Some people questioned my eagerness to paint the fireplace in the living room, but sometimes you just have to follow your gut. I knew the day that I found my house that the fireplace bricks would have to be transformed. Painting the walls are one thing when you’re planning on moving into a home, but I when I planned on the brick paint job, I was gently reminded that it wouldn’t be easy (or necessarily possible) to go back to the natural brick look. (And, and I’ll say this over and over, I don’t necessarily condone tearing down walls or gutting rooms before you actually live in the space for awhile, but I had been scouring the 250 photos I had snapped during my preliminary tours of the place, and if nothing else, I felt strongly that the fireplace would never work as-is with my design style. One of those “before” photos is displayed right up there at the top of this post, BTW.)
Don’t get me wrong, I really like brick. I love that old, crumbling, weathered brick look, with the rich reds and browns are can be traced back (literally) to the earth. But the heavily manufactured brick that was in my house? It wasn’t pretty. It wasn’t remotely weathered. And it certainly didn’t have that feel of natural brick. It was an eyesore when coupled with the hardwood floors and mantlepiece.. I had no qualms about taking a paint brush to that stuff. I was eager.
So, within the first 10 days of living in the house, I quickly transformed it. I did the floor sanding first, since I knew it would make a mess and get everything dusty. I also had applied a coat of polyurathane to the floor before I started with the fireplace, which was good, because the inevitable splatters from the roller were wiped up with a damp rag effortlessly. To get started, I found myself a big scrubby brush at the dollar store and went to town cleaning the dust and dirt out of the crevices between the bricks. Once cleaned, I used a raggedy paint brush to get in each crack (no sense in destroying a new one by forcing it into the brick and mortar) and a thick cushy paint roller to apply white primer to the face of each brick.
I used two coats of primer before painting it white (the primer really soaked right in). I also employed a cheap little fine paint brush to carefully brush into the edges along the mantle, walls, and floor. Even though the brick extends down into the basement and up into the attic, I still only needed to paint the facade of the fireplace, so it didn’t take very long. In the end, a quick transformation.
I’ve actually had some people ask me if I’d consider painting it a color and I’m on the fence – I think a soft light blue might be interesting in a room that’s all white, but I haven’t seen it done in my (admittedly-not-exhaustive) searches. If anyone can refer me to a color-painted fireplace that’s appealing, please do! (And you could totally post the image to my facebook if that’s easiest – I’d love to see what you’ve got.)