Sunday, December 13, 2015

DIY: 1970s Fireplace Facelift

When we bought our home just under two years ago, we knew that we would wait several years before doing any major renovation work to it. But that was fine with us because the bones of our house are great and we also knew that there were plenty of projects for us to accomplish on our own!

The first time we saw the house we were a little confused. South Florida is definitely an unlikely place to find a 1970s stone fireplace. 
fun fact: it's actually never even been used according to our home inspection.
so it's a 'brand new' 1970s fireplace!

Odd? yes. Awesome opportunity to put our own mark on the house: you betcha!

I used these images for inspiration:




Here's our before:

Paint: Benjamin Moore 'Simply White' (my fav bright white) flat finish mixed in Valspar Signature
Wooster Paint Brush (my fav brushes)
ladder, painters tape and plastic drop cloth

The first step was to caulk the two vertical seams on either side of the fireplace where the stones and drywall meet. This step took a few days because some of the gaps were deep and required multiple coats of caulk. When caulking over the same area, I had to wait for the previous caulk to dry. If you apply too much wet caulk in an area, the weight of the caulk will pull itself down and sag. Some of the deepest areas required 3 or 4 layers of caulk.

For the most part, I'll tell anyone who asks that I am a huge believer in primer. Priming your surface allows the paint to adhere better and more evenly, allows you to use fewer coats of paint (depending on the project) and less paint per coat. Primer is also considerably cheaper than paint so you can invest in better paint knowing you'll need less of the good/more expensive stuff.

I knew this project was going to require lots of time up on the ladder so I only wanted to apply one good coat of primer and one good coat of paint. I spent the time making sure my coverage was even and excellent knowing that investing the time to do a good job would mean much less time going back over problem areas to fix them. I am so glad I did!

^Primer going on^ 

For the flat part of the stones I could paint normally but the cement between the stones took some time to figure out a good technique. I ended up having to press extra paint (somewhat forcefully in the deeper areas) into the crevices and carefully check for drips. It worked really well but it was hard on the paintbrushes. 

Throughout the entire process I went through 3 paintbrushes. I did try using a cheaper paintbrush after ruining the first good one, but the lower quality brush wasn't standing up to the force of the painting or the harsh stone surface and the bristles started shedding like crazy! While it wasn't ideal to destroy three brushes in the process, it was definitely worth how it turned out in the end and much cheaper than redoing the entire fireplace facade.

I taped off the firebox with a plastic drop cloth. Eventually I'll go back and paint the firebox with black firebox paint so that the ivory candles will really stand out. 

In order to get good coverage at the very bottom I decided not to tape off the tile floor and just plan to clean up any paint drips after I was finished. 

^Totally primed but not yet painted. Making sure that the coverage was excellent made a big difference for the coat of paint!^

^All painted!^


I think I logged 15+ hours up on the ladder. 
David had to help me with both the primer and paint on the top 18" on right side - even on the top of the ladder my t-rex arms couldn't reach.

{wall color: Behr Mineral mixed in Valspar signature, rug: Overstock (this is a 10x14 which appears to be sold out in this color), candles: ikea, throw: Nordstrom (same brand, different color), camera pillow: Nordstrom, curtains: west elm (similar)}

We're super happy with the end result! It looks much less dated, freshens up the room and adds a really nice bright focal point.

Eventually we want to add a mantel shelf (something similar to the middle inspiration picture), mount our TV towards the top and install some shelving on either side.
I will update with progress as we check more of those things off our list!