Monday, May 2, 2011

House Goal #3: Paint Fireplace

Welcome to part two of “While the cat’s away the mice will play” aka:
 “Husband is out of town- quick, re-decorate!”
Today I decided to tackle item #3 on my House Goals for 2011: Paint the flagstone fireplace.
If you recall from Part One of “While the Cat’s Away,” I installed drapery rods and panels in the dining room, which was not on my goal sheet…so today I’m back on track. Whew.
Here is a BEFORE the before picture…taken a week before we bought the house:
And here is a before, as in last week it looked like this:
January 2011 082
If you look very carefully, you’ll notice a few things different about the first two pictures: we tore out the carpet to find beautiful hardwood floors underneath {which we sanded and stained} and you’ll also see a tiny glimpse of the window trim on either side of the fireplace that my DH installed.  Oh oh, and if you look left you’ll see Benjamin Moore’s Monroe Bisque and if you look right it’s Benjamin Moore’s Lily White…neither of which are on the walls today!  But that’s another story.
Ok, so today I am going to paint the flagstone floor to ceiling.  After a bit of blogging research and an email exchange with Sherry from Young House Love, {who by the way, has done a few fireplaces herself,} I finally decided to go with the same white as all of the trim and board and batten in my house: Benjamin Moore Chantilly Lace. This is as white as white gets, folks.  There is not a hint of gray, a hint of yellow, a hint of tan, a hint of ANYTHING in this white…it’s W.H.I.T.E. That’s it. white
There really isn’t too much of a tutorial to do here, peeps…painting brick or flagstone is really pretty simple. 
Step 1:  I started by wiping it down with a damp rag, getting rid of the cobwebs {guess I haven’t told my housekeeper to clean it in a while- oh, yeah, that would be me} and loose mortar {would you believe there was a lot of it sprinkling to the ground?} There’s only 4 steps, don’t skip this one!
Step 2:  Next I applied one coat of primer, good ‘ol Zinsser Smart Prime…you can prime anything with this!
Ok, so 1st lesson learned: start with the roller and THEN finish with a brush to cut in any areas your roller doesn’t get. I did it in reverse and found myself painting WAY too much with the brush, that I later realized I could have easily hit with the roller and saved myself a lot of time.  But whichever way you do it, you want to use a very nappy roller, one for rough surfaces if you’re painting stone with a rough cut edge, like I am.  You might get away with a semi-rough roller for fairly smooth bricks.
Step 3:  Start with a fresh roller and your final paint.  I used BM Chantilly Lace in eggshell finish.  I thought I’d have to do two coats, but you know, I only did one.  I don’t see ANY sign of the stone underneath, the coverage is great!
Step 4:  Step back and think “Wow, what a HUGE difference that just made” and follow that up with “Seriously, that was too easy….I still have half a day left…maybe I should build a mantel?” {I am feeling very left out of all the mantel linky parties} And just in case you are wondering why the “after” picture has 4 holes in the wall…I was sooo excited to start on the mantel, I forgot to take pictures as I finished each step!}
Ok, wait…slow down, Celeste, let’s just take a deep breath for a minute second and admire that beautiful white fire place.  Ah.
Ok, now, why didn’t I do this sooner?  No wait, we were admiring: Ahhhhhhhhh. Pretty nice, huh?
From this:                       to this:
January 2011 082 IMG_5389
Ok, moving right along. I admired for all of 5 minutes when…enter: Uncle Bob and Aunt Jayne. They showed up just just in time to pay a little visit to their favorite twins this particular morning and, well, wrong day to show up! I had my heart set on building a mantel TODAY and these poor innocent bystanders my ever so helpful family just so happens to be in the right place at the right time.
Aunt Jayne: “Your fireplace looks great! I’m not usually a fan of painted brick, but this looks really nice…a huge improvement. Great job!”
Me: “Ah, thanks. But don’t you think it needs a mantel?”
Uncle Bob: “Doesn’t really matter to me one way or another.”
Aunt Jayne: “Sure, it would look nice…though it looks really great right now. What are you thinking of doing?”
Me: “Well, since you asked…I have one extra board from when Bob and I built the kitchen island, I was thinking I could sand it down and use it for the mantel…it would tie the kitchen in to the living room so nicely.  Let’s run out to the garage to get the board and hold it up to see what it looks like!”
Uncle Bob reluctantly goes out to the garage to fetch the board.
We hold it up.
Me: “I think it looks GREAT! Let’s do it!”
Uncle Bob: “Today?”
Me: “Uh, yeah!”
Aunt Jayne: “The whole thing? Besides, there’s too many decisions to make for you to actually get it done in one afternoon.”
Me: “Nope, I have my heart set on it!  I won’t be a maximizer today…I can do it! I can make all the decisions quickly.  I know I can. Come on, we need to run to Home Depot.”
Uncle Bob: “You want to do this today?”
Me: “Come on Bob, time’s a wastin’.”
And here’s me an hour later:
Put down the skill saw, and picked up the sander:
Ok, folks, this was supposed to be a post about painting my fireplace…so I’m going to leave it at that. I will, however, tell you the ending…WARNING: Spoiler ahead…don’t read on if you want to be surprised.
By 5pm that mantel was up, secured, and already wearing a picture frame and a candle.
Now you can say “Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.”
Stay tuned!


  1. You go girl!!!!
    It looks amazing!!! The white is fantastic
    looking on there!!
    You're amazing..I love your spunk girl :)
    Cant wait to see the mantle reveal!!

    Deborah coco

  2. mavis E. ButterfieldMay 2, 2011 at 8:25 AM


  3. Well, don't leave us hanging....let's see that mantle! I love painted brick! When driving around town, I count the brick houses I'd like even more, if they were painted. And, in my mind, I even pick out the best colors for each house. I've tried, for two decades, to talk my parents into painting their brick fireplace. But they're still holding out....btw: the brick is yellow, and not a good yellow! I'm sending them the link to your fireplace makeover with a big "See what I mean" message! Thanks for sharing! Now bring on the mantle....

  4. What a difference...and so simple. ;)

  5. Wow AMAZING! I love the white painted brick. The after photo makes the before brick look so pink. Love the transformation. Visiting from TT&J.


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