DIY Fire Place Upgrade

So as some of you may know, our house burnt down a few months ago.  When we were on the hunt for a place to rent during the rebuild, it was almost impossible to find something!  Luckily we have amazing friends…  One friend offered us his townhouse, on one condition, that we paint the walls and do some minor upgrades so he can sell when we move out! Well this is right up my alley.  I would probably go nuts if we rented a place that wouldn’t allow me to paint!

So I’ve been working slowly but shirley… One room at a time, or even one corner at a time.  This project that I’m showing you today is on the main floor, in the awkward layout of a living room!   When we moved in it was dark, and gloomy, with the couch placed right beside the fire place.  Which was quite far away from the t.v.

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The fire place doesn’t actually work either, but I’m not sure if he wants to spend the money to fix it before selling or not, so for now I’ll work with what I have.

This is what I call tacky brassy! That needs a good cleaning 😉

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Now the first thing I did was paint over the dark brown wall.  I went with light neutral gray.  Benjamin Moore’s 2112-60 Cement Gray to be exact.  What a difference this made!  It brightened up the entire space.  It also kept me motivated.  Sometimes since the fire I get “down in the dumps.” The townhouse we are staying in needs so much work it’s daunting, and life doesn’t slow down when a disaster happens, it only speeds up!

It may seem silly that painting and creating is my stress relief, but it always has been!  And if you are so lucky as to find something that calms you, then do it! Do it, do it, do it!  And don’t let anyone stop you… unless it’s drugs, don’t do drugs.  Follow your passion, follow your dreams.

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After I painted over the dark wall, I actually left it for a month or two before I found my motivation, and time to start the project.  The first thing I wanted to do was create a larger wood mantel for the fire place.  Take a look here (coming soon) for a tutorial on how I made it!

This mantel really grounded the whole area.  It created a great base to start decorating!

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Next was painting the brick.  If you have a fire place similar and want to try this yourself, be prepared, it is VERY time consuming!  First off, I don’t think the bricks had been cleaned in about 10 years, yuck…  I had to take a ruler wrapped in the clothe to clean all the groves.  The product I used to clean is a ‘go to’ for me.  It is the Saman Eco TSP.  This is an amazing product for paint prep! It isn’t as harsh as regular tsp and therefore you don’t need to rinse it!  So one less step, which is always awesome 🙂

When everything was clean and dry, I took my trusty Aura paint in CC-40 Cloud White and started painting.  I used two different size brushes, a smaller 1″ artist brush to get into the grooves, and a 2″ painters brush for the brick faces.  I made sure I painted the grooves really well the first time so I wouldn’t have to do much of a second coat.

Just look at how fresh it’s starting to look!

20161210_144032Before I started painting, I thought the bricks were already white.  Isn’t it weird how our eyes play tricks on us!   None the less, it was looking really great with a brighter, cleaner colour!

After all the bricks where painted, the black hearth and black and brass fire place stuck out like a sore thumb.  I played around with the idea of peel and stick tiles on the hearth, or an accent tile.  But in the end, I decided to spend as little money as I could!  Which was painting, mostly because I had all of the supplies on hand.

I primed everything with two coats of Stix.  Have you heard about this primer before?  Let me tell you a little bit about it… It is amazing! It will stick to anything.  When it’s fully cured, you wouldn’t be able to scrape it off of glass!  How amazing is that!  It is actually very milky when you paint it on as its main purpose is adhesion, not coverage.  I use this product for A LOT of my projects as you don’t have to sand nearly as much as you do with other paints and primers.

Even just with this step I was so excited!  Look how much brighter and cleaner it’s looking!

When everything was dry and ready for top coat, I used Benjamin Moore’s Advance in a pearl finish.  Remember when I said the fire place doesn’t actually work?  Well because of that you can use any paint really…  Because the metal doesn’t get too hot, it won’t bubble and peel the paint.  If the fire place did work, there are still painting options!  There are many different colours available in high heat spray paints!  You just have to go to your local hardware store.

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For the fire place I used Benjamin Moore’s 2112-50 Stormy Monday (one step darker then my accent wall) and for the hearth I used CC-40 Cloud White.  This just tied everything into place so well!

I hate to admit it, but I have fallen in love with a fire place!

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I loved the soft and subtle white and gray combination, but I wanted a bolder punch of colour!  Now really, white and gray are both neutrals, so I could have chosen any colour, red, purple, yellow…  But my hubbies favorite colour is blue 🙂  So I decided on blue. It keeps us both happy.

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Now for the fun part… decorating! Once I had my main focus piece planned out, my stir stick art, I did a quick sketch of how I envisioned the fire place to look.

Then I went thrifting!  Besides my family, it’s my favorite thing!

I actually made the deer sign, I had a blue basket already, and had a small easel (for my daughters painting)  So all I needed to find was candle sticks and a small vase of flowers.

I found the candle holders and a vase that was going to work perfectly, I painted them in my accent colour, using Stix first.

Then I found this beautiful milk glass vase!  I love milk glass, I have a lot of it 🙂 I picked up some white fake roses from a dollar store, but they were just a little too white.  So I took a small artist brush and painted the edges of each petal.  WOW I love how it turned out!  It also just balanced the decor.

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Then I started placing everything on the mantel.  Just look at how amazing it turned out!

Just WOW.  No comparison from what it was before.

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…so in love…

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I can’t decide what is my favorite part!  Whats yours?

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Thank you all so much for reading!  I hope this may have inspired you to tackle your own fire place!

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