Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Cover Me Softly

At about 11:00 last Saturday night, Sean and I broke out some paint, a roller and brush, and a few tarps and got busy covering up the biggest eyesore in our house: our fireplace. Let me show the atrocity before I go any further:

And, in context:

Hadley dancing in front of the fireplace on Christmas morning '09.

Now, let me preface the remainder of this post by saying that I love, love, love painted brick. I don't think that painting brick is a sacrilege. In fact, I tend to like brick better when it's painted, whether it's interior or exterior brick. I just think it gives the house a sweet, bungalow/ cottage-y feel.

And, neither Sean nor I has ever liked our fireplace brick. It's too red-orange and doesn't work with the hardwood floors, the furnishings, or the roller shades on the window to the right. In fact, the fireplace seemed to give the whole room an orange-y cast that grated on my nerves. Orange just does that to me.

So, painted it we did. We used a primer + latex paint that is the same color as our trim, called "Vanilla Bean." The color is a light off-white that works beautifully with our wall color, a light cafe au lait. Here are a few in-progress shots (don't mind Sean's backside):

This project was super simple. The night before we painted, we spent about an hour prepping the fireplace by vacumming the brick, washing it with soap and water, and rinsing it. Then, we let the brick dry overnight. The night that we painted, we gave the brick one final once-over with the vacuum to pick up any remaining dust. We used one high-nap roller and one angled paint brush to apply the paint. The roller put lots of paint on the brick at once, which was good since the brick "soaked" up a ton. Then, we used the paint brush to paint in the mortar and cracks. In total, it took us two coats of paint and about 3 hours to complete the painting. I can't believe we waited so long to tackle this. It was done in the amount of time it would normally take us to watch a movie.

And, without further ado, the afters:

[Don't worry-- Sean finished trimming the inside of the fireplace after I took this picture!]

We love the outcome. The room feels so much lighter, brighter, and airier with just two coats of paint over that yucky brick. And, the creamy "Vanilla Bean" works wonders with our furnishings and against the floors and roller blinds. It's like we have a whole new room-- and we only spent about $35 to get there.

Not only did our quickie paint job up the style of the room, but it also created a new work/ play surface for Hadley. With a few coats of paint on the brick, the hearth is now like a nice, laquered table that Hadley uses to color in her coloring books, to play with blocks, and to make sticker art. You can't beat a quick, easy, and cost-effective re-do that packs major style and also adds function to a space. I'm in love.

More diy projects to come. Stay tuned.


Cassie said...

It looks so beautiful! LOVE. Of course, I love the before too. I'm a sucker for a fireplace, in any color of brick!

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