Fireplace Makeover: White Brick

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Transforming our dated brick-and-brass fireplace into a fresh and versatile focal point was as simple as a fresh coat of paint in this almost idiot-proof DIY.

If our fireplace was a person, his name would have been Steve. He would have worn miraculously unstained white New Balance sneakers, and he would have carried a Blockbuster card in his velcro wallet.

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Steve was be a real stand-up guy with some timeless qualities, but what our living room really needed was a Sven. (You know, Steve’s edgy cousin who wears a leather jacket and talks with an accent).

To make the transformation from Steve (red brick, brass trim) to Sven (white brick, matte black trim), we used:

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We started by prepping the fireplace. Clean, dust, and vacuum. Don’t give yourself carpal tunnel trying to scrub the sin out of your bricks, because the Loxon is quite forgiving. Do get all the dust and debris off of the brass trim, because the Rust-oleum won’t keep any secrets.

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I’m not really sure why we thought it was a good idea to paint the trim first. I think we were just that excited to get rid of the brass. Rookie move. Don’t do we what did. Learn from our mistakes. Paint the brick first, then spray the trim.

Anyways, we used painter’s tape and paper to mask around the brass and protect the brick from overspray.

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We got the best results when we held the can a couple inches away from the trim and made quick, sweeping sprays. If you hold the can too far away or move too slowly, you’ll get uneven coverage.

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People usually say “I’d rather watch paint dry” like it’s a bad thing. In this case, it’s actually the perfect time to crack open a beer and watch with awe and excitement as your fireplace matures into a strapping young lad before your very eyes.

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The Fireplace Formerly Known as Steve.

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Since Steve’s glass doors were broken and dirty beyond what a quick spritz of Windex could fix, we decided to toss them. It was like cutting off a mullet, or a really dingy rattail.

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Next up was painting the brick. The Loxon has a thick, glue-like consistency and it covers like a dream. Though it’s technically a primer, the guy at Sherwin Williams told us it could be used as a ‘one-and-done’ if we were happy with the look and color.

We were skeptical, but Loxon delivered. Look at that opacity!

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Remember how I said we were total idiots for trying to paint after spraying the trim? Yeah. We were total idiots. Seriously, don’t even think about spraying before painting.

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Since the brick surface is uneven and has a lot of crevices and holes, you’ll need to do a second lap around using your sponge brush to fill in any spots you missed. Plan ahead and buy a few sponge brushes! They’re cheap, and you’ll go through them quickly… the brick tears them apart!

On that note, let me stress the importance of investing in a masonry brush for this job. A regular brush will shed bristles like crazy (we learned the hard way).

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We decided not to paint the inside of the fireplace. I think the little bit of colored, singed brick peaking through gives the fireplace character and warmth, and adds a rustic charm to soften the sterility and uniformity of the white brick.

Next step: find a new gas insert!

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Despite our complete ineptitude, the fireplace turned out freaking awesome, and we only needed to make a few minor touch-ups to the matte black trim after finishing the white brick surround.

Welcome to the family, Sven.

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Is it normal to want alone time with your fireplace?

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There are a lot of people saying a lot of different things on the internet about painting brick. Some insist you need to perform a ritualistic exorcism on your brick (complete with holy water / vinegar solution), some say you need to moisturize your brick like a pair of chapped lips, and some say that painted brick is hideous and should be avoided altogether.

With all this conflicting information floating around, we decided to cut to the chase and consult with the experts at our local Sherwin Williams store.

If I’ve learned one thing from our home improvement endeavors, it’s that sometimes you should take a step back from the Pinterest tutorial blogs (this one included!) and trust the wisdom of the old dude working at your local DIY store.

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The results might just blow you away!

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About Accidental Suburbanites

Just a couple of kids turning a house into a home, one Pinterest fail at a time.
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