StephieChic at Home: DIY Fireplace Makeover

My husband and I recently bought a home and moved from our small, 2 bedroom apartment in Boston to a whole damn house in the burbs! Our house was built in the 80s, so we're lucky that it's been kept up over the years with some great add ons (hello central air) and mostly just needed cosmetic updates. We're taking it slow and picking off little projects as we go - but one thing I wanted to do right away - mainly because I knew I could handle it - was updating our fireplaces! We have one in our family room and one in our master bedroom. I love the look of brick - but it felt outdated in our home. I decided I wanted to do whitewash and then from there, made a few additional updates. All in all the project cost around $120 dollars and was SO worth it!

I did have a little help! My dad is actually a trained stockist in Annie Sloan Chalk Paint, so he has done many fireplaces through his business and got me started with the paint. I don't think you technically need to use chalk paint for this project, but we did, and I love how it looked! Here's the breakdown of the complete makeover:

1. WHITEWASHING THE BRICK: This was actually pretty easy. Start with taping the areas you don't want to get paint on prior, and then soak the brick with water. From there, take a small detailing brush and paint the perimeter of each brick (where the grout/grooves are). For this step, we did not dilute the paint at all. Once this is done and dried, you'll need a bucket of water and your paint. Simply take your paint brush, dip it into the paint ever so slightly, and then dip it into the water. This dilutes the paint and makes it more of a wash. I've also seen people mix the water and paint entirely, but I like having more control with each brush stroke. Start in the upper left corner and take it row by row. This is important as it keeps things from getting too blotchy. My BIGGEST piece of advice is to start lighter (dilute the paint more) and then you can add in layers. We actually did 3 coats until it got to the opacity that I wanted. Between each coat, let it dry completely. And as you're painting, make sure to step back and look at your work, noting where you may need more/less paint. If you have put too much paint in one spot, simply take your brush, dip it in water ONLY, and spread over the area, washing the paint so it becomes lighter. Once it's completely dried, you're done! It's that easy!

Detailing White Wash Brick

Our upstairs fireplace - used the blue painter's time for the edges and started detailing in between each brick with the paint and a small brush. 

Whitewash Brick

Our downstairs fireplace - after one coat of the white wash! You can see from the after pics that we ended up going with more paint!

2. UPDATING THE METAL: My family doubted me with this one, but I knew painting the gold/brassy metal piece on both fireplaces with black paint was going to make things POP. Do not be nervous with bringing black into your space - I actually have mostly neutrals and touches of navy/light colors - so the black technically would stand out - but it doesn't! It makes it look so crisp, with a little touch of farmhouse. I used this paint and left the tape from when I whitewashed, making sure not to get the paint on anything else. This took two coats total - but it took a while in-between coats to dry. Make sure the paint is completely dry before applying the second coat. I used a smaller brush for this work, and it still went really quick!

Fireplace with Black

3. TILE: On the downstairs fireplace, there was some outdated beige colored tile around the metal piece. I decided at least as a temporary fix (we may add real tile when we redo our kitchen), to use peel and stick tile! Because I wasn't sure if I was going to like it, I didn't use an additional adhesive to the peel and stick - but you could honestly add some glue to make sure it isn't going anywhere. The tile I ordered was harder to work with because of the shapes, but once I got into a rhythm, it wasn't as hard. My advice for this would be to take your time and to try a subway tile (if you like that look) instead, as it's easier to match up the pieces. If you look really close you can see my mistakes, but honestly, as a temporary fix and from far away, you can't even tell! I'd recommend this but do caution that it's tougher to work with, especially if you're not super precise with measuring (ME!).

Before the peel and stick tile:


And after!


And there you have it! My first true DIY project at our home. Looking forward to sharing more of these little projects as we get settled and my creative juices (and confidence!) builds over the upcoming months!

Before and After
Before and after