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DIY 1970s Brick Fireplace Makeover Before and After

Hiya guys! This week was quite the adventure with paint and a close encounter with my very own true crime story. The good news is, no one was murdered, and I will not be appearing on my own episode of Unsolved Mysteries, but we still have three weeks to go, so anything is possible, haha! Before we get into that story, let’s talk about week three of the One Room Challenge, shall we? If you missed week 1 or last week’s DIY Cable Railing, make sure you check those out first. This week was all about paint and a brick fireplace makeover DIY style. 

How I Almost Got Murdered Over Paint

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Brick Fireplace Makeover DIY

Before we dive into my true crime story, let’s talk about my behemoth of a fireplace. I would be lying if I said it was love at first sight. It was such an outdated fireplace when we bought the house. The existing brick wasn’t that beautiful red brick fireplace with so much character. No sir. The brick color was a dark and dingy orangey brown.

 

Garrison Street Design Studio - DIY 1970s Brick Fireplace Makeover Before and After

Initially I painted the wood paneling but left the fireplace brick as is because I was SO intimidated by it. But as I looked at it longer and longer I knew I needed to tackle a DIY fireplace makeover to give it a more modern look. This week started off with the fireplace looking like this.

Garrison Street Design Studio - DIY 1970s Brick Fireplace Makeover Before and After

Original Paint Makeover

This was the result of me painting the outdated brick and adding a new mantel several years back. The new life of the fireplace surround held me over but I still wasn’t entirely happy with the fireplace wall. While it definitely had a big impact, I still wasn’t in love.

Back to the drawing board. I relied on the power of paint since a stone fireplace makeover, stone veneer, or demoing the entire thing for a new fireplace with a contemporary look were not in the budget or scope of work. So paint would have to save the day. 

Back to my true crime story…..if you don’t already know, I am kind of obsessed with true crime, and binge podcasts like Crime Junkie, Serial, and Cold and definitely consider my own alibi several times a day. So when I couldn’t choose a paint color for our fireplace this week and thought there was a possibility my hubby might murder me, I made sure to let my mom know so she could send out the search party. More on this below.

After careful consideration and testing multiple paint samples, I gave the fireplace it’s first coat of paint with Sherwin Williams Dorian Gray. Using the paint sprayer for this was the best way to knock it out quickly. When I painted the dated brick fireplace the first time I did it by hand and let me tell you, it was not fun.

Garrison Street Design Studio - DIY 1970s Brick Fireplace Makeover Before and After

At first, I loved the new color. But then it dried and had a very blue hue to it and made the walls look blue. Not to mention, it didn’t offer much contrast between the adjacent wall and the brick, which didn’t work for me.

Garrison Street Design Studio - DIY 1970s Brick Fireplace Makeover Before and After

Now I know we are talking about murder this week, but I promise with all the plastic sheeting this was not the set for the first episode of the new season of Dexter, haha! BUT I could not be more excited its coming back!!! This is just to protect everything from the overspray. 

Round 2 of Paint

Because I used the paint sprayer to paint the whole thing, which is a million times faster than brushing it btw, I decided to try another color. I had quite a bit of extra paint from another project where I failed to pick the right color on the first try. I gave it another go with Sherwin Williams Accessible Beige for paint color number two. I knew it would look good on the brick because we used it to paint the exterior

Garrison Street Design Studio - DIY 1970s Brick Fireplace Makeover Before and After

Let me give you a clue, paint color number two did not make the cut. That’s right folks, I failed again.

While the color itself was good, it did not work with the wall color, Agreeable Gray. Accessible Beige was just too warm, which against my better judgement, I already knew. Back to square one, or should I say the paint store? I seriously feel like I have a mini paint store in the garage now. So much paint! Not joking.

Garrison Street Design Studio - DIY 1970s Brick Fireplace Makeover Before and After

More samples went up. More doubt and anxiety crept in. Picking paint can really be a challenge sometimes! The saving grace is paint is relatively inexpensive. It just takes time which I was quickly running out of.

How I Almost Got Murdered Over Paint

It was about this time I was talking to my mom on the phone. I mentioned my fireplace paint problems and told her if she didn’t hear from me in the next day or so, she should send out the search party because Barry probably murdered me and buried me in the backyard. (Totally joking BTW)

Her response was, “well tell him to call me if he does and I will make him some prime rib since you don’t like it”. Not exactly the response you would expect from your mother! Then as we were sampling paint for round three, Barry said, “I’m going to text your mom and tell her to get the prime rib ready.”

Needless to say, I am currently accepting applications for a new mother and husband, haha!

Round 3 of Paint

Garrison Street Design Studio - DIY 1970s Brick Fireplace Makeover Before and After

Luckily, the third time was a charm and no one got murdered! But, if I ever go missing, make sure my mom and Barry aren’t hanging out eating prime rib 😉 And please someone call Ashley Flowers over at Crime Junkie!

The color I landed on for the brick wall is Sherwin Williams Nuance. It is very light and almost a white paint but a little warmer. It made a huge difference in how bright the room feels. I also used this color on the backsplash and in our bedroom.

But now I needed to decide on a color for above the fireplace. This is a big part of the family room and I wanted a more updated look. So I took a que from the exterior and decided to go with a dark almost black paint. As I rolled the first coat, I was nervous it was too bold, but as I stepped back, I realized it was exactly what the rest of the room needed!

Garrison Street Design Studio - DIY 1970s Brick Fireplace Makeover Before and After

The old brick fireplace has a whole new look and creates a beautiful focal point! The color I chose for above the fireplace is Sherwin Williams Iron Ore. AKA, my favorite color! I used this on the exterior, above the bar, in the wine cellar, our bedroom, and the upstairs hallway.

Since picking the fireplace paint was such a challenge, we ended up painting the entire room already too. We had to call in all the ladders to finish this one! I wasn’t planning to tackle that this week, but I guess I am ahead of the game for next week.

Garrison Street Design Studio - DIY 1970s Brick Fireplace Makeover Before and After

Remember when I said we have never used the fireplace in eight years? Well, I addressed that this week too. The old dirty firebox got an upgrade with this sleek electric fireplace insert. When I first updated the old fireplace I just spray painted the screen with a heat-resistant paint. But we still never used it because it was too much work to build a wood fire. Now we can just press a button!

We received bids to add a gas fireplace insert, but with quotes at around $5k, that was out of the question. This simple unit not only upgrades the look of the fireplace, but also generates heat! Just in time for the snow we are anticipating this week. 

Garrison Street Design Studio - DIY 1970s Brick Fireplace Makeover Before and After

Lastly, the fireplace mantel we added a few years ago got an extension. Because this side of the fireplace goes all the way to the ceiling, I wanted to play on the asymmetry and make it more of a design focal point. Not only was the mantel a design decision, it hides all the cords to our TV!

Garrison Street Design Studio - DIY 1970s Brick Fireplace Makeover Before and After

Now I know most designers will cringe at the thought of making a TV the focal point of a room, but we are real people with shows to binge on Netflix 🙂

Garrison Street Design Studio - DIY 1970s Brick Fireplace Makeover Before and After

Brick Fireplace Makeover DIY Frequently Asked Questions

Why didn’t you do a German schmear on the fireplace?

The bricks already have a ton of texture so I didn’t feel it was necessary.

Do you have a tutorial for the mantle?

I do not have a blog post about it, but I did save a highlight bubble on Instagram. It is relatively simple construction though.

Did you use chalk paint on the brick?

No, but I suppose you could if you wanted a very matte finish. I just used normal latex paint in a satin finish. If you chose to paint your brick by hand though I recommend using a thick roller meant for very textured walls.

Why didn’t you do built-in shelving where the bookcase used to be?

I was after a different look. Instead of fighting the awkward shape and large size, I decided to work with it. Adding shelving to the side of the fireplace chopped it up and made it even more awkward. By extending the mantle down the side and playing off the asymmetry it gives it a more mid century look, especially with the dark top.

What type of wood is the mantle?

The mantle is made out of beetle kill pine. It is also often called blue stain pine. This is a native wood in Colorado and somewhat easy to find at local lumbar yards.

Garrison Street Design Studio - DIY 1970s Brick Fireplace Makeover Before and After

Garrison Street Design Studio - DIY 1970s Brick Fireplace Makeover Before and After

Join me again next week to see how the rest of our makeover is coming along and to make sure no one gets murdered over paint! I have some furniture DIYs in the works and a few changes for our wet bar 😉

Garrison Street Design Studio - DIY 1970s Brick Fireplace Makeover Before and After

If you enjoyed this blog post DIY 1970s Brick Fireplace Makeover Before and After, please share it with your friends on Facebook or hover over an image and save to Pinterest! And if you don’t already follow me on Instagram, Pinterest, TikTok, or Facebook, I would love for us to be friends!

Garrison Street Design Studio - DIY 1970s Brick Fireplace Makeover Before and After

Make sure you sign up here so you don’t miss any of our progress! It’s going to be a crazy few weeks! I will also be sharing behind the scenes of all the makeover madness on Instagram and Facebook

 

Don’t forget to stop by the One Room Challenge to check out all the other participants and their amazing spaces!

Garrison Street Design Studio - DIY 1970s Brick Fireplace Makeover Before and After

How I Almost Got Murdered Over Paint

This post, DIY 1970s Brick Fireplace Makeover Before and After, appeared first on Garrison Street Design Studio.

12 Comments

  1. Such a funny post! It can be SO hard to choose a paint color, and you just don’t know if it works til it’s on. I feel ya! Good luck with the rest of your projects!

    1. Thank you so much Sam! I used to be better at it when I didn’t try the samples which is kinda nuts! Speaking of paint, love your choices this week 😉

    1. Thank you so much! The brick is Nuance and the wall above the fireplace is Iron Ore. Both are Sherwin Williams colors in a satin finish 😉

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