With a fresh take on contemporary and a passion for colour, Maria is known for creating warm, comfortable and inspired spaces for her clients. On her blog you will get Interior Decorating and Colour Training by a True Colour Expert.
Here is another room in Crystal’s house, I talked about this bathroom redesign two years ago when my friend Jan Romanuk designed the new layout. Want a timeless and classic bathroom? Here’s how you do it.
This bathroom was previously way too big and looked like an afterthought, after all the rooms on the second floor were designed. It’s also shared with her son and daughter so it worked out well that we ended up with enough space to create a separate toilet room.
The countertop is the colour of stone (green grey) to relate to the hex tile floor, and this gives Crystal the flexibility to change the colour anytime she wants.
The reason grey became trendy is to provide a clean backdrop for all the clean colours that were trending from the 50s and 60s. NOT so that it could become the new default choice for EVERYTHING. The colours in this bathroom are a great example of clean colour with grey. Obviously this same turquoise colour would have created a clean/dirty problem in the before photo (below).
Nothing wrong with a little grey, or a little black, or a little brown. It’s when the entire bathroom is grey from the floors to the countertops that it screams ‘renovated in the grey trend’.
Sconce light and mirrors from West Elm (no longer available). Millwork design by Jan Romanuk
I’m not a fan of the 4″ backsplash but I didn’t want to introduce a different tile as the hex floor tile would not have worked repeated there. I specified it to be installed at a 2″ height but the countertop company missed that instruction so it remained at 4″. In the end it looks clean as the slab is repeated on the curb of the shower and around the tub inside the shower.
P&L Sea Crystal 22-3
Here’s the before pic of the bathroom
Tile and countertop selection, colours and styling by Maria Killam
I loved the way the herringbone subway tile turned out! Again you can see here (as with Crystal and Rob’s master ensuite) that the read of the overall floor was greige so I chose a true white for the subway tile which related to the white plumbing. And the vanity is a true white as well.
Also, the shower fixtures are located to the left of the tub (not shown).
And here’s Bella’s room. We chose a new paint colour, some artwork, a rug and new bedding.
Here’s the playroom right beside the bathroom. We created flow in this area by continuing the turquoise as accents in here:
Love this carpet, it’s sooooo soft! Here’s her son Bobbie!
Register here to become a True Colour Expert this Spring. We will not be going back to Nashville or Boca Raton so if you are close to these cities, now is the time. I will only be holding two courses this Fall because of other big projects I am working on.
What color mood does black and white have? Is it a warm, cool or neutral color mood.
Since the planet is suddenly obsessed with painting their rooms art gallery white, and since black is the new grey, this question doesn’t surprise me. It’s probably a highly searched question online.
But here’s the problem.
It’s not the right question.
People are trained to ask themselves ‘What mood are you looking for?’ because when anyone starts talking about colour and re-decorating, that’s the first question a decorator or a paint store will ask.
What’s the mood that you want to create for this room?
That could be a great question for someone who has a blank slate.
But if you are like many of my clients who just want their existing living room to feel good, (which means they have existing furniture to work with) this is totally the wrong question.
The second place people look for colour inspiration is current trends.
They look at all these blown out WHITE rooms on Pinterest and they decide white is the answer.
My bookkeeper just moved into a little house in the country and during our one of our regular meetings last week, she mentioned that she just painted the entire house some shade of art gallery white.
This is someone who does not follow my blog and is not overly interested in design. But the pulse of colour is currently about WHITE. And that’s how she ended up with bright white walls.
So back to the question about black and white.
A room decorated entirely in black and white can be warm or cool but that depends on the balance of black and white, the texture, lighting, and most of all styling.
This room (below) is so black that it could read cold. The floors warm it up for sure, but it’s a great example of when too much black makes a room feel masculine.
If you live in a house that it old and undecorated, this room might still hold some appeal for you (which is why you might be shaking your head right now instead of nodding). And, there’s nothing wrong with that, but just stay with me.
This room (below) is even more black on grey on black. What is the mood here? Debilitating is what I would call it, which is what too much grey and black will create.
Take away the high end, well-lit display cabinets at the end of this room and the lacquered furniture and we’d really not want to spend any time in this room. Except if it was dark and we were watching TV.
Okay so you probably get the picture right about now right? Are we depressed? I know I am.
What makes the following rooms work?
Here this room has been styled well with hits of brass everywhere, lacquered floors and furniture to provide some shine, black and white books in the black bookshelves to add texture along with a glittery chandelier.
This room is almost as black as the media room in the above photo but the gold adds warmth and glamour to the heavy black colours in this space. And the white walls provide some much needed contrast here.
Love that the black (below) wasn’t repeated in the faucets and the mirrors. This bathroom, although obviously trendy, has just the right balance of black and white with the black repeated strictly in the light fixtures. That’s enough.
My sister Elizabeth and I have not had a girls weekend in about two years it seems like! So this past weekend, we drove down to Seattle for a little shopping and I thought it would be fun to get some photos taken of the two of us!
When my Mom, Terreeia and I were in New York in the Fall, we had photos taken with Flytographer and I loved that they know all the best, touristy places to take photos. It made it really special and fun. I’ve wanted some amazing photos of my Mom and I for a long time and now I have them.
Getting professional photos taken always feel like a bit of a hassle, you have to figure out what you’re going to wear that will look good together, but it’s so worth it in the end. We’re all just getting older right?!
We were so happy the weather cooperated and it was a gorgeous, sunny day! We didn’t really organize out what we were going to wear until we got there, so I’m wearing two shades of yellow and all my fabulous scarves were at home but I was still really happy with the result!
It seems like so many of my coats come from Zara because they do colour! Anyway the only one I could find that’s similar is here, I bought it last year.
When we were in this coffee shop, Erin, our Flytographer mentioned that it is a very popular spot for Instagram photos, she has seen up to 5 photographers in this shop at one time!!
One reason is because of the turquoise chairs outside right? Colour is way more fun than just more neutrals.
Lately I have become obsessed with Alexis Bittar jewelry. Specifically his bracelets. When I was in LA two weeks ago I bought this gold bubble ring and loved how simple it looked with my gold wedding band on my other ring, so then I ordered the white (silver) one.
So this post has affiliate links, it’s not a lot of money but it makes me feel better when I’m talking about where stuff is from if at least I’m making a couple bucks 🙂 This is what I do for a living after all! Sit at my computer and write, write, write!
I’m so excited to share the before and after photos of my wonderful client Crystal and her husband Rob who live in Promontory Hill in Chilliwack. We renovated and decorated the two top floors of her house over a year ago now, and the main floor will be published in May (can’t wait to show you those images).
This is their forever house and when you see their view, you’ll understand.
We totally updated the house from the Tuscan brown trend to a way more classic and timeless look.
Pottery Barn Duvet (similar here and here) Art from Maria Killam Inc. Rug no longer available
Crystal and I were so happy when her husband shrugged and said he had no problem with introducing pink to these rooms!
Since cognac is a great colour to ground pink, I introduced it in the custom made upholstered bed. And we created a corner to sit and read and enjoy the uninterrupted view of the mountains.
Tricia Firmaniuk, my senior colour designer was in Los Angeles with me last weekend along with Irene Hill my senior copywriter. I was presenting my system to a large corporation and they were so great to have as resources in the room. I am so lucky to work with both of these amazing women!
She is also a great writer, this post is an important lesson for everyone, read on:
It was clear from an early age that I was an artist and a decorator. When I was nine years old, I desperately wanted a mint green and peach room with a canopy bed and pillows with ruffled trim. It was the early 80’s. I went on and on about it, but my parents, being practical and hardworking, could see no good reason to indulge me.
My childhood room remained builders beige with a painted plywood floor and sheets tacked over the windows for curtains because I couldn’t convince my dad that a can of paint and some fabric were that important.
I loved drawing and writing as a kid, so I carried a journal where I would write stories and draw pictures. I thought I was a failure as a writer because my desire to continue the story dried up once I finished the opening bit of setting the scene in detail. I realize now, that was the point. I was filling my need to create pretty spaces without any physical resources to do so.
There is certainly nothing wrong with having to make do, but I think back to my family home, from the perspective of an adult and a decorator, with some sadness, because while I appreciate that my parents certainly worked very hard to give us what we needed, I recognize that they made the very common mistake of buying a house bigger than they could afford, and certainly bigger than they could furnish, essentially making us house poor.
A well decorated room is richly layered with contrast, texture and interest Source
It was a split level house with largely unfurnished rooms on the two lower levels that tended to collect toys, piles of laundry and hockey equipment. The living room was very basically furnished with a sofa, chair and coffee table, and not a decorative element in sight. It was spartan to say the least.
The house was built in 1979 and had chocolate brown carpet, busy brown and gold lino, dark wood trim, cabinets and countertops, and cream walls. To be honest, it was a bit bleak.
My mom managed to put a pretty metallic wallpaper in the main bathroom with elegantly arched reeds and flowers, that I loved to look at. But overall, I was desperately under stimulated visually. The house only had a warm and inviting feel at Christmas, the only time of year it was deemed important to do some decorating.
Don’t forget to budget for details that create interest like wallpaper Source
So in the end, that my dad had made the all too common mistake of choosing the biggest, most impressive house the bank would allow him, meant that it was never a cozy and inviting home.
I see people making this mistake all the time. They buy a house at the top end of their budget, investing all they have in the shell and leaving nothing for the content. It’s like blowing your budget on the gift box and not being able to buy the gift.
And I think creating an inviting and beautiful home is an important gift to give yourself and your family. I’ve long overcome any received notions that decorating and caring what my space looks like is somehow wasteful or self indulgent.
Plan and budget for pretty details like mood lighting Source
We have a tiny house, my husband, daughter and I, but it is chock full of pretty things, and lots of art (below). I never hesitate to invest in that can of paint or pretty pillow I need to pull it all together. And guess what? My house is the one everyone wants to hang out in all the time.
My husband who was admittedly a bit alarmed by my propensity to paint a room or redecorate on a whim, has come around to admit that our house now feels like a home.
My casual dining room with painting by Violet Owen (paint colour BM Indian White)
The bottom line for me is that I would never buy a large house that I couldn’t afford to decorate well. And it’s a value I’d like to share. If you read this blog, chances are, you get that it’s important to decorate, but I’ll bet you have friends or family who don’t.
Good quality furnishings, window coverings, lighting, art, decor and all the little details that make a space a home don’t come cheap, even if you are very clever and thrifty.
It amazes me how often people are willing to invest in extra renovation details like fancy mouldings and expensive tile but don’t give a thought to, or reserve any kind of budget for, actually furnishing, decorating or styling their home.
Styling, art and lighting create a look and feel. Source
As a general rule, you need to reserve at least ten percent of the value of your home to invest in furniture and decor. And that’s really the bare minimum. If you can’t comfortably make that amount available for the actual contents of your new home, you are spending too much on your mortgage.
I am no financial advisor, but what’s the point of a pretty house with nothing in it? No comfort, no beauty, no look and feel? It’s a waste.
My daughter’s small room is modestly furnished, but I bought her a bright green shag rug that she uses as “grass” for her horse stable games, a grown up bold multi colored floral bedding set with a pile of colourful throw pillows and curtains to match in in her favorite deep teal blue. She recently said to me, “Mom, I love my room, it feels so real, like I have real, pretty pillows and things to look at.” So there you have it, my childhood dream fulfilled.
Thanks Tricia for this great advice!
PS. Now is the time to find a Specify Colour with Confidence workshop near you this Spring. In the Fall of 2018 my schedule will only allow for 2 events and the price will be going up.
Tricia (my Senior Colour Designer) and I were reviewing eDesign projects the other day and she mentioned that clients are always quick to describe the wood stain colour of their dressers and end tables. (By the way, I oversee all of the eDesign, nothing goes out without my input and final approval, however the time consuming work is in organizing the presentation of all my colour specifications which is what Tricia does).
I laughed and replied that I remember vividly from my paint store days, whenever someone would walk in looking for a paint colour for their bedroom, they always proceeded to carefully describe the colour of their wood stained dressers and end tables.
(White furniture, make sure you repeat white in your decorating ) Interior Design by Maria Killam
As I’ve said before, the master bedroom is the most highly neglected room in the house. First the living room gets decorated, then the kids rooms, the master bedroom is always the one where the homeowner is saying “In here, we have a blank slate, we can do whatever we want”.
This does not make any decorators job any easier.
Instead, without inspiration, we will spend the most time in this room while we analyze the merits of a greige, or a green grey, vs. blue grey, vs. violet grey, vs. taupe, (if you want a neutral) because you’re probably not considering beige inside this trend cycle.
If you want to paint your room green or blue for example, you could test 10 of them on the wall and still be waiting for your paint colour to propose, without a piece of art or a duvet cover to help you.
So first, if you have painted bedroom furniture (below), then that definitely should be taken into consideration. A COLOUR, not a wood stain in your furniture immediately becomes part of the colour scheme.
But wood stained furniture? It’s pretty much in the realm of neutral with a few exceptions of really strong stain colours, for example.
Nina Farmer (stained wood end tables do not relate to the paint colour here)
The reason it’s hard to find a pretty bedroom in a magazine or online filled with wood stained furniture is because if you hire a designer to help you decorate your bedroom, they will often give you an upholstered headboard because it looks more luxurious.
Also a designer will not help you buy a 5 piece matching set because, well you can do that on your own. A matching set of furniture, just like a dining room set will not give you the designer look you are craving.
Once you choose your bedding, it’s easy to find a wall colour you’ll love:
You can see that this duvet is yellow beige, orange beige, green grey and blue grey so that gives you 4 options from my system to paint this room. In comparison to the duvet, you can see that Pottery Barn used a upholstered headboard that is slightly pink beige.
Last year was the first time we rented a house in Palm Springs for the entire month of January.
And we were there again this year. Everyone always thinks we are on vacation, and I constantly get emails saying “Hope you’re having a relaxing time in Palm Springs”, but here’s the thing, we’re just working in a different location.
When you have an online business like we do, our office is on our laptops. January is dark and gloomy in Vancouver and it helps to get out of winter to keep our energy going for all the projects we’re working on.
My new website launched last January and it had some glitches that needed to be worked out. I have never met anyone with a big website that didn’t have issues when they launched. Thank goodness for my web developer Terrence Murtagh. He was my lifeline.
Anyway, this blog is in it’s 10th year. And over the years, whenever I would announce that I was taking a trip, I would get an inquiry from at least one or two readers asking if I’d come to their house to consult with them.. I’m not always available, depending on my schedule, however I love to make house calls locally or when I travel if at all possible.
Since you already know me from reading this blog, we are instant friends as soon as I arrive. It’s one of my favourite things to do.
And get this, suddenly these inquiries stopped almost completely, since the launch of my new website (one year ago).
Also my new website is obviously designed to sell my live workshops and my eDesign consulting since I have so many readers all around the world who need this kind of specialized colour advice.
My primary business model is teaching and writing. However, I find the time to take on one or two decorating projects each year because it’s all I have time to do and I love decorating. It keeps me fresh and keeps my readers aware that I know how to pull a room together with colour.
Many designers, once they achieve a certain level of success in their business, (and develop a well-rounded portfolio that shows their work well) only take on bigger projects. Often they stop taking one-off consultations because they have so many projects on the go.
However, here’s why I still love in-person colour and design consultations:
I was in a clients kitchen a few years ago who had charcoal glazed cabinets. I noticed that even though they were glazed, they looked quite white at the same time.
So I pulled out my white fan deck to determine which white they were painted. They were off-white. That’s when I realized that the glaze had only been applied to the traditional raised panels around the cabinet door, it had not been applied over the entire door (below).
Until I saw that in person, my general advice about glazed cabinets had been this: Once you glaze your cabinets, they turn beige. If you use a green glaze, they will be green beige, etc.
During the tuscan trend, glazed cabinets were huge because we weren’t decorating with true white or off white like we are now.
You can see the overall glaze on the kitchen above. And how the window trim and conferred ceiling is whiter because they are not glazed.
My sister Elizabeth has a cream, glazed kitchen (above). Her cabinets have been covered in a ‘mocha’ glaze which essentially turned them pink beige. If you look closely, you’ll notice the glaze has a pink undertone.
Making personal house calls from the East Coast to the West Coast keeps me on the pulse of colour and in tune with all the nuances I might otherwise miss.
This is why I’m writing this post. To remind you that I’ll still make a local house call if you are planning a renovation or a new build, or a decorating project and need some colour and design advice to make sure all your colours are going to be right.
Today I’m sharing a sneak peek of my lovely client Crystal’s house (she is the owner of Studio B Yoga here in Chilliwack) I finished over a year ago, it was photographed and now it will finally be published in May.
The main rooms of the house will be featured in the magazine which I can’t show you until it’s published, so I’m starting the tour by showing you the mudroom which had a major transformation and became a much more functional and attractive space.
Here’s the before photos which include the adjoining pantry. This wall was taken out and it became one room with closed cabinets and an area for coats, hats, etc. This was designed by my good friend Jan Romanuk.
After – Millwork BM Chantilly Lace
The ceiling colour has a purple undertone and it relates to the sectional in the great room this creates flow and it’s pretty fun to have a blue ceiling which always feels like the sky so it doesn’t need to relate to anything in the room.
I have a blue ceiling in my living room and people rarely notice.
Yes we could have introduced a trendy, geometric or encaustic tile, but that would eventually date. Much easier to change out the runner! The light hardwood floors are throughout the rest of the home as well.
Colours, hardware, lighting and styling by Maria Killam, Photography by Barry Calhoun
I decorated Crystal and Rob’s summer house (right beside their current house) 4 years ago here.
We’re off to LA this coming weekend with my team for a big presentation, can’t wait to share what I’m up to! Follow me on Instagram and Instastories to get a sneak peek of everything I’m doing.
Maria, I love your blog, it’s the first thing I open when I get my email.
My question is I have white and grey tile on the bathroom floor and the cabinets are white but look like a cream white against the floor and the tops are new build cultured marble.
Husband wanted the floor even though it doesn’t go with anything!! (He got to make a decision too bad it was the wrong one! lol)
I’m thinking of having the cabinets painted a light grey, one of the tones from the tile in the floor (I know it’s trendy) but I’m stuck with that flooring. And the walls painted a white with a touch of grey.
Am I on the right track? I did have a designer come over but she has a business of painting cabinets so of course that’s what she suggested but I agree with her and would love your opinion.
So first, I would love to have some more questions for Ask Maria posts. But ya’ll need to send me photos.
I would never have specified the colours my reader ended up with in this bathroom without photos.
I cannot give you accurate advice without photos.
Without photos, I can’t help you.
Okay did you get that? Good, haha.
Also, it needs to be a dilemma I have not posted about on the blog before. So in general, what colour should I paint this or that has been covered. Unless it’s a real interesting and useful dilemma regarding wall colour, we will likely send you a link to our eDesign page instead.
But it never hurts to try right? So clean up your room, take photos WITHOUT flash and in good natural light and send them here.
Okay back to my readers question:
You have no idea how many times I have heard this complaint.
I have walked into countless bathrooms and kitchens where I’m looking at the unfortunate looking faucet (for example) and wondered how it got there.
The wife reads my mind and confides that she let her husband have one choice and that was it.
And well, it’s just wrong.
So here’s the thing. Choosing tile, or a faucet, or a countertop is not like choosing a pillow. There’s no returns if it ends up being the wrong choice.
And if it’s not selected taking everything else into consideration, well you’ll just be cranky every time you look at it.
Until you move, or take it out.
And who wants that?
Selecting finishes for a renovation is not about one turn for me and one for you.
Just like you don’t need to be in love with every finish you choose because most of them will be the supporting cast for the one featured “star”, you can’t just toss in something your partner loves to appease them and make them feel included.
Every selection you make effects all the others. If your husband wants to be in on the decisions, he needs to be in on the logic of the whole design, and each decision will need to be made as a team, working towards the ultimate goal, a harmonious finished room. Just like a good marriage is ultimately about team work and not about taking turns getting your way. It’s about working towards goals together. (Who knew design was like couples therapy?).
But anyone who’s been through a big renovation knows it kind of is. And for a happy outcome, different wish lists need to be subsumed under the overriding goal of a design that inherently works.
Okay so, let’s check out this tile that is causing so many problems shall we?
Let’s see if we can create some magic.
Okay so here’s a close up of the vanity, you can see that the countertop reads pink beige here and the vanity is too cream.
However, my reader said the countertop is white, so perhaps the existing builder pink beige paint colour is causing it to look pinker.
Since the countertop is much whiter than the ‘greige’ tiles, the best solution here would be to choose a colour so she’s definitely on the right track.
However, a faux marble tile in green grey tones is neutral. It goes with lots of colours. The only colours that would not look good with this tile are earthy neutrals like pink beige, green beige, or muddier sage greens, gold beige, etc.
So I asked her to send me a picture of the master bedroom.
Here’s the view from the other side (below).
Her walls are painted Crate and Barrel 6. So painting the vanity the same colour would be a great way to create flow from the master bedroom.
Here’s the room the way it looks now (above).
In my opinion, there’s actually nothing wrong with the tile. In this case, her husbands choice was not a bad one.
However, you simply cannot have a white or cream vanity. If the vanity was white to relate to the white countertop, it would look wrong because there is no white in the floor. If the countertop was a concrete grey colour, then the vanity could have been a true white.
The vanity could also have been a darker shade of green grey or charcoal as well. I chose blue because it makes more sense to create flow from the master bedroom.
In January and February we’re unusually busy in our eDesign department working on New Build packages because this is the time of year when planning begins for renovations or new builds.
If you’re planning a new build, you should be aware that colour decisions for the exterior need to be made FIRST. So don’t wait until the last minute (which often happens).
Many people think “I got this” but then when it comes down to the wire and the builder is hounding you for colour decisions, that’s when you start losing sleep worried that you’ve made the right decision.
We constantly receive emails with last minute requests for help with exterior because you started searching on-line for the right answer and then hit my website and started panicking when you realized you can’t just wing it with colour decisions.
To help you out, we have a new build and the link to the exterior new build is on the page.
If you have just finished a renovation or new build and found my website, don’t read this post. It’s not fun when you realize you’ve made mistakes, as I’ve said in the past, ignorance is bliss. Read this post instead.
The order of the decisions that need to be made is very important! Once you make a few key colour and design choices in the beginning, the conversation about what comes next is less about ‘What you love’ and more about ‘What will look good with what you’ve already chosen’.
If you feel like you have to ‘fall in love’ with every hard finish choice you make, you might end up with a bathroom that looks like this one (below) with a thought process that probably went like this:
“Hmmm, I love grey, I’m going to love it forever, so let me grab one of these 12″ x 24″ grey tiles. Oh, I really love this horizontal accent tile, I need that right? Oh, and I need a small scale tile for the shower floor and these black and grey stones are gorgeous.” Check, check and check.
And then in the end, the walls ended up a blue grey when in fact the tile in this image has a green grey undertone.
So, if you are at the beginning of a project and you have not enlisted the help of a designer, here are the steps you need to follow:
Choose your floors first
You have two options. Light or medium brown. The end.
Notice there is not a stitch of grey in these images. If you don’t want your house to scream “built in the grey trend” don’t install charcoal or grey floors.
Don’t even get me started on black hardwood floors (since grey is the new black). One of my readers sent me the on-line catalogue of a popular furniture brand and the cover had an emerald green sofa sitting on top of black hardwood floors. NOOOOOOOO. That is a life designed around dusting constantly.
If you want tile in your kitchen–despite the thousands of apparent options in the showroom–good options are more limited than you think, AND then it needs to relate well to your countertops, so if you don’t want a muddy, blotchy looking mess, you probably need something nearly solid.
And since most homes have traditional kitchens, a solid tile will look too contemporary, so consider something like the following instead:
Will your cabinets be a true-white, off-white, or cream? Or if you are installing a wood stained kitchen, which white will you choose for your trim? That is the next decision.
I have spoken with many clients who say “I don’t want stark white cabinets”. That is totally fine. No one ever said that you can’t have a classic and timeless house with a cream palette (see the above kitchen).
Unless I specifically state “True white” when I mention WHITE on the blog, assume I’m talking about the white that works for your house.
So when I say white, it could be anything from a blue-white to off-white, true-white, or cream. It should always be custom to YOUR home.
If you are choosing whites for your renovation or new build and you haven’t bought my White is Complicated eBook which will teach you exactly which white you should choose? Download it here.
If you’ve already skipped the last step, that’s okay because your countertops will dictate whether you should choose a true-white, off-white or cream palette anyway.
In the above photo on the top right, you can see that the countertops are Carrara marble which have a blue undertone. So you could choose a blue-white (which will read more like a colour than a white) or a true-white for the cabinets.
The kitchen on the right is cream (above). With cream, honeycomb backsplash tiles. There’s nothing wrong with a pattern that’s different from subway tile as long as it’s plain and leaves you with the option of switching up the colours in your kitchen anytime you want.
The definition of classic and timeless design is “Will I be stuck in a specific colour scheme forever?” If the answer is NO, you’re golden.
Or with pattern, the question to ask yourself is “Will I get bored of this in 10 minutes?” (below), um yeah.
This is not obvious to everyone, but your kitchen should coordinate with your fireplaces.
Unless you are building a beach house or a house in the country, I would stay away from stacked stone, as it’s stone (from the earth), so it’s not white (unless it’s manufactured) and that means the colours are generally earthy and will boss around your colour scheme just like a busy granite countertop or busy, colourful tile in a bathroom.
After the kitchen and great room, bathroom tile is next. If you’re after a classic and timeless design, stay away from all the busy, patterned, trendy tile unless your house fits this exception.
Here are some guidelines for choosing tile:
A back and white basketweave (or something similar) is always a classic choice. Why? Because this is what you expect bathroom tile to look like.
Notice how the black has been repeated in the framed art and towels. A black countertop would work here too.
However, if you love the look of the flat black hardware in bathrooms, choose black for the faucet ONLY and go with chrome for the shower hardware. Especially in a white bathroom. It’s prettier (and looks less bitty) to repeat the black in framed artwork instead.
Those of you who are fixated with getting your whites right (as I am), notice that the 12″ x 24″ faux marble is not as white as the white hex on the floor underneath the tub or the subway tile on the wall. Don’t try to match it, you won’t be able to do it. Better to contrast it instead. This combination works because the true white tile relates to the bright white bathtub (below):
By the way, here we are working this hard to coordinate whites! Imagine trying to do this with NEUTRAL undertones. It’s no wonder most bathroom tile doesn’t match or just looks plain bad in the end.
Hardware for your cabinet doors looks easy but here’s the guideline to keep in mind.
Choose knobs for your cabinet doors and pulls for the drawers. If you coordinate both, and even go so far as to choose custom lengths for the pulls (depending on how large your drawers are) it will look like a designer was here.
If you are on a budget or you just don’t have time to figure out what goes where, choose knobs instead of pulls (below). Visually, less is more when it comes to hardware. A kitchen full of 4″ long pulls on all the doors and drawers gets busy looking very fast!
Choosing lighting is hard. It look me many years of being in the design industry to get good at choosing lighting.
It’s the reason why builder lighting is usually bad and all matchy. Lighting should be chosen to coordinate with the style of the home and each light should coordinate with the other.
I don’t understand why more builders don’t just install a simple drum shade chandelier for dining rooms. They go with everything and in a pinch, if you’re on a budget you can live with it until you find something more interesting:
It would be even better if you had a colour scheme for the living or great room at this point but most people can barely keep up with all the above decisions to think about which colour their sofa will be.
I didn’t think the trend to painting walls white could get any bigger but it is. I receive more and more questions and comments every day about white and most importantly, readers who have painted their walls plain white and ended up disappointed with the result.
So here’s the thing, most people do not have a house that will look good with true-white or off-white walls, this statement says it the best:
White is a snob, white walls create an art gallery effect, spotlighting attention on every object so each must be worthy. White walls highlight shape and colour and tolerate no chaotic mess. Each object is part of the composition and so has to be selected and positioned with a curatorial eye for arrangement.
If you are a designer and think you’re off the hook because your client has requested a white, think again.
When my clients say white, I automatically hear greige because most homes need SOME colour in order to look finished instead of that the walls have been primed and are still waiting for colour. Go back to the above quote and read it again if you still didn’t get it.
Which greige you choose or specify should be based on the existing neutral undertones of your house, here’s a post I wrote about greige, scroll down to the end.
As you can see this post gives you the order in which choices need to be made, it barely scratches the surface on all the decisions that need to be made and how to coordinate them.
If you want to learn how to choose the right colours and finishes for your renovation or new build, you can purchase my on-line webinar training for interior here and exterior here.
If you want me to help you create a colour plan for your renovation or new build including coordinating lighting and hardware, here’s the eDesign consultation for this.
Whatever you do, DO NOT go about spending thousands of dollars WITHOUT any training or guidance. You would never get hired as a buyer in any company responsible for spending thousands of dollars without training.
It works the same way for your very expensive house. And every day for as long as you live there, you’ll have to live with hasty decisions, made under pressure.
My best advice is to not make risky choices on your own. Go with the safe option and get crazy with wallpaper and fabrics instead! And then the chances are much higher that your house will fill you with happiness every time you walk in the door.
Here’s a lovely testimonial we..
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