I am really excited to share this project with you today. We live in a 1950’s ranch. You know, you open the front door and walk into what was intended to be a formal living room. In my house the front door leads to my office/playroom. Behind the “formal living room/playroom” is a family room. When we first purchased our home in 2011 the family room walls were a dark knotty pine. We promptly painted the knotty pine walls a light gray. It is amazing how much emotion neighbor and family have with painting over wood. Yes, we understand that knotty pine was expensive and that once you paint over it there is no undoing it. Well, we painted the knotty pine and we love it. No regrets. Now for the fireplace. It was a dark stone and large. It literally sucked all the light out of the room. I have never been able to decorate it. I tried to brighten it with a mirror and art, but no luck. The weird thing at the bottom of the hearth is a makeshift baby bumper.
Painting a Stone Fireplace
I love stone fireplaces, but this one was not working for us. Some people have the same reaction to painting stone as they do to painting over wood. I say, I own this house and I know what I like. I knew that I wanted it much lighter and I wanted a better baby bumper solution for the hearth. My step-mom, Renee, was visiting and eager to help with a fireplace makeover.
We removed all the items from the fireplace. With white ceiling paint that I had in the storage shed and water we prepared a paint-wash. The paint-wash was the consistency of and color of whole milk.
With a paintbrush, Renee applied the paint to the fireplace. Instead of brushing the paint-wash on we, stippled and shoved the paint into the groves of the rock. Once the paint was applied, I sponged off the paint using a damp rag.
We worked from the bottom of the fireplace to the top of the fireplace using the same method as above. We left the hearth last. The red chair is on the hearth, because I was using it as a ladder..safety first , right.
In complete honesty we were just going to do a the paint-wash and call it a day. We even styled the fireplace and cleaned up like we were complete. I knew it was a little stark, but I couldn’t completely decide what should be done, if anything. Then…. my husband came home and was not able to hide the fact that he did not like the fireplace. It was not how he had envisioned the final result. So, after a long night of anxiety and not much sleep, Renee and I began reworking the fireplace .
We tried to sand off the white from the rocks with little prevail. We also attempted washing the rocks with vinegar, but that did not do much to lift the color.
Instead we focused of what we could do. We mixed up a gray paint to paint the grout. Note: I am not listing the names and brands of the paint because they were all custom colors made by us. I have a lot of paint and regularly purchase mistints from paint stores. With small paintbrushes we applied the gray paint to all of the grout. Then, with a sponge, Renee sparingly applied a darker gray, and tan paint to the stones.
Much better right? Sigh of relief.
I also came up with a solution to use as a baby bumper or “noggin protector”
I purchased 4 of these outdoor seat cushions (image above) and sewed them together. The cushion protects my kids from hitting their heads on the hearth, provides comfy seating and adds color to the fireplace. Win Win.Whew! It is done. We love it and it has motivated me to rework my family room. I will keep you posted with other projects and ideas that I tackle.
I hope you like my new fireplace as much as I do!
P.S. Don’t forget to check out my new Custom Watercolor Shop.