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need help with painted fireplace, color scheme
figurine
January 23, 2013 in Design Dilemma
Ok, no laughing... :)

This is how the sellers left the family room in the house we recently bought. In considering the house, I was unconcerned thinking it would be easy to fix up, but this room is kind of stumping me.

A dark red fireplace, sage walls, crazy curtains (that match, in an odd way). You can't see it well in this photo (though I can provide one later), but the hearth is tiled with in grays and slate blues. There was wood-paneling over the fireplace and they painted over that.

Any recommendations for modernizing this with minimal cost? (In other words, we can't replace the fireplace.) What color schemes might work, given the size of the brick area if we were to repaint? Our sofa and chair (which we're likely to replace in the next couple years anyway) are earth tones, tan and dark green.

I appreciate any suggestions.
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Melanie Hon
I would say an antique white or cream for the fireplace.
January 23, 2013 at 10:08AM     
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PRO
Essence Design Studios
I agree with white, or antique white for the fireplace. You could also add some trim such as a simple crown, tall baseboards and trim around your doors. Eliminate those curtains and put in a wider larger curtain rod about 9-12" from the edge with straight panel curtains instead. This way, when you have the curtains open, you see the full door, yet, when you close them they should be able to cover the full doors. You could also put your TV above the fireplace, with built in shelves on either side, giving it a built in look.
January 23, 2013 at 10:30AM     
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wmpj
I would paint the walls a tan or cream color. You could install a wide mirror or painting above the fireplace.
January 23, 2013 at 10:38AM     
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PRO
Aegean Designing Whims
I'm definitely agreeing with painting out the fireplace either off white or cream. You can leave your walls the color they are, or whatever color you'd like. This will dramatically change the look of the room, and then later you can add more like crown moulding. Definitely paint. Here's an example from Google Images to give you an idea what it would look like.
Chrysteen
January 23, 2013 at 11:06AM     
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aniluap2
Definitely agree with Aegean-designing whims. Paint out the brick. It is not an appealing color and dates the room. It will make a huge difference.
January 23, 2013 at 11:16AM     
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Sarah Bernardy Design
Whites not the only color to paint bricks. Black or a deep gray could be very rich and would work with what you are saying is on the hearth and mantel tiles. I like Essence Design Studio's suggestions for drapery panels on the windows. An inexpensive way to expand the width of your window visually.
January 23, 2013 at 11:24AM     
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cypress
Paint everything. It looks like you have hardwood floors in the adjoining room, if so, that is where I would spend my money, replace the existing carpet with hardwood.
January 23, 2013 at 11:25AM     
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fairviewbonnie
I am seeing white on the fireplace, black inside fireplace, cream on the walls and white woodwork. Get an area rug to place on top of this rug to pull your seating together in front of the fireplace. If you put your TV above the fireplace remember to make sure the height is not too high for the TV to keep a clear picture. Good luck.
January 23, 2013 at 11:41AM     
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onthefence
There were some very cool suggestions made on this thread that may give you some ideas: http://www.houzz.com/discussions/311194/Family-room-needs-character
January 23, 2013 at 11:53AM     
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figurine
I was nervous about painting the fireplace a lighter color because there's so much brick, but you guys are giving me confidence. (Love that pic you linked, Chrysteen.) I think my husband would prefer a darker color and deep gray or black would also be an enormous improvement, but we'll go to the paint aisle and see what we can agree on. I'll show him some of the photos here before we go. ;)

LOVE the curtain idea -- when we replace those, we'll pick up a longer rod, too. We replaced that patio door, so I would love to show the new one off and take full advantage of the natural light the room can get.

We're still not sure about mounting the tv yet, but if we do, I love the built-in shelving idea. I'm also desperate to get rid of that carpet, but it has to stay for now. That's laminate in the adjacent room, but I'd eventually like hardwoods (with tile here and there) throughout the house. I'm discovering that this is a marathon and not a sprint. (Welcome to home ownership?)

Thanks for the suggestions, everyone!!
January 24, 2013 at 4:56AM     
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Lisa Smith
Have you ever considered smearing the brick? I'm a decorative finisher and have done this in some homes with outdated brick. However it will lend a rather rustic vibe to your space and don't know if that's your thing. if not then I would definitely stick with a cooler color palette. Blues, grays....maybe an antique white. and I'd almost keep the existing black. Love the idea of built ins above....new drapes and maybe some bamboo shades over French doors.
January 24, 2013 at 7:49AM     
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figurine
No, can you share some photos, Lisa? (I will dig for some here, too.) To be honest, I didn't even realize people were painting their fireplaces until we started looking at houses. It's all rather new to me. Would you advise hiring someone to do the smearing or is it something we could do ourselves?

I wouldn't mind a rustic look. Beats the Brady Bunch look!
January 24, 2013 at 8:24AM   
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hotmholt
Lisa Smith--could you please explain or show smearing brick?
January 24, 2013 at 8:43AM   
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Lisa Smith
Here are a few photos of smeared brick. You get the just. Basically you would smear the mortar sloppily over the existing mortar lines and voila. no more headache than painting. I think it's an easy diy...and to add more depth, you could dry brush a different color paint over the brick as well before you smear. Now you've opened up the possibilities in this room. Natural tones like rich woods and leather....or you can go shabby with an old rough looking chandelier you find at a yard sale....or traditional with pops of color. You can change your look in a year without breaking the bank. But you have a really unique focal point the no one else is gonna have. That said don't be surprised when everybody is copying "yo stuff" :)
January 24, 2013 at 9:04AM     
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kimdee24
I found this product online -- I don't know if it works, or anything about it but it might be worth a look. http://www.brick-anew.com/homepage.html
January 24, 2013 at 9:19AM     
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figurine
Interesting -- thanks, Lisa! I'm not sure I have the eye to pull it off, but it looks pretty cool. I'll keep that thought in the files here.

In a lot of what I'm reading about brick painting, folks are dealing with untreated brick. Is there anything I should be wary of going into this, since it's already painted? I should add that we've noticed a lot of DIY stuff that the sellers really half-assed, but we didn't notice until after we moved. (Sloppy paint jobs, incorrect caulk types, etc.)

I was just looking at that site, too, kdeley! (Great minds...?) Has anyone used that product set?
January 24, 2013 at 9:27AM     
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kimdee24
I'd be interested to hear if anyone's used it. It sure looks better than flat painted brick, doesn't it?
January 24, 2013 at 9:29AM   
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onthefence
Here's an idea book I've saved for painting brick. There are a few links there that take you to more detailed info about the process. It's a handy ideabook too because it shows painted bricks in a few different colors.


January 24, 2013 at 10:15AM   
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figurine
Thanks so much, onthefence!

I agree, kdeley -- I like that the Brick Anew adds some texture, since it's such a large brick area.
January 24, 2013 at 10:56AM   
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onthefence
My apologies figurine - I hadn't read your title well enough to realize the brick was already painted! We have a monolith of a fireplace as well so i've been on the lookout for a looooong time for options that won't cost a bundle.

I'm passing along another painting technique I've had bookmarked for a while. I like the visual texture this one provides too. And the bonus is that you're not locked in to another companies color offerings.

Re: color - white and off white always look nice. It seems to be what everyone is doing though and that may get cookie cutter after a while. I rather like your DH's idea of something a little darker and richer. Doesn't have to be really dark.

Anyway, enough of my soapbox...here's the link for the idea. http://www.lowescreativeideas.com/idea-library/projects/modern_fireplace_1010.aspx
January 24, 2013 at 12:08PM     
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figurine
I've attached a closer view of the painted brick, along with the tilework on the hearth. You can see it's kind of... well, ick. It's both the color and the uniformity that bother me. I wish they'd just left it alone, but I suspect the sellers thought it was better than the brick.

Love that sponge idea you linked!!
January 24, 2013 at 12:24PM   
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PRO
BRIAN DEGRAVE G.C.
I ran into the same exact thing at a clients home. I swear that could be the exact fireplace. Here is what we did. However, not exactly cheap...
January 24, 2013 at 12:27PM     
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figurine
Oh boy, in my dreams.... That looks gorgeous, Brian!

Definitely not in our budget at the moment, but I'd love to hear how it was done. Is this a resurfacing of sorts or a completely new fireplace?
January 24, 2013 at 12:33PM   
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tigerlin51
All these ideas are fabulous. Here's another thought.. cover the brick with 1/4" drywall and texture/paint. Get rid of the brick look completely and gives a modern effect. I've done that to my brick fireplace and it's totally contemporary and open feeling.
January 24, 2013 at 12:33PM     
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onthefence
HEAVENS TO MERGATROID! Makes ya wonder what the original brick looked like ;-) I'm also picturing the Realtor's face when he got his first glimpse of that.

The thing I did like about the sponge idea is that you're probably going to start with a base color you like anyway. If the sponge part doesn't work out the way it was envisioned, just cover with the base and you're done!

Brian, what you did with that FP is stunning! That would definitely be one of those things on my house bucket list.
January 24, 2013 at 12:37PM     
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anitajoyce
Paint all the red bricks in white or beige. Will there be a tv above the fireplace? Walls painted in tan or beige would be nice also.
January 24, 2013 at 12:54PM   
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figurine
HAHA! I know, right? And if you think that's bad, you should see the dining room wallpaper. It's the worst. But, we really loved the space and the neighborhood is great. The interior just needs some design love. (Ok, maybe a lot of design love.) :D

Tigerlin, I'm intrigued! Sounds faster than painting the brick, too -- how did you attach the drywall? (And do you have a photo to share?)

I was just looking at stucco resurfacing, too: http://www.hgtv.com/home-improvement/resurfacing-a-fireplace/index.html
January 24, 2013 at 12:55PM     
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figurine
Thanks for the suggestions, anitajoyce! We're still unsure whether we'll mount the tv or not. I'd kind of like to, but the husband is ambivalent.
January 24, 2013 at 12:58PM   
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anitajoyce
You're welcome. Please post pictures when the room is finished.
January 24, 2013 at 1:02PM   
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onthefence
figurine, I'd have snapped that house up in a red hot second - and that's just based on the family room. As you said, just needs some love ;-) We've been 'loving' our house for many years too. Like you, the space just felt right as did the neighborhood. The rest is surface...and it's nice to make it your own!

Can't wait to see your journey.
January 24, 2013 at 1:27PM     
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PRO
BRIAN DEGRAVE G.C.
We used a cultured stone product from Owens Corning. The hearth is a couple of slabs of Pennsylvania blue stone, and the mantle was custom built.

On a less expensive scale there are other options to faux stone that comes in panels that fit together like puzzle pieces.
http://www.fauxpanels.com/portfolio-fireplaces.php


They simply attach with liquid nails. Keep in mind you would need to provide a thermal break from the fireplace unit (especially if you brun wood, gas is more controled heat ). A good thermal break would be any type of complimentary natural stone, tile or concrete product that you would create a "frame around the firebox. You could create a simple mantle with a few pieces of pine board and a lenght of crown molding.

I built one with similar panels-see pic.
January 24, 2013 at 1:43PM     
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PRO
Tres McKinney Design
Well- this post might break the record for comments. Several good ideas for refacing or painting the fireplace have been made. Since you posted a more recent photo showing the tiles on the hearth I would recommend (for a quick and inexpensive fix) you paint the bricks a medium gray green or taupey/gray and then the walls a shade or two lighter The adjacent room should be painted in the same color or a shade darker or lighter. This will make the room feel more expansive and lighter. While I like the idea of white washing or painting the bricks white I think it might not work as well with the tiled hearth or your deeper toned furnishing color palette preference. The current green walls is too saturated a color and will reflect green on anything in the room. I would consider placing the TV to the right side of the sliding doors, mounted on the wall over a low cabinet . Place a section sofa with the long end facing the window and the shorter facing the fireplace (leaving enough room for traffic flow). Then place a club chair, small table and floor lamp in the opposite corner facing the towards the sectional to create a conversation area. Add a large coffee table or flat topped ottoman and an end table with lamp at the end of the sectional next to the fireplace. A longer curtain rod should be installed higher above the window with simple fully working panels to the floor. Replace the floor when your budget permits.
January 24, 2013 at 2:34PM     
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