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Press for Maria Killam Colour and Design

Vancouver Colour Queen on the Cover of BC Home

By 08/20/2009April 27th, 201971 Comments

Remember that wall of artwork I showed you a few weeks ago when it was being installed?  Well here it is now on the front page of BC Home for their Design Issue in September!  I have recreated the entire article here for you to see!

Have you ever splashed your space with paint only to discover, a little too late, that you hated the end result? It’s a common occurrence among today’s DIYers, emboldened by television’s crop of home reno programs. It’s also one of the leading reasons behind the growing appeal of hiring a specialist, such as Vancouver-based colour designer Maria Killam.

The colour queen – clad in white capris and a sunny yellow top – is all smiles as she proudly unveils her latest project, a tri-level Yaletown loft occupied by a 35-year-old corporate lawyer.  Killam has every reason to smile. The space boasts a style far removed from the stark and sober aura that one might expect in the home of a corporate lawyer. Indeed, it shatters stereotypes with a punchy, playful vibe – one, Killam says, that reflects the young lawyer herself, a Twilight fan who shares the rental unit with her two Boston terriers, Lucy and Polly.

“My client, Kareen [Zimmer], is definitely not a stuffed shirt corporate type!” says Killam. “She’s young, vibrant and feminine, so she wanted surroundings to match.” She also wanted the residence, accented in Zimmer’s favourite colours of purple and green, to be elegant, leaving guests in no doubt that they’ve entered the domain of a successful career woman.

When a newly hired Killam first entered the loft four months ago, the 1,300-square-foot unit was just an empty builder box containing whitewashed walls, yellow-beige carpets and zero personality. Undaunted, Killam’s first task was to select furniture, and she chose contemporary shapes in colours that would coordinate with the carpeting.

“It’s a rental, so we needed to work with the colour of the flooring,” she explains. “I suggested we go with a fabric covered sofa instead of leather because in terms of colour, texture and pattern, the choices are endless, she says, gesturing to the grass-green sofa and twin footstools upholstered in a polka-dotted fabric.

Fun furnishings aside, the home’s biggest wow factor is arguably the living room wall – an expansive white backdrop that has been boldly colour-blocked in a shade of moss green. Its eyepopping impact comes as no surprise to Killam, who believes that the best way to create maximum bang for minimal buck is with a gallon of paint.

Minimizing costs is important to this designing woman, who has a knack for mixing high-end indulgences – like the custom-made, tri-colour curtains lining a set of windows overlooking False Creek – with wallet-friendly finds. One of her best buys was a $300 dining room table from Ikea, which left enough money in the budget to adorn it with eight chairs custom-upholstered in a chenille stripe.

If God is in the details, Killam paid heed to this mantra right down to the minutia. Thanks to her, future dinner party guests needn’t fear of any awkward lulls in conversation. That’s because the dining room wall boasts a striking photo gallery chronicling Zimmer’s world travels. This dynamite detail was an easy (and inexpensive) way to personalize an otherwise featureless wall.

And, as every Yaletown trendster knows, accessories can make or break a look. Together, Killam and Zimmer trawled various retailers for funky finishings, including whimsical table lamps shaped like eternal circles. After all, Killam declares, there’s no point in giving your place a 21st-century update if your accessories still scream 1999.

One of Zimmer’s favourite retreats is three flights up a carpeted staircase, past her cosy loft bedroom, to an outdoor patio overlooking the city. “I wanted an outdoor space where I could do gardening,” she says, adding dryly: “As a corporate lawyer, I don’t get a lot of creativity in my day.”

This flower-filled patio, worth every step of the tri-level climb, is outfitted with an outdoor sofa and chair set, whose apple-green and coral cushions are as bright and cheery as the surrounding pots of gerbera daisies.

It’s a mood shared by Zimmer herself, who says Killam’s services were worth every penny. “Maria did a great job,” she raves. “I had an unformed view of what I wanted, just some ideas, and she pulled it all out of her hat in a way that wasn’t outrageously expensive.”

Praise like that? For Killam, no doubt, it’s priceless. Maria Killam is a Vancouver-based colour designer who runs her own design firm.

Photography by Anna Beaudry Photographic Design, Interview by Anna Dupas.
I have included a few extra photos that were not in the magazine and will write a different post soon to show you all the before photos!

Related post:
My interview in BC Home
Maria Killam on Decorating with Yellow in Alberta Home
Maria Killam in BC Home Magazine
Warning; You are the Colours in your Home

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  • Cristin says:

    Congratulations! This is a beautiful space. Love the desk tucked away under the staircase too. Great use of space.


  • Kate Smith says:

    Wow, Maria this is wonderful. Not only is the room simply beautiful but the write up is great. Congrats on your much deserved cover and article. Now I can say I know someone famous, too 🙂 xo~Kate

  • Laura Casey Interiors says:

    Congratulations, so well deserved!

  • Cindy J. says:

    Very, very well done.

  • Lauren says:

    MARIA!!!!! Congratulations!!! It's beautiful & you're amazing!!!!! I'm SO excited for you!!! huge hug!!!!! awesome!!!

  • Jennifer, Inside Out Colour and Design says:

    Maria, Wow, it's just gorgeous. I love the purple and green, one of my favourite combinations. You are so clever. Looking forward to seeing the before photos.

  • Rachel says:

    nice work, Maria! congrats on the coverage. How exciting to work from scratch with a bare white box. i love what you've done with the place

  • Tiaa @ EYInteriors says:

    WOW!! Great work. Congratulations, Maria. Well deserved.

  • StylishHeather says:

    Great article – congratulations!! I looove the photos – you did an amazing job!

  • Gwen says:

    Congratulations on the cover. You did a beautiful job and deserve all of the praise that you are getting.

    Can I be a pain? That poppy artwork in the bathroom, who did it or where did you get it? I really like the style and coloring of it.

  • guylaine rondeau says:

    great job maria! and fantastic piece of free publicity! woohoo for that! i hope you get lots of local work from it! — and what i wouldn’t give to have a great patio overlooking the city like that!

  • Lisa says:

    Fantastic! Just Fantastic! I love how the space is powerful & warm & friendly at the same time. The green is….oh my gosh…i have no words for it…the color block keeps it in perspective so it's not overwhelming. The cream with the purple is yummy! And the deck…what a view, I love how you pulled the green outside to the furnishings and the wall. Low key furniture allows the view to be the main attraction.
    Maria, You should be very proud! I would hire you in a flash if we were closer & I would also hire the attorney! I am sooooo happy for you!
    xxxooo Lisa

  • Danica says:

    Congratulations on the cover, Maria! Well deserved and so beautiful to look at. I love the tri-coloured curtains and how you managed to make polka-dots look grown-up on those footstools. I'll be looking for this on the magazine stands!

  • Danica says:

    Silly me! I forgot to thank you for adding me to your blogroll. So thank you thank you thank you! :o)

  • Tracy @ comfortandluxury says:

    Beautiful work, Maria!!! Congrats for the recognition… well-deserved!!

  • Jane says:

    What a beautiful pictorial of your achievement. The loft is beautiful! You must be so proud to have this delightful article written about your work. Congratulations!

    Jane (Artfully Graced)

  • viera says:

    Maria, my congratulations. Place looks absolutely stunning. Green and purple works magic.

  • Marlo says:

    Congratulations!!! Someone should pick you up and give you your own TV show. Not only are you a Colour Queen – you have a knack for teaching!

  • DesignTies says:

    I love this home — the green & purple colour scheme in the living rooms is FANTASTIC!! And of course, the gallery wall totally rocks 🙂

    Congrats on the magazine cover and article. You totally deserve it!!

    The colour personality test was lots of fun — thanks for tagging us 🙂


  • Linda/"Mom" says:

    * Soooo happy FOR you, and so proud OF you, Maria~~~ the spaces are WONDERFUL and the acknowledgements you are receiving are so well-deserved!!! HAPPY DAY!!!

    Linda in AZ *

  • Maria Killam says:

    Dear Linda/Mom,
    Thank you for your ongoing comments on my blog, every time I click over I realize I can't reciprocate because you don't have a blog!

    Thank you all for your sweet comments!!

  • Yummy and Company says:

    gorgeous job!

  • Suzanne says:

    Well this is just wonderful. Congratulations to you! Love your blog and your style.

    I do think this is my first time commenting on your blog, but I have been following for a little while now and do enjoy every post. Congrats again.

  • katiedid says:

    Hi Maria! Thank you so much for visiting my blog and website. And thank youfor your email! It is always so nice to meet another fellow blogger. I would be happy to exchange links and thank you for asking.

    But most importantly, congrats on your wonderful story in the magazine!!! Great stuff!

  • Gloria Lemay says:

    Congratulations, Maria. Great work. I especially liked what you did with that dated pork chop.

  • vintagelaundress says:

    Marvelous! Congratulations!

  • Greet says:

    Maria, this project is gorgeous!
    The combination purple and green is beautiful!
    I do also like the combination purple-green with a touch of orange!


  • Tammy Tant says:

    Color Queen, I love that ! I love the room too, the draperies are delicious

  • Annie says:

    geesh I wish I lived here when I was a 35yo lawyer! Love those chairs – yummy!

  • Julianne says:

    There you go again being a genius. I have said it before and will say it again. Your blog makes my whole body and self feel happy. I want to move into this home and sit on that patio right now! When I build another home, I wish I could fly you here to help out. Thank you so much for sharing your self and talent to the world. Congratulations!

  • Between you, me and the Fencepost says:

    Woo Hoo ! The Colour Queen. xo

  • Design Junkie says:

    Congratulations. That was a beautiful project. I especially like the tri-color draperies.

  • rj says:

    Beautiful! Congrats!

  • Velvet and Linen says:

    Stunning, Maria.
    Love the touches of purple.
    That one green wall add so much warmth to the two story space.
    The dark wood and picture frames really add dimension.
    Loving those draperies too.


  • Design Esquire says:

    Congratulations! You deserve it! Your did a beautiful job (I LOVE the accent chairs in the living room). I can see why your client is so happy.

  • Annie says:

    hi maria, re: the bricks on my blog: we are currently of the belief that there is not much we can do. I am thinking of trying to "tone" done the "redness" of the "red bricks" by rendering (which means smearing thick concreting over the brickwork) around the front porch area and painting it a colour that tones down the red. I was thinking a chocolate colour??? Any advice would be VERY VERY welcome… I'm petrified I will make the wrong choice!

  • Roberta says:

    Bravo Maria! Well deserved. So beautiful and fresh. You must have been wowed to see your work on the cover. Lucky homeowner too!
    xo Roberta

  • chanteusevca says:


    What extraordinary spaces! Absolutely beautiful and how blessed is your client to have found you to bring such beauty to her new home! Love everything about it — the wall of artwork, the dotted fabric on the ottoman is so cool. I could live in every space your so beautifully created. And then to be featured in the magazine is the icing on the cake! Thank you for sharing your amazing talent with us. I am addicted to seeing what you will create next. Just wish it were in my home!


  • Amy E. Strodl says:

    Congrats Maria on a job well done!

    Amy Strodl over at Varnish

  • Kara says:

    Wow! Gorgeous space. I love everything about this home. But the photo wall is probably my favorite thing in the living room.

  • Donna @ dh designs says:

    Gorgeous spaces! I love the continuation of that beautiful green throughout the home – looking forward to seeing the before pictures!

    I love your work and your blog! Thank you soooo much for sharing!

  • Rebecca Sherman says:

    I love these colors together — green and lavender. You are a colorist for sure, but where did you learn to handle space and scale so beautifully? Fill me in

  • Karena says:

    Dreamy colors! Who created that fabulous art in the living room? Great job, congratulations Maria!

  • Ideezine says:


    This is Fab and of course I Love it. You must of had fun because it really shows. Can't ask for a better publicity year than this, so far. Sky's the limit so keep going! Congrats!

    Great portfolio snaps too!


  • Design Wanna-be says:

    Bravo Maria! I love the little purple glass pears, and everything else in the house!

  • Hill Country House Girl says:

    Congratulations Maria! Every single shot is just stunning!

  • Bethany says:

    It is wonderful! The space is awesome and the article is so great. AND the photography is perfect. I am sure you are so pleased. Way to go!

  • Beachbrights says:

    Absolutely Amazing! I love it!


  • Jennifer says:

    Congrats!!!!! Everything is beautiful and just perfect! That rooftop is sooo amazing!

  • Maria Killam says:

    Hi Gwen,
    The poppy art in the bathroom came from Homesense which is Homegoods in the states. Thanks for your comment!

    Thank you to everyone for your kind words!

  • Renae says:

    Maria….what an absolutely spectacular job you did…well done! I adore the bathroom and the accent wall in the main LR! I "know" someone famous!

  • Kelly (Arte Styling) says:

    Nice work, Maria! Congrats. 🙂 I especially like the green and pink powder room.

  • Linda Merrill says:

    Congratulations Maria!!

  • Elara says:

    So proud of you, Maria!!!

  • Rebecca says:

    Great space and what I like best is that you used the client's favorite colors. I am sure she will enjoy the room.

    Good to find you have been published in a national magazine.


  • hello gorgeous says:

    Well, Hello Gorgeous! 🙂

    Great job, Maria! And congratulations!

    What a beautiful job.

  • Red River Interiors: says:

    Wonderful finished project…so many elements to catch the eye and they all work well together. Congrats on your mag feature!!I Absolutely love your work and how much you inspire me and many others. The tri color curtains really pop the room…love the powder room as well…more great color there…I look forward to reading your blog and will continue to follow your work… Fay

  • Amber Beall says:

    WOW, WOW, WOW!!! What a beautiful job you did Maria, and such a great article. Congratulations AGAIN!
    Can you please ask Kareen if she is looking for a roommate? 😉

  • Anna Beaudry Photographic Design says:

    Thank you my friend for the opportunity to collaborate with you once again! I so appreciate your distinct eye for colour and detail – you free me up to focus on the light, which is what I love! Congrats on (another) job excellently done. Looking forward to our next shoot…how about A.D.?

  • qerat says:

    Beautiful home, especially that specific shade of green which is a favorite of mine.
    the photography brings it all out.
    Congratulations Maria

  • Carol Ann says:

    Congratulations Maria! Linda and I are so pleased for you…fab post of all the pictures, I love the drapes…just love the whole design…well done and congratulations again! Regards, Carol Ann

  • A Gift Wrapped Life says:

    I was sent over by friend Lisa Porter and I was delighted to meet another Canadian blogger…..and one with such fabulous design talent. You certainly deserve this cover, in my humble opinion you have handled the colour in this project perfectly, just the right amount and in the right places. Congratulations and will add you to my bloglist.

  • Debby says:

    Congratulations Maria! You have extraordinary talent and truly deserve the "Color Queen" title. Every one of your blogs is beautifully done and fun to read.

  • Sandra says:

    Maria, of course I know first hand the magic you create with colour & design. I'm just glad to know the rest of the city (and beyond) know it now too. Huge congrats on the cover – way to go!

  • The Blasphemous Fiendess says:

    Very beautiful. I love the colours purple and green and although modern contemporary s not my style at all I could live in this place. Ms Zimmer must be very disappointed she is a renter and not the owner. I love the green sofa!

  • Donna says:

    Maria, This is such a great concept! I love it…so many possibilities for clothes and walls. :o)I honestly wasn't sure what you meant, exactly, by color blocking when you mentioned it in previous posts, but this article makes it a little clearer to me.

    Now I realize that I actually had done something like that in the sewing room because up until now, I hadn't had the option or time to paint. I simply made some table covers (for portable computer desks) and a tablecloth in the color that I really wanted in my sewing room to add that green that I love so much.

    Even though the whole room wasn't that way, the big pieces of furniture could be and it gave a similar effect. I am a fabric and texture lover and loved how you simply hung gorgeous colors of fabric on the wall in one of those bedrooms. All of a sudden I pictured my three Beatrix Potter prints in frames mounted on a huge Styrofoam board (maybe 1" thick) or something like it…a frame maybe, but covered in the olive green I want. The whole room painted in that color might be too much, but not a huge block. It's one of those walls with tons of white space and nothing but three symmetrical prints that I adore, but seem lost on the wall.

    I will have to spend some time musing over this post and see what sort of possibilities open up both in decor and fashion.

    Another thing I like was the comment you made about the photo showing the inside of the shelves being painted to compliment the fireplace. I like what they did, but I especially like the idea of doing a small room that way. I have a dining room which opens immediately into the living room. I had been considering painting it a contrasting color of some shade to make it feel cozier and somewhat separate from the living area. Your post confirmed that decision.

    Now about clothes…that would be a fun thing to ponder altogether. I'm working on a bright orange lace cover up (kimono style) which is about as bright as I've ever tried to wear..but I do love orange!! I need to think about what to wear with that orange..something out of the box I think. So much food for thought!

  • Priscilla Sparrow says:

    Maria, This is great. I am so HAPPY 4 U. Great publicity
    and you deserve it!!!!!

    also I have the same green couch.

  • Iris says:

    Where o where did you get that glass coffee table?

  • Mary Crane says:

    Maria, would you please tell me the name of the paint you used for the green wall? I love that color.

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