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A ‘Study’ In DIY With A Smoky Black Fireplace Surround Makeover

I’ve been itching to share this fireplace surround makeover project that I completed before we even moved in to Spruce Lawn. or the ‘White House’ as the neighbours call it). I am extremely pleased with how this makeover turned out, and sometimes I just go sit on my couch in the study and stare at it. The best project to share to kick off a new year (Happy 2017 by the way, may it be far better than the last.)

fireplace surround makeover with whitewashing red brick

This project was completely DIY and done over the span of three days. I removed the crappy moldings, repaired the wall, whitewashed the brick fireplace, replaced the moldings, painted the surround and the entire room, remodeled the doors and replaced the hinges and added hardware. The doors themselves took a whole day. I really want you to understand the level of UGLY I was working with, so here’s the before:


If you remember, I successfully completed a paint wash makeover on the wall-to-wall red brick fireplace at our old house. That experience taught me that tackling the small amount of brick in this fireplace surround makeover would be a cinch. It was. Painting the red brick was only a small part of this makeover though.

I knew I wanted to give our Victorian farmhouse some edge without getting too far outside the threshold of reason, and I decided the best way to do that would be to bring in a bold dynamic colour combination: black and white. Black and white is stark, modern, and also classic and timeless, so it was a great solution for the fireplace surround makeover and complemented the competing wood tones present in the room. I went with paint colours from Benjamin Moore: Black Jack for the built-in bookcase, and Alabastor for the walls, mantel, and bricks. Without further ado…

Fireplace Surround Makeover Reveal:

Fireplace surround makeover with whitewashing red brick

That’s not to say that the fireplace surround makeover happened without hiccups. The biggest hiccup being the discovery that the entire room was actually faux wood paneling that some pour soul painstakingly covered in drywall compound, sanded and painted (crazy right?). I made this unfortunate discovery when I plied off a piece of molding and took a huge chunk of paneling with it.


After a little crazy screaming, heart palpitations, brad nails, and more drywall compound, I successfully repaired the hole and was mighty careful during removal of the remaining trim. I am still a little irritated that I put so much of my allotted house rejuvenation week into a room that was hiding gross amounts of faux wood paneling, as I imagine we will someday strip this room down to the bare bones and do things right. I don’t like doing stuff more than once, but I was already knee deep in the project when I made the discovery so I just kept swimming.

Fireplace surround makeover with whitewashing red brick

Fireplace surround makeover with whitewashing red brick

Fireplace surround makeover with whitewashing red brick


As you can see I haven’t fully finished decorating the space, I still have a big question mark hanging in front of my eyes concerning the art, and haven’t decided how best to use the shelves.. I want everything that goes on our shelves to serve a function: mainly easy access to frequently used items. Course, I still want it to look good. It’s hard.


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1 Comment

  • Reply The Crux - Frugal Design: Do Frugality and Interior Design Mesh or Mash

    […] kicked things off on January 1st with a post about our study’s fireplace surround makeover—a project that could potentially have bankrolled into the low thousands had I not rolled up my […]

    January 5, 2017 at 8:06 pm
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