Monday, April 19, 2010

The fireplace in more detail

I'm blogging and drinking wine. You have been warned.

I wanted to spare the length of the previous post, and do all the talky talky in this post.

I never hated my fireplace, but I never liked it. It was this thought right there that made me take the plunge.


My fireplace was dirty. There was grout that would just fall off if you looked at it the wrong way. Brick is tricky like that, because it takes more work than running a vacuum over it (although, don't worry, you have to do that too).

1. Use sandpaper. You aren't using sandpaper to rough up the brick, you are using the sandpaper to get all the crap out. During this process, I recommend focusing mainly on the grout regions.

2. Vacuum. Now it's time to vacuum, to get all the loose nasty out.

3. Wipe down. I used several damp paper towels over it, to further clean it.

I decided to use the same white paint I have been using everywhere else in my house – Ralph Lauren's Frost in semi-gloss. I wanted to stick with semi-gloss, because the brick would suck up a lot of the shine to it and it would be easier to clean.

The brick on my fireplace is very textured and rough, because of this I didn't use a primer. But if your brick is of a smoother quality I would recommend one.

Once I was done painting, I moved on to caulking bricks that were cracked.


Addressing the screen was the scariest part of this project for me. I decided to take my friend Leslie's advice and spray paint everything indoors, like she did on hers.

When picking a spray paint – make sure you are using one that is heat resistant. Sure, it doesn't come in as many fancy colors, but it also doesn't set your house on fire. (Food for thought).

Here's my screen all taped off and ready to go:

Unfortunately, I'm a moron and got the spray paint on my feet and neglected to realize it. And of course I walked around the family room, leaving a nice film of spray paint dust everywhere. So, if you are wanting to spray paint indoors – stay on your plastic tarp.


While it's might be hard to tell in this photo, the shelves looked terrible once the fireplace went white. Like everywhere else in the house, the previous homeowners were a fan of beige with a yellow tint. When you pair this with white, the beige transforms into a pastel yellow.

Once the shelves went white, I painted the background a different color for a pop.


Let me know if you have any other questions. :)


  1. You make everything seem so easy! How long would you say this took you?

  2. Honestly, I'm not exactly sure how long this project took me. While it took me 2 1/2 weeks from start to finish – the middle weekend was spent in the hospital with my grandpa and I did a lot of landscaping as well.

    As for the screen and shelves – those each took me one night.

  3. Love it.. The white is great, a clean elegant look.. good choice..
    Your blog is adorable- also obsessed with decorating, although i have 2 styles my french country reds blacks yellows-blacks at home and then i had to get a shop or place to do the whites, rustic style i also love..
    Just became a follower-cant wait to see more

  4. How many cans of spray paint did you use for the the brass? How many coats of paint did you have to put on to make sure it covered everything? I love it! I can't wait to start mine. Oh and a side note, my hubby will be thrilled for me to spray paint inside so he doesn't have to figure out how to take the screen off. Thanks for the suggestion!

  5. I wish I had an ugly fireplace (or just a fireplace in general) so I could do this. You did an awesome job and it really makes the whole room look so fresh and updated.

  6. I totally agree with E Hayes... you make me wish I had a fireplace, even an ugly one so I could paint it!

    You make this look like such a quick and easy project... *sigh*

    Great job!!

  7. Blogging with the Bryan's – I didn't even use an entire can of spray paint. My original plan was to use an entire can no matter what, but my finger got tired so I quickly nixed that idea. I used 3/4s of a can and did 4 or 5 coats.

  8. I can't believe the difference painting that screen made! Don't worry about the spray paint. I dropped the edge of a black linen curtain into the can of white enamel paint I was using once...not very clever!!

  9. Kerry – That totally sounds like something I would do. :)

  10. Wow, Ashley! What an amazing transformation, that whole wall looks so different now!!! Way to go for it! I looooove the green color on the back of the bookcase, that was a great decision:)

    So excited that you are going to come back for the West Elm Mood Board Monday, thanks so much! See you next week:)

  11. It looks great! Awesome!!

    I love the transformation. Congratulations for getting this done. :)

  12. Great job on spraying indoors! So much easier than removing the dang thing I'm sure. Looks fabulous as always! :)

  13. I love the artwork on top of your mantle. Is it a DIY project?

  14. Awesome results! I now want to paint mine white but hubby I'm sure would never go for it:(

  15. Jessie – Thanks! Yes, it is. It was super easy and just required making a grid in painter's tape.

    Abby – That's what I thought as well, but it was amazing how quickly he ended up saying okay. :)

  16. I popped over here from Better love love your house (both your current dream home and the first one)!

    Check out my family room and see if you see any similarities. :)

  17. I came over from Better After. Love the the whole look. I'm still fighting the painted brick battle with hubby. I love the screen. Been trying to figure out how to update ours.

  18. LOVE IT! Saw it on Better After. I have lived w/ mine for 7 years and have yet to take the plung.

  19. I love it! And that art work over the fireplace...I must have this! Where did you get this?

  20. Sheila – Thanks so much! I actually did the art work myself. You can read some details about how I made it at the bottom of this post:

    Hope that helps!

  21. Hi! I came over from House of Smith's, and was wondering about the mantle shelf... Did that come with the fireplace/mantle, or did you purchase it somewhere?

  22. I would like to thank you for the efforts you have made in writing this post. I am hoping the same best work from you in the future as well. In fact your creative writing abilities has inspired me.....