Our House – A Before/After Fireplace Reveal

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You can take one look at this fireplace and quickly figure out why we felt the need to give it a complete makeover.  Let’s start with the color of the brick.  I’m not even sure what color you would call that brick……oh, I know, doo doo brown!  Yep, I said it……Doo Doo Brown!  Before the “before picture” we removed the God-awful sliding doors that had this really lovely brass trim.  Just picture it, it was a sight….in a terrible late ’80s kind of way.   Don’t get me wrong I LOVE THE 80s, but not the decor and horrible choice of brick……

The layout of our living room is a little tricky because it is a long skinny-ish room.   We decided to shift the attention of the room to the far end where the fireplace was to open it up a bit.

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The first thing was to drill into the brick (kinda scary) to remove a brick to allow for an outlet for the TV.  Fortunately the space above the fireplace is a knee-wall attic, so it allowed us access to add recessed lighting as well as add an outlet for the HDMI cord, which brings me to the built-in for the components.  It also worked in our favor that the wall directly to the right of the fireplace was a somewhat hollow wall for the air exchange, so Drew was able to cut a hole in the wall and insert a box he built to hold the components for the TV so the HDMI cord could be fed into the outlet behind the TV and up into the attic and back down into the component box.  We had a dimmer switch installed for the recessed lighting so that it wouldn’t be too harsh on the TV or perhaps to provide a little mood lighting for my little affair with Mr. Bravo!

You will definitely need to consult with an electrician regarding the installation of the outlets and lights,  but if you are interested in undertaking the task of painting brick, here is a brief rundown on how we did it.

  • Clean all brick surfaces with soap and water and allow to dry.
  • Tape off wall and trim with painters tape.
  • Prime the brick with a good masonry latex primer such as Behr Premium Concrete & Masonry Bonding Primer.  You will need to be sure to really cover the entire surface well including the mortar so that the paint will stick well.  Brick really soaks up paint, so the better you prime the better the paint will stick.
  • Once the primer has dried, it will take about 2 coats of high quality acrylic or water-based paint.  It is easiest to roll it first and then use a brush to fill in the cracks and crevices.  If you COMPLETELY cover the surrounding surfaces, spraying the brick with the top coat paint is the most efficient as far as time goes, but painting by hand will give the same effect, but it just might take a little longer.
  • For the mantle, I suggest a high quality, high-gloss trim paint such as Glidden High Gloss Trim & Door Paint with Gel Flow that can be found at most home improvement stores such as Lowe’s or Home Depot.  This will likely take at least 2 coats, but be sure to allow the first coat to dry completely before applying the second coat.

Not only did this transform the room in layout and allowed for a better flow and placement of furniture, but painting the brick and moving the TV above the fireplace completely updated the room out of the horrific late 80s and into the wonderful world of modern technology and decor!

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