Thursday, December 12, 2013


One of the big projects we really wanted to accomplish soon after moving into our home was giving the fireplace a little make-over. This is one of our favorite rooms in the house. It has an amazing amount of windows and we loved that the fireplace took up a huge portion of the wall. Our vision for this room is a bright and cozy place to host friends, watch movies, and have great conversations. There are a lot of dated features about this room, but I love the bones and its character. We have a lot of plans to really update this space and make it our own. First project?? The fireplace! We knew this would make an immediate impact on the space and that we could build around it afterward. Here is a before picture of the living room and fireplace that was used as one of the listing photos:

How We Updated Our Fireplace:
1// Hardware - We took off all of the old hardware on the fireplace. This included the brass cover and yellow-ish sconces. We also made sure to remove any nails and hooks from the brick.

2// Clean - We spent about an hour or so vacuuming the heck out of the fireplace before painting it. One tricky thing about painting fireplaces is that you can tend to have grease spots that will show through the paint as yellowy patches. Right around where the fire will be I might suggest taking some soap and water to the brick to break up any grease. We didn't paint the inside part of the fireplace, but if you do, you'll want to super clean and scrub that space before painting. You also won't be able to use it as a "fireplace" if you paint that area, unless the paint is specifically created for a fireplace and heated environments. 

3// Prep - We used blue masking tape to prep the areas around the fireplace. Since we are planning to also paint the trim and rest of the room we didn't mind if it wasn't perfect but we especially wanted to protect the floors and the wood mantel. We used trash bags to protect the mantel which I would suggest because paint ended up getting everywhere!

4// Prime! - This is a SUPER important step. Since brick is SO porous, it will take a lot of paint. Having an amazing coat of primer on your fireplace will make the final paint job go on smoothly and beautifully. Lets be real, priming this bad boy was a labor of love and took many, many hours. My suggestion would be to spread this project over two days. It took me nearly 6 hours to do one coat of primer and completely cover the entire fireplace. We used an entire gallon of Kilz paint primer for one coat. Kilz is AMAZING. Even though it took a really long time to cover everything, we only needed one coat of this stuff. Again, for this fireplace size, it took an entire gallon. I also went over a few grease patches a couple times to get rid of any yellow showing through the primer. So, onto the process...first I took a roller and did a basic cover over the top of the bricks with the primer. The roller brush didn't cover much because the grout on our fireplace is a little deep so it only got the fronts of the brick. Make sure you pick up a roller brush that's meant for a more porous surface. Then I took a brush and worked on filling in as much of the grout as possible. Because paint brushes are a little large, there were still some spaces and pores I couldn't quite get to. After a lot of time with the brush, I moved onto a small paint brush that you would use for painting canvas and art projects. This really took a lot of time because I wanted to get into every nook and cranny and make sure I did a complete cover with the primer. I would highly recommend watching a show while doing this! It makes the whole process a lot more enjoyable. ;) But take your time, make sure you do a full coverage of primer. It will be totally worth it if you do! 

5// Paint - After doing one, complete coat of primer and using an entire gallon of paint, we let the space dry. Once dried, we used a Valspar semi-gloss paint & primer in bright white. The semi-gloss was perfect and really added a beautiful shine to the fireplace. It also made the fireplace feel smooth and clean. We love how it looks in person! Since we worked so hard on the primer coat, it only took one easy coat of paint to finish off the fireplace. Again, we used the roller first and then used a larger paint brush to finish up the rest. It only took about an hour to do the final paint portion of the fireplace. 

And you're done!! It was definitely a time consuming project but it made a huge impact in our space and really updated the look. We also decided to update the lighting and Jon picked out these lantern style sconces at Lowe's which look beautiful up against the white. I'm still trying to figure out if I want to leave the mantel wood or paint it white...or black...I can't decide quite yet. I might do the rest of the room first and then decide. ;)

We are planning to paint all of the wood trim white and paint the walls a really beautiful light blue color to make all of the white really pop! I can't wait to see how this room progresses over time! 

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