Pics of our FR black painted brick fireplace (long post)

cat_momFebruary 10, 2012

We recently (finally!) renovated the bottom floor of our bi-level (Hi-Ranch, raised ranch....) home. Some background; we've been living in the house for 13+ years, and renovating it bit by bit. We've been using the FR for storage as well as a "staging ground" during the renovations of other rooms. When we moved in, the downstairs had musty yucky paneling throughout. There was no sheetrock, and no insulation behind it. A full brick wall fp (red brick with black, yes, black mortar), a "dry bar", textured ceilings and cracked and broken vinyl floor tile completed the picture.

Early on, DH and I tore the walls and ceilings down to the studs and beams--the floor and brick wall we left intact. DH wiped everything down with bleach, and then we painted it all with BIN sealer/primer. He insulated the exterior walls and hung sheetrock. When we ripped out the dry bar (when we took everything down to the studs), DH framed out the space so he could hang a door, and we had some one design/make pantry shelves and voila--we had a pantry closet.

Taping, spackling, and a few coats of white paint was pretty much all we did down there until this past fall (except for the guest bathroom which was done a few months after completing the kitchen). The guest bedroom was furnished with our old king sized mattress (took up 3/4 of the room), an old cast-off dresser from my sister's kids. As I mentioned above, we never used the FR as a FR (never used the wood burning fp)--it was pretty much used as a basement this whole time.

We painted as part of the renovation--did all the painting ourselves; FR/entryway is BM Mascarpone, Aura paint, matte finish, with the same color in the satin finish on the base molding, Guest Bedroom (No pics yet) is BM Muslin, Aura paint, matte and satin as in the FR. Fireplace wall is BM Black, Aura paint, matte finish. Baseboard heat covers along the brick are currently Krylon BBQ Grill (?) spray paint, but we plan to re-spray them using fp paint (the black might blend with the wall color better). We left the remaining baseboard heat covers alone (original white finish). Ceilings throughout are BM Super White, Aura paint, matte finish.

When we bought the house, we originally thought we'd just decorate "around" the red brick (pretend it wasn't there, treat it like a neutral), but when we finally got to the point of decorating and using the FR, we knew that wouldn't work for us. DH didn't want to go through the hassle/work of sheetrocking over the brick, and having it covered up (coated) cost more than we wanted to spend right now. I briefly considered painting the brick the same color as the walls, but wasn't really in love with that idea. Painting the bricks black came to me out of the blue (before I even saw threads here on home dec about doing so). As indecisive as I am, I just knew it was the right thing to do. It might not be everyone's cup-of-tea, but we are really happy with the way it turned out--better than we had ever envisioned!

We had a gas fp insert and Ocean Beige travertine floor tile (Artistic Tile) installed (we left the fp insert install and the tiling to the very talented pros!). The granite "inlay" in the fp hearth we had installed about 4 years ago, replacing the ugly mismatched slate pieces--it's the same granite that we have in the kitchen. Who knew back then how well it would match the crystals in the gas insert? :-) The mantel cover was fabricated in the fp installer's shop, and then sprayed by them to match the finish on the insert's frame.

We still have some odds and ends to get, things to hang some walls, have to install the new switches/outlets, but the bulk of the renovation/decorating is done. Yay! I still have to take more pics of the downstairs to share (opposite wall in the FR, guest bedroom....), but here are some I can share now.

Here are some befores. I have to see if DH can scan some pre-digital camera pics of the downstairs (showing the paneling and the dry bar) onto my laptop. These pics were taken just prior to painting (after all the boxes and crap that lived there for 13 years was carted out!). These are just pics of the fp wall--other room shot before pics are on the link to my pb acct below:

Here are some afters:

Here is a link that might be useful: cat_mom's family room pictures album

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

WOW! That looks wonderful!

    Bookmark   February 10, 2012 at 2:17PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo


    Bookmark   February 10, 2012 at 2:34PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Hmmm... you want my honest two cents worth?

I would have gone for a lighter fireplace, and used colourful pillows, bright picture over the fireplace...

NOT! LMAO I just wanted to add that so no one else would come with all the things you should have done, LOL

It's stunning and just my cup of tea! LOVE IT. As usual, you've outdone yourself lady.

The lamp is gorgeous and simple. And I love those candlestick holders. So different and all so chic. Did you already say where you got these?

    Bookmark   February 10, 2012 at 2:44PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo


    Bookmark   February 10, 2012 at 2:51PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

cat mom-

The next time someone gets the vapors over painting brick, I bet 10 people reference your pics. The transformation is absolutely stunning and your furnishings and art are as well. Great job.


    Bookmark   February 10, 2012 at 3:15PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

graywings, yayagal, mom2sethc and sandyponder: Thank you! It's nice receiving affirmation from others. People's first reaction when I had told them we were going to paint the brick wall black was far from positive (even the owner of the paint store was skeptical!). Sometimes it really does pay to "go with your gut!"

mari: you fresh, fresh girl! I knew it would be your cup of tea--my fellow contemporary/modern-ish design loving friend!

The candleholders came from a little boutique-gift/home decor shop a few towns over (during a day after T-giving Black Friday sales event). There's no name or identifying info on them, but they did look reminiscent of the Judith Knight enameled pieces I had seen in Bloomingdale's (

The lamp is a George Kovacs lamp, model # P245-01-084. I had ordered it online from Capitol Lighting; they had the best price (incl s/h/taxes and all that), but I'm not finding it on their site so maybe they stopped carrying that style. It's still available on other sites though.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2012 at 3:57PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Gorgeous!!! Love it. My stepfather is a painter and has been after me to paint our fireplace when we repaint our living room some time this year. I have been resisting, but now I am starting to rethink the idea!!

    Bookmark   February 10, 2012 at 4:02PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

that room is S.T.U.N.N.I.N.G!!!!!!!!!

    Bookmark   February 10, 2012 at 5:24PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Very dramatic, wow.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2012 at 6:50PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

You did a beautiful job! I usually only comment on period looking rooms but I am really impressed with the sophisticated room you have created.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2012 at 7:20PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

very cool and dramatic! I love the kitty perched on the entertainment unit. Looks like he/she is about to pounce...

    Bookmark   February 10, 2012 at 8:25PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Really great job, congratulations! Love the black.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2012 at 8:27PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

jreed22, christina923, schoolhouse--I'm glad you like it!! Anything we did would have been a vast improvement on the original room (looked even worse than the pics you've seen), but this really was a dramatic difference, from piles of boxes to a fully furnished room. We're really enjoying being down there now.

jreed22--I am so glad we painted ours. I know painted brick isn't for everyone, but leaving the brick the way it was wouldn't have worked for us. I'm glad you like the way ours turned out!

eandhl--I very much appreciate your taking the time to comment given your preference for a different style of decor. Through these forums, I have come to appreciate so many different decorating styles. I really enjoy seeing everyone's pictures.

Thank you, thank you for your comments!

pipdog--thank you! Oh, that's our Miku. Can't seem to take a picture without her suddenly appearing in the viewfinder! Not camera-shy that one!

sochi--you know how much I love your home, so we'll have to have our own mutual admiration society. Thank you!

    Bookmark   February 10, 2012 at 11:45PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

My heart totally skipped a beat!

    Bookmark   February 11, 2012 at 10:47AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I'm speechless! You truly have a vision, to see all that elegant glamor lurking in the old space.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2012 at 11:16AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

When I saw the first picture of just the fireplace, my heart sank. But seeing it with the rest of your decor, my heart sang! Wow, what a transformation. Just shows you what good decorating can do to a room.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2012 at 6:58PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

ellendi--Oh no, did you mean the first BEFORE picture of the fp or the AFTER made your heart sank (hope not the AFTER)? I'm glad the finished project made your heart sing! :-) Mine still does when I walk in the room, that's for sure. We lived with it looking like a glorified (maybe not-so-glorified) storage unit for far too long, so it's amazing to me that it looks like a real room finally!

ttodd and nutsaboutplants--Your comments put a big smile on my face! We are so happy with the way it turned out, and I so appreciate your acknowledgement of our vision and hard work. Thank you!

    Bookmark   February 11, 2012 at 11:42PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I would never have thought of using all black - with the light hardwood it looks amazing. WOW!

    Bookmark   February 12, 2012 at 1:04AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I was prepared to see something that didnt turn out right and was already thinking before seeing it you should have done it white, but was pleasantly surprised, WOW! Its dramatic and gutsy, and totally makes it more contemporary cool. Im keeping it in my saved pics.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2012 at 1:26AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

cat mom- When I first saw the black fire place, I did think "Oh no" but then when I saw it in the context of the room, I was amazed in how great it looked!

    Bookmark   February 12, 2012 at 7:28AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Wow! What a stylish and sophisticated "media" room. Definitely a cut above!

    Bookmark   February 12, 2012 at 9:28AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

tinan--thanks! The floor is actually vein-cut travertine, not wood. In pics it does resemble wood because of the striations in the stone, but it looks less so in person.

When we we're planning what we would do with the room and that wall, and DH was resistant to sheet rocking (he could have done it, just didn't want to do the work--time involved and other commitments pending), we knew painting was pretty much in the cards. Like I said, I wasn't totally in love with the idea of painting the bricks cream color like the other walls. I suddenly had the idea that if we were going to do this, to paint the brick, we should really embrace it, and make it something (or for lack of a better word, an accent). Go all out as it were. That's when I knew we had to paint it black.

I think my original vision was more of a black stained brick rather than painted brick, but somehow forgot about looking into stain options along the way. The Aura matte paint on the brick gives it a really neat texture, an almost leather-like quality. Makes the wall and FP look almost Tim Burtonesque. At least we think it does! LOL

    Bookmark   February 12, 2012 at 11:17AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

It looks terrific with your contemporary furnishings. I love how you kept the floors and walls light to offset all of the black.

Just like ellendi, when I was expecting a huge brick fireplace painted black and then just saw the first picture out of context, I didn't realize how stunning it could be.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2012 at 8:46PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Amazing...can't wait to see more!

    Bookmark   February 13, 2012 at 4:47AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

gorgeous! very sophisticated look. I love it!!
Some years back ... I painted an ugly old orange-y brick fireplace (with a slab of gray concrete for a mantel) a bright white. All my very conservative friends and neighbors were appalled, but everyone loved the finished product.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2012 at 8:09AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

your room looks great!! i'm often not a fan of painted brick, but you transformed the entire room very cohesively-well done!

    Bookmark   February 13, 2012 at 9:27AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I am like ellendi, when I saw the first black picture I thought umm.....then I saw the light floors and walls and its WOW!!!

Great vision.

    Bookmark   November 30, 2012 at 3:32PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Wow .....stunning! Love the black, great job. Fireplace looks that glass in the insert? Clear or colored?

    Bookmark   November 30, 2012 at 3:49PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

It's wonderful to see what a vision executed confidently can become! Well done, you.

I particularly like the addition of the mantel shelf and the simple surround on the firebox. And that you used flat paint. Bricks painted with any gloss can resemble coal, which is not nearly so pleasant to be around. The way you've done it looks velvety instead of cold.

And I am so impressed that you also have the skills to do so much of it yourselves.

    Bookmark   November 30, 2012 at 4:01PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thanks :) !!! What a happy welcome to the weekend, reading your kind praises!

Yes, those are black glass "crystals" lining the floor of the insert. We had a choice of "logs" or river rocks or the crystals (different color choices). They reflect the flames very nicely (without looking all disco LOL), and look perfect with the granite inlay we had had put in shortly after our kitchen reno. We used a piece of the same granite that we'd used for our kitchen counters (replacing multi-colored/size/shaped and very outdated pieces of slate).

It's funny, DH and I both are your quintessential, indecisive Gemini's, yet every now and again, a flash of decisiveness strikes! :-) Like I said, I just knew the brick wall HAD to be black.

I am a huge, huge fan of the texture of Aura paint's Matte finish--LOVE IT! It really is like velvet (even more so on regular walls).

We are not total DIY'ers like the many uber-talented people on these forums. I am in serious awe of their talent and skills (and their eye for hidden treasures!). We do leave tile work, staining, most of the the pros, while other stuff we will do ourselves (often out of financial necessity, but sometimes, just because!).

    Bookmark   November 30, 2012 at 6:42PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

That is quite a transformation! Extremely well done. You are very talented. I see kitty has found center stage already.

    Bookmark   November 30, 2012 at 11:24PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thank you snookums2!

Yes, our Miku has to be wherever the "action" is! LOL Her sister Shizu was probably watching nearby.

    Bookmark   December 1, 2012 at 4:24PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Custom Vanity Expected pricing
What would you expect to budget for a custom vanity...
Budget kitchen remodel
We relocated to a new state, and bought this home last...
Wood filler when sanding isn't possible
My toilet paper holder is attached to my vanity. I...
Anyone Dislike Their Memory Foam Mattress?
After 4-5yrs of having it DH and I looked at each other...
Animal print carpeting revisited
I googled stark and it looks like it sells to the trade....
Sponsored Products
Black of Night Bold Stripe Double Gourd Table Lamp
Lamps Plus
Bolla Bronze Two-Light Bath Fixture with Habanero Glass
$279.00 | Bellacor
Secto Design | Secto 4220 Table Lamp
Prague Round High Outdoor Dining Table - Black, 30" Round, Patio Furniture
$949.00 | FRONTGATE
Black Belle Pendant
$179.99 | Dot & Bo
Bogart 30 in. Bar Stool - With Arms - Swivel Flex - BOGART SF-30-WHITE TEXT
$437.80 | Hayneedle
Rustic Style Pendant Light with Hemp Cord Basket Shade
VIG Furniture - Divani Casa Chloe - Modern Fabric Sectional Sofa -...
Great Furniture Deal
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™