Tuesday, March 6, 2012

March Madness 3 / Fireplace Before and After

A huge change we made to the house was modernizing the fireplace. It had so much potential, but a few things just weren't right. Watch how we transformed her into the focal point she deserves to be!

Here's the before. Hard to look past the rust carpet and yellow walls, I know.

And here's the after.

First I scrubbed the entire surface with this Simple Green cleaner. No harsh chemicals here, thank you very much! This step helped, but the stone still wasn't bright enough.

My next idea was to layer on new brighter grout over the existing grout. (**Please note the grout turns out brighter than you would think. I bought two shades thinking this one would be too dingy, but the brighter one was way too harsh. Experiment with different grout shades the same way you would try paint colors on your wall.**) This was working well, until I stepped back and realized each stone now had a bright white outline around it. Too jarring.
The next step was definitely a risk, but it made all the difference. I took a small amount of grout and rubbed it over the stone, then wiped most of it away with a damp rag. This wash really brightened the fireplace up but didn't effect the integrity of the stone.

Now for the wonky angled portion. I've seen this shape done well a few times, but most of the time I don't like the tapered top. We also wanted to put our TV above the fireplace (read: I was out-voted. The decorator in me died a small death that day. That being said, based on our floor plan this is the best spot for a TV). We removed the stone and framed out the top so the drywallers could work right over it. What a difference that made!

In an effort to save a buck, we toyed with the idea of refinishing the existing screen flat black instead of buying a new one. The sample area looked pretty good, so we removed the screen to spray it with a high heat-resistant spray paint. As soon as we saw the fireplace without the screen we knew she was off to stay.

It took some time to get the fireplace just right, but it was definitely worth it. Sitting next to the fire makes anything feel like a luxury, even folding laundry or doing work. Simple pleasures!

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