Antiquing. Sounds like a scary word for a relatively new DIY-er. But one can’t deny how good those Pinterest posts look, so we set out to find an easy (and affordable) way to transform our fireplace amongst all of this renovation work going on in our house.
So let me back up and give you the skinny on what’s actually being done. After what seemed like the longest winter ever, we had some significant damage on the front and back sides of our house due to ice dams. Fun fun fun. Ice dams can be caused by a variety of things but net-net the results are UGLY. After meeting with the insurance company, adjusters, contractors and what seems like a dozen other people, we finally were able to start the repairs this summer, including but not limited to: replacing walls in most of our rooms, replacing our bedroom ceiling, fully insulating the walls and attic (barely anything there prior), replacing our wainscoting in our dining area, COMPLETELY gutting our bathroom (no more pink tile!!) and resanding/staining our hardwood floors. Yowza, right?
Ironically, the room that we spend the most time in, our living room, was one room that won’t be touched, but after the crew removed all of the furniture out of the house, we realized now was the perfect time to roll up our sleeves and give that room a mini makeover of our own. It’s amazing what a fresh coat of paint on the walls and ceiling can do to liven up a room, and finding an easy fireplace makeover so quickly became the cherry ontop for us.
I’ll touch more on the living room mini makeover in future posts but for now, wanted to give you a glimpse into our fireplace progress.
I found the following post from Trendy Thrifting and was super intrigued in the notion of antiquing via sponge painting after seeing her amazing ‘before and after’ pictures (go and check out her site!). Our fireplace was previously white painted brick, so this was one of the few plans we saw that started with an already-painted fireplace, versus starting with raw red/orange brick (and trust me, we weren’t stripping that sucker down). Her plan of attack seemed easy enough – buy some paint, buy some sponges, sponge until desired look is achieved. And it really was that easy.
Here’s what you’ll need (slightly modified from TT):
- 1 quart of Sherwin Williams semigloss paint in Taupe Tone (I took her reco of using Smoked Oyster from Valspar and went to Sherwin Williams to match the color – just a personal preference on paint brand)
- 1 quart of glaze (Sherwin Williams recommended this based on the effect we were going for)
- 1 quart of interior ‘snow white’ paint (again, I used Sherwin Williams semigloss)
- 2 large industrial sponges
- some people cut their sponges to fit the size of your bricks but I actually preferred to have these a little larger as it helped to cover more area. For me, the look was really in the little imperfections, so I didn’t worry too much about getting it in the cracks of the brick.
- A paint tray or cup / paint stirrers
- Cardboard scraps or poster board (to test your sponging out on)
- 1/3 cup for measuring (** get one from the dollar store that you’re OK with throwing out after)
- Wet rags for clean-up as you go
- Painters tape – gotta protect those floors/carpet!
Here’s how to do it:
If you need to do any touch-ups to your fireplace, like we had to, I recommend applying those at least 1 day prior to your sponge painting. For us, we had a lot of soot on our bricks, so we reapplied a coat of white and gave it a day to dry, so it felt like we were starting with a clean slate. You’ll see below where we started and even a fresh coat of white paint did a WORLD of difference.
Even if you’re not repainting your fireplace or touching it up, make sure to clean it prior to sponging! Hot water and a rag will do the trick.
Be sure to tape around your fireplace to protect your hardwood floors/carpet/walls. You have more control sponge painting, but you just never know…better not to risk it!
Mix 1/3 cup of your taupe paint with 2/3 cup of your glaze in a plastic paint cup. We used one of those handheld trim buckets with the plastic removable liners.
Using your sponge, lightly dab it into the paint and practice your sponging on your cardboard/poster board to get your desired look. The trick is to have VERY LITTLE paint on the sponge when you do it for real on the bricks, so make sure to get off as much excess paint as possible.
Helpful tip: The more paint, the less it’s going to look textured (brick is porous, so it’ll just look like you went to repaint it with a taupe layer). I messed this up in the beginning, so in my photos below you can see how heavy paint on the sponge translates (I also have a solve! so don’t fret if you mess this up…where there’s a will, there’s a way).
Going brick-by-brick, sponge the paint-glaze mix onto your fireplace. Don’t worry about each brick being “perfect” – it’s kind of nice and more realistic when you have a variety of depth and coloring.
Helpful tip: Just as Trendy Thrifting says, you need to do the entire thing in order to see the look in its entirety. You can’t just evaluate this based on a small section of the fireplace being done (it’s going to look fake and wonky), so just be patient and see the entire thing through.
Now, should you find that you had too much paint on your sponge (like I did at first – see below where you can really notice it in the top left) or it’s look darker than you expected, I have a solve. And to be honest, I’m glad I made this mistake because the final result was even better than expected and I found it added even more texture/depth to our bricks.
Using your second large sponge, dip the skinny end into your white paint. Similar to before, practice your sponging on some cardboard and be sure to get off as much of the paint as possible, so when you go to dab on the fireplace, it’s subtle.
You don’t need to go brick-by-brick, but depending on your desired whitewash look, dab the white onto the bricks overtop of your taupe paint. This part is really up to your discretion – I dabbed as I went and just evaluated where the white was needed and where it wasn’t.
Last step – sit back and let your paint dry and then….marvel in the results! It really is amazing how realistic the final result is and for such little money, our fireplace has now become a statement piece in our living room.
More pictures to come as we decorate this but…what do you think?!