But the brick...it was bad. Well, let me clarify - it actually wasn't bad at all, but that didn't go along with this post's title, so just roll with it. It was just a very traditional red infused brick. And just stuck out too much with our decor so it made the hit list.
By way of history, a fireplace was one of the must-have items on our list when we were house hunting. There’s just something so tranquil and cozy about them. From a functional standpoint, we ended up with a gas fireplace that I absolutely adore. To be able to fire it up in 10 seconds flat and turn it off equally as quickly and easily is priceless to me. I know many people (Eric included) prefer a natural wood burning fireplace; however, I’m a girl of spontaneity and cleanliness when it comes to fires. No waiting, no ashes...sign me up! (Sidebar: I do loooove a natural fireplace...just not one I have to clean up after. I already have two toddler boys - need I say more?)
As much as I loved the fireplace’s convenience, I didn’t love the deep red undertones in its brick. So after a bit of Googling around, I stumbled upon some whitewashing tutorials and was really digging the look. After a bit of hemming and hawing since we knew we couldn’t “undo” a whitewash treatment, we decided to give it a go and crossed our fingers. So begins the day the fireplace got whitewashed.
The supplies I needed where quite basic:
- 3” cheap quality paint brush (we're talking $2.99 cheap)
- Drop cloth
- White paint
- Painter’s tape
- Rag (or an old t-shirt)
Here’s what we started with: a rather red toned fireplace with a less than red concrete mantel:
Step 1: Enlist the help of some burly men (aka Eric and his brother) to remove the concrete mantel and the fireplace surround. The surround was much easier than I thought. Eric just had to unscrew about four screws and that was it. She popped right off.
Step 2: Tape off the walls surrounding the fireplace and hearth. Some of you may be confident skipping this step, but I was not. I knew I wanted to err on the side of caution with my paint/water mix and not go too white. To achieve that means having a more watery/dripping mix (more on that later). Water/drippy = harder to work with = definitely use tape and a drop cloth.
Step 4: Grab your 3” cheap-o paint brush and start brushing on your mix. Mine was very drippy as you can sort of see from this photo. I’m apparently also very happy and smiley to be tackling this project. Also, don’t pay any mind to my sweet, sweet painting outfit...or lack of any hair and makeup to boot...yikes. Anyway, I worked in about one square foot sections at a time. Make sure to get into the grout lines as well (unless for some reason you're trying to maintain their original color). And don't worry about the fact that it looks like it goes on REALLY white at first. Brick is extremely porous so it ends up soaking up a lot of the paint mix.
Total Project Cost: $3
3” paint brush: $3
Drop cloth: $0, already had
White paint: $0, already had
Water: $0, we've all got this!
Painter’s tape: $0, already had this
Rag (or an old t-shirt): $0, already had this
Here’s how the family room to-do list is shaping up so far...LOTS still left to do:
New rug, artwork
- Window treatments – bamboo shades?
- Install crown molding
- Paint wainscoting and all trim
- Replace electrical boxes/cover plates to match white trim
- Paint built-ins white
- Add a fun painted or wallpapered back to the built-ins for extra interest
- Additional recessed lighting? Or lamps on console table? Both?
- New couch?
If not now, new throw pillows for the interim Install new dimmer switch
- Build or score sweet deal on a new TV/media center
- New mantel?
All in all this whitewashing took about three hours from start to finish. Has anyone else delved into the whitewashing pool lately? Or perhaps just straight up painted some brick?