christine_deross

Should I Whitewash the brick?

In the process of purchasing an older home that is in desperate need of updating. We will be redoing the kitchen and changing the floor to a dark hardwood. My question is, should I whitewash the brick or just decorate around it? Our move in date is the 2/1. I’m so excited!

Thank you in advance.

white wash
don’t white wash

Comments (53)

  • eld6161
    last month
    last modified: last month

    So, is this common in houses there?

    I like the idea of making it more subtle. For me, the brick looks like it belongs outside. Again, probably because I have never seen this set up.

  • Christine DeRoss
    Original Author
    last month

    No, it’s definitely not very common here. Henderson is a suburb of Las Vegas, which is mostly preplanned communities. This house is in “old vegas”, and fully custom. Brick is not common, at all here. And there’s a lot of brick in this house.

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  • eld6161
    last month

    Hopefully others will weigh in and help you.

  • loobab
    last month

    Unless you are planning to use that room as a hockey rink, I would remove the brick walls.

    It is not at all attractive, and as mentioned above, it is a serious trip hazard for you, any children, and you can remind your husband, if any guests, adult or children injure themselves by tripping or falling, you both are in for a heck of a law suit. No matter how much they may like you, with the humongous deductible on health insurance these days, they would have to sue you just to be able to pay the $5000 deductible.

  • Christine DeRoss
    Original Author
    last month

    Interesting response and I respect your opinion. I realize it’s not for everyone, but I don’t understand how it’s a trip hazard. The wall is waist high, if anything, removing it would be a bigger trip hazard. Plus, I doubt anyone I invited into my home would sue me. Again, thank you for your opinion.

  • worthy
    last month
    last modified: last month

    Brick room dividers aren't unheard of. It's just that the only ones I've come across are full height.

    In that it ties in with other features in the space, I'd be tempted to keep it and see how it works for you.

    I'm not fond of the most unimaginative trend of all--white paint everywhere on everything. (Probably just that I'm smarting from seeing a subsequent owner of one my homes whitepainting the lovely green quartzite oak trimmed fireplace.)

  • loobab
    last month

    It's not the wall that's the trip hazard, it's two areas that have two steps down that is visible in the second photo that are the trip hazard.

    Well, I hope for your sakes you are correct.


  • Jinx
    last month

    Congratulations on your home!

    My advice is to wait. Get your flooring in, your furniture/art/etc in, possible wall paint changes ... and then address keeping the brick as is or changing it. All of the above will make a big difference, especially the new floors.

  • Christine DeRoss
    Original Author
    last month

    I worry about permanently changing the brick. My issue is that everyone I’ve walked through the house suggest I whitewash. I know the wall looks odd in the pictures, but it’s really neat in person. There are full walls of brick in other spots of the house. This is in an older part of the house. There are newer additions.

  • HU-187528210
    last month

    I love brick!! Always. And I love this one. However, I would consider removing some of it. The rounded wall of it. Mainly because it’s closing off the space. And it can and should be able to be more open. Aside from that spot I’d whitewash some of it. But I agree with jinx to wait. I’m recommending the removal of the wall if you go that route to happen before you do flooring. Because it may need patching.... cool features. Tons of potential

  • Christine DeRoss
    Original Author
    last month

    Wall color is my other big issue. I won’t be able to pick until I move in, of course.

  • yeonassky
    last month
    last modified: last month

    Congratulations on your new place!

    The brick half wall certainly is more on the unique side and maybe that's what your DH likes about it.

    My first thought was to put a cap of wood on it maybe a nice slightly wider piece and maybe make it at least on one side a standing bar type thing.

    It might offset the problem of it's being a bossy feature.

    With darker flooring it possibly would also darken the space.

    White washing it might be the answer. It would allow it to be a neutral backdrop if you can't remove it completely.

    The other choice might be to box drywall it in. That way if anyone else wants to see the brick again it would be there. They would just have to uncover it.

    With regards to the step down; for disabled injury and elderly people there is a problem with step down areas like that. It can and has been known to become a tripping and falling hazard. Falling down the stairs in the dark and tripping going up the stairs.

    One of my clients put lights on each stair and that solved some of the problem. Before that it was a tripping hazard for an elderly person who had vision problems. Plus some people can't traverse stairs at all.

    Good luck and enjoy making your place your own!

  • eastautumn
    last month
    last modified: last month

    I think your brick looks great (half walls and all) and would definitely wait to do anything like whitewashing it. The type of brick you have reminds me of the brick in the "For the Love of a House" blog. I think her wall color is Gray Owl in the kitchen (picture below), and it looks so gorgeous with the brick, dark floors, and white trim & furniture. Check out her blog for some inspiration and paint color ideas when you get to that point.

    Your half walls are unique and fun and will look even better when the house is furnished. I think the current floor color clashes with the brick, so I'm glad to hear you're going for darker hardwood floors. As to the steps, I don't see what the big deal is. My parents live in a split level home (30 years and counting) and my husband's old house was a split level. I'm not aware of anyone tripping down the stairs, and there certainly haven't been any lawsuits.

    Congrats on your beautiful new home!!


  • suezbell
    last month

    No. Anything painted or whitewashed will inevitably need to be redone and begin to look awful as it gets that way.


    You have a really nice room except for that longest "L" shaped brick divider wall.


    If you could you remove that wall or just the top half of it and cover the top with a board? You could create a seat on the kitchen end and then add a box shelf to the longer length that is parallel to the wall with the fireplace and have the open side of the box shelf (or side with doors) facing the "hallway", then the rest of the brick would not be nearly as overwhelming.


    The shorter length of room dividing wall (?between dining and kitchen?) might be useful as a base for a countertop for a bar and that could minimize the effect of the wall a bit. Maybe add an oval island countertop atop it.


    https://www.meatprocessingproducts.com/jobo-rtm-3648-ovl.html?gclid=Cj0KCQiA3Y-ABhCnARIsAKYDH7u_fY2JIyW0x5RrNzibuP_8Z1AjTOqoH9ZsotzmP1bVjSNJ0rVm2XoaAuS-EALw_wcB

  • svetlana7485
    last month

    Congratulations on buying a unique home that stands out from all the rest! My husband is from NV and I’ve seen some fantastic unique homes in the area, sadly, the character is sometimes stripped from those homes to make them conform to the latest fleeting trend.

    For your beautiful home I would recommend an “all or nothing approach” depending on your overall renovation plan, budget and timeline:

    Option 1: remove the divider and leave the rest of the brick in the space, level the floor (the most pricey option, but would give you a huge open room with no floor level variations), would leave the rest of the brick to preserve unique character.

    Option 2: repurpose the divider into a long bar (was mentioned above). I have a long butcher block bar along one entire wall in the basement and it looks fantastic and is very useful. Here it would be in the middle of the room, so stools could be placed on the inside and guests could technically come up and socialize with the cook there. I would top it with butcher block for cost savings - doing an entire bar top with granite or quartz may quickly get expensive.

    As far as whitewashing the brick, I would leave it as is and decide later - as it could be done at any point.

  • Christine DeRoss
    Original Author
    last month

    Thank you all for your replies, I truly appreciate it. You’ve given me plenty to think about.

  • dowagercountess
    last month

    I would remove the brick half wall and the bricked over arch way.

  • apple_pie_order
    last month

    How would you feel about raising the floor to all one level?

  • Anna Devane
    last month

    I had a somewhat similar situation in a home I lived in. We had a step down living room but you had to pass through the room to get to the rest of the house. Plus it had a thick half wall as a barrier to prevent falling into the DR from the LR.

    We took down the wall and raised the LR floor to be level with the rest of the house. It all made so much more sense.

  • Christine DeRoss
    Original Author
    last month

    We’ve talked about filling the room but not sure if we can with the wood burning stove area.

  • apple_pie_order
    last month

    A fireplace/chimney pro could tell you what would need to be changed.

  • artemis_ma
    last month

    I'd want to remove some of the brick, but that wall keeps people such as myself tripping down into the sunken area. So....

    I intensely dislike whitewashing brick, especially good quality brick. Not sure if your brick and flooring go together completely. But you are doing the floors. DON'T paint that brick! You can't go back!

  • Christine DeRoss
    Original Author
    last month

    I’m planning on removing this wall and putting in an island.

  • Design Girl
    last month
    last modified: last month

    I couldn't live with that. It looks like a playpen around your living room. It's SO limiting as to what will go with it style wise and really disrupts the flow of the home. There are other ways to prevent falling - no need to put what appears to be a fence in the middle of the living room. If I listened to my husband regarding design, who knows what I'd live in. I'd get rid of that brick wall. Will he be open to removing the brick wall and leaving the fireplace arch and perhaps the arch around the stove? That would be all I could deal with. Even then, I'd have to make sure the kitchen arch housed a fabulous big 60 inch stove, not that little thing they've got thrown in there. Can you to talk with him again? Spending money on new flooring and a new kitchen with those brick walls in place will be imo, a waste of money.

  • Christine DeRoss
    Original Author
    last month

    Well, it is his house too. If the only thing he’s asked is that I keep the wall, I can do that. Once we’ve lived in the house for a little, I may be able to talk him into removing it, but for now, it stays. We plan on putting in a large pro style range. And definitely removing the indoor BBQ lol. Thank you for your input. I do appreciate it.

  • PRO
    Beth H. :
    last month

    christine, you mentioned putting in an island. where, and how large?

    you will be removing that peninsula?

    do you know if the tile floor continues under it?

    does that mean you are redoing the cabinets?

  • Christine DeRoss
    Original Author
    last month

    We are completely redoing the kitchen. We will be completely removing the peninsula. This kitchen is 16 x 13. We will also be redoing the floors. It’s currently a “wood” tile. We purchased it knowing it needed improvements.

  • grioux
    last month

    Make sure you purchase extra flooring. If you take down the wall in the future, your flooring may no longer be available to repair the floor under the wall.

  • Christine DeRoss
    Original Author
    last month

    Good point! It would be horrible to redo the floors and then decide to move forward with the removal of the wall.

  • Christine DeRoss
    Original Author
    last month

    I may need to just go hire a designer.

  • Anna Devane
    last month

    Christine

    we had to raise our inner hearth when we raised our LR floor. A mason or chimney pro can give you an idea of cost.

  • Christine DeRoss
    Original Author
    last month

    That’s good to know that it can be done.

  • Christine DeRoss
    Original Author
    last month

    There are about 5 different floors choices throughout the house. These are a few.

  • PRO
    Flo Mangan
    last month

    You desperately need a “Master Plan” and help from a good designer with a solid construction background. You don’t want to be “redoing” things because you either didn’t know about certain construction issues or didn’t think about everything. You could reuse those bricks and build a great patio/BBQ in backyard. Hubby might compromise that because those brick half walls have to go. You will need to carefully plan entire kitchen remodel and flooring will be a big issue and cost item. I would definitely raise that floor. Is this house on a slab? Or have a crawl space? Do you have good feel for the infrastructure you need for a “pro range”? Weight and heat management? Proper ventilation methods? A lot to consider here. This is a great project but full of challenges along the way.

  • ILoveMod
    last month
    last modified: last month

    I like pony walls as long as they add definition to a room. If that were my house? I'd keep the pony wall and have it plastered over. ditto for the fireplace. it would look really good with a boho or modern southwest style decor.

    for the brick against the walls and in the kitchen, I'd rip it out. it's just too much brick!

  • happyleg
    last month

    Remove our sheet rock

  • happyleg
    last month

    When I say sheet rock I mean clear to the ceiling of full wall and then you can leave the break if you want on the bottom are take it off

  • beesneeds
    last month

    If you aren't sure about if you should/want to paint- wait. If your hubby likes it- keep it. Once you mess with brick, there's no going back to original.

    And live there for a while to see how your life flows before making any big decisions. With all that different flooring, you might want to work on more changes that it might be wise to do stuff later more cohesively. Like if you take out the counter and put in the island- you planning on changing the flooring in the kitchen to accommodate that? And if so, where do you want to go with it since there is already so much going on?

    It's a really interesting setup, and I can fully understand your excitement. Take a breath and settle in a bit and make some plans before starting renovations.

  • suezbell
    last month

    Like the idea of removing that one wall and replacing it with an island. If you can, try to save the brick and re-use it for landscaping,


    If the flooring is real wood, it might be you can refinish it rather than replace it.


    If you want to keep the longer curved living room brick wall as, you could wrap the top in wood with a pair of horizontal boards on each straight side and a wide thick board atop that -- not sure that would work on the curve. That curve and part of the wall closer to the kitchen might be better cut to seat height and either top it with with tile and/or pillows/cushions so it can be used for a seat.


    With that trench in the top of the curved wall, it appears that was supposed to be a planting area; but, absent waterproofing, I suspect the moisture from watering real plants would be an issue. If you try to use it as a planter, not enough sunshine could be an issue -- but you might consider heart leaf philodendron.


    There are "cement" saws that could cut the wall off below the bottom of that trench if you chose to go that route. Leaving it just below knee high and then adding a thick board for a seat would at least make it useful. If you do this, then you could leave a short pillar on each side of the step for safety sake -- to identify and remind guests where the step is located.


    Depending upon your budget priorities, you might also consider living with the living room divider wall as is for a while and let your subconscious consider what would be most useful -- at least until warm weather. With furniture against the wall, the wall would not be quite as dominating.


    If you are planning on redoing the floor, you might want to wait to see if you want to make a decision on the wall before redoing the flooring.


    As to the heater being an issue with raising the living room part of the floor, that stove pipe -- likely a triple wall stove pipe -- could be cut shorter, the floor of the fireplace raised with fire brick and the heater would then be raised with the floor.


    My personal taste: Suggest NOT raising the living room floor; but, instead, consider different ways to make the space suit your personal taste -- if not with the brick wall as is, then by altering the brick wall.

  • PRO
    Beth H. :
    last month
    last modified: last month

    I actually don't mind the sunken part. Christine, if you look online at 'sunken living rooms', maybe it will give you some other ideas? if husband could look at the updates you could do, and the change it would have, maybe he'd be fore that?

    I did find one w/white washed brick though!


    removing everything, same flooring, and you'll notice the furniture is pushed back against the 'fall zones'. fireplace was coated w/some type of mortar and painted


    some others w/o brick dividers.


    back in the 70's they had sunken 'pits' and used the furniture right up against it.


    this would be a nice set up for media or the fireplace.




    if you removed the wall from between the kitchen, you could do a long stair steps.






    similar to what you have but with drywall and trim.


    This one is pretty cool. they do have an opening to the kitchen, but the divider is tad lower, done in black and topped a/wood top to match the stairs.


  • PRO
    Norwood Architects
    last month

    The brick and flooring seem to be competing in the photos you've provided. So, will say yes to the whitewashing/painting.

  • Jean
    last month

    Live in the house for awhile before doing anything. See how the light falls, how the flow works/doesn't work. Then figure out the master plan. Then start working the list. You don't want to be in a position where you are re-doing things later. We lived in our house for 4 years debating on how to remodel, to get the look and feel we wanted. I think we went through about 20 different ideas of what to do...changed completely from the initial thoughts.

  • ILoveMod
    last month

    I agree with Jean. when we bought our house, we thought we'd renovate our kitchen right away. it's a good thing we didn't, because it took weeks of living there to experience layout and organization problems that we didn't notice before. I'm so glad we didn't reno right away, our first plan would not have been nearly as good. (a good designer can help you with that of course.)

  • Christine DeRoss
    Original Author
    last month

    Thank you, everyone! You’ve all given me so much to think about. I like the idea of waiting. The excitement of moving in has got my gears working, but it just makes sense to wait.

  • ILoveMod
    last month

    one amendment to what I said above: wait before renovation, but you could consider painting or whitewashing before moving in. a job that big would be so much easier with a spray gun, which is messy. that way it can at least be a nice holdover until you actually do get to that reno.

  • L.D. Johnson
    last month

    I vote for waiting as well. It's certainly tempting to get work done before you've settled in, but there is so much to consider here. Living with it for a while and getting professional advice is probably your best bet. Maybe your husband will be more receptive to removing the curved wall after living with it. Especially if you could repurpose the brick in an exterior feature he would enjoy.


    I don't think I'd raise the sunken portion, but I would want wider access points to the big area; the current step downs feel like a bottle neck to me. If you remove the curved brick wall, there are a lot of light and see through rail options to consider. I wouldn't leave it open, even if furniture is pushed up against it - that might soften but would not prevent a fall.


    We have a raised foyer that steps down into three surrounding rooms. Our contractor strongly suggested we use two different flooring choices for a better visual cue to the elevation change. I think that's good advice to keep in mind; we have a brick entrance path and landing where guests do trip because they don't notice where the step level changes are.


    I think a dark wood floor will make the existing brick that remains look better. I'd also be concerned about whitewashing the brick steps, if you keep them, since it might wear off with traffic.


    Please come back and share your progress - this will be interesting to watch unfold!

  • calidesign
    last month

    I agree on waiting. Live there before you spend all the money to change the floors, because you'll likely change your mind about keeping the brick wall, and then have to change the floors again.

  • apple_pie_order
    last month
    last modified: last month

    If you have a cat, the top of the wall would make a fine cat raceway or lurking perch. Just cover with painted wood, tile, or a solid surface.

  • HU-187528210
    last month

    Agree. I also love a sink in room. I’d possibly pick it if I was building a house now