Hooray, it's the final post of the living room series... the one I'm most excited about! As you recall, I made this chevron artwork, refinished the brass fireplace insert, made some paint chip art, some no-sew pillows, and painted and decorated the built-in shelves. And finally, the biggest, most tedious part that made the biggest difference in the room - painting the brick fireplace! Now, if you're like my father and you think brick is artwork and should never be painted, I'm sorry. I just had to brighten up the room and redo the light-sucking, brown and traditional fireplace.
I wanted to do this before we even moved in, but I knew that once brick was painted, it's never going back to the way it was. I had to think this over. About seven months after moving in, I got the itch. Most Saturdays start out at our house like this: Today show + coffee + couch + Pinterest. I started looking up "white brick fireplaces" to see how it would look. I would glance over to Ehren with that "I'm up to something, don't be mad, please continue to love me" face. He knew something was up. Our conversation went like this:
Ehren: oh great, what do you want to do now?
Jamie: I want to paint the fireplace.
Ehren: this happens every weekend! you get an idea in your head and then you have to do it!
Jamie: it's not like we're gonna do it THIS weekend.
...Famous last words. It was done by the end of the next day. So let's look at the before, shortly after we moved in:
So brown and so not my vision. I called Lawrence Decorators to get advice on how to prep and paint the fireplace. They said to clean it, use masonry sealer, and then paint with whatever paint you want. Here was what I found online that gave me peace of mind to go ahead with the project. It's kind of crazy how similar the pictures are to our living room.
I vacuumed and wiped down the fireplace for a clean
ish slate. Has anyone ever told you how hard it is to clean brick? After it was clean, I started the masonry sealer coat.
|First part of the masonry sealer.|
|Ehren's doing a great job.. look at that form!|
|Cozy is once again exhausted from home improvement.|
After the masonry sealer and waiting a long four hours, we started painting with the real paint. We just used the same kind used for woodwork/baseboards but in white.
|Beginning of the real paint.|
Since we painted the fireplace white, we had to paint the built-ins from "dove white" to white". They needed another coat of paint anyway due to scuffs and scratches.
And 14 hours of painting later (with both of us painting), we were done! Since the masonry sealer provided such a nice surface for the paint, we only had to do one coat of real paint (approximately half of a gallon). Doesn't it look brighter?
And here is the accumulation of all the previous posts (taken with our camera instead of my phone)
|View from the kitchen.|
|View from the dining room.|
The coffee table is my favorite piece of furniture in our house. It is a resin cast of railroad ties from the Philippines - has a lot of meaning for us! Plus it's huge and doesn't show crumbs, water rings from glasses, dust, etc.
Well, what do you think? To recap, the living room looked like this:
And now looks like this:
Our living room is finally the "vision" I had when we moved in. It took about 7 months to complete but it was way worth it. I was able to plan things out and "get it right" the first time. My advice is: don't be afraid to paint brick! Especially if you want to brighten up the room and make it more contemporary.