Monday, September 30, 2013

Mantel Changes & a sad story

One random afternoon I decided I was soooo tired of our dark brick (and black grout - who chooses black grout? dumb) and oak mantel that I white washed and distressed the whole thing!  I sent Matt a text and was like, "I think I'll paint the fireplace" - Half of the fireplace was already painted at that point. hee hee

Horrible pic I had to pull from my text messaging:

It was a beast...  It took SEVERAL coats, mostly because our grout was so dark and we were white washing it and not painting it.  The above pic is after one coat on those bottom bricks and as you can see the black grout looks like it hasn't even been touched.  I'd paint it, and the black would just soak up the paint.  It was frustrating!  NONE of the tutorials online had black grout - suck!  If i had to do it again, I'd probably try to use some sort of primer/sealer on the grout first... One coat of whitewash on the bricks was plenty.

Here's the sad story:

I don't have a before or "directly" after picture of this project because I lost about a decade of pictures, tons of important documents and the latest copy of my novel when my external hard drive recently crashed (which is why you got the crappy pic of the half painted fireplace that I had texted above).  So most of my DIY stuff that I've taken pics of in the last year are totes gone... forever... trust me, we've tried everything.  However, I did scroll thru facebook and my picassa stuff and found some old pics of our mantel.  So just to refresh your memory, here's what it looked like before:

I got a little teary eyed looking thru all those pictures just now...cause I used to be skinny.  Just kidding!  It's fun to think about life at the time these were taken!  That top left one was taken in like 2008!  And I love love love the one of Matt and Syd on right-side center.  You might think I'm nuts for painting the brick and I thought the same thing when the Realtor suggested it ten years ago when I was just looking at this house.  But once we bought our chocolate colored sectional (have to go dark cause of the kids and all) and then we put in the dark wood floor, it was just SOOO cavey and dim in there...  some people like dark decor, but it was starting to border on gloomy for me.  I drew inspiration from a few pics I found online:

via:; and

I used a white washing method I found online and took about a day and a half (allowing for dry time between coats) putting about 5 coats on all that nasty black grout.  Like I said, it just kept soaking up the paint.  The mantel was easy.  I painted it, waited for it to dry and then scraped and sanded it.  Here's where we are today.  The reason I'm even posting about this is because I'm about to do a Fall decorations post and wanted to point out why our fireplace is white now.

Once it was painted, I didn't want to hang the TV back on the fireplace.  I missed having that area to display pictures and all that jazz so we moved the piece that the TV is on back into the room and for now we are leaving it this way.  If we knew we were going to stay here for a few more years, I'd repaint the walls a grayish color and use a bright white on all the existing trim.  For now, (or until we figure out if we are moving in the next 6 months or so), I bought a new brighter bigger rug and threw in a few lighter throw pillows.

That is all... and yes, I'm still upset about my hard drive crashing... you have no idea...

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