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Posted by purrus
Thu, Dec 23, 10 at 7:01
I think I'm having perspective issues. We've lived in this house for about a year and a half, and I cannot decide whether to paint this fireplace!
I'd say we have kind of an eclectic style leaning toward MCM (house built in 1964 so this is appropriate), though you can't tell from the pictures above, which are from just after we moved in (I've decorated the mantel in a much more creative way now). The below is a picture of some of our furniture in that room (moved around now, and decorated more creatively/carefully).
I guess the big thing is that I'm afraid to destroy the character of the house. The room gets a lot of natural light, and the walls are right now a light taupe color. Teh rest of the trim in the house has been painted white and we are in the process of painting all of the doors white. I also painted the truly hideous z-brick in the kitchen (horrible!) and didn't look back. My friend says that I should paint the brick on the fireplace to be consistent (the painted kitchen z-brick is right in the next room, which is open to the fireplace room).
Should I go for it? PLEASE VOTE! I'm polling IRL friends as well, but I'm still torn. I don't want to wait forever and then wish I'd done it a lot earlier!
|If it were my house, I'd leave the brick alone. To me, that is nice looking brick - largely because of the dark color and smooth surface!!! I'd do something with the paneling, but definitely leave the brick as is. |
If you keep the brick, something really easy to do that will enhance it's color - mix 50/50 boiled linseed oil and denatured alcohol. Apply with a rag. This makes the color much more crisp and clean.
|I would paint it. It doesn't go with the wood floor or the paneling above. Personally I also don't like the darkness of the brick contrasted with the lightness of the grout. The combination seems cold, whereas your wood floor and wood paneling are nice and warm. With all the white trim and light walls that huge expanse of dark brick is going to be very dark. |
Are you going to leave the paneling as is, or were you thinking of painting the whole wall?
|I painted our brick fireplace in our old MCM house the same color as the walls and was much happier for it. The original brick color sucked the light out of the room. I used low luster semi-gloss on the fireplace and all woodwork. That helped to set it off from the satin wall paint. |
I think the same trick would work very well with your fireplace, though I can see why you'd be reluctant to paint the nice materials. Still, the shapes in your fireplace wall are nicely proportioned, the textures are lovely, and paint would still let all that come through.
Here's a pic taken shortly after we moved in & painted. The limestone & slate were left natural. Ignore the dining room: it's in full kid-protection mode.
|This will muddy the waters but I would consider painting one or the other but not both. |
That appears to be real paneling rather than plywood paneling so it might make a real statement to have a band of wood that riffs off your MCM furniture above the painted brick. The paneling does look a bit dried out in the pic, maybe it needs to be reconditioned a bit.
Or if the wood isnt that great irl, paint it, and leave the brick. The hearth is calling out for a collection of large MCM something though...oversized genie bottles? amorphous ceramics? brutalist metal stuff? Something.
Actually if you look back at the decorating books of the day and all those Doris Day movies...painted brick and paneling was very common.
|I'm all for painting the brick. It will be very very nice when |
it is painted.
Then take a look at the wood and decide at that point, whether or not you can revive it as wood, or proceed to paint it too.
Lightening up this wall will bring a lot of life to the room.
|I happen to like brick but not that brick. I wonder if you could have it sandblasted to age it and decrease the contrast from the grout. And or stain the grout. |
If there isn't anything you could do to make the brick look better, then I would paint it.
|I don't mind the brick but agree the grout is too stark against it. I can't picture the whole thing painted either. What color would you go with? I saw on a blog recently (I'll have to dig around) where the brick was faux painted and it still looked like brick but they darked the grout and warmed the whole thing up. It looked really nice. I personally don't know anyone that could do that and the cost might be a factor. I say look for ways to possibly change the grout first and keep the solid painting as a 2nd option. I'm not sure how much help that really was. I might change my mind if I could see some photoshop mock ups of the brick in a solid color.|
|I'm definitely in the paint the brick category. And if it were me I'd paint the paneling too, but not the same color. Probably I'd do white on the brick and gray on the paneling, but that's me. |
By the way, painting brick is nothing new. My grandparents' house had a white painted brick fireplace that was painted white from the day they built it in 1938. To me, it's not necessarily one of those things that destroys the integrity of a house.
|One of the issues with painting brick is if one's chimney smokes it looks more obvious on painted brick. (Though, from your picture...looks like yours draws well.) |
Once again...palimpsist gave you the advice I'd have given you. Paint one or the other, but not both. I revived paneling in my mother's former house with Scott's Liquid Gold...there's probably something better out there now. (This was 1975 or so.)
|Thank you everyone! |
The lower part of the brick wall (the seat area) has some white stains on it, like someone spilled primer on it and tried to wipe it up before it dried. So I am going to allow that to help me decide to paint the brick.
I do like the paneling better than most paneling, but it's till just plywood, not real wood. I'm having an urge to just go for it right now.
The walls are taupe. Right now I am thinking of painting the bricks off white (like the trim), and the paneling the same color as the wall? I'm having a hard time picturing it at all!
Any last-minute thoughts---please let me know! I think tomorrow will be the day!
|I'd start with the bricks and see how it looks before doing the paneling. That may be all you need.|
|I might try painting the paneling and mantle first, then add some different accessories (something with more color?) Then if you still feel the need to paint the brick, do so. I tried this for you..............|
|door1, that is the coolest!! thank you! |
I'm still not sure what to do. :( I have tried wiping off the bricks and it looks better when wet, but still they are pretty faded overall.
This is hard because there's no going back if I regret it.
How it looks now, with new decor on the mantel.
|Hey purrus, you're welcome! There is a website with a product called brickanew. You can apparently change the color of the brick with it. I have never tried it, nor do I know anybody who has used it. (maybe someone here has?) There is also a lot of stuff on You Tube about people refinishing fireplaces. Might be worth a look so you can get some ideas. I think there are some people here that have done some refinishing but I can't recall who they are. Maybe someone else can?|
|I think your brick is really neat. I'd paint the top for sure.|
|I'm in the "paint the paneling but not the brick" camp. One reason is the brick hearth--you'd almost have to paint it to match, and then you're dealing with a white- or light-painted brick hearth and what looks like a real wood-burning fireplace. Imagine trying to keep a pale-painted hearth clean. If it's a gas log, that might be different. |
If you paint the paneling I'd still leave the mantel shelf as is. Hard to tell in the photo, but it looks like nice wood.
Very nice holiday decorating, that swagged garland looks beautiful.
|I do not like the look of painted brick. We would love to have some brick in the house. |
I think your Christmas mantle is gorgeous! I would not touch a thing.
|The link has a fireplace that is similiar to yours. The top of it is painted brick instead of panelling but it is a similiar shape. Maybe that will give you an idea of what it would look like all painted.|
Here is a link that might be useful: painted fireplace
|Here is another completely painted brick fireplace wall--just to give you a visual. I'm not saying go either way.|
Here is a link that might be useful: another painted fireplace wall
|I vote paint nothing after your last picture. Looks gorgeous to me.|
|I can't photoshop it, but I would like to see that last picture with the walls painted a slightly warmer, darker shade. That may help to balance the fireplace wall. I don't think the light wall color helps the fireplace at all. |
|I would paint it all in a heartbeat.|
|I wouldn't paint any of it. That is a good looking fireplace and it is real pretty decorated for the holiday. When the holiday is over, keep the decor.|
|I love painted brick - all of the texture, but light and bright! For me, it is just too dark now -- We painted a brick wall in our house white and it changed the entire first floor of house, that dark brick was a black hole! |
Plus with a crisp coat of paint, the accessories will pop wonderfully against a clean backdrop.
Please post "after" photos - it will look amazing!
|I would avoid painting the brick. Once done, it really can't be undone. And there's nothing wrong with the current bricks. |
In fact, I love the bricks you have now and I think they are absolutely beautiful and add "character" to your home.
When people purchase older homes and comment on their "character", it's not a comment about painted brick fireplaces, mouldings the same colors as walls, and other such fashionable things.
A real brick fireplace adds immeasurable character to your home that newer homes often can't match. I think it looks very nice. I would lose the plywood wood paneling though...what do you have to lose? I think it would brighten it up a lot to remove that panelling and replace it with a nice light coloured wall.
|I wouldn't paint the brick. I am not a fan of painted |
brick. I would also look into refreshing the brick as others suggested. I would paint the paneling or remove
the paneling and paint the wall the same color as the rest of the room. The paneling makes the room look
short, painting the paneling or a painted wall will give the illusion of more height.
Is that an outside wall that the fireplace is on?
If so, would you consider two square-ish windows. One on the left
and one on the right?
|I would paint both. Here's some pics of my panel&brick makeover. |
In my case, I was 100% sure I did not want the panelled wall. I was considering having drywall put up over it, but I decided to paint it first. It was such an improvement, I kept going.
|Oh, and I was just reviewing my previous thread that I linked to and I see a picture of a F/P wall similar to yours. Theirs had better looking brick, but still it should help you visualize yours.|
|I thought it was interesting in the blog posted above, Young House Love, that I much preferred their before look to the after.|
|I should have opened this thread a long time ago. My FP is the twin of yours, and it was painted when I moved in. I find that the texture disappears when the brick is painted, and that feels wrong. I recently kludged-up some floor lighting in an attempt to return a little dimensionality to the bricks. I'll post pictures later today. |
I got a quote from a faux artist to repaint a brick-look. It was $1k.
|Not sure how helpful this will be. Both panelling and bricks were already painted when we moved in. The house is a colonial wannabe. I tried moving in an MCM direction with the furnishings because of the FP, but fell back on my old colonial stuff for the time being. |
We recently painted the panelled walls a neutral tan, but the fireplace wall is still the old gold color (2 tones of it) because I can't decide what to do with it. The walls are as neutral a color as I could get. I had to try to reconcile the gray-oatmeal-tan of the drapes with the yellow-tan of the rug. (The pink tan of the ottoman has to be eliminated). It looks ok in person -- you don't see the yellow that the picture seems to show.
We tried stripping some of the panelling. I saw a photo in a book Teacats recommended of a room with panelling stained a gray blue. It was so gorgeous, but it's hard to achieve. I experimented for a while but got too tired of the expense-to-talent ratio.
Teacats, if you're listening, the book was one of your recent acquisitions. It's a double page spread. Maybe you can find it?
Original poster, if you are really interested, let me know and the next time I borrow the book from the library again I'll post you the info.
Ultimately I think I like multiple colors on such a strong wall. Otherwise it just becomes more and more monolithic. That's one big advantage of the brick -- you get lots of tones and shades.
Are you still moving in the direction of paint?
I like a sandblasted look too.
|purrus, I think my earlier suggestion may have been lost in this thread..."If you keep the brick, something really easy to do that will enhance it's color - mix 50/50 boiled linseed oil and denatured alcohol. Apply with a rag. This makes the color much more crisp and clean." |
To remove the white paint, use a small amount of Peelaway 1, following the directions and leaving it on for 24 hrs. It WILL work to get the paint off. Then do the linseed oil/alcohol wipe afterward.
here's wht it looked like when we bought the house (parquets refinished since then)
I am really happy with it. Thanks to all for your advice and ideas!!
|OMG! You work fast! I have to admit that it looks great! Your room looks lovely and I like the scale of what you have on the mantle compared to just the mirror in your original pic that you posted.|
|Wow, that came out great!|
|Wendyb - what did you use to paint the brass on the FP insert in your awesome makeover? We've got brass as well and I really want to paint it black. I've used stove paint (spray can) in the past on other projects, but I wanted to see what you used. |
purrus - I think it looks fabulous!
|I was in the "Not paint it" camp, but I must admit, yours turned out really well. It looks clean, and a little shabby chic. Really well done!|
|Oh, OH, OHHHHHHHH, that is FANTASTIC! |
|Thank you everyone!! I am thrilled with it, more so each minute. At first was really unsure, but once I started putting things back it didn't take long. thank you again for all of your ideas and advice!|
|I think it looks great!!!|
|Wow! Its like a whole 'nother room! Fantastic upgrade.|
|purrus - very very very nice! I also like all the neutral tones in the room. well done. |
scoutfinch - I first primed with BM All Purpose Fresh Start primer and then 2 coats of BM Aura 'Black' in eggshell finish. I don't use my F/P so heat-resistant issues didn't cross my mind, but something for you to check on if you do. Black heat-resistant paint should be easy to get, because it is available for gas grills. Personally, I don't think it would be necessary, but who knows.
jamies - it is not hard at all to add a little faux texture to your bricks yourself. I think you would get a big improvement. you can go lighter or darker or even stay close to the existing color. You can just do a touch or go heavy. Its so flexible and so easy. Just be very random (in a controlled sort of way). Maintain the grout lines. I think in my link above, I described how I did mine.
|Fantastic! Clean, fresh and elegant! :) |
Another proof of "The Power of Paint!" :)
((cue heroic music ...... LOL!))
|Looking GOOD! Thanks for sharing. |
I'm trying to convince a friend to paint her skinny, red bricked wall--it would lighten the dark room so much!
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