When we had our paneling painted white (SW – Dover White), it made the brick fireplace seem out of place. Mainly because of the color (yellow and orange with black mortar).
I started researching how to update the fireplace including getting an estimate for rocking it. Would love to do that; however, it was approximately $2-3 thousand dollars. I opted to whitewash it.
This picture is what it looked like before I whitewashed it. Remember my fireplace has black mortar.
I chose to use B. B. Frosch and make SW White Dover paint into chalk paint. With B. B. Frosch you can make any paint chalk paint. It is a great product (I am not being paid by B. B. Frosch for my review of the product). I did use ASCP in this project too, because I already had the product in colors I needed to compliment the den’s color pallet.
We have a large fireplace that spans across the room at an angle. It took me less than 8oz of White Dover chalk paint watered down (50/50 water to paint) to do the entire fireplace.
Here are some tips I learned as I was transforming the fireplace.
Think about the color you want to wash with, keep in mind that the color of the brick will effect the depth of what is washed. For example the black mortar with the whitewashed turned grey…..perfect for what I was doing!
Clean it – I took a brush and ran over the fireplace to knock off the dust and cobwebs.
I chose chalk paint because I like the softness it has and it doesn’t require prep work. Our fireplace had been sprayed with shellac (that’s what they did in the 80’s. Painted right over that sucker without cleaning with TSP.
I used chalk paint brushes to apply the wash, because I had them. However, you can use whatever brush you have to do this project.
I started on the sides, so if I made a mistake I couldn’t correct, it would not be that obvious.
Work in sections and don’t overlap the wash on the next section you are not ready to work on.
This picture shows where I overlapped on the brick and then when I started to work on that section, the brick was more saturated and it created a stripe.
Because I used chalk paint, I was able to take a wet rag and take off the paint and re-apply it more even.
A better method is to work the sections in complete bricks, this helps keep the tone of the whitewash even across the fireplace.
Stop and walk away and look at what you are doing periodically.
This will let you see where you have put too much whitewash in an area or too little.
It is easier to correct when the wash is still wet than when it has set 10 – 20 minutes. Brick is porous and the white wash will take on various looks as it starts drying and absorbing the wash.
There are several items you can use to remove the wash. If you catch it fast enough a wet rag, if it is dry, I understand Magic Erasers works well.
Once the fireplace was done, I went back in with a sea sponge and added other wash colors (ASCP – Country Grey, French Linen, Coco). This gives depth to the wash without over powering the white wash. When I had an orange or yellow brick color pop out I would sponge in other colors to make it recede.
When you are adding additional colors do it sparingly and rotating the sponge and the color wash. Let it absorb in and take another look from a distance. Here less is more and you can always go back in and add more where needed.
Even after it dries you can add additional color washes in where needed.
It took me about 4 hours (at the most) to complete this big fireplace and that includes sponging in all the other color washes. When I first finished I loved how it look and was so excited, but I didn’t realize what I was seeing was it still wet.
As it dries it becomes whiter (depending on how much you have left on or washed off). Mine was whiter; however, because I had sponged in additional colors it was perfect even lighter.
I did repaint the mantel. It was originally Old White (ASCP) and it just got lost after the whitewash. I repainted it with the same colors I used to sponge in the washes. I painted it ASCP Coco, then washed it with French Linen. Once that was dry I washed it again in Old White, when it dried gave it a good waxing.
This really was a simple project and I can’t believe it took me so long to convince myself to do it. It brought the decor of the den together and looks great with the neutral pallet.
Are you trying to figure out if you are ready for a project? Be brave and jump in!