Sunday, October 18, 2009

Our Fireplace

From a distance, you may not notice the stains on the brick fireplace. These stains come from the glue that the previous owners used to adhere the faux wood paneling.

Here is our fireplace in its former glory. The incinerator-like wood stove compliments the dark gloomy look and took two grown men (chimney guys), several hours, and several swear words to remove.

Here's Hubby prying off the first bit of the faux paneling. This is literally the first day (maybe even the first hour), after taking ownership of the house.

This is after all of the paneling was removed. We knew that there had been an old leak so that wasn't a surprise, but what we didn't expect was their generous use of glue (glue ended up being a four letter word during the remodel as the former owners used it everywhere).

This is how things look now. We've covered up the bookcases with drywall, added crown and base mouldings and had a cabinetmaker design and install the mantle.

Here's a closer look at the glue stains. We've tried everything to remove them - nothing has erased them completely. Initially, we had intended to paint over it but then kind of liked the brick (from a distance) with the white mantle so ended up leaving it...until now.

With the new furniture on its way, and with an empty room just screaming for a painting project, we're thinking that it might be time to paint it. All along, we thought we'd paint it white, but there have been other suggestions such as black or gray. What do you think?

I'm looking through some old magazines to try and see what different colors would look like. The good thing is that no matter what color we end up painting it, we can always change it later on....


  1. Hi Trina,
    This is a hard one. The fireplace surround looks great. I kept scrolling up and down 'cause I couldn't remember what fabric your new furniture would be wearing...if you really like the colour of the brick that is there now, paint it that colour. Black or grey would be my two other options (as you've already said, so that's no surprise there) and like you also said if you paint it and don't like it, you can always paint over it. I haven't been much help to you have I??? Sorry...will be interested to see what you do end up painting it. Also as an after thought the inside of the fireplace is grey/black, so I think this would not look out of place if you continued it to the outside of the brick!!

    Tasmania, Australia

  2. Hi Trina, what about a whitewash for the brick fireplace? I've always loved the look of whitewash on old brick... That being said, there is always a matte black, which from a distance may give the same impression as a blue stone surround. We have a blue stone surround on both our fireplaces and it's a peaceful hue....By the way, I think your cabinetmaker created a lovely mantle. My best to you!
    xoxo MC

  3. I've said it before, and I'm sure I'll say it a hundred times more!, but I am always so impressed with your "vision" for the house. It's hard to believe that this was y'alls first house- you are such pros!!
    I really like MC's white washed brick idea... I think straight white paint would look too new in your old house! What I like about the grey/black is it's like adding another layer for the fireplace, giving it more dimension.
    Keep looking on-line and in your mags and I'm sure you'll find a look that you love!

  4. Hi Trina,

    I like the idea of a light whitewash. But I also like the idea of leaving just as it is. I think it looks really pretty as is.

    I know whatever you do will look fabulous!


  5. I worry that the black might be too harsh...everything else is so light. I think the whitewash might be the best first attempt.

  6. I painted our fireplace a couple of years ago. I ended up using a stencil brush to add a second color. I like the way it turned out. The second color gives the bricks more of a textured, natural look.
    You could keep with the natural color you now have buy using a couple of tans. If you want I will send you some close up pictures.

  7. As you know I also have the problem of wanting to paint my (now turquoise!) brick fireplace! In your case I might wait until your new furniture is in place, then the right color might come to you.

  8. I just discovered your blog via The Newlywed Diaries and have gone back into the archives to read every single entry. I adore it-your home is beautiful. Do you think your pumice stick would get the stains off the brick? Maybe worth a try. Cheers from the beautiful mountains of Western North Carolina!

  9. Just found your love for your design aesthetic. My vote is to leave the brick alone. I think it looks cool the color that it is. And, most importantly the glue stains could be regarded as a badge of honor for an old house...just one of it's many stories. At least wait until you furnish the room. When it is empty you probably can't focus on anything else.

    When we bought our 1925 house the previous owner had drilled over 3,000 screws into the wood floors (to prevent squeaking) and then covered them in carpet. I HATE carpet so was shocked to discover the screws when we pulled the carpet up. Instead of replacing the floors we just filled in the holes with putty during the refinishing process. The "pegs" as I call them, just give the house one more layer of least that is what I told my husband who ruined his first drill trying to remove the screws.

  10. I can empathize with you on the glue thing Trina. In our lovey old house some Rocket Scientist had used a mixture of tar & industrial glue to stock linoleum over beautiful baltic pine boards. While the top layer came off through MOTH's brute strength, all the foam underlay didn't. I ended up on my hands & knees for days basically scraping it off with my fingernails. They have never been the same since - the fingernails I mean! Love the whitewash idea for your fireplace.
    Millie ^_^

  11. Paneling over brick - what possessed them? You have a terrific house! I would leave the glue like it is, with a framed picture of the "before" to explain why there are glue marks (part of the history and quite a conversation starter). Most people actually won't even see the glue marks. And those that do will also get to see the 'before' pict!

  12. Hi Trina! Lovely work on the house! Wood floors are one of my many architectural weaknesses heh. ^_^. Now about the fireplace.

    The glue marks would definitely be a conversation piece and really, I don't think many people would even notice that they were designs on the brick. I'm quirky and I like imperfections heh. But if you want to "cover" them up, perhaps staining the bricks would be a nice touch:

    I know that many restaurants, etc. are leaning more towards concrete flooring and then staining them to their liking, some to even resemble intricate floor rugs. The thing about staining is that you can control how deep or how soft of an effect you want.

    Keep up the wonderful work!

  13. How about an artist faux painting the bricks to look like the kind of bricks you want. I knew an artist who did this to the front of his painted brick house, it was a very small house.


Thank you for leaving your thoughts. Kind regards, Catherine

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