Thursday, December 19, 2013

Wishing and Hoping Part 3: The Fireplace Wall

I'm getting pretty excited about this Family Room update! In my most recent post about the family room, I showed you a temporary solution to my long mantel problem and shared some other hurdles I have with this brick wall. Here's a recap: 

  • The long mantel. I'm not a decorator by nature, so filling a space like that without making it look sparse (like above) or cluttered is overwhelming. And because the supports for the mantel are built-in brick, I can't really shorten it.
  • The narrow space above the mantel. This really limits the scale of my mantel decor.
  • The brick. I've always loved exposed brick, in old homes especially. However, there are no windows in this room. It does open to a sunroom with 7 windows, so there is some natural light coming in, but I feel like the dark brick makes the room feel dark and gloomy.
  • The hearth. If there wasn't a raised  hearth, I feel like I would have some more options of what to do with the area.
  • The wood stove. We have since added a wood fireplace insert and I think it really is an improvement over the screen that was there. However, while I love the clean lines and the heat it provides, it can limit my decor options, at least in the winter, because of the fire hazard.
As I said before, a major renovation is not in the budget, so removing the hearth is out. And there is no way we are getting rid of the wood stove. That leaves the brick to address.
And I really do like exposed brick. At first I wanted add some paneling or built-in cabinets around the fireplace like this:
Source: Pencil Shavings Studio

Or this:
Source: One Project Closer
Unfortunately, though, both of these options are out.
Since we have the firewood box next to the fireplace, the paneling option probably wouldn't look right. Plus, Hubby wasn't really comfortable with the idea of paneling too close to the wood insert.
With the hearth, it would be difficult to accomplish built-ins without a lot of demo or carpentry know-how. Perhaps we can try something like that in the future, if the budget allows, but for now I need to find a way to live with the brick rather than cover it up.
Then I encountered this on Pinterest.
Source: East Coast Creative
It was an epiphany! I knew painting the brick was out, but lightening it? I found the solution! Now I just had to get Hubby on board. I knew this brick was too light for our tastes, so I started searching for "white washed brick." Pinterest turned up this beauty.
Perfect! It still retains the original color of the brick, but lightens it enough that it should help brighten the space. The best part is that Hubby agreed!
I really liked this version because Kellie used more of a "dry brush technique, adding a little bit of white without overpowering. Here's a picture of the wall in process:

As excited as I am, this will probably be the last part of our update because we will have to wait for a day that we are not using the fireplace. High heat and paint just don't mix!
Hubby and I tried out some paint samples last weekend and I think we've landed on the color we'll use. I'll post photos once it's all painted - hopefully by New Year's.
Do you have any home  improvement projects planned for the winter?

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