a lovely living

True Color Expert

It’s true, I’m now an official True Color Expert! I have been following Maria Killam’s blog (at the direction of my MIL) for years now. I love her timeless and classic, yet bold, design style, and I’ve obviously admired her for her color expertise. I have always loved color in every regard. As it pertains to clothing and analyzing what colors work best for women to homes and the way we style and decorate each and every room. It really is an art and one that I’m finding many struggle with.

Over the past few years, I’ve been getting my hands on more and more design projects locally thanks to word of mouth and living in a relatively small town where word seems to get around. When I would get approached and asked if I’m a designer, I’ve had a difficult time answering that….”yes, well, kind of…I mean, I’m doing it, but I don’t exactly have any certification” type of response. Very professional, right? When I saw that Maria was going to be offering her course along the east coast this Spring, I knew it was my chance to jump on something. Paint can set the whole tone of a home and I’ve had so much fun seeking out the perfects shades for a number of people around our area. I have an eye for what works and what doesn’t but I never knew the answer as to why. That was the main reason I was eager to take Maria’s course. She promised to answer that why question, and she honestly went above and beyond.

(with Maria Millam receiving my True Color Expert Certificate)

Not only did I get to attend, but I managed to talk my best friend into joining me. She has an amazing eye for design and I know that this course is going to be the start of something big for her as well! We are in no way related but we certainly lost track of how many times we were asked if we were sisters! We talked color day and night and didn’t even begin to tire of it!

We spent three full days studying color, neutrals in particular and the intricacies of the undertones that they carry. She managed to open our eyes to the world of undertones so that we are now able to diagnose undertones in paint, furniture, rugs, counters etc. and understand why some things work well together and others not so much.

(The ballroom at the Allegria Hotel in Long Beach, NY)

In addition to all of the teachings, Maria also helped me to understand that designers / decorators / color specialists are not just a luxury. On the contrary, they are here to help create the ‘look and the feel’ that their client’s desire but aren’t able to pull together on their own. She helped us realize that making a wrong decision on paint, furniture, countertops etc. can end up costing one exponentially more than the fee that would be charged to get it right the first time. I’m not a high-end decorator by any means, nor do I have a desire to do so, so those words were all the more comforting.

There were plenty of hands on exercises that we worked on individually as well as in groups. Sometimes there was a clear right and wrong and other times we were able to listen to the opinions of others and learn from their perspective. Maria’s color wheel is still in trial mode, but it is a fantastic tool that we were all able to utilize and return home with.

One other tool that I returned with was a pack of Maria’s color boards. She offers both Benjamin Moore and Sherwin Williams most useful colors on painted 11×14 boards. I can’t tell you what a difference these boards make when you are trying to specify paint color for a wall. Being able to move it around and compare it to various hard finishes in a room is such a huge benefit. I’ve already seen them used in two houses since I’ve been home and it was so easy make selections!

I’m now more confidant than I’ve been before when it comes to specifying color for clients and I’m excited to help many more of you locally to create that perfect look and feel that you’ve been craving for your home. There’s also the potential to one day tackle some e-consulting, but I’m still taking baby steps here ;) I’ll keep you posted on that!

Thank you, Maria for giving me the confidence that I was lacking and the tools I need to take these next steps forward, allowing me to approach my clients in a much more effective and professional manner. I’m forever grateful!!





  • Nikki says:

    I’ve always known paint color selection can be challenging, but we have mostly been successful with what we have chosen. I can see my interior design choices evolving and with that has come some challenges when trying new colors in the house. We have a lot of brown tones, but I have started branching out into the land of greige and in Aspen’s room, gray. Holy hardness. Some wins, and some serious fails. Like I have a 5 gallon container of a color that is neither returnable nor usable in my home. The struggle is real. I have actually researched a color specialist in my area and will be working with her to help me navigate merging some of what I have with where I would like to go. Wish you were closer because I would hire you in a heartbeat! I remember you mentioning in one of your posts how just like your clothing style evolves through the years, so does your interior design style. I am definitely right there now, and while it is exciting I wish it came with a less expensive price tag. Turns out switching up my jeans is equally as stressful as wanting to redo my living room, just with a far more forgiving price tag. ;) Happy to see you living your passion – it’s a beautiful thing! :)

    • marisa says:

      I wish I lived closer too! For more reasons than one ;) It’s very wise to invest in someone’s help if you’re struggling. They will likely end up saving you $$ in the end! You’ll have to fill me in on what colors you’re working with. Greige is a great transition that can work well with the browns or greys when you find the right one! Keep me posted :) xx

  • Maureen McCormack says:

    Since you are not local and I haven’t seen you in years, do you ever do any sort of analysis through Skype, emails, pics back and forth, etc. I don’t think we can afford to significantly redocorate our space but I do need help picking out paint colors. Something to freshen up the house. My husband is handy and could do the work; really looking for your guidance. What would something like that run?

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