March 9, 2015

fireplace make over

Over the weekend Christopher and I tackled our first renovation project (that we are doing ourselves) in our new home.  The family room (living room? I never know) has a large brick fireplace.  I'm not opposed to a fireplace, or brick, but that thing was a big bright red/orange eye sore in my opinion.  I didn't want to paint it because I wanted to keep more of the character.  And totally redoing it just isn't in the budget.  So I started researching other options and came across white washing.  I came across this image on pinterest and fell in love:


I read through several tutorials I found on pinterest and decided white washing was a project we could tackle.  Most said that it was a pretty easy idiot proof thing to do, and I loved that we could preserve the character of the brick while still toning down the red/orange factor.  If you want to white wash your own brick you'll need to gather the following:

- white paint (we used our trim paint in an eggshell finish, but any white paint will do)
- a paint brush
- some rags
- a bucket
- water

While browsing the tutorials I compared the images to the paint ratios.  I knew I didn't want a lot of coverage but didn't want to screw anything up.  The least amount of paint we saw used was 1 part paint to 3 parts water, so that is what we went with.  We taped off around the fireplace and covered the mantle with paper towels, and then while Chris mixed up the paint I used a rag to brush excess dust and crap off the brick.  And then we got to work.  Chris put the paint on the brick and I went along behind him and rubbed it off.  We hoped it would be a quick project, but it took us a couple of hours.  After we were all done though, it was worth it.  We started with this...


A couple of progress shots...


And we ended with this...


I love it.  While we were working I was worried the change wouldn't be that noticeable, but when all was said and done and I stepped back, I was amazed.  It truly leaves the character, but tones down the intensity of the brick.  I definitely rubbed most of the paint back off.  Some of the smoother bricks we had to go back and do a second coat because they still stood out quite a bit, but mostly this is just one coat rubbed on and back off.

It is a messy job.  The watered down paint runs and splatters pretty easily so be sure to take that in to account in your prep.  And make sure if there is a big run that you rub it off right away.  We have a few streaks and splatters that kind of show up because I didn't get to them when they happened.  But it isn't a huge deal.

I'm not exactly sure what I'm going to do with the mantle.  It got accidentally painted when all the trim was being done.  At first I was pissed because I think we'll all agree that in that first picture, the damn thing is hideous.  It just sticks out.  But once the brick was white washed it didn't look so bad.  I think we're going to leave it until the walls are painted and the floors are stained before I make a final decision.  And picking the perfect gray for this room is going to kill me.  So many options.  I want the room to be light and bright, but I definitely want some contrast between the trim as well.  The entry is being painted revere pewter, and while I love the color, I'm not sure I want to run that throughout the entire main floor.  Eventually I'll figure it out, I think I'm currently at 11 different samples of gray paint in the house.  Haha.

And for a little more fun, what the room looked like when we bought the house...


And a side by side of the brick revamp...


That wasn't much of a tutorial, so if you have any questions feel free to ask.  It really is a simple project that you can get done in an afternoon.  And I love the results!


Sandy said...

I love it! Thanks for sharing your mixture. That's just what I was looking for. We also just moved into a new house, and are going to tone down our brick fireplace. I did Revere Pewter in the foyer and through the main living area, but I am going to do Grey Owl in the playroom (where the dining room should be) and the living room.

Look forward to hearing more about the new house!

Anonymous said...

Wow, I love it! I have wanted to do something with our orangy brick fireplace for about 7 years, but my husband will not let me paint it. Maybe this will win him over. Thanks!!

Kelly said...

I live around the same area and am looking for remodeling bids. Would you mind sharing who you are using?

Amanda said...

I love the color Moonshine. It might work for the space and blend well with RP.

I can't wait to see the finished product!

Lindsey Mckenzie said...

Great idea and brilliant execution! You certainly got the key design choices down pat, with ones that will really make the renovating deliver, from the furnishes right down to the stuff you've built around it. Nice shade of color on those bricks too. I just hope the fireplace itself delivers, enough to amply rationalize such a treatment. Thanks for sharing that! All the best!

Lindsey Mckenzie @ Buchanan Fire & OutDoor