Friday, 21 November 2014

Fireplace remodel on the cheap

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This is going to be quick. I have so much to do tonight, and so little time between when the kids fall asleep and when I crash myself. But I thought I'd post a little something to provide a little fireplace inspiration to others out there who have blast from the past 80's fireplaces, like ours used to be.

When we moved into our new house, all four of the bathrooms and especially our fireplace just screamed 80's. But the problem was that we had already spent our renovation money on the big stuff--the new hardwood floors that we put down throughout the entire upstairs, the huge supporting wall that we took down beside our dining room, the fancy-pants removable pool fence that cost us a fortune--but which was completely necessary for me to be able to sleep at night...and the fact that we painted our entire house from top to bottom. Sooo...that left us with four terribly ugly bathrooms (one of them that we've recently transformed though--but more on that later) and a fireplace that definitely needed some major TLC. But, knowing that we didn't have it in the budget to transform the fireplace the way that we wanted to (with beautiful tile, etc)...I decided that I could still transform this beast into something a lot more appealing, but without spending much money at all. So, I did a little research, talked to a bunch of paint stores and then Terry and I put the kids to bed and got to work.

Here is what we started with.


Beautifully dated brass tile and a light wood top meant that we had a lot of work to do.

But, in only a few simple steps, we literally had a new fireplace. And I think we spent about $45 total. My kind of project.

Then add a bit of garland, lights and vases with Christmas greenery and sticks--and you've got yourself a fireplace that Santa will surely want to visit.

So, here is what we did:

We started by cleaning the brick. Use any brush with rough bristles, I was told. So of course I didn't have one on hand, but wanted to get started asap, so I grabbed a new dustpan and brush that I just happened to have in my house, and the brush worked perfectly. I just grabbed a bucket of warm, soapy water, and started scrubbing--getting all the little bits off of the brick.
Then we let it dry for 24hrs.

Then, once it was completely dry, we started the painfully time-consuming process of using a paint brush to paint every last inch of this thing. We used a semi-gloss white paint and spent one night jabbing the paint brush into the millions of crevices and doing a first coat around every inch that was either brick or wood. If your brick gets hot though on your particular fireplace, you will need to use a heat-resistant paint.

     Be prepared to destroy your paintbrushes, so just get a couple cheap ones from the dollar store because they will be wrecked by the brick after only a few minutes of using them.

This is what it will look like (below) after one coat of using a paintbrush. You will probably want to use painters tape and tape around your walls and floors, as it's hard to cut and smash your paintbrush into the cracks at the same time.

The next night, we took a paintbrush again to get in between the bricks, but then used a roller to roll over the entire fireplace. This took another two coats to get it to look like it does now.

THEN...just when you think you're all've got to deal with that ugly brass insert...remember what it looked like before?...

...well, all you need is a dad who will come over and figure out how to get the insert out of there (thanks dad!), and a bottle of heat-resistant FLAT black spray paint.

Then take it outside, cover the glass part with newspaper (tape the newspaper down), then lay your insert on the ground and do soft, light sprays across the whole thing until it looks exactly how you want it to look.
Then get your dad to pop that thing back in...and you've got yourself a brand new fireplace insert, for just a few dollars.

Then, add some pretty festive decor...and you'll be in love.

 *p.s. I used Command hooks to secure the garland--just stick them to the wall and use string tied around the garland to fasten it in place.

Enjoy your weekend everyone.

Erica xo


  1. Oh my gosh! That transformation is just amazing. The all-white coat sure looks a lot better than the plain red brick. The Christmas decor fits perfectly there as well. I love how your living room looks with its transformation. Thank you so much for sharing that! Wishing you all the best!

    Arthur Bryant @ Contractor Express

  2. Thanks so much! It really was a huge transformation. We're loving it (and love that it was so cheap to do!).


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