Fireplace Dilemma - to paint or not to paint
jeanlblack
October 12, 2012 in Design Dilemma
We have a large brick fireplace that divides the dinning room and the den. My husband likes the red bricks but I think it makes the area look dark. I've been seeing a lot of fireplaces painted online but wasn't sure if it would clash with the style of house with have. We have a traditional ranch. Do you think we should paint it? If so, what color? Thanks and sorry about the mess in the picture
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Michael Tauber Architecture
Hard to answer this without seeing more of the house. However a few thoughts...
If the fire place is burning wood and is active...smoke will require painting the fire place frequently to keep it looking good. If the only objective is the change the color and money is critical... consider a tiled surface which would eliminate the grout lines and could make the appearance neater. I actually would prefer to see it more monolithic, maybe a warm grey or green slate.
October 12, 2012 at 3:17PM     
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Nancy Hehmann
Why not comprimise and put a white mantel with more wooden trim. That will break up some of the monotony of the red brick. I am sure if you use HOUZZ search engine for mantels many styles will come up. If your husband is not a do it yourself person, you could hire a contracter to make it happen.
October 12, 2012 at 3:41PM     
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Dytecture
I would lean more towards painting the bricks.


October 12, 2012 at 3:45PM     
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Christiane Ashleine
yep, paint the bricks, and extend the mantle by adding a shelf with a wide moulding and go with a light slate or olive. well done, peeps. also, the great thing about having a deeper mantle is you can enhance the "natural ranch" feeling by bringing nature in; pine boughs at christmas (make sure they don't hang and create a fire hazard,) and branches with berries in the fall. much safer with children around to have a mantle that things won't topple off of.
October 12, 2012 at 3:54PM     
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Michael Tauber Architecture
Nice project dytecture...my only concern is the white walls and the smoke..i considered that in the response. I know someone with this specific issue.
October 12, 2012 at 3:55PM     
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Melissa Doan - Weidel Realtors - New Hope
Definitely white - go for adobe-modern chic with your ranch!
October 12, 2012 at 4:03PM     
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Melissa Doan - Weidel Realtors - New Hope
Carolina's suggestion would be a great compromise as well!
October 12, 2012 at 4:06PM     
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charleee
Here's another thought, why not just paint the top half of the brick, the area above the mantle, the same color as the wall?s And regarding the cleaning of the brick, Sabrina Soto (HGTV) used foaming bathroom cleaner and a nylon brush and it comes out pretty darn good!
October 12, 2012 at 4:11PM     
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zenhome
Dytecture's photo is a great example of how stunning the fireplace would look painted white.
October 12, 2012 at 4:15PM     
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Darzy
I like the compromise. Clean the brick really good (tsp) or try Bobbi's bathroom cleaner idea (thank for the tip, Bobbi) and just paint the mantel. But, if you install ceiling can lights and shine on a great piece of art, it won't look so dark, and will keep with your ranch home design.
October 12, 2012 at 4:16PM     
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jeanlblack
So many great ideas! Thanks everyone for the suggestions. I think I will go ahead and paint it since it seems to be the easiest and least expensive option. And I love Dytecture's photo of the white fireplace.
October 12, 2012 at 10:25PM     
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builper.com
Paint White.
October 12, 2012 at 10:40PM   
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builper.com
Paint White.
October 12, 2012 at 10:40PM   
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Glentruan Furniture Ltd.
Paint white, it will open that space right up :)
October 12, 2012 at 10:52PM     
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kendalla
PAINT IT ~
October 13, 2012 at 4:16PM     
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anitajoyce
I think it would look nice painted white, grey or tan.
October 13, 2012 at 5:24PM     
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jeanlblack
After deciding to paint I've been researching on how-to's and was surprised when I came across several comments that said it was tacky and trendy to paint a fireplace. Ouch! I know I"LL love the painted fireplace but will it become an issue when we try to sell the house later? Any thoughts on this? Thanks!
October 13, 2012 at 6:01PM     
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Kim D
I'm with Bobbi P.; I was gonna say paint just the top half white, but I like the idea of painting the same color as the rest of the wall better.
October 13, 2012 at 6:39PM     
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ag28
Don't worry about reselling...make your self happy NOW...you already have the white flower picture in place...I think it will open up your room. Painting it is the best place to start..its inexpensive and you can do it yourself.
October 13, 2012 at 8:13PM     
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Bethany Ayres
God, don't paint the brick!!! Do the more ornate mantel idea. Clean the face of the brick.
October 13, 2012 at 10:47PM   
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Kivi
I would not worry about the comments saying painting it will hurt the value of your home. Look at the link again that Dytecture put up... Do you think any sane prospective buyer would say it was a problem?
I think painting your fireplace is the way to go.
October 14, 2012 at 1:51AM     
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bfoxen
Some time ago a company was listed called www.brick-anew.com and their method of painting brick looked fastinating. It kept the tones so it wasn't a flat color. I've been toying with the idea also of painting my fireplace and it would be the only way I would go. Please check them out first.
October 14, 2012 at 2:59AM     
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periwinkle04
I think in your particular case, the fireplace would look fantastic painted some shade of white. I would put a rough cedar mantle (maybe keeping the one you have?) and a grey or blue slate hearth top. You can add supports on the sides of the mantle to give it more of a look. And I think the print you have perched on your fireplace right now would look stunning on a white backdrop!
October 14, 2012 at 3:42AM     
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charleee
jean, trendy? Doubtful. My mother painted her fireplace more than 20 years ago, so if this is trendy, it's a long running trend.
October 14, 2012 at 3:51AM     
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JAN MOYER
Paint!!!!!!! And you should not have smoke! If you do, your fireplace is not "drawing" correctly, or your Girl Scout skills need work. Check your flu! When you make a fire, tightly wad/twist some newspaper, light it, and hold it up the flu to warm it.... proceed with nice crackly dry logs, and no smoke. And if the worst happened and you do get some smoke, when painted correctly, it will wash right off.
October 14, 2012 at 4:02AM     
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buchanan6
I would just paint it, so what if it needs retouching yearly. The fresh look will be worth it.
October 14, 2012 at 4:03AM   
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ycram
I'd paint the top half the color of the wall. It will make the room feel bigger.
October 14, 2012 at 5:16AM     
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markdavidson
Paint or tile it. We've removed the hearth on several like this. You'd probably be happy with the extra floor space and the way it looks.
October 14, 2012 at 5:44AM   
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Janet Caviness
Paint it white.
October 14, 2012 at 5:45AM   
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Stanhope Design
I been in this dilemma with the wife wanting to paint but the husband loving the natural brick (& wood) tones. Assuming the role of marriage counselor is a part of all designers job where a couple has different views. Dytecture is right on with his example of a white painted brick, clean & open. Yet if this is a difficult look for your husband to swallow, kaveac's recommendation of Brick Anew is certainly worth looking into....one way or the other I would change the color, as it is it over-dominates the room .
October 14, 2012 at 5:55AM   
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kattiana
The bricks are nothing special--paint for sure! The room will look a lot better all one color. We painted our fireplace and raised hearth that extends across the whole wall, and we have never regretted it. Just use a high-quality paint designed for kitchens and baths so the painted brick will be easy to clean.
October 14, 2012 at 6:06AM     
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kah416
Whitewashing it would be nice! That way your husband will still feel it looks "manly" enough and you will feel its brightened up in the room :) I think it would give the room nice texture too, and would go well with your mantle. Add a pretty framed round or triangular mirror, if you like, and some white or silver decor and it would freshen and brighten the whole space. Then, if you feel you still don't like it, you can paint the whole thing white. :)
PLEASE POST "AFTER" PICTURES FOR US! :-)
October 14, 2012 at 6:13AM     
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jessieferrell
Paint it white!... We went through the same dilemma and I'm so glad I took the leap on our project. My husband was also apprehensive but now agrees it looks much better than the dated red brick. It is scary because once you start painting brick there is no turning back. I see in your picture you have white wainscoting in an adjoining room so the white will really go well. I used about 4 coats of semi-gloss white and painted the interior with high heat black spray paint. (The kind for grills). The tile is inexpensive back splash tile.
Attached are before and after of our fireplace.
October 14, 2012 at 6:38AM     
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dsma
I agree with someone else. If your husband is handy , for about thirty or fifty bucks change the mantel with white. It would break up the brick. I just did it myself and it changed the whole look.
October 14, 2012 at 6:42AM   
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marlamuffin
I have a brick wall with a 2-way fireplace and an arch opening that I loved with the exception of the dark ulgy color. It took me years to decide if I should paint it or not. I finally did it and I have never regreted doing it. Since it's such a large wall over the years I've painted it different colors and shades and I had great fun with it. I hate to say this but your bricks are ulgy too. Please paint it!
October 14, 2012 at 7:02AM     
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chasitydunham
We just moved from a traditional ranch home and I loved the fireplace! It was painted a semi-gloss chocolate brown and was just gorgeous! Everyone loved the paint color and we never had to retouch or repaint. We burned real wood fires in it all the time!
October 14, 2012 at 7:04AM     
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Suellen Valetta
I like brick with the changed mantle and wall colors.
October 14, 2012 at 7:18AM   
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Sara Parker
I think painted brick looks tacky. I agree that you'd be better off just changing the mantle. (Keep the old one in case you change your mind again.)
October 14, 2012 at 7:25AM   
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rocky4chewie
Frame it in, leaving the original brick behind it, and then do what ever kind of finish you want on the new framed in structure. That way the old fireplace is kept in its original shape, and when you sell new buyers can remove the outside structure and the old brick will still be there
October 14, 2012 at 7:42AM     
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jillgp
PAINT IT!
October 14, 2012 at 7:48AM   
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Elaine M. Rushlow C.K.D.
tile over it easy to do !
October 14, 2012 at 7:51AM   
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dundiddit
I have a corner fireplace that used to look a lot like yours. I painted it with enamel paint in a soft ivory color (think of a candlelight effect) and it helped the whole room look brighter and more relaxed. Painting is a great solution for your problem. Good luck with your project.
October 14, 2012 at 8:02AM     
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Urban Renewal Builders Ltd
Do NOT paint it. Looks like a low rent renovation. Brick adds warmth and perceived value. Painted brick looks like that faux brick stick on stuff. Adding a light, such as a track light, to highlight the picture and mantle would help lighten it up. Also a larger white mantle would look very nice.
October 14, 2012 at 8:46AM   
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Sara Parker
I agree! also think framing it as rocky4chewie suggested is brilliant compromise, retaining the integrity of the house but keeping the present owners happy.
October 14, 2012 at 8:51AM     
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sjmom
Why not clean the brick first? There are many beautiful fireplace surround designs from which to choose and perhaps framing the fireplace and adding a larger more traditional mantle with moldings will change the appearance. You don't need to paint the bridk; just add interest and I think you will both be happy.
October 14, 2012 at 9:30AM   
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ltrout
Paint it white. We have a whole brick fireplace wall with shelves on both sides of the fireplace and the brick is painted white. I would also upgrade the mantel to suit your style. Our fireplace is wood burning and we have fires in it all winter, which does darken the white around the fireplace by the end of the season. I just "white wash" over the part that has been discolored. By whitewash I mean I sponge on a watered down white paint that matches. Good luck!
October 14, 2012 at 9:51AM     
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sheepbaroness
I had a dated looking roman brick fireplace in my previous house and I "aged" the brick by applying joint compound in a thin layer over the entire surface of the fireplace. I allowed the texture and some color to show through so the surface was not as flat as painting it . It lightened the room and gave the fireplace a used brick look that was more congruent with my 1920's house.
October 14, 2012 at 9:57AM   
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KM&M Designs
I think you have gotten a lot of good ideas, but if your fireplace is smoking, there is something wrong with the flu and you should have it checked out by a certified chimney sweep. It should not smoke unless there is an obstruction in the chimney or there is a problem with the damper.
If I had this brick fireplace, I would paint it and have a new mantle made for it that is deeper. Paint is so much different now than when your house was originally built, you won't have trouble finding one that will do the job and stay nice for years. I really like Chasity's deep brown with white trim, very elegant, but the fireplace style is kept.
October 14, 2012 at 9:58AM     
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cohoman
We're renovating our family room now, and we decided to paint the old red brick fireplace a dark chocolate brown. The brick goes from the floor to the ceiling, and it looks really good painted. Still have the texture, but not the dated red brick. I also added a red mahogany stained mantle shelf just above the fireplace and it adds a lot of class.
October 14, 2012 at 9:58AM     
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Wendy Keyes
huge difference painting made to our space. We used an ivory colour so not quite as stark.
October 14, 2012 at 10:08AM     
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chrissoula
Paint it!
October 14, 2012 at 10:26AM   
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Sheila
The ceiling trim fights with the mantel and the hearth. Paint the mantel and the heath trim the same colour as the ceiling trim or wall colour.

Add a deeper painted mantel to break the colour of the bricks.

A mirror above the mantel will reflect you and not the colour
.
Compromise is the relationship game. Paint the dinning side of the fire place to complement the dining area may work.

Try adding hints of the brick colour around the room may cause the fire place to appear less dominate

I have painted brick in previous homes. I followed the directions from Benjamin Moore paints. It was not an easy paint job but well worth it. A trim kit allowed us to not have to worry about cleaning or repainting the brick. We used a discounted trim kit. The trim kits are available at gas fire place installer locations. Applying the trim kit was easy we did it with tin snips.

Retiling works if money is not an option. This is not a job for someone new to tiling. Installing costs can be very expensive.
October 14, 2012 at 10:35AM     
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annied01
i would be tempted to paint the bricks (and priming them first) then add a bigger bolder mantle to bring a modern or grounding edge to the whole design... plus storing the toys elsewhere would help :)
October 14, 2012 at 10:48AM     
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jeanlblack
I feel confident about painting now. Thanks everyone. Here are a few more pictures. One from the dining room and another that show the mantel from a different angle. And yes the toys are everywhere. We just had our second one and trying to figure out how to store the bigger toys that do not fit in our Ikea Expedit Shelf. Sorry again it's so messy :)
October 14, 2012 at 11:13AM   
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Catherine Reysz
just did mine in dark grey and the mantel in light grey ,just love it!!!!!!
October 14, 2012 at 12:10PM   
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lizmaguire
We have a very similar fireplace. We left the area below the mantle, including the hearth, the natural red brick so we wouldn't worry about paint maintenance and I painted the area above the same neutral as the rest of the walls in the room. More contrast was created by covering the wimpy brick mantle with a more substantial wood mantle painted white to match the cabinets on both sides. To paint the brick, I used a primer and then a semi-gloss floor and porch paint. WE LOVE IT!
October 14, 2012 at 12:29PM   
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shelbybella
I love love love painted brick fireplaces.. and would paint mine if it WERE brick! lol. Its a faux stone, with a REAL FP brick insert. I saw a glimpse of your homes' style. and I think that a really warm Ivory or Ceam would make your FP stand out just enough to liven up this room. ITS ONLY PAINT. ..test out a small area first, and if you dont like it... Krud Kutter cleaner is your new friend. I have used this product for YEARS and it removes even dried on paint. :) I think painted fireplaces look so elegant and sometimes it even makes a room look more ' finished ' or ' put together'. It can be a bit of a process, but the results are worth it. :)..Also the mantle is fine, but I was thinking a bit.. wider ? But the wood look of it against paint will look nice.:)
October 14, 2012 at 12:30PM   
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onthefence
Jean, I'm so glad you made this post. We have a very similar fireplace and have debated the same paint or no issue for YEARS. We both like brick - I just dislike our particular brick. If it were a more rustic/reclaimed looking brick, painting probably wouldn't even be a discussion.

Ours is an 8 ft long island fireplace (floor to ceiling). One side faces living room, the other faces kitchen/dining.

Looking at the photos that have been posted here as well as your own pics, I really think I'm leaning toward painting as well.

After looking at your pics (and looking again at our FP) I'm firmly in the paint it camp!

Also, I'm sharing a link for a FP painting technique that I've had bookmarked. One of my concerns is that when painted, the FP is going to look monolithic. I'm thinking this may help soften the look a bit.
http://www.lowescreativeideas.com/idea-library/projects/modern_fireplace_1010.aspx

Also, I think I'd leave the wood mantle as is. I think once the FP is painted a lighter color, the wood is going to be more visible and your going to see the wood floor and mantle more.
October 14, 2012 at 12:30PM     
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quantumgirl
Def consider whitewashing, its not too stark or plain and keeps the character of the bricks yet gives them an updated look. We done this as a compromise in another house...beautiful!
October 14, 2012 at 12:49PM     
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Creative Drapery & Decor
I vote for covering the brick. Give it an updated look by covering with some type of tile, 8x8 or 12x12 in a neutral warm tone. The whole room will look more open and spacious. Frame with some wood if you want a more traditional look to the fireplace.
October 14, 2012 at 12:54PM     
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markdavidson
We removed the hearth and tiled this one. We screwed on backer board for the base which could be removed later .

We're still finishing up this renovation so no trim along the top of fireplace yet.
October 14, 2012 at 1:56PM     
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thetraveler
Paint, paint, paint. It's cheaper and easier than refacing with another material. The big, red brick monolith in the middle of your rooms is making its own dominant statement instead of being an attractive architectural element.
October 14, 2012 at 2:04PM   
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lykinney
I had red brick in my kitchen. I used a San Marcos lime wash product that we tinted the same color as the walls (Sherwin Williams Alpaca). I really like it. It's a softer look than paint, and you can remove the lime wash if you ever want to go back to the red brick. Removing paint would be much more difficult.
October 14, 2012 at 2:15PM     
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Tarey Cullen
I'm Glad you added the extra pics. .It appears storage is as much of a problem as the Fireplace decor. So here's a couple of thoughts-
-the dining rm. side appears to offer a "little room" for adding a storage area. I ghosted in a set of upper wall cabinets and a set of base cabinets in front of the brick wall. and a long counter surface ( could be granite or formica..) This is a ghost so you can almost see the existing wall behind. Cabinets can be custom or DIY from the Lowes or Home depot- depending on your skill levels. ( Yes, Mom you most likely will need to pitch in too. :)
Now , bear with me on our imaginary journey... Let's assume the walk space going into the family room is wide enough to....say, place a small child's desk...what if that wall area became a planning center; with a small writing surface cork board/ and bead board or drywall behind and that new surface extended out just beyond the existing mantle... A handy person could easily build over that existing mantle with new wood to make it thicker (about 6'' ) and with a little planning design shelving on either side of the fireplace. That shelving, built out of plywood or framed with drywall could be painted an accent color and the shelves could be white along with the new mantle covering. Of course you can add crown molding in both rooms. And the shelving front edges can be "thichened by attaching 1x2"" to make it look substantial.
Hope this give you some talking points about surround the wall area of the firebox with shelving and display space for all those great pictures you are going to take of the munchkins.. Also you NEED a space for SANTA'S COOKIES !
October 14, 2012 at 2:48PM     
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annied01
putting cabinets in the dining area and leaving a section of brick between bottom and top is a good way to use the brick as an accent but not be overwhelmed by it,... i liked the whitewashing effect and i think if dark paint scares you the white washed effect might work for you and the storage would be handy for toys and give you a shelf to use as a bar when entertaining... if you really want to lose the brick in the drm put mirrored tiles as a backsplash ....
October 14, 2012 at 4:02PM   
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mugsy1703
Paint it and build storage along the backside. I don't think white is the right color for your space though. I would go with a greige color.
October 14, 2012 at 4:49PM   
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onthefence
I'm not the OP, but have a couple comments about the storage idea.

First, it's gorgeous! Really a great design tareyc.

As the owner of a FP really similar to this though, I'd be really concerned about the heat. We use the FP a lot in the winter and the back side (the side that opens to the dining area here) gets warm....VERY warm. As a result, we personally have held off using that wall as storage simply because we didn't think wood cabinets would hold up well there unless they were really well insulated.
October 14, 2012 at 5:02PM   
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MRC Builders (NW), Inc.
Re-grout the brick in a color similar to the red brick so that it doesn't look like a checker board with all those white lines. It will look much simpler all one color. Once it is all one color, it will be easier to find a room color that works with it.
October 14, 2012 at 6:06PM   
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leftofyou
I have plastered over and painted quite a few fire place bricks. Exterior, premixed stucco patch works well. It gives a much more finished look than just painting the bricks. The trick is to trowel on the stucco patch in several thin coats.
October 14, 2012 at 6:14PM   
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Second Glance Design, LLC
I just finished a fireplace for a client with a similar situation. We painted the brick off-white, and then I took a palm sander and hit the brick surface intermittently to scratch the paint up and let some brick show through in random places. It gave it a rustic look, but softened the "big red monster" in the middle of the room. It turned out great!
October 14, 2012 at 6:18PM     
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Joe Howard Fine Cabinetry
Another option is a similar look - but not with paint! Mix white mortar and sand, and trowel it over your brick. Then use a stiff brush to drag some of it off - the end result is very Old World- only a little color shows through, as much as you like, and the masonry mortar appears as if it is plaster... a little practice (when it's wet you can wash it off with a wet sponge) and you can get the appearance you like! You are in control - whether it looks like a whitewash, a solid plaster, or you can even completely remove spots to show the brick beneath (like the side of an old building). It's a fun and unique technique!
October 14, 2012 at 6:54PM     
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amwallin
Second Glance Design - Would love to see the photos of the job you're talking about. I too have a Big Red Monster that is 10' tall and 7' long. I'm looking toward the whitewash mentioned above. But would love to see other ideas.
October 15, 2012 at 6:36AM   
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crazylife
This is in regards to cleaning soot off fireplace surrounds. The best product is "Simple Green" and a soft brush. Very non toxic, and soot comes off like a charm.
October 15, 2012 at 7:04AM     
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whine
I like the white painted fireplace idea. The white wash is great also. It really depends what you are looking for,rustic or clean and sleeker.. Either is a good choice. What color are your walls?
October 15, 2012 at 9:35AM   
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whine
I like the white painted fireplace idea. The white wash is great also. It really depends what you are looking for,rustic or clean and sleeker.. Either is a good choice. What color are your walls?
Red brick is very dated.
October 15, 2012 at 9:36AM   
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Glentruan Furniture Ltd.
How about a nice wood mantle piece, brick painted white, but a nice chunky piece of wood, the break it horizontally . A nice wood Mantle piece would look nice, an old beam from a barn
October 15, 2012 at 9:45AM   
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Transforming Rooms
Hi, there's actually another option that would cover the brick to make it look like STONE, a faux finish technique that makes it have a stucco or stone look, they can even add "seams" like groute lines.

For before/after photos & interior designer tips:
http://www.interiordesigngreensboro.com --- this blog has a SEARCH box (top left corner), just type in "paint fireplace"

You can type in any phrase such as:
"how to select wall paint" or
"window treatment ideas" or
"how to layout bedroom furniture" (whatever your delima is)
http://www.transformingrooms.com - the web site with before/after photos

For those who are willing to invest the time and money, you can also cover it with sheetrock or real stone.
October 15, 2012 at 11:28AM   
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Transforming Rooms
Continued - It wouldn't let me add photos to the above reply, so here's an example of the before/after
October 15, 2012 at 12:01PM   
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uulan
Sgsehgwgwwgwgwgwg
October 15, 2012 at 7:32PM   
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FINNE Architects
Here is a different approach. Consider sandblasting the brick. This will make the brick look 1000% better. Then, consider a different treatment for the mantle. From your photo, I can't quite tell the material, but it looks like concrete. Personally, I would lean toward a custom steel mantle, perhaps making visual connection to the steel screen at the firebox. Blackened steel and sandblasted brick is a great combination.
Good luck!
Nils Finne, AIA
October 15, 2012 at 7:43PM     
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Second Glance Design, LLC
Very cool!
October 15, 2012 at 7:50PM   
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jeanlblack
Wow!!! I didn't know there were so many different options. I wish I had done something about it years ago. I LOVE Tarey's storage solution. Something I would definitely consider down the road. For now, I think we are going to try whitewashing or Lowe's FP painting technique :) Thanks everyone for sharing your thoughts.
October 15, 2012 at 9:03PM   
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jackidugan
B
October 15, 2012 at 9:15PM   
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markdavidson
Have you considered the comment by FINNE Architects? Check out his work. He's very talented.
October 16, 2012 at 4:21AM   
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PRO
Matt Patterson Custom Homes
Definately clad with stone tiles
October 16, 2012 at 4:27AM   
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Joseph I. Mycyk Architects, Inc.
Even before I scrolled down and saw the additional photos of your fireplace (back and side view) I knew that the suggestions of painting the fireplace "half way" would not work. Where would you stop the paint, at the corners, do you paint half the brickwork all the way around? I don't think so. That was suggestion doesn't the consider all of the visible brickwork.

I would not paint the brickwork. I would consider either changing out the mantel as some have suggested or furring out the masonry work with metal furring and drywall or Durock. Then paint the drywall or find a nice tile and clad with tile.
October 16, 2012 at 4:32AM     
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Jamie Mason
Paint it! As a Realtor and home stager, I can tell you that no future home buyer will object to painted brick, whereas an unattractive brick will make your house look dated.
October 16, 2012 at 10:39AM     
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onthefence
Jean, PLEASE post photos when you get rolling. I had never heard of the whitewashing products until this thread and I'm curious about them too. It seems it would lighten the brick a lot -- but you'd still have the feel of brick. A win-win for lots of people!

I'm curious too about the process if you end up with traditional painting. I've seen a lot of 'how to' info - but never really followed the process of someone actually doing it!
October 16, 2012 at 11:58AM     
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amwallin
I too would like more info on whitewashing. :-)
October 16, 2012 at 12:05PM     
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fpetrilli
Absolutely whitewash with a White Mantle added. this looks more natural than the paint. Also...putting in new inexpensive hearth tile would make a big difference. the picture of the wihitewashed fireplace was amazing!!!
fran
October 16, 2012 at 3:29PM   
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whine
Also you could put a stone veneer (sold in Home Depot and other home stores) right over the brick.
October 17, 2012 at 7:17AM   
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Sara Parker
Who would have thought so many people would take the time to "vote" on the brick fireplace solution? Please post after photos, whatever you decide to do.
October 17, 2012 at 7:48AM     
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lykinney
Since you're leaning towards whitewashing, I'm attaching before and after pictures of the brick we had limewashed. We're still in the process of finishing. We have to replace the old oven and add cabinet hardware, but you can get an idea of the look. As I mentioned above, the limewash is tinted using the same gray as the wall color.
October 17, 2012 at 12:44PM   
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PRO
Buechel Stone Corp
I know it's been said so many different ways in all of these posts, but one thing I would keep in mind is the fact that the brick you have is actually quite unique. I don't think there are too many manufactures that make that size brick anymore. Once you paint it - you're done. There's no real easy way to get back to the original without some type of paint stripper, and that doesn't always work.

Painting will lose the historic value. Of course it's your home so you should love what you have, and make sure you are 100% on the change.
October 17, 2012 at 1:04PM     
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PRO
Marie Hebson's interiorsBYDESIGN Inc.
PAINT - then, reclad with tile if and when you renovate.
Some ideas on accessorizing with painted fireplace...give you a lot more options and it doesn't feel like such an elephant in the room -
October 17, 2012 at 1:13PM     
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jeanlblack
Update: just wanted to come back and leave a picture of our updated fireplace. Thanks everyone for helping me finally paint this thing! We are very happy our new fireplace :)
January 4, 2013 at 8:03PM     
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PRO
Glentruan Furniture Ltd.
Looks great :)
January 4, 2013 at 8:06PM     
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calikym
The white paint looks SO good! Woo HOO!
January 4, 2013 at 8:35PM     
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Kivi
Looks really good! A great updated look.
January 5, 2013 at 5:11AM     
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marlamuffin
Looks soooo much better! If you ever get bored with the white look you can always try painting just the bricks and not the grout lines using a roller and a darker color.
January 6, 2013 at 4:47AM   
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PRO
Banta Builders LLC
wow! Turned out great! yeah, painted fireplaces are always a win win!
January 10, 2013 at 10:49AM   
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