Fireplace Makeover Part 1 and 2

My form of pregnancy nesting doesn’t exactly look the same as most women.  Many women are driven into cleaning frenzies, organizing spurts, or preparing frozen meals.  And I totally wish I was one of those women.

For me, nesting includes doing random DIY projects that I feel are 100% absolutely necessary.  Unless it caulking baseboards and door trims.  I truly despise that… probably because I haven’t figured out the best way to do it.  And maybe top it off with the fact that I’m a walking beluga whale.

As I sat on the couch one nap time – putting off cleaning, organizing, or meal preparing – I found myself staring at the fireplace, desperately wanting to update the old red brick and brassy doors.  You see, quite a few months ago, a friend of mine had mentioned seeing or hearing about someone using a concrete stain to update their brick.  I was fascinated.  Especially considering that we had collected a few quotes on knocking out the brick and installing a gas fireplace and stone surround and I nearly pooped my pants at the numbers that had come back.  Seriously – I couldn’t justify paying $6 – 7000 to do that.

Pre Fireplace Makeover

Brick Before

I could quickly visualize the brick stain but had to win over Lee with the idea.  It helped somewhat that the cost was significantly lower than even $1000 !  So I got my Google on and found some examples – which helped but wasn’t overly convincing.  So, I took the route of “it’s easier to ask for forgiveness than permission” and bought Behr Semi-Transparent Concrete Stain in Dark Coal from Home Depot for a solid $32 and went to town on the fireplace during one of Isaac’s naptimes and waited to see what Lee’s reaction would be.

Behr Concrete Stain - Dark Coal

The application was quick and relatively painless.  Especially because I’m one that doesn’t believe in taping off everything or doing much prep work.  I brushed off any dust and then did a quick vacuum over the bricks.  Then I grabbed a paint brush that was the same width as the bricks and starting applying the stain in extremely thin coats.

It’s not like paint at all.  It’s super drippy. Which is a good reason to lay down something to protect your floors or whatever.  In our case, we had ripped out the hearth and we are planning on tiling over it, so I didn’t bother.  I’m lazy like that – but it was something that I did consider…

And one by one, I tackled each brick.  It didn’t take long for applying at all.  It ended up being a two nap process just because I had to do a wee bit of prep before starting on Nap #1 and Isaac woke up early.  But I was really pleased with the coverage and how quickly things progressed.

Stage 1

As a disclaimer – I was in a wee bit of a freak out mode but trucked thru it at the beginning because the stain almost looked navy going onto the brick.  But I had started and was past the point of no return already so I hoped to goodness that when it dried and cured that it would turn dark coal…

Sure enough, it cured into a beautiful dark coal that worked really well with our Turbo colored walls.  So much so that I actually had to point it out to Lee.  The best part was that I got a mostly supportive nod to keep going.  Not that either of us had any choice at this point !  There was no going back !

Staining during Nap #2 proved to be much more successful as I found my stride and really wanted it done.  So much so, that I actually kept going once Isaac was up.  The plus to renovating when babies are wee is that they learn quickly what they are allowed to touch and not.  That or he is just a pretty good listener and we lucked out.

I finished the faces of the bricks and left the sides for another day, which ended up being a solid 15 minutes a couple evenings later while Lee and Isaac played.

Of course, my DIY nesting wasn’t overly fulfilled as now I had an obviously brassy in-your-face fireplace door that taunted me blatantly from below my snappy stained bricks.  So, Isaac and I trekked out to Canadian Tire and picked up some black BBQ spray paint for $4.99 – which leads me to Part 2 of the makeover.

Krylon BBQ Spray Paint

Part 1 was awesome.  The BIG transformation.  Part 2 was the finishing touch.  Although, in actuality there will be a Part 3 eventually when we build the mantle, which will really be the finishing touch.

So let’s call Part 2, the … pièce de résistance of Parts 1 and 2 combined.  A little mascara perhaps.

I actually did a bit more prep this time, considering spray paint could have the potential to get incredibly messy.  I taped and papered off the glass on the fireplace doors and the surrounding areas around the face.

Spray Paint Prep

I then threw open the main floor doors and windows, put on a dust mask and got to spraying.  Thin, light coats to prevent drips.  It took a good 3 – 4 coats to get full coverage because of how light I was going.  To be honest, I feel like I could be one of the worst spray painters around because I am so impatient, but I really tried this time !  Mainly because our budget doesn’t allow for a new door panel thingy for our fireplace right now and I didn’t want to mess it up and then have to fork out the cash for a new one.  That and this was a project totally out of left field because that’s what nesting is, right !?  A crazy, unprecedented need to do something.

After 3 coats

But it turned out SO great.

Post spray paint

There is something about even a little, cheapy update that makes things feel so much more cohesive.  Our home is feeling a bit more home-y with every project that gets done.  It brings us one step closer to feeling complete and welcoming instead of feeling like we’re living in a constant state of renovation.

Before and After - Side by Side

And now, when people walk in, the red brick doesn’t jump out at them.  Their eye passes over the fireplace surround because it flows. It looks much more right.  Which to me, is the scratch that makes the itch go away.

From a distance

At least for a little bit !!

8 thoughts on “Fireplace Makeover Part 1 and 2

  1. Sooooo fabulous! I love it, and can’t believe I didn’t notice when I was over there this week. haha. Blinders, I tell you. Or an amazing, amazing job that blends in so well with everything else gorgeous you guys have done! 🙂 (We’ll go with the second one!)

  2. This sentence made me laugh:
    “The best part was that I got a mostly supportive nod to keep going”

    Love getting those mostly supportive nods…

    • It was incredible how much apprehension there was – even after the point of no return. Haha!
      He hates the look of painted brick but the stain made it retain a natural look, so that was the ultimate saving grace.

  3. Great job!! i have a similar brass fireplace, you gave me an excellent idea!! Love it!
    I just got my fireplace done and the guy did brass al around. I hate it and he will not fix it without charging us!!

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