Yup, now that spring is (finally!) right around the corner I finished painting the fireplace. At least it will be pretty to look at through these long awaited warmer months.
Another reason to be glad spring is near? Pants are no longer a necessity.
Painting the fireplace wall section (and those flanking it) has been more of a process than I originally thought. In fact, I probably spent 8 hours painting it over 4 or 5 non-sequential nights. One issue was simply the height of the wall and the fact that it required a ladder for me to reach the higher portions. It seemed to take ages for me to scrounge up the motivation to walk to the garage and pull the ladder off the wall and carry it into the house. When I finally did, I probably burned about 27 calories. It was hard work. Not really…I’m just incredibly lazy sometimes — which is why the wall looked like this for about a week.
But at least I had finally pulled that metal sculpture off the wall, right? Baby steps. Also, pay no mind to the yellow-ish quality of these photos. I did 90% of my painting at night after the kiddo went to sleep so most of my progress shots were taken in poor light.
Other than that, the two hiccups I faced were with regards to the brick. First, brick isn’t the easiest surface in the world to paint. You’ve got to get into all the nooks and crannies which takes time and that makes it harder to keep a wet edge (letting paint dry when you’re painting can result in clumping and streaking as later passes over a recently painted area can “pull” the paint and leave you with poor coverage). Second, trying to keep a crisp line where the blue paint met with the white paint (over the brick which is imperfect by nature) led to a lot of back and forth with paint brushes dipped in both colors. You can see my less than stellar attempts at a straight line below.
You may remember that the fireplace inset and the brick section to the right had been painted a darker beige when we moved in — below you can actually see where the previous owners had painted around a large piece of furniture. I had originally planned to repaint all the brick bright white (the lighter sections you see below are actually more of a cream color) but for the sake of time and ease, I decided to color match the cream paint that was already there — that way I would only have to paint half a brick section instead of three full ones (one to the left of the fireplace, one to the right and one in the dining room) not counting the blue brick.
This room gets a ton of light thanks to all those windows so most of the time the cream color looks bright white anyway. I simply took a painted-over outlet cover to The Home Depot and had them match the color and sheen (you can see it missing in the first photo in this post, I think it’s still sitting in the bottom of my purse). I only bought a quart and I used that to paint the unpainted portion of the panel to the right of the fireplace. It’s a good match no? I tell ya, those mixologists at the paint desk at my HD really know their stuff. It’s a tad brighter in this photo because my paint is still wet, but it dried perfectly and you can’t spot the difference between the old and the new paint at all.
I snapped this photo just after I finished painting over the beige upside-down “U” shape on the section to the right of the fireplace. Finally and nice, solid color! The paint looks crazy bright blue in these photos — it actually has much more green in it.
And yes, I paint while listening to the Twilight saga playing in the background. I’m also in the midst of reading all the books for a second time. Don’t judge.
The other details of this project involved the fireplace itself. Last week I mentioned painting the brass fireplace insert matte black which immediately made a huge difference and helped the whole wall look more current. The other issue was with the grout. Previously, a light colored grout had been used to secure the hearth and the mantel in place. Thus, once I painted the brick a deep blue, I was left with a white grout line between the black soapstone and the blue brick. Below you can see this grout line on the mantel. It was actually a much larger seam on the hearth–about the same width as the mortar lines between the brick–which you can see in the progress photos above. Both seams looked pretty ridiculous, even from across the room.
I tried a Sharpie on the seam shown above, but it made much to harsh a line and I thought it would look odd if I carried the blue paint over the grout, so instead I used the matte black paint I had used on the brass fireplace insert. With the matte black paint I brushed it on with a 1/2″ brush and wiped most the paint back off with a paper towel to soften the edges. Now it looks like back grout which is far less obvious.
So here we are today. The walls are painted, the fireplace insert is less in-yer-face, and the blue is fun and impactful. I wish I could get it to photograph true to color — it’s a bit more turquoise than it looks here.
Fun tid-bit. The day after I made the impulsive decision to paint this wall blue I stumbled on this picture:
In person it is the exact same color! Not that I needed the justification, but knowing that high-end stylists are on board with my Bermuda Blue brick wall makes me feel nice. :)
The last thing I’d like to do in this space is paint the beams and the window casings white. They are currently painted a pale beige (somewhere between the other two colors the brick was originally painted).
One more before and after because you know I love those.