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. Although I’ve done a paint wash on a fireplace before, I’ve never done a whitewash on red brick. This small fireplace was an easy project that just took me a little time in the morning, and yet it transformed the whole room. If you want to keep up with all the Spruce Lawn projects, make sure to follow along on Instagram.
I have been tackling a lot of our home renovation DIY projects by myself these days. My fiancé has taught me a lot and he really doesn’t like doing the work, but I do enjoy it. The makeover in this study took three days and involved painting, removal and replacement of mouldings and millwork, painting the fireplace with a whitewash on red brick, replacing hardware and moving in the furniture. To understand the transformation the before picture is a must-see.
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, but once again proved to me that doing a white wash on a brick fireplace is one of the easiest, cheapest ways to transform a room.
I knew I wanted to give our Italianate 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.
That’s not to say that the fireplace surround makeover happened without hiccups. The biggest hurdle I faced was discovering that the entire room was actually faux wood paneling. Some pour misguided soul painstakingly covered the panneling drywall compound, sanded and painted (crazy amiright?), instead of just taking the panelling off the walls and doing this project correctly. I made this unfortunate discovery when I plied off a piece of molding and took a huge chunk of paneling with it. Someday down the road we will probably rip down the panelling, reinsulate this room and drywall.
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. 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.
All in all, it’s crazy what a little paint can do. This room has become our cosy little TV room and we love sitting here to watch TV next to the whitewashed fireplace. Worth the effort, even if this room is on the eventual chopping block list.