Painted fireplace

One of the most dramatic transformations we've made since we moved into our new house is the chimney/fireplace, which started out as a giant, red monolith in our living room. We decided to paint it white, hoping it would make the room feel lighter, brighter and just a little bit bigger.

So as soon as our lawyer handed us the keys, I removed the fireplace grate, snapped on a pair of rubber gloves, and scrubbed those bricks with a mixture of TSP (trisodium phosphate - a strong cleaner) and water. Using a roller, I covered the surface of the bricks with Sico semi-gloss paint in "cotton rag paper" (paint colours have the strangest names). That was the easy part. The cracks on the other hand...I painted with a small brush. One by one.

It took forever. And luckily, it was well worth it:

It took around three coats and three-quarters of a gallon of paint to cover three sides of the chimney (we left the exposed side in the kitchen untouched). I painted the cracks only once, because I was sure doing it more than once would have driven me into insanity.

I love the way it turned out - the room definitely feels lighter and brighter, and the texture of the bricks still shows through the paint, which I also love. Now I just have to figure out how to decorate that mantle...


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