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I feel like I need a drum roll for this one. I feel like I need a drum roll because if you have been following along on our journey of moving into this house on Instagram, then you know that from the start, the room I was MOST excited to tackle and renovate was our kitchen. Now, we still have a lot of work to do in this room, and I can't wait to tackle all of that, but real life for most of us is that we take these house projects little by little, and I'm okay with that.
Okay, so on to the actual updates! This fireplace has been on my radar since that time that I set up an appointment with a realtor without telling my husband and walked through this house for the first time. It is original to this house, which in and of itself makes my heart swoon. It has a beautiful brick facade, but I knew immediately that I wanted to brighten it up, and I have to say: It makes a HUGE difference now that it is lighter and brighter.
The other huge difference in this room was adding actual hardware to the cabinets and drawers, and though it may seem like a small update, kitchen hardware should not be underestimated! I think it can COMPLETELY transform a room, and so I laugh as I type it, but I take my kitchen hardware very seriously. In this kitchen, we were lucky enough to have Emtek Products, which I have been swooning over for quite some time. The Freestone Pulls that I chose pair perfectly with the Globe Knobs, and the satin brass is just the right tone. Brass and gold tones can be tricky, and finding a finish that isn't too yellow can be quite the chore. The Satin Brass finish that Emtek has is perfect, and I don't think I'd ever sway to another. Needless to say, I love them, and I love the way they contrast agains that fireplace!
Ok, so speaking of the fireplace... let's get down to it! I think you will be happy to know that this project was incredibly quick and VERY easy. You don't have a to be a good painter, a good spackler, or a good anything to successfully achieve this look. The first thing that I did was whitewash the brick. This isn't my first time whitewashing (I did it to the fireplace at our old house too), but if you are not familiar, whitewashing is a process of watering down paint in order to thin it out for a less opaque look. In this case, I wanted the original brick to show through juuuuuust a little bit, and so whitewashing was a great way to accomplish that. I did a ratio of half water, half paint, and I just poured a little bit into a bucket and mixed. IMPORTANT: a little bit goes a LONG way with whitewashing, and I would say that I used no more than 8 cups of whitewash to cover this entire fireplace (with two coats).
Once you have your whitewash mixture, you can go ahead and paint it on with any old paint brush. Have some old rags on hand and make sure you cover your floor because it does get a little bit drippy. I experimented with a couple of methods, and I found the following to work best for me: I would paint a section of the whitewash first. Then, with the same brush, I would dip into my can of paint the TINIEST bit. Literally just a touch of paint. I would then paint that over the whitewashed section, let it dry for a minute or so, and wipe (or scrub a bit if needed) with a rag. This gave me the antiqued look I was going for, allowing the original color of the brick to peek out here and there. And that's it. That's all there is to the whitewashing. I was done with that step, and it had only been an hour or so.
The next step was a complete shot in the dark for me, and I honestly had no idea if it was going to work or not, but YOLO, guys. YOLO (does anyone even say YOLO anymore?). Before I get into the process, you should know where my head was at. I really wanted to achieve the look of German Smear for this fireplace. If you aren't familiar, German Smear is a process of wiping mortar over brick in order to cover it in places and give an antique look. Sounds great, but it also sounded pretty time consuming and messy, and so I was on a mission to find a shortcut. Enter, joint compound. If you know me, you know by now that I am a "use what I have" kind of gal, and any avoidance of another trip to the store is worth it to me. I had a big ole bin of joint compound in the garage, so I figured it was worth a shot. I put on a glove and wiped that stuff on there and after a minute or two I decided to just go for it. I wiped without a pattern, filling in some of the gaps between bricks and leaving others. It was working and I was thrilled! Again, there really is no rhyme or reason to the way that I did this. Some spots were thicker than others, and that's what makes it look unique and antique. I did get a lot of questions on my Instagram about making sure that the joint compound was sealed, and yes- I did do another coat of the whitewash over the joint compound once it was dry. Sealing was definitely a reason that I did this, but I also didn't love the color of the dry joint compound. To each their own, but I definitely recommend sealing one way or another.
Only a few hours into this project and I was pretty much done! A little Antique Gold Rub and Buff
on the ash door, some styling, and this fireplace was ready for its debut. It truly changed the look of my entire kitchen and I am so glad that I did it. If you're looking for an easy one... this one is for you!
Oh, and don't forget- -If you are looking for a place to follow along with the videos of this and all my projects, check out the highlights of my Instagram profile!