recover the seats and and lighten the wood. Not sure if I can go solid white or just add more white so they’re less gray- hey they were cheap and much better than the heavy dark wood mission style chairs we had… whew 🙂
    – And last but not least: clean vs dirty!!! So important! I prefer to use the term “muted” LOL. I had a lot of dirty colors. That’s probably why I am using blues and greens now which complement some finishes I still have since several of my pieces are distressed French country.

    Thank you so much for sharing so much information on your blog. I have leaned so much and referred so many people to your blog and I hope they become future customers because they have nice homes but they need some color and freshening up!

  • Sheree L says:

    Happy Birthday, Maria! Your nephews are so creative and sweet! I will be forever grateful for your blog and the wisdom and knowledge that you share! I’ve learned so much, but some of the things that I’ve relied on recently in my home:
    – take into account fix finishes (especially bossy ones)
    – clean vs dirty colors
    – undertones, especially for “complex creams”
    And my favorite Maria saying: “Boring is timeless!”

  • Eleanor Smith Litt "Ellie" says:

    Happy Happy Happy Birthday! You are so alive and absolutely gorgeous. I am learning so much. My fiancee is beginning to dislike walking with me because I am always, “Maria says this”, “Maria says that”, “Maria would not like the outside of that house”, “Maria would say that orange door is the wrong orange”. The list goes on and on. lol You are colorizing the world in the best possible way.

  • Calliope says:

    Happy Birthday beautiful Maria!
    I’ve learned so much from you! Undertones and all the whites, why I need mustard (my fav color) in my dark gray bedroom, how to not fight what I cannot change (my pinkish beige kitchen cabinets) rather work around them, and of course the lamps! Nowadays, There are three in my living room…I guess I must find room for another one!

  • Linda says:

    Happy Birthday, Maria!

    We are starting to build our Dream House. AND we are renovating a small Condo that we recently purchased. But things haven’t been going as planned.

    We originally started the house project in 2018. After a series of misstarts, we had to fire the builder, find a new architect and contractor, and start over. Last week we started selecting exterior materials. I want to use paint colors from the Sherwin Williams Historic Charleston collection, so thanks to your good advice, I selected my colors, got my sample paints, and painted up my own colors boards. Working with the color boards made selecting the roof color and the brick color (for the foundation) easy. I am confident that everything is going to look really good together, and I can’t wait to see it all!

    And then there is the Condo reno. We purchased the Condo late last fall – after everything fell apart with the house project. I picked out my finishes, and demo began in mid-January. The plan was to have the work complete and the Condo fully furnished by April. However during the demo phase, we learned that the HVAC system needed to be replaced. It is an old model that wasn’t in stock anywhere, so we had to stop working and wait for a new unit to be manufactured, shipped and installed. About the time we were ready to start moving forward, Covid-19 shut us back down again. (Yes, I know that construction is an “essential service”, but we shut down out of consideration for the subs and the other Condo residents.)

    During the Demo phase I brought out my set of Sherwin Williams color boards that I had purchased from you. They are wonderful! I had samples of other materials that I plan to use in the Condo, and I set up different candidate color boards in the (demo’ed) rooms to see what worked. I was quickly able to eliminate a lot of potential candidates. Ultimately it came down to a decision between a gray and a taupe. I decided on the taupe. During the stay-at-home time, I was able to go online and purchase additional furnishings, matching them up with the samples and color board. (Unfortunately my living room and dining room have turned into store rooms, awaiting the completion of the Condo . . .)

    Maria, I think your color board concept is genius! I also appreciate that you have curated the whites among the Sherwin Williams offerings to help narrow down the choices. The color boards have been a worthwhile investment already for the Condo, and I know I will be relying them again in the future as we move forward with the house. AND it was through reading your Blog that I learned that Sherwin Williams is more popular in the South (where the new house and Condo will be/are located), so I knew to purchase the Sherwin Williams color boards, as opposed to the Benjamin Moore boards.

    Did you know that Laurel Bern said some kind things about you this past week on her blog?

  • Emily says:

    I’m loving that hair length with that outfit!!!

  • Rosemary says:

    Wishing you a wonderful birthday

  • Mary Hillsley says:

    Maria, your hair is perfect. I love it. Happy Birthday!

  • Peggy says:

    Happy Birthday, Maria! You look gorgeous and your garden is so beautiful. I bet you love the #4 room in the house drawn by William. Every day when I take a walk, I tell my husband why this or that house looks just right, or not. I always give you credit, and he has definitely noticed the way I talk about all things design. He has finally stopped second guessing my decisions, and now brags about whatever room I’m working on. He always compliments the “boring now, classic later” kitchen after really fussing about painting the beautiful cherry cabinets white. All the fun time I have spent following your blogs and reading your eBooks have been worth it to have a free reign in my home! My favorite understandings/sayings are (obviously) Boring now, classic later, the Bossy elements, start with the fixed elements. I love love love to see your email in my inbox. Many happy returns!

  • Christine says:

    I’ve learned so much about undertones from reading your blog! You and your trees are beautiful! Love the outfit too. Happy Birthday!

  • claire larece says:

    I don’t really have a book to write but “Happy Birthday”! Love your landscaped grounds it so serene and happy. Your home is beautiful too! You have a room behind the dinette area what color is on the wall…latte?

  • Arlene says:

    Happy birthday Maria. What a special celebration.
    I enjoy every blog learning lots. Since reading for several years 1 thing bothers me. As I walk around our area of beautiful huge homes I have yet to see more than 2 that are pleasing to the eye and make sense. Color tones are off plus material. Can’t imagine where they get ideas for exterior But they are not attractive. Thanks for your blog Maria. When this pandemic is over I want to change our carpeting and paint our bedroom in our townhouse of small space, will be reviewing your posts. At present our carpet is pink undertone so I keep looking up. Lol

  • Robin says:

    🥳 Happy Birthday!
    Love your shorter hair and Terreeia’s linger hair.
    My favorite blogs are the before and after photos with explanations of why the after is the best choice. But my favorite advice is when you advise why “COLOR” is timeless. I have always loved color, but realize after following you for 8 years That I wasn’t wrong. I was just doing the wrong color🤓

  • Sheree L says:

    I forgot to add in my previous comment that, thanks to you, I recently added a lamp to my kitchen counter, and I love it! AND, I love your outfit!

  • Lori says:

    Happy Birthday!!! You’ve taught me so many things… where do I begin? White subway tile, no trendy colors on hard surfaces, dirty/clean colors, whites are complicated, medium brown wood floors… and much much more! Thanks for being such an inspiration to me!!

  • Dawn Young says:

    Happy Birthday Maria!!

  • Cindy says:

    Happy Birthday, Maria! While trying to make selections, while building a home, I found you on the internet. I read and read, bought your ebooks and purchased one of your eDesign options. Let’s just say prior to me finding you, while first looking at tile, I told them “Just nothing with the marble-look!”. It makes me chuckle to think about it now! To name just a couple things you’ve taught me this year, I’m probably most excited about learning about a timeless look and those amazing undertones. Thank you!

  • KWhite says:

    Happiest of Birthdays Maria!!! Love those cute cards. My favorite advice is any time you point your readers toward a timeless choice. Some of us are decision-impaired or decisioned-out when remodeling. It’s been so helpful knowing that I’ve made Maria-endorsed timeless choices on some of my home’s expensive elements (countertops, floors, and tile).

  • Nancy says:

    We moved into our current house 5 years ago and have been waiting to overhaul the original 1967 kitchen cabinets and I’ve been reading your blog and learning during these last two years or so. It’s finally “go time”: the cabinets (creamy white) (“boring is timeless”) are being delivered next week and today I chose and tried out the paint to complement the mahogany wood trim throughout and go with the creamy cabinets. Our kitchen designer stopped in tonight and “thumbs up”ed my paint color – I knew what to look for after reading your blog and Whites ebook! We also chose a very creamy neutral (no gray trend!) countertop for the bathroom vanities which we can jazz up with color.
    Thanks for teaching us! (And loved watching your livestream q&a!)

  • Sandra says:

    Happy Birthday! Your blog is the very best! My most favorite tidbits I stashed away are:

    1. Hiring a good trusted designer is worth the price. You will not regret spending money on a space that fills you with joy.
    2. A good landscape designer (I hired Maryanne whom you recommended) is worth every single penny.
    3. Buy a couch in a fun color that you love, not just the trendy “neutral”.
    4. Use lots of lamps – not just recessed lights. Fingers crossed my kids don’t break them all 🙂
    5. Don’t select a wall color until you have almost everything else picked out for the room.
    6. Always bring home a color swatch to test in the room – it’s worth the extra time to get it right.

    Thanks again for sharing your years of wisdom with us readers.

  • Marina says:

    AHH Maria, Happy Birthday!!! 💐🎁🎉🎊🌹🌷🌸
    Your blog always speaks to my soul and you seem to know me more than I know myself HaHa ..👌👩🏼‍🎨
    My fave was a series of Exterior posts because I don’t have experience of living in a private house .. 🤩 I can’t turn my eye away from the houses that you ‘remade’ in your webinar especially those that have the columns .. 🏡🏛👩🏼‍🎨
    And of course I adore your ideas on landscaping.. 🌷🌹🌸🌿 Those 500 tulips on the carpet of white flowers and the beautiful snow flower trees are amazing.. 😍🌳🌤
    I learn something new every time I read your blog and your color scheme totally transformed my perception of white .. HaHa 🎨
    Thank you, Maria, for your thoughtful and sometimes even surprising advises, and for sharing your rich experience with us !!!!!😘🌺 💎🖼🏡💝

  • Christian says:

    Best advice? Compare, compare, compare!

    It’s ok to not know the answer immediately (though, more often now, I do know it), just compare.

    Enjoy the party! Happy Birthday, Maria!

  • Julie says:

    Happy Birthday Maria:

    I have learned awesome things from you. I knew I wasn’t crazy when I thought that more than one patterned hard finish AND with conflicting undertones looked like crap. You were able to put into words what I had been trying to explain to my spouse about finishes that “fight” each other. After reading most of your blog and buying the ebooks, my husband got it. Our remodel went beautifully because I paid attention to may of your great lessons:
    1. One patterned hard finish and that’s it. Everything else stays solid/plain.
    2. Boring now, timeless later (keep the bones plain and classic so most decor items will work and are easily rotated).
    3. Undertones – coordinate colors on EVERYTHING by identifying the undertone.
    4. Make a master plan down to the last knob and stick to it for a designed room that you will love for a long time. DO NOT design piecemeal or you will wind up with a choppy mess. One change begets another change which results is a room you hate. STICK TO THE PLAN no matter what the uninformed tell you.
    5. TAKE YOUR TIME to do a complete design, order samples, compare everything and wait for the correct items. Ugly costs that same as beautiful, so have patience by waiting. I found that “off the rack” is usually ugly. Beautiful rooms with classic finishes take time and can’t be rushed.
    Thank you for your wisdom!! I love all the eBooks and they have saved me from making some rotten mistakes.

  • Dee Westfall says:

    Best advice I got from your blog?
    “Boring” equals classic, and that’s a good thing!

  • Lorrie says:

    Happy Birthday Maria! What a beautiful way to wake up on your birthday. It’s a special gift to know your blessings in the very moment they are born. LOVE both of your nephews’ cards! Of course, the card with the multi-room lamp depiction was spot-on for you. Enjoy!

  • Candice Hill says:

    Hi, Maria…Love your outfit, you look so cute! So glad you had a wonderful birthday!
    I remember going over the Blue Water bridge to Canada, and the customs agent asked me where I was going, I said to Toronto to see Maria Killam and take her course! She said I know who that is!!!!!She’s great and I said, I know, right!!!!My ahhh moment was when I came back to the hotel, after my first day of your course, and could see all the undertones in my room!!! That was the best 3 days ever!!! Love ya, Candy

  • Teresa says:

    Happy birthday Maria! I’m not sure how to pick just one or two gifts you have taught me and it seems I learn something every time I read your post. With feet to fire, I would say two of the best things I’ve learned is to figure out the bossiest element and compare-compare-compare. Thank you so much and I hope to see you in Dallas in the fall!

  • Becky says:

    Happy birthday! I love those cards! Definitely frame-worthy!!!

  • Terry says:

    Happy birthday! I got such a kick out of your nephews. They do know you well, and the room with the lamps and no pot lights shows they are good listeners/learners. Lamps are so important. Birthday gift – one of the best (and there are many) takeaways from your columns has been to pick your countertops first! I intend to take this advice in the next year as we embark on the “retirement home” journey. Thank you for the inspiration!

  • Paige says:

    Sweetest.Post.Ever. Happy Belated Birthday, Maria!

    The most transformative advice for me was to create an intentional color palette and stick with it and your blog on how to create vignettes!

    Thanks for all you do and share with us. All the best to you, Terreeia, and your families!

  • tricia says:

    Happy Birthday. Love both those cards. You and your sisters and mom seem to be as close as me and my sisters and mom. unfortunately for us, it’s more like an hour between houses. A little less convenient than your commute, but still doable (not so much during COVID, though, as we try to keep mom safe since she’s higher risk.)
    Love your yard. But living in the desert (it’s a dry heat) for as long as I have, I just drool over green grass, big trees, lots of flowers and what I can only imagine are cool(er) temps. (anything below 100 is dreamy)

    I’ve learned a lot from your blog. I love the before and afters as well as the What Would Maria Do posts. Those are always informative.

    Not a decorator, just a homeowner interested in decorating and design. I want my home to be a place of calm and comfort to me. Couldn’t care less how trendy it is. And I love color. Friend of mine has a significantly beige house (she loves it. To me, it’s lovely to visit because she did a great job, but I wouldn’t want to live in it.) She tells me the same about my house – she loves to visit because my house is colorful and vibrant, but she couldn’t live in it.

    Through you and your blog and books I’ve learned a lot about undertones, boring is timeless, etc. But the one thing that was kind of an a-ha moment for me is to buy a couch in your favorite color. OMG how much sense that makes!! And all the decisions and colors that flow from that. Eye opener.

    Thank you for continuing to educate us and thank you for being so available and open with your blog posts and sharing your knowledge.

  • Susan S says:

    Happy birthday, Maria! Looks like you had a darling party with your loved ones!

  • Carol says:

    Happy Birthday!!! Your yard is so Beautiful!!! Green and cool looking as we are experiencing 100+ degree heat here in Texas already. That length of hair looks good
    on you. Proportionate to your face and appropriate for the texture. I really enjoy your
    blogs about “creating a look and a feel” and have learned that color cant do all the
    heavy lifting. Wish you would write more about that. I’d be interested in seeing if you
    could take a regular track home and if you could make it look and feel like a more
    expensive and classy house than it is, even in a smaller space. What are the elements
    to create that “wow factor” and can they be done ona smaller scale house??

  • alex says:

    Maria, I just love your hair. It is so darling and stylish!

  • Glenda says:

    Best advice….
    ”your room isn’t working because you haven’t decorated yet!”
    “Paint can’t do all the heavy lifting!”
    “One pattern (for hard finishes) and you’re done!”

  • Liz says:

    Happy Birthday Maria!!! You look amazing!!! And you teach us so much about white subway tile. I wondering do you love white crackle subway tile? I’ve wrote so much about white tile. But I still get questions haha. What is your favorite tiles? There are low cost tile and there are hand made white subway tile. Would you write about them too?

    • Maria Killam says:

      I have written about all these questions, you can search them best in my sidebar! Thanks for your comment! Maria

  • Pam says:

    Happy birthday 🎂 Maria!🎉
    Your book on whites has changed my life. I have painted my fireplace white, had new white counters and tile backsplash installed, and painting my kitchen and bathroom cabinets white. My house brings me so much more joy. I changed the color scheme in the family room and plan to paint the front door a new color. All this from the knowledge and encouragement from you blog. Thank you sweet lady!💜

  • DeniseGK says:

    I really think the best thing you do is give people confidence. Many teach and give knowledge, but the way you teach gives knowledge that inspires confidence in people with different personalities, from all walks of life, with varied budgets and unique challenges posed by their homes. That’s quite a feat. Thank you for this blog.

  • Joanne says:

    Oooh! Thanks for the extra picture! It reminded me that I hadn’t expressed my gratitude for how you have made my home a happier place. Every morning when I wake up and head to my kitchen, I am filled with gratitude. I absolutely love my house. Now – to be clear, this isn’t a huge, expensive home. It is a modest home that we inherited and decided to renovate, downsize and move. One thing that makes it so inviting is the flooring. I was inspired by YOUR renovation and I kept the image of your classic, wider plank, light colored floors as I shopped. I went to four different flooring places, brought home endless samples and RESISTED some of the simply gorgeous darker or exotic woods. I would return to your site and remind myself of the look I wanted. Those darker colors would have been beautiful, but the whole house would be darker. And if I wanted light and airy then I had to resist these fleeting infatuations. THANK YOU for making this home a place that gives me joy. PS – You do know that I have already mentioned several times my gratitude for all of your color boards!!!!!

  • Terrence says:

    Happy Birthday Maria!

  • A-L says:

    Happy (belated) birthday! I have enjoyed reading your blog posts over the years and have introduced your blog and ideas to my mom, as well.

    As far as the most helpful thing I’ve learned, it’s that when looking at colors, they need to be in the orientation (such as vertical or horizontal) that they will be in when in place.

    A very close second (or rather, probably tied for first) is the idea of doing large paint samples. So much easier to see when a color is right when it’s nice and big!

  • Victoria Austin says:

    Happy Birthday, Maria! What a wonderful birthday celebration with your family! You always color us all happy with your wisdom and knowledge of how to successfully put together a beautiful space and home. I love my home because of your color boards. Every color is perfect thanks to you! And I am happy when I walk in the door. And that’s huge!

  • Lynn Clapp says:

    LOVE your white fence in the yard…what company makes this fence?

  • cathleen says:

    Oh, happy happy birthday and many happy returns of the day! And now to show what I’m truly like — DYING to know what color those pink walls are in your “lava lamp” room. You nailed it. I’m about to paint my whole condo pink — not fashionable pink — PINK THAT LOOKS JUST LIKE THAT! Neutral pink.

    If there is any way you could give me a wee hint about what that pink is I would faint from excitement! It’s a pink which is not too reflective (frosty), no signs of grey, not so much LRV that the light is bouncing off “pink:. There are pinks with slightly red undertones which turn yellowy when other pinks turn coral or orange or beige. my pink is uncomplicated, it shows a golden yellow sometimes, never greenish or grey or brown. It’s a clean color,, it changes in the light but never coral. . .I think the red is the undertone. . .Do you know that pink?????. . .THAT IS MY PINK? But where is it????

    Seriously, happy birthday. You know someone likes you wen they have the nerve to ask you for something when it’s YOUR birthday. Shows how much we trust your taste!

  • Elise says:

    Happy birthday! Late! I just didn’t want to be too public. I did share a very personal and kind of sensitive way that you helped, in a survey sent awhile ago. This is another way you helped me, that I don’t mind sharing at all!

    You did a full exterior e design for us. It was a shade of white, which I later wondered if I should get updated, but with a westward facing house, white is perfect for passive cooling.

    With climate change, storms are getting more exciting, and at some point, our vinyl and roof will be damaged. BUT! With everything already picked out (and a local contractor already has the measurements), I will be able to get my house repaired in no time.

    It feels good to know that I am ready no matter what. Thank you.

    You also did our interior e-design, and we get compliments every time someone pops over. And with an understanding of whites and light shades, I could confidently pick out a color for the primary bedroom that matched some curtains that I had fallen in love with. I have a weakness for things that match.

    Thanks for all of your help online and professionally.

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