Baby Won’t You Light My Fire

Faux finishes, I’m going to go out on a limb and just say these are never a good idea. Plaster of paris and your fireplace are not things that should be a mixin’. In all honesty, I have no idea what is on our fireplace, but it certainly is not brick. It’s also not white. The bottom is sporting a yellow hue these days and the top is jet black. Clashy clashy with our white trim and greige walls.

Traditional Fireplace

Since we had a can of paint just sitting in the basement with our trim color, I decided this weekend was a good time to add a splash of crispness to this guy. Long term, I’d like to add some additional wooden trim (painted white) to chunk up the sides and make it look more substantial, but since we don’t know how close we can get to the fire surround opening (for code purposes), our default option for now was just to throw a few coats of paint on it.

Oh, and remember how I mentioned this house has dust everywhere after redoing the floors? Another testament, here. Whoops, looks like we forgot a spot. πŸ˜‰

How to Clean Mantel

Our first order of business was sanding this baby a bit to make sure that the paint and primer would be able to adhere to the surface a bit better. With such a dark mantel, I didn’t want the paint to be at risk for chipping where you could see the dark coat of paint from before under the light tones down the road.

How to Prep to Paint

One of the most entertaining parts of doing renos in this house is seeing the layers that show up underneath it all πŸ˜‰ Pink, blue, green – pretty much any color under the rainbow, it’s there. This time there was a nice aqua chilling under the black. Looks like this baby was a brightly adorned mantel back in the day.

How to prep before painting Since the mantel was supa black, we decided that a coat of primer was in order. We normally use Kilz (love it) but last time we were shopping I saw some off brand stuff for like $8 and bought it. Kinda sorta a mistake. Sometimes it’s just worth it to bite the bullet and pay for the real deal. Lesson learned. At least it was only a $8 lesson, right. πŸ˜‰

Here it is after a coat of primer. As I was chugging along on painting this baby, I started to think to myself that I wasn’t all googly eyes over the way the bright white looked on the faux finish fireplace. It was almost making the ugliness pop a bit more. Insert nail biting here, see below. Kinda like, whoa, that fireplace is WHITE. Another annoying detail, there was paint from before on the brick, which kind of makes the whole thing look sloppy. Urgg.

How to paint mantel

I grabbed the trim paint, Benjamin Moore Simply White, and to my disappointment the fauxness started looking more a more profound as the glossy paint went up. Huurmphh. Defeat. I mean I think I like it better than before, but I guess the advantage to the off white paint that was up prior was that it didn’t highlight the inconsistencies in the finish quite as much. The semi gloss paint is all helllloo dolly. Come look at me. Here is an after shot with the semi gloss up.

White Painted Fireplace Mantel

Like I said, it’s OK, but I’m not ready to speed dial HGTV for a close up, ya know what I mean. Overall, here are my thoughts. I think it needs a more pronounced mantel surround, a la this picture. Now that is something I can put my googly eyes on for. Meeeoooow. Love. It.

White Fireplace and Mantel

See how the wood mantel (and white part) is a bit skinnier. I think that is the way to go, with a lighter tile surround that covers up the brick portion. Maybe? Or perhaps painting the brick white would help as well. Well, we will just have to chalk this one up as a maybe, sorta, kinda better than before and wait until the creative juices hit again and I’m ready to tackle round dos. I did move the mirror we had above the dresser to the mantel. We’ll add a few photo frames to accessorize and this guy will be on his way!

White mantel with round mirror


3 thoughts on “Baby Won’t You Light My Fire

  1. I think it definitely looks a lot better than the black. Maybe with some architectural details, like the rectangles in the picture you posted, it will really pop!

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