Monday, August 3, 2015

how I painted my red brick fireplace with white chalk paint



Do you remember the old bricks we found when we tore up our living room’s fireplace wall?


Well today I thought I’d give you an update on the transformation of this wall because it’s been awhile. You know how home projects go. We temporarily diverted our attention (and money) to the backyard and now we’re ready to finally finish this thing.

And I’m happy to say we’ve made some real progress lately and I’m really liking the direction it’s headed.

Sort of a ‘Modern Farmhouse’ vibe, which is where I seem to be headed with this house.


But first, in case you forgot, this is the circa 1965 living room wall we had when we moved in.

Don’t ask me about the design, it was the sixties remember? Lots of hallucinogens.


Anyway….we ripped it up and designed a wall that would house the TV behind small ‘barn doors’ over the fireplace, with bookshelves on each side. You can see more photos HERE.

But back to the present.


We recently found a mason who added the necessary brick to make it look like a complete fireplace.



Both sides filled in. With a small ‘hearth’ added.


Next, I scraped the old glue and dirt off the bricks, wiping it down with a damp rag and vacuuming the entire area before I painted.

I used Anne Sloan’s pure white chalk paint because I’ve had such good experience in my former home. 

You can read about that experience in---THIS POST which also happens to be one of my most pinned posts ever….


I always get soooo excited when I remove the lid on a new can of paint.

(It’s a nerd thing I know).



I find that using the foam roller is a must since the bricks are so porous and rough.

I used the big roller first to apply to a larger surface. But I needed the foam to get deeper into the cracks. And I used the brushes to fill in the grout and holes.

And that’s really it.

It’s very simple. Don’t be afraid to paint your bricks.


Here’s my point of no return. I always feel that certain nervous ‘moment’ before I start painting bricks… but my answer is to plow right ahead.

And I’ve never been disappointed.



Now here’s where you might learn from my mistakes.

Since I always planned on painting my bricks, I wasn’t picky about the type of brick the mason used, other than size. But as you can see from the photo above, the old bricks are heavily textured and the new ones are not….a distinction that I can see after the first coat.

Hmm..probably should have found reclaimed bricks somewhere.

Still, I’m curious to see how noticeable it is after my final coat. But for now here’s a few photos.






I know some people think bricks are boing or dated, but I love how fresh and clean white bricks can look.

And look …more progress!


This weekend we made our decision on the shelving for this wall too.

This is Ben, the owner of U.S. Reclaimed Wood in Laguna Nigel, CA.

We were toying with the idea of using painted Beadboard in the back of our bookshelves, with basic white shelves. But then we found Ben’s store in Laguna Nigel that sells tons of gorgeous reclaimed wood and look what we came home with!



I love love love these verrrrrrry old wood pieces. We hand picked them and I think these will make very cool shelves on our white wall.

What do you think?



I also found these crusty white corbels for $35.00 each. These should add some much needed charm to the tiny entrance to our dining room.

Meanwhile I’ve got to finish painting the ‘barn doors’ my Dad made for me along with two cabinets for the wall. And hopefully this weekend our wood guy will show up to work on it.

I’ll keep you posted.




I’m sharing this post with friends:

Heather and Jennifer’s Lifestyle Link-up

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Sarah said...

What a difference, Leslie. You have great vision. Can't wait to see it all installed. Love the white bricks. They offer great texture!

Vickie @ Ranger 911 said...

Your fireplace wall is going to be a showstopper when you're finished, Leslie. I can't wait to see how you use the old boards and corbels! I think once the whole fireplace wall is finished, you won't even notice the difference between the old and new bricks. I'd love the built-in tv with custom barn doors to hide it all!

Debra@CommonGround said...

this is going to be wonderful, Leslie! I loved your fireplace at your former house, wow, it was such an amazing change. I wouldn't have even noticed the texture if you hadn't mentioned it. I think that it will lend itself to the vibe you're going with. can't wait to see more!!

Linda @ Itsy Bits And Pieces said...

I can't wait to see this come together...I love everything you are doing, Leslie!

Art and Sand said...

I love a white brick fireplace. Unfortunately, our white did not hold up with our usage of the fireplace. I scraped and stripped and finally got the tile back to the original 1920's tile.

I can't wait to see what you do with the reclaimed wood.

Karen said...

The fireplace looks great so far. I didn't know there was a reclaimed wood guy in Laguna Niguel. That's where our son and DIL live---I'll have to check it out sometime. We painted our brick surround on our fireplace and I've never regretted it. And, just my personal opinion, I don't think brick is ever out of style. It's classic. :-)
I love seeing the progress you're making.

Unknown said...

Thanks for joining our Lifestyle Linkup up, Leslie! I always love your style and inspiration. The painted brick looks fantastic! I am a big fan. I have painted brick white a couple of times in my homes and I grew up in a 60's home with a white brick wall and fireplace. This looks like home (and yes, my mom has a very stylish eye too!). Watching the progress on your home has been so much fun. I can feel your excitement!
xx, Heather

Elizabeth@ Pine Cones and Acorns said...

Leslie, this looks fabulous! Now you have me wanting to paint the bricks in my keeping room! Just have to convince my husband.

I hope that you are having a wonderful summer!

Dayle ~ A Collection of Days said...

I love brick, exposed in its natural form, or painted either one.

Katie Mansfield said...

This looks wonderful. I can't wait to see more.

Sharon @ Elizabeth & Co. said...

I love the white painted brick. And those corbels are going to be fantastic Leslie! ... Hope you are having a wonderful summer!

michele said...

SO EXCITING! i love seeing this project evolve, and this fireplace and wall are looking amazing. i am still contemplating a whole wall of reclaimed brick (to be painted white) in our kitchen and have a great source, but it's gonna take some guts i think! love that you are using reclaimed wood and such natural organic touches which will warm the space and give it so much architectural interest. my hat is off to you, maker of lovely! keep up the imaginative work!

ℳartina @ Northern Nesting said...

Looking good Leslie!!

Lori said...

Love love love ~ cannot wait to see the finished product! xo

karen@somewhatquirky said...

I love a painted brick fireplace as well. If it bothers you after a while (the smooth areas) take some of your white paint and let it sit out for several hours to thicken up. Then you can apply it with a piece of wood or stipple it to add texture to the brick. The wood shelves will be so lovely. I'm having a predicament myself about shelving surrounding my fireplace. I have some old wood I've been saving to make a dining table that might just be lovely as shelving. But then white might just be lovely too. Maybe I'll wait and see yours and it will help me decide...

Unknown said...

Wondering if you could source those wonderful corbels..I've been looking and haven't found ANY that reasonably priced here in the south!

Leslie Harris said...

Hi Lesley, I bought those corbels at the same place I got my reclaimed wood for my shelves. The link is here:
He had just tore those down from an old house and they were sitting on the counter. I agree about the price. At $35.00 each I snapped them up.

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