Tuesday, September 1, 2015

1980's Brick Fireplace Makeover


Well, hello, there!  I feel like I should introduce myself since I've been away from here for so long.  Daily Instagram posts have been about all I could handle these past few weeks with preparing for back-to-school and actual back-to-school and holy-cat-there's-a-lot-i-didn't-get-done-at-work-this-summer.  We're finally getting into the swing of things (or I'm in deep denial) and this weekend I even had time to finish this project. #feelingproductive

Our home is a brick ranch, built in 1980 and the only living area had brown paneling, a brown fireplace and tan carpeting, which we replaced with brown hardwood.  See a trend here?  Here's a listing photo I found on the internet:  

On a side note, we've owned our house for four years and I could NOT believe I could still find a photo of the listing from the seller.  Be careful what you post out there-it never goes away!

It was a lot of brown and the one window into the room looks out on the back porch, which is covered.  There was minimal light coming in and we decided to paint the paneling to make it lighter.  That wasn't a hard job--it just took a lot of time.  We rubbed the paneling down with sandpaper to give it more grip and used two coats of good primer.  Then we painted it with two coats of Benjamin Moore White Dove, but we used Behr's Premium Plus Ultra Stain Blocking Paint & Primer in One for the actual paint and had it color-matched at Home Depot.  I like Benjamin Moore paint, but the local store isn't open on Sundays and I invariably need more paint than I plan for. It seems I always run out on Sundays when I'm trying to finish a project.
More info. here

While we were doing the paneling project, we also scraped the popcorn ceiling and painted the beams.  That left us with a much brighter room and the brown brick fireplace.  Here's a picture I posted of our 4th of July mantel:

I still wasn't loving the brown brick.  The brick on the outside of our house is mottled and would look great with the white paneling.

For some reason, the builder didn't use it inside and chose the brown instead.  One of life's great mysteries...  

So, here's what we started with:

I researched whitewashes and thought I'd try that with our fireplace to try to match the exterior brick.    The middle bricks have a very light wash and the ones to the left have a heavier wash.

To me, it looked like I had started priming the brick and had given up.  I just wasn't feeling it and decided to go for it and paint the whole thing in the same color we had painted the paneling.  I'm always drawn to white interiors like Paige Knudsen's beautiful house:

I love the texture our painted paneling has and knew the newly-white bricks would add to the texture in the room.  I didn't use a primer on the brick.  I just used a small roller for the bricks and an old brush for the grout areas.  Two coats of the Behr paint and we were done!  I'm very happy with the results and the whole room just glows.  I love that the color changes throughout the day.  Some of the photos below were taken in the morning and seem a bit cool.  Others were taken in the afternoon and the white is much warmer.

It was a little scary putting the paint on the first brick, because you're committed at that point, but I'm glad I did.  Everyone in the house is happy with it, so I call it a win.  I shared on Instagram how our kitty came and checked out the painting , too:

Fortunately, water based paint comes off fairly easily off of wood floors and no damage was done.

So, here are some photos of the new light and bright fireplace!

I'm sure I'll cozy it up more as we get further into fall, but right now I'm enjoying the simplicity and cleanness of the white background and uncluttered mantel.  The things I have displayed have a lot of meaning and remind me of my people:  
  • the mirror that hung over my grandfather's dresser, 
  • the mantel clock I bought my husband for our first Christmas in our first new house, 
  • the Safeway metal basket I found at an antique store that reminds me of my Dad and my Uncle Kenny who worked there, 
  • the photo albums and wicker basket filled with favorite magazines, 
  • a family snapshot taken at the beach 
  • and the lace runner my grandmother crocheted.
These are all things that I love and bring me joy.  And these are the things that make a house a home.

I'd love to hear what you think about the makeover.  What are some of your favorite makeover projects that you've done in your own houses?  I'm linking this makeover up at the Tutorials & Tips Link Party @ Home Stories A to Z.  Go check out the linky party and her great fall home tour!

Great Fall Decor Ideas!

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