Does this look familiar? Maybe you recognize it from this post a couple months ago?
Well check that baby out now:
You totally just did a double take, didn’t you? It’s like the scene in She’s All That where everyone finally sees what a hottie Rachel Leigh Cook is for the first time because she’s not wearing glasses and a falafel-stuffed pita for a hat…except this is not a nineties rom-com and I’m not sure I’m ready to call the fireplace a hottie just yet. (Also, don’t you dare judge me for referencing that movie because you know you secretly loved it.)
Still, as Mary Poppins says, it’s clean and, yes, I think it will be quite suitable. For the moment. We may still do something more drastic but I have to say, this change is dramatic enough that I’m not complaining one little bit.
That little doo-dad? GONE. David chiseled it off and sanded away whatever glue remained. He then attempted to stain the mantel but we eventually decided it was just going to take more effort–and stain–than it was worth, so he painted it instead. We found a dark brown paint that was similar to the black-brown of our Ikea Expedit bookshelves and used that. (Can’t remember the brand or the color. I’ll update if I do.) Worked like a charm. You can even still see the wood grain, which I like. Gives it some texture. It’s still a little church pulpit-ish, but it’s an improvement for sure.
The brick got a couple coats of Behr’s Ultra Bright White in satin–we’re nothing if not predictable in our choice of white–slapped on thick with some rough brushes. (David favored the “punch and splash” technique while I preferred to “wedge and wiggle.” Painting bricks, by the way, is a PAIN.)
The tile is the real triumph, though. We used Rustoleum’s Tile Transformations Natural Stone Finish Kit and I am so happy with how it turned out. Of course, when I say we used it, I mean David did. He kicked Mila and me out of the house, opened all the windows, and did the dirty work all by his lonesome, bless his thoughtful-husband-and-father heart. I would have liked to help, but let’s face it: Cletus the Fetus has already huffed more than her fair share of paint fumes over the last few months.*
In the interest of full disclosure, we still need to do a lot of touching up…pretty much everywhere one surface meets up with a different one. I also think I’m going to bring the green paint (which you’ll see more of when I post after photos of the rest of the room) closer in to the brick. Right now it stops at the corner, but the way the masonry is set makes it look wonky from a distance. I think it will look cleaner once I fake that edge out a little.
Really, though, even will all the detail stuff that needs to be done, it looks a bajillion times better, don’t you think? Let’s have one more look, just to be sure:
Yes. At least a bajillion times better.
*We try really hard to use only low odor, no VOC paints, but unfortunately it’s not always an option. Such was the case with the tile paint stuff. Crazy crazy fumage, but totally worth it.