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Published on August 8th, 2014 | by Kristen Swain


Updating an Ugly Brick Fireplace

We bought our house looking to renovate it. It was stuck pretty much in the 50’s and 60’s from when it was built. There is a good foundation. It has sturdy features including a new roof, plumbing, and furnace. It also has a beautiful view, over the back fence, of a large field with miles of trees that give us beauty year ’round. There are big 80-year-old maples in the front yard. They are so big even two or three of us together cannot fit our arms around the trees, which give us beautiful, cool shade in the summer.  Inside, there was a lot of work that needed to be done, but we figured it would take time and hard work, a little sweat equity that we were willing to put in.

We still have a long way to go until the house is ‘finished’. In the mean time, I am doing little things here and there. Sometimes, those little things turn into quite the project.

Here is what our fireplace looks like now. Lots of elbow grease and some time, but well worth it to me. I’ll show you how Updating an Ugly Brick Fireplace can make a big difference for your home decor.

Updating an Ugly Brick Fireplace - CreativeMeInspiredYou.com

This is a photo from our house viewing, we saw so many houses, the ones I liked best, I took photos of so I could consider them more.

And I am grateful I have photos of before to look back on. Brown, dingy, and dark, this room and the wall sized brick surround looked neglected.

Almost immediately I painted around the fireplace black to cover up the scorch marks. Cleaning the brick didn’t do much for making it look clean, it still looked dusty. We also painted the room. I mixed a bunch of whites and creams and just made a paint to cover the dark paneling until we got to the room, unfortunately, it was just not a priority.

Updating an Ugly Brick Fireplace - CreativeMeInspiredYou.com

In the past few years, we have lightened the beams and refreshed the white ceiling. Added in new flooring.
But I couldn’t stand how dark the room still was. Before Christmas, I convinced hubby that we needed to just jump in and paint the whole thing white. But that after the holidays, I would do something that we’d both be happy with. So we painted it solid off-white, even the mantle, because it was pretty dinged up.

Updating an Ugly Brick Fireplace - CreativeMeInspiredYou.com

After Christmas, I purchased a gel medium. The guy at the paint counter was extremely snarky, making sure to mention that NO ONE had bought gel medium in over a year. Hmmm.

I guess no one around here knows what a cool look you can get with it on brick!

Updating an Ugly Brick Fireplace - CreativeMeInspiredYou.com

We’d added a wood stove to the fireplace, and I painted the mantle a satin black. We changed some rooms around and brought in our furniture from the office.
So, I set to work getting the fireplace done. The gel medium is great to work with. It takes a bit of time to dry, especially since I had a base coat of the off-white.  I used both old plastic grocery bags, and a cruddy old brush. I started in one corner, and just stippled the gel medium on, then used the balled up plastic bag to scrunch and push the color around. I found that the original color I had purchased was too peach looking. I ended up adding in red and brown paint to get a brick like color. But in the end it’s more of a tannish brown color – so no paint color recommendations, except that the paint color you chose will be much lighter than the overall effect. It took me about 3 days to complete. There was a lot of stopping and standing back to make sure one area was matching the other areas. I deliberately left lighter and darker areas – mottling- for the look. I just liked it that way.

Overall, I love the look I got. The room is definitely warmer, lighter and brighter. and it didn’t cost much.

I was $17  for the gel medium. I already had the other paint colors. The cost for the crappy brush and plastic bags was $0. Off-white paint – left by previous owner $0. Black satin paint $7.




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