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Mantle And Brick Fireplace Makeover

ALL PHOTOS ARE CLICKABLE!  Please see other views of the mantle and fireplace on this blog.

Several years ago, I teased about making over my ugly brick fireplace, that really was causing me grief!  Well, that and the ugly dark, dark paneling in our family room.  Anytime, it came up in discussions with my husband, he insisted that we could not do that to brick!!!  So, along I went hating the look of our family room until one day, I happened to be on the HGTV message board surfing to see what it was about.  Mercy!  What can I tell you, except it was meant to be for me to read the posts of 2 like-minded ladies!  Their minds were in tune with mine for sure.   They had done the unthinkable and painted their FIREPLACE BRICK.  Oh, not only had they painted them, but they showed the “before and after photos” of their previously ugly rooms, too.  I immediately felt they were my newest friends for sharing their successes, and on the Internet at that!

Guess who got a call at the office!  Yes!  You guessed correctly that Bob got the call, that changed our family room!  I could not wait until he got home that evening.  In truth, I probably emailed him their before and after photos!  We studied their detailed instructions on how they achieved a marvelous new look for their homes.  All the time that I was thinking just let me at this—I was also afraid he would agree.  You know then the longer we talked about it, the more it had to be done, for both of us.  We both loved the changes, it had made in their family rooms…their homes!!!

Bob is an engineer, and they are deep thinkers.   First he found a painting contractor to color our family room walls.  And then he was ready to help me by cutting in at the top of the fireplace.  Yes, he was with me on this one! (My friends and family, who are reading this will be laughing—they know him!  Ha!)  We made a trip or two to Home Depot’s paint department with  the paint info the ladies had provided from their painting experience on their fireplaces.  Here’s the info you might enjoy having if you consider your fireplace and mantle to be the “ugliest” of any you have ever seen in your entire life.

1.  Protect your flooring, unless you are getting rid of it.  Clean the brick really well using a stiff brush to loosen any set on dust.  A “county agent” gave Bob a formula that he used to clean our brick, after brushing it down well. If you doubt this one is right for you, do not copy it, but locate one for cleaning your brick prior to painting.

Mildew Remover Formula

1 cup TSP to 2 gallons of warm water

add 1/2 cup of household bleach (Do not use commercial bleach …it is TOO strong!)

1 tablespoon of liquid dishwashing detergent, i.e. JOY, etc.  NOT DISHWASHER DETERGENT

Clean it really well with the mixture, and make sure you wait until the next day…about 24 hours, before you begin painting the first coat.

2. We used Behr’s Brick and Mortar paint color named Navajo White.  This is most important, that you select a paint that will withstand the heat from the fireplace.  The cutting in at the top and along the narrow sides were all we used a paint brush on.  Then we rolled the Navajo White over the entire surfaces, and it included the brick and the mortar!   We allowed it to dry really well…again willing to wait.  You should wait, too.  YOU don’t want to mess up now….do you?

3. While at HD, we asked the friendly paint department staff to mix the top color in the same Behr Brick and Mortar paint to the beautiful formula for Sherwin-Williams’ Restrained Gold.  That was to be our final coat.  We purchased a sponged roller, which made the faux finish much easier than using a separate sea sponge, by hand on each brick.  NOTICE:  Know you brick.  Our grout is quite deep and it was easy to roll over the brick without making specks of gold on the grout area.  Watching carefully, I was able to wipe off the specks.  It still looks like grout, thankfully, just not the dark black, that had been there.  I did have 2 different sizes of sea sponges to reach difficult areas.  The smallest one worked well on the sides and near the floor.  Our carpet was going, and so the old carpet was pulled away from the hearth.  It made working with the sponges much easier; therefore, faster, too.

We chose to have our mantle in the same “Restrained Gold” and again using the brick and mortar paint for protection from the heat of the gas logs.  It’s now been 3 years since we painted ,and we are still thrilled with it.  It has held up well, looking the same as the day we finished it.

My once doubtful husband would enjoy telling you,  that we had professional painters in soon after the project was finished.   I asked one of them to paint the top  board above the brick, as I just could not stand on the ladder that high up.  Bob said, “she painted it.”  He loves that the painter thought the brick was made that way!

If even one person uses this info, and loves their space more tomorrow, telling this has been worth every second of time, that it took to type it. Please remember to click the Christmas 2010 photo once and then a second click to view the larger photo.

Glitter, Glue & Paint

25 Responses to Mantle And Brick Fireplace Makeover

  1. Fabulous job! LOLing at how a DIY rescue makes a friend by reminding us we can DO all sorts of things if we just try.

    • Annie, you’re so right! And it is fun to feel that sense of pride at doing something that we never imagined in our wildest dreams. Isn’t it? Thanks for visiting me.

  2. That is something else Helen. What a fantastic makeover. I will have to let my Mom see this, she has been wanting to do hers over. Thanks for sharing with my newbie party.

  3. Wow! That was a lot of work Helen! So worth it in the end though; I love the look of painted fireplaces. Sometimes the brick just isn’t very pretty and changes need to be made :)

    Thanks for stopping by my blog!

  4. beautiful, just lovely but wow,, big job,,, thanks for visitng,, I’m you newest follower,,lovely photos,

  5. Hi Helen! I hope I’m in the right place! It sure was hard to find you!!!
    That makeover is amazing!!
    Your blog is awesome too!!
    I’m following you back!

  6. This was a great project to share Helen. Thanks so much.

  7. Thanks, Debbie! I owe it to others to share this info! It certainly helped me, that the 2 ladies shared their own fireplace makeovers. I needed to see it done to be inspired and make it happen. No regrets at all!

  8. Hi Helen,

    I am keeping your tutorial on the fireplace,as I may have one to do soon. Thanks so much!


    • Pat, you just made my day come to a great ending! I am thrilled to think that I am passing on, what those 2 ladies shared with me. Please pass it on when yours is completed. If you send it on, it will help some other person, who hates their fp! I had never ever considered actually doing it myself. Those ladies gave such great info, and also were like it had to be better than it was! That feeling made me brave it! Ha! Remember, my husband, sister, and closest friends were all doubting it would work. It’s such fun to hear then now! 😉 Thanks and good luck!

  9. Great makeover. Looks very nice. Thanks for sharing at WOW.

  10. […] Mantle And Brick Fireplace Makeover […]

  11. Wow, I’m so glad you convinced your husband!! The end result is beautiful and so transformative! I love it! Great job!

    • Emily, thanks for your kind words. It really wasn’t that time consuming and was fun to see the change before my eyes. I could easily visualize it after seeing the 2 other gals’ makeovers of their fireplaces. I have never regretted the change…not even for a second.

  12. So glad you shared. That made such a HUGE difference. I love your cute Christmas mantle, makes me ready to pull the stuff out of the attic!!!

    Aimee @ ItsOverflowing.blogspot.com

    • Aimee, it really did make that room come to life. Yes, a very huge difference indeed. I have to say that it is much more fun to decorate that mantle and really the whole room for Christmas. Glad you enjoyed seeing it. Thanks again!

  13. I think our fireplaces were twins lol! I wish so much I had found your tutorial before I painted mine! Yours is gorgeous! I love the 2 chairs right by the fireplace! Thank you so much for stopping by to say hi, so glad you found me!

    • Jeri, thanks so very much for the lovely compliments on my fireplace. Truthfully, Bob nor I have ever regretted for a fraction of a second that we did paint it. Oh, but let me tell you…it was like pulling teeth to get him to realize that it could be done and not ruin the value of our home. Not to mention having my sister and friends doubting and then approving it. I guess you could say, I’m as stubborn as all of them…I wanted what I wanted for 18 LLLLLLLOOONNNNNGGG years. When the painter was here to paint the kitchen and we asked him to paint that top board over the fireplace, Bob told him it was painted brick and he could not believe it. I owe so much to the 2 ladies on HGTV’s message board. They made my home better by sharing. I look forward to knowing you better. Thanks for following my blog, too. Helen

  14. […] family room a joy to live in and entertain our family and guests over the years. Here’s the answer. Thanks for dropping by. I’m linking to these great blogs this […]

  15. Helen!! Fantastic makeover. You did a great job and Thank goodness for HGTV’s message board. Thanks for sharing at Throwback Thursdays!


    • Denyse, I’m thrilled to have found you party yesterday. This is one thing that I have to say, I gladly share any chance that comes up. Remember, I lived with that horrid family room for 18 long years! If you have friends with the same problem, please pass this along. Great to meet y’all! Thanks for the fun group, Helen

  16. What an amazing fireplace transformation! I’m so glad you shared it with us at Throwback Thursday!

  17. […] Just a look back in time about 25 years ago this month, we moved into this home with this dark family room and a dark brick fireplace to go with it! Ugh! What were we thinking or rather why had the original owner chosen such dark stain for the paneling along with the dark brick? See how the change took place 18 years after we moved in…yes, a long time! […]

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