Did you know you can give your brick wall a whitewash treatment with paint you already have around the house? We were able to give our fireplace a fresh look in under a day and with no money spent!
We don’t mind unpainted, exposed brick, but in all of our houses it’s been an unattractive orangey-brown brick – not that pretty rustic red brick you find in New York apartments. So in previous homes we’ve straight-up painted those walls because we LOVE the look and texture of painted brick. But after seeing a few whitewashed brick walls over on Pinterest and reading a few tutorials online, we decided to give whitewashing a spin this time. We figured if we didn’t like it we could always just paint over it!
Luckily, we really like it! The room is far from done, and it might not be a forever thing, but for a day of work and a total cost of $0 we’re really pleased with the outcome.
Materials Needed For Whitewashing Your Brick
This supply list is short & sweet and probably includes a lot of things you have leftover from other painting projects:
- Regular white latex paint
- Paint pail or other container for mixing
- Paint stir stick, spoon, or other mixing device
- Paint brush
- Rags or old t-shirts
- Drop cloth and/or rosin paper
- Scrub brush or wire brush (optional)
They do make special whitewash paints and even more durable limewash applications for exterior use (similar to the paint we used when we painted our home’s brick exterior white), but for a simple interior project like this it’s fine to save your money and use regular paint you’ve used on your walls.
And, like the material list, the steps are pretty easy too. Here’s how I knocked it out in a day.
Step 1: Clean Your Brick
First, I wiped down the brick to make sure there weren’t cobwebs and old soot all over it – just a good once over with an old rag did the trick. However, depending on the condition of your brick, you may want to use a scrub brush or wire brush to remove any loose material or dirt.
Step 2: Create Your Whitewash Mixture
Next I mixed up a mixture of one part water + one part paint in my paint pail. I used Simply White by Benjamin Moore in an eggshell finish since had some leftover from a previous project. The consistency was pretty drippy and watery. Imagine taking a gallon of paint and pouring out half of it and refilling that half with water.
Step 3: Apply With A Brush & Rag Technique
I used a regular paint brush to “wash” on a thin layer of this watery mixture over the whole surface, brick by brick, including the mortar. I moved quickly and sort of smeared it onto each brick with the brush, and then dabbed over it with a rag – just to remove any excess paint and absorb any drips (since it was so runny those popped up from time to time).
The dabbing took more arm strength than the washing-with-the-brush step, and I tried to work as fast as I could – just because I had heard that it could go pretty quickly and I couldn’t wait to step back and survey a larger area to see how it looked.
Here’s a quick video of the process for ya:
Note: You can also watch this video on YouTube.
The bricks soak up the wash pretty quickly. When you first run your brush over them it may seem like you’ve straight up painted them white. But after you dab and the paint has a chance to soak in, the brick’s coloring comes oozing through.
After finishing my first coat on the wall, I moved to the hearth and realized I was about to get drippy paint-water all over our wood floors. Oops! So I took a second to tape off the floor with rosin paper. It’s waterproof, which is nice because I didn’t have to worry about any drips soaking through to the floor.
Step 4: Let Dry & Evaluate
It probably took me about two hours to do the first wash and by then most of it had soaked in and dried. So, I stepped back and was faced with the question: should I leave it or do another pass? That’s the beauty of this technique – you can apply additional coats to make your whitewash more solid / opaque if you don’t like the original results.
I decided that in person too much dark red and brown was still showing through in a few areas (it’s harder to tell in these photos) so I decided to go for a second coat.
Step 5: Apply Additional Coats As Needed
For my second coat, I mixed up an even waterier second wash and then went over the wall again – just to add a bit more haze. So if my first whitewash mixture was equal parts paint and water, this second mix was more like one-third paint + two-thirds water.
That coat was much faster – maybe an hour, tops. After that second pass, I was really happy with it. The room no longer felt as dark and cavernous, but the brick still had a lot of texture and detail in person (this photo makes it a bit harder to see than in person, unfortunately). I love the weathered effect that it gives without feeling too “faux finished” or “Medieval Times” (not that I didn’t love that place as a kid).
From afar the wall looks sort of chalky and textured and varied – as opposed to the glossy and super white result we would’ve gotten from painting it normally. When you get closer you see more of the pretty details of each brick. Some are a bit lighter. Some are darker. Some are craggier. It’s a nice mix.
We still have a long ways to go in this room, but whitewashing this once dark wall was a HUGE help in making the space feel brighter and less cavernous (which is tough, since it gets the least natural light of any spot in our house).
Either way, I’m glad the room is looking decidedly less salmon these days.
Some folks have asked if we’ve considered painting the wood beams, wainscotting, and mantle. We’re definitely leaning towards it, but we don’t want to rush into anything. I always say never to paint brick or wood unless you are 100% sure you’ll like it since it’s so hard to undo! Basically, wait until you can’t stand waiting another second to paint it and only then should you grab a brush.
Update: We Painted It!
After a few years of living with the whitewashed brick, we decided we needed to significantly lighting up the living room even more. So using a paint sprayer with painted the brick and wood Benjamin Moore Simply White, and it did wonders for the room.
A whole lot else evolved in the room over the 7 years between the original whitewashing and when the above was taken (we constructed a new mantle, changed out some furnishings, etc), but we’re grateful that the whitewashing project gave us the confidence to make major changes to this space.
Update- We finally created this Shop Our House page to help you hunt down any furniture/accessories that you see in our house, along with all of our paint colors.
cindy hickly says
What? I’m the first reply! Fun. The white wash is a game changer and looks absolutely amazing. Well done! Love.
What a difference! I did the same project over the holidays last year and I couldn’t be happier. I washed each individual brick and left the grout untouched, so we still get all the brick texture and interest without it being dark and overwhelming.
Meg M says
Tina, I am thinking of doing the same thing (whitewashed brick, but leave the grout) to our fireplace. Do you have photos of this anywhere on the web where I might be able to see the outcome? If not, would you be willing to create a post in the forums with photos and then leave the info to guide me there in a response to this? If not, no big deal. Just thought I would ask!
Brit [House Updated] says
So glad you are painting the mantle and everything else white! That is the first thing I thought when I saw the whitewashed brick. Don’t know how you resisted doing that immediately after whitewashing the brick, I would be dying to get it done. Everything is looking great!
Andrea Schmahl says
Wow — that looks wonderful! So much better than the dated red brick!
Anele @ Success Along the Weigh says
I love it! I have always wanted to know how to whitewash brick but have been too afraid to do it. (My aunt has a HUGE fireplace like that. I think with whitewashed brick and painting her paneling white to go from 70’s to beachy it would look so cute!)
My vote is for painting the wood especially now with the whitewashed bricks. Not that you asked my opinion but still. :)
Rene @thedomesticlady says
I love the whitewashed brick, even better than painted brick. Now I wish I had a yucky fireplace that needed painting :)I might ask my husband to build me a ugly fireplace so I can paint i. :)
Paint the mantle! That stain just gets worse and worse with everything else you’re doing in that room! Even stain it darker. I’m loving everything in this room and you guys inspire me to get my own arse in gear and make some changes in my own home!
That looks fantastic!! So much brighter in there now!
Anne @ Planting Sequoias says
My mom literally has conniptions every time I paint a bit of wood but I do it anyway. :) What are your plans for the inside of the fireplace and that hole to the right?
If we ever tile the fireplace we’d love to cover that hole on the right, but for now we just lean a frame or mirror in front of it to hide it. Haha! For the inside of the fireplace, we’d love a gas insert since we used the one at our first house so much in the winter months.
Amy @ a new old house says
I’ve been seeing photos of tightly stacked (round) logs a lot on pinterest lately… white birch logs would look really pretty in that wood storage area.
Nichole K says
Morgan from Pepper Design Blog did a faux version of stacked logs in her fireplace for one of your pinterest challenges. I sort of wish we had a non-working fireplace just to try this out (well maybe not really…)
Coolest thing ever! I loved that project!
I think it looks fantastic! I love the brick “peeking” through and the texture and depth that provides.
Wow, I love this!!! The room looks so much brighter, and now all of the patterns in the room really get to shine.
I really like the look of the whitewash! If it were me, I’d hold off painting the trim. I think with white trim everything in the room will get too light. If I did paint the trim white, I’d probably then paint the walls a much darker color, like a navy or something.
Jen @ Jen Spends says
That looks infinitely better. It opens the room right up, and I think it makes the wood look nicer.
Betty @ the sweaty betty says
I love it! Now it just feels like another layer in the room, versus a sticking out like a sore thumb!
I have been thinking of white washing our brick fireplace as well!! I’m so glad you did this!!! Our brick is so orange and black and even in between the bricks is orange. I do want the some of the brick to come through and yours looks more white than I would go, can you add more water to the mixture to get less coverage?
Oh yes, if you check out the post we did two washes, so one wash would be less coverage (and you can water it down even more for more brick to come through for sure!).
Laura @ Rather Square says
Love this look. Somehow painting things white in a room just opens it up so much. Especially brick! Really nice job.
hmmm not a huge fan. maybe its because of the wood trim? now it stands out so much. it also kinda looks like you primed the bricks then lost interest in finishing the project. you guys are amazing so i am sure it will eventually be amazing. no disrespect, just another perspective!
Oh yes, thanks Maria! We mentioned that the whitewashed wall has us itching to paint that wood trim and wainscoting, so this room is definitely in that strange “in progress” phase. I think it’s the high-contrast thing that makes it look sort of “competey” so I can’t wait to paint more and watch the room come together as we go! At least we hope that’s what happens. Haha!
I’m not in love with it yet either. But I appreciate that the room has a long way to go. I love how Monograms ‘n Mud fireplace almost looks like marble with a similar wall colour behind it. I look forward to seeing the result with the wood trim painted white.
We have loads of pine in my house which is just fine by me since I feel nothing about slapping stain or a coat of paint on it. (The teak, mahogony and oak furniture is out of bounds though!) What is the wood in your house, Sherry?
Thanks Stacey! We think it’s oak (definitely oak trim and floors, but we’re not sure about the wood on the walls).
I’m in this camp too but that’s just because I really love natural brick. I even don’t mind solid painted in some cases but for some reason whitewash always reads as “primed but not finished” to me too. This might have to do with what Sherry said above about how it doesn’t come out true in photos, and that I’ve never seen whitewashed brick in person. I can definitely appreciate different styles than mine though (I know mine isn’t for everyone!), and I’m interested in seeing how the room turns out down the line. No matter what, I’m still excited for S&J that progress is happening and what really matters is that they LOVE their home more than anyone else! :)
“o I can’t wait to paint more and watch the room come together as we go! At least we hope that’s what happens. Haha!
And if it doesn’t, who cares? Just sell it off and ruin it for future homeowners like you did in the last two houses right?
Nope, no plans to sell this baby! We waited 7 years to get into this dream neighborhood of ours and couldn’t be more smitten.
I began reading comments but had to stop on this one, because the “primed and pooped out” look was my exact opinion. Having said that, I am always impressed with how professional and polished your projects look upon completion, even if they don’t suit my personal taste. I look forward to seeing how this fireplace eventually turns out.
Heather S. says
I have to agree – whitewashing looks like primer to me and not a finished product. Of course all that matters is that y’all like it but I’ll stay tuned to see if this gets repainted (like the kitchen walls in the last house!) once you live with it for a while.
I am crazy in love with it!!! Brilliantly done.
Can’t believe how far this room has come!!! Genius!!!
Can’t wait to see the rest of the room done.
Are you not going to do the inside of fireplace or wood stash hole….whatever it is called?! Will it stay red brick? Just curious.
You can scroll back through the comments for that info :)
Megan G says
I’ve just read the comments, a day after the post was published, and I still have the same question. Is the answer no because you plan to lean a frame in front of it permantly?
As a hopefully helpful aside, I’ve noticed more and more often a see-above response which I see as a disservice to your faithful readers and commenters. Personally, when I comment with a question, I first try to read all pervious comments to see if someone else has asked the same thing, as a courtesy to you. Then, as I check back, I reference only my own comment to see if you’ve answered. It’s as if you presume that the time you save (is it any?) in writing a see-above response is more valuable than any time I would take to read all previous comments. If you take the time to write a ten-word sentence equaling “see above,” I don’t understand why you can’t write as simply, “no because…(“we like the contrast,” “we plan to cover it with a frame,” “we will resurface the brick soon,” or whatever). As long as it really is you answering comments, it’s not as if you need to look anything up. You know your plans. I hope you take this into consideration. Thanks!
Sorry about that Megan! Other commenters on this post have suggested stacked wood or blankets with baskets in them. I love those ideas and would totally whitewash that nook to see how that looks! In most cases I say “see above for that :)” if there are a TON of comments waiting in moderation (I start to panic when 50+ are unapproved, and I assume it’s more helpful to get them all up than spend too much time on each one as more comments continue to back up). But as you can see from this post, there might be three times in 300 comments where I say that (I definitely prefer to answer questions directly). Believe it or not, sometimes when I don’t say “see above for that :)” people will comment to say “why do you repeat yourself so much? Just tell people to scroll up” so it’s hard to ever know which one will please or upset someone.
Hope you’re having a good weekend! I’d like to offer a suggestion that may help both you and readers such as Megan.
Like Megan, I have noticed more “scroll back through the comments for that info,” and it feels jarring to me because I never know how far to scroll back. Do I scroll up the page I’m reading, or click back to a previous page of comments (if I’m on page 2, 3, 4, etc.)?
Also, because of the smaller screen, I have to scroll a lot more on the iPhone versus the laptop, so that affects how I navigate your site.
Perhaps you could provide a direct link to the comment where you answered the question previously? For example, you could simply write: “Here’s the answer: https://www.younghouselove.com/2013/08/whitewash-in-the-hizzy/#comment-1603983”
That way, you don’t have to type repetitive answers, and we as readers don’t feel daunted by navigating through so many previous comments.
Thanks for considering my suggestion!
Thanks Joan! I like that suggestion! I’ll do my best to either cut and paste the full response or a link to it for you guys. Sorry if things have been hard to find :)
Gorgeous!!! That’s really all I can say. So bright and happy looking now instead of all old church ladyish. :) Can’t wait to see that wainscoting all bright white and crisp. Make me wanna rub my face all over it LOL
My house was built in 1926 and has a brick fireplace, and the same mantle, trim & crown molding stain that yours does. I’ve debated whitewashing the brick but haven’t felt confident enough yet, so I’m glad to see you try it! I do have to say that I’m secretly hoping that you keep the natural wood trim though, because I can never find examples of living rooms with wood trim when I’m looking for decorating inspiration. It would be great to see you work with it! Ultimately though, you’re the ones who have to live with it, so you should do what makes you happiest and not what a random stranger on the internet tells you. :)
It makes me so sad to hear that you’ll be painting the wooden beams. I was just admiring how wonderful they look against the lighter wall color. Alas…
I am really disappointed that you are stripping away the character of this house with every passing day. Now a beautiful ranch is becoming more and more builder grade! I just feel that this house has a certain character & feel to it and needs to be decorated in a certain way, but why maintain an iota of warmth in the house when you can paint it white, right? I wish you would work your aesthetics around to suit this house rather than forcing the house to bend to your white-Jonathen-Adler-Protege-esque-with-pops-of-color aesthetic!
You’re right, RK. I can’t believe they are not taking your design ideas into mind, especially since you bought the house and live th…. Oh, wait! That’s right! You DIDN’T buy the house and you DON’T live there. Silly me.
This comment is for RK.
What character are you talking about? The stained wood trim? The wood on the walls? Dark brick on a wall that sucks the light out of the room? This is not a colonial from the 1800’s, it was built in the 80’s. There is a huge difference between stripping a home of character and updating. The only thing that survived the 80’s that still has any cool factor is a pair of Ray-Ban Wayfarers. Let them update their home. And if they ever do sell it, it won’t be ruined for the next homeowner.
RK, maybe it’s time to stop and reconsider what are you doing here. You are exactly right that John and Sherry like light and bright and white with pops of color and Jonathan Adler. Unabashedly so. And for you to hope that they will stop exercising that preference on their homes when it is, in fact, their entire gig and this is their third time doing just that?
Perhaps it is you that is disappointing yourself here with inherently wishful thinking.
Maybe this just isn’t the blog for you. If you want to watch someone turn a modern house into an old one, why not read a Victorian restoration blog? Those people are putting up wallpaper and dark stained woodwork. I’m sure it’s awesome.
Sherry and John, I say this as someone who has enjoyed your blog immensely, so here goes: It is extremely bad form to let your fangirls attack your readers who express disappointment in your projects or the blog in general lately. There are those of us who really are disappointed, but are hanging on, because we have faith in you. We are still clicking over to see what you are up to. Sure, these disenchanted fans get vocal sometimes, but the comments are to you, not your fans and you should not allow the fangirls to insult the other posters and tell them that perhaps this is not the blog for them. It is really rude and uncalled for. Your real fans are the ones who will be honest with you, not approve and fawn over everything you do, because they care. Maybe you should be listening to some of this criticism of late. Maybe some of the complaints are valid. But to allow this mob mentality to just take over your comments section is wrong. You say you manually approve comments. You have every right to reject a comment that you feel is rude or inappropriate, make that your policy and follow it. Other bloggers do, there’s nothing wrong with it. But these cat fights that have been breaking out in the comment section just make you look bad for letting it happen, especially knowing you are manually approving this. Think about it. Much love.
We certainly prefer when everyone expresses their opinions kindly and constructively (as you have done here – so thank you Gina!) but we also think it’s a slippery slope to start telling people what they can say or how to say it. Our practice of moderating comments is to make sure no questions slip through without us answering them, but it’s not so that we can censor them (other than removing spam). Just as we don’t remove comments from people who disagree with what we’ve done or said, we don’t delete comments by someone who may disagree in response. And as much as we hate comment drama, we actually think there would be a lot more if we started selectively removing things!
I, for one, am relieved that John and Sherry are doing what they love in the house. You guys inspire me to do find and do what I love in my house too! (and it’s not always the same as you or any other blog)
My parents held on to their two houses for over a decade each, and I still always heard “no, you can’t do that — it might ruin the resale value.” I had white walls as a kid, all the time, because of that. Everyone needs to make their house work for them. Unless that house is on the national historic register, I say purchasing the house means you can do what you love.
RK, I have NO idea why you read this blog. They are making their house, that they pay the mortgage on, theirs. If you aren’t a fan of their design choices go elsewhere. You aren’t being forced to stick around.
Also, this isn’t a ranch. And it is 80’s builder grade. Actually most of the new builder grade houses I see still have ugly wood trim in them. So don’t worry, there will still be plenty of houses around the country that you like.
RK had another comment above this one to Sherry that was decidedly unkind/sarcastic:
“And if it doesn’t, who cares? Just sell it off and ruin it for future homeowners like you did in the last two houses right?”
and then again here:
“why maintain an iota of warmth in the house when you can paint it white, right?”
I would not put myself in the category of an undying fangirl who loves everything John and Sherry do beyond reason and can’t hear a word in opposition to them. I come to the comments for discussion and to read all the differing opinions. But what I like about this blog is how nice everybody is here. You yourself, Gina, have shown yourself to be unusually capable of expressing shock, disappointment, even anger, in a fully respectful and kind way. And that’s SO nice.
John and Sherry are such nice, well-meaning people, it would be my hope that they would only receive dissenting comments such as yours. And I similarly appreciate your tone in response to my comment for the same reason.
But RK has clearly expressed that she doesn’t like their signature style that they’ve always had and that she is disappointed that they are employing it in their own house as they always have, and she is expressing these opinions not so kindly.
It both moves me to defend John and Sherry — not their style choices, but them personally — and to pose the obvious question about why RK is participating in an activity so eternally and essentially opposite to her preferences in the first place.
Thank god they are painting the wood – I think it makes the whole room look dark and dated! Cannot wait to see it all painted cause at the moment in my opinion it is not flowing overly well with the brown wood trim and beams!
Thanks for all the brickbats, ladies! I wasn’t aware that I had to follow a certain code when I post a comment (critical, rude or otherwise) on a “PUBLIC” Blog. I must have missed the memo!
With regard to whether or not I pay their mortgage, the answer is “NO” but yes, my clicks (along with a million other readers) do contribute to ad revenue which helps them pay their mortgage and enables them to live their dream life. I think even J&S would agree. Kudos to their hard work and smart work!
J&S must have really gotten very rich to be so disregardful of how their fan girls attack and bully people who post an opinion. This mob mentality is sickening. Just wanted to refer to the Instagram picture a few days ago of John & Burger when one follower wondered if J&S actually do anything at all and this whole army of fan girls descended down on her and forced her into an apology, which Sherry did not even acknowledge. So rude people & rude respondents to rude people all fall under the same bracket
And Sherry, this looks NOTHING like your original inspiration picture http://theyellowdoorpaperie.tumblr.com/post/7937128611
I’m sorry if you’re unhappy with some of these comments. As Sherry stated before, we too wish everyone could be considerate in the way they express their opinions. But it’s an impossible task to referee how people choose their words. I’m sure you appreciate having your comments and rebuttals posted without being censored, so we’re unsure why you’d imply that we should treat other comments differently. We have tried everything from being very involved in the discussions to being hands-off, and we’ve learned that people are just going to say what they want to say. There have been many great constructive discussions between disagreeing commenters on this site, but people do tend to match each other’s tone, so snide and sarcastic comments might be met with the same in return. We encourage everyone to be thoughtful and constructive in their comments, especially if they expect that from others.
I’m sorry if you felt my tone was rude. I really didn’t want to come off that way. I was curious as to what you thought the charm is that they are taking out. I don’t always agree with John and Sherry’s choices but I can’t be rude about it (Just like I would never say I hated my neighbor’s choice of colors) Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
Opinions are wonderful, rudeness is not. Again, I apologize if you have been offended by my comments.
I just wanted to say that your response struck the perfect tone. It was a well-written, gentle reminder that we should treat others as we would want to be treated.
In the future, when comment wars are brewing, maybe you and Sherry could post the direct link to what you wrote? It may prompt some folks to re-word their comments in a more constructive manner before hitting “Submit Comment.”
As an aside, I hate that kindness seems to be rare on the Internet. Because you are business owners, I *expect* you guys to treat your readers (i.e. customers) kindly. Just as you have every right to expect that I would treat you politely — even if we disagree. Neither of these things should be unusual, you know?
Thanks Jo. I like that idea!
It looks great!! Thanks for the video – I was wondering how white-washing works.
Love love love that pillow on the chair! Did you make it or was it a wonderful find! :-)
Thanks! That was from HomeGoods maybe 5 months ago?
Kudos to YHL for allowing this kind of discussion on their blog. It reminds me of my husband’s advice “There is only one right way to load a dishwasher, but more than one way to live a life.” Same for choosing our surroundings. For me, a 50+ year- old, YHL has given me the courage and knowhow for all sorts of home DIY, and that love of decor has extended to my 10 and 9 year olds.
S&J, as an aside, would you ever consider, as part of your standard wrapup, including the approximate amount of man hours to do the project. There are some things I’d like to do,, like paint a bathroom vanity, but my husband claims that it takes too long and that my time is more valuable. With the number of man ( person) hours, some of those projects would be easier decisions. Thanks!
That would be a fun stat to try to include when we can! Sometimes we offhandedly mention it, but even a “total hours” line would be nice!
Sarah H. says
Yay, I was waiting for you to do yours, so I can learn some tricks and copycat you with our fireplace brick. Can I ask why you opted to go the thinned paint route, over the lime and salt mixture I have seen on some tutorials? The lime one seemed somehow less scary and permanent to me….Paint idea has me shaking in my boots!
BTW, thanks to you guys, our awful fake wood grain bathroom vanity turned into a sexy siren last night, with a coat of primer and 2 coats of Benjamin Moore’s “Silhouette” – BEST color recommendation ever! It is truly gorgeous – moody, not too grey, not too brown, almost eggplanty perfection! I am now in LOVE with our tiny master bath that I have hated for the past four years! Thanks again guys.
Aw thanks Sarah! We just could find more pics/info on the latex paint route and we had that on hand so it seemed less intimidating to a used-to-paint girl like me. Haha! It was very easy to do!
The room is so transformed, I’d hardly recognize it as the same place!!!
You might consider filling the wood storage cubby with some really cool white birch logs, instead of closing up the hole. I think with the white washed finish, birch logs would look fantastic, and add more texture to the space. :-)
As always – great job!
That sounds charming!
Amy @ a new old house says
LOVE the whitewashed look! It seems to make the room look both longer & wider.
Love the whitewashed brick, especially when you round it out with bright white trim. Ah, ‘the progress’ stage, as you would say. I have faith the white trim will brighten this room up and give it that crispness. My eye is twitching just a little, wanting more pops of color above the mantel :). Nice job!
Awesome! Looks lovely. Note: “Midieval” is actually “Medieval”.
~Spelling Bee Champion, 1990 :)
I knew that looked wrong! Thanks SBC!
It looks great! I wouldn’t have imagined I like it that much! It also has helped me realize what I might do to my fireplace. I have one of those 70s “lumpy” brick fireplaces and the last owner painted it with a glossy white paint. I could never figure out whe bothered me about it but now I’m thinking it is the glossy I don’t like. With the lumpy brick I have a lot of “facets” to sparkle. I think I’ll take it down a notch with matte but now I wish it hadn’t been painted because it would look beautiful white washed.
Sarah D says
Beautiful! It makes the room look so much more cohesive.
The fireplace looks great. I read your 20 questions/answers on Sugarplum yesterday, then I saw this today in the Washington Post http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/capitalbusiness/itsugar-opens-in-chinatown/2013/08/16/a13ed78a-05ba-11e3-9259-e2aafe5a5f84_gallery.html#photo=2. I’m not sure if this link will take you directly to the picture, but its someone holding a 1.5 pound box of Nerds. A new candy store just opened in Chinatown called “It’s Sugar”. Next time you’re in DC you should stop by and get your Nerd on. Enjoy!
Hahaha, no way!
mary beth says
WOW. This room is so much more serene this way. Until you whitewashed it, I didn’t realize how jarring that brick was! Nice!
Are you still like the room color choice now that you’ve whitewashed the brick? Maybe it’s just the way it translates in the photos- but I feel like, maybe even more so with painting the trim white, that it’s maybe looking a little too whitewashed. My eyes were screaming for color a bit. Not that way in person? Maybe just add some color with art?
Oh yes, with textiles and art and accessories we can layer in a lot more color (we also mentioned wanting to paint the back of the build-ins on the other side of the room as well as the ceiling). I think this room has a long way to go! Who knows, maybe we’ll repaint it down the line, but for now we like the light walls since this room gets the least light in the house since the sunroom is off the back of it so it’s like a giant awning.
I agree – I don’t love the white with the paint color. IT’s weird because it looks so different in this room, but honestly, I’d think about picking a different paint if you want to stick with the white.
I am weirdly agreeing on the paint Color. I feel like the whitewash looks like white paint because the rest of the room doesn’t contrast it at all. Not sure what color I would choose, but something that contrasts a little more. My first thought is a lightish cool gray to bring out the warm colors in the brick. However I have a gray addiction so that might just be me. But something cool would be my impulse
Love it so very much! SO much better! Looks amazing good work! I just painted our 70s stone in our basement a while back. Used Annie Sloan Chalk paint to get that chalky look as well…http://realhomelove.com/mancave-reveal-ish-and-a-proposal-for-you/ I like how it turned out too!
Looks awesome Lindsay! That must have been a ton of work!
I am whitewashing my brick foyer today! I have never done it before and was a little nervous, but this looks soo easy. Thanks so much for posting this! I read your blog everyday, but this was serendipity to read this before I went to Lowes to pick up the paint. Good luck with all of your projects!
Love it! Where did you get the living room rug? Love that too…..
Thanks! It was from a local outlet in Richmond called The Decorating Outlet.
1000% improvement…………..I actually like the space next to the firebox. Great for stacking wood, which would add some interesting texture to the mix!
Looks nice. I vote for painting the trim white. I agree that it will make things fresh, clean and more open. Have you considered a reclaimed wood look for the mantel? It might be nice to have maybe a little gray undertone to it. It would give you some constrast and break up all the brick.
I did think about that but I wonder if we’ll like white better since it sort of looks like a big line through the room (so less contrast might help it layer into the room less “loudly”).
I came here just to comment this. I am with you on white trim everywhere but I love the look of the wood mantel and think you should wait to paint that last becuase I think it could be really pretty with everything else painted white.
That second washing did the trick! It almost looked like a bad paint job after the first one (from the pictures, anyway).
Is the floor more orange than the wood on the wall, or is that just because of the pictures?
In real life it’s exactly the same color (just must be the way light is bouncing around in the pics).
Now that’s better! Looks much more YOU now. Well done!
Mary | Lemon Grove Blog says
What a difference! That really lightens up the room a lot!
I actually like the hole in the fireplace, i would store wood in there… but if its gas there really is no point. In that case blankets! It looks great guys!
Looks great :)
I’m a white-trim girl… but I’m kind of on the fence with this room. I kind of like the contrast of the wood, whitewash and the color of the walls. But, I know I will love the crisp white trim, mantle, etc . . . when you do it ;)
Looks so much happier in there! I totally get the apprehension about painting wood trim, especially when it’s in good shape, but I absolutely LOVE crisp white trim. We live at the beach, and it’s totally the look we go for and most of our clients want to have their summer homes feel light and bright and soothing. Plus you never have to worry about your woods “clashing” :) I CANNOT wait to see your coffered ceiling ceiling!
Oh, I’ve been waiting for this post and it did not disappoint — it looks fantastic! We are considering whitewashing the brick exterior on our house (we’d leave it as is if the whole house was brick, but it’s just three sided brick with siding on the front, so we are thinking of painting the siding white and whitewashing the brick to make it more cohesive). Seeing your finished fireplace has pretty much sealed the deal!
It looks awesome, but I must confess: the makeover you did on your 1st house’s ( den? living room? ) was absolutely amazing! I never saw a room make the kind of transformation that one did, those colors were gorgeous! But this looks great!
That room is our favorite living room to this day! Although we have high hopes that when we’re done in here this one might hold a candle to it. Haha!
Looks awesome!! We have a split level home with brick on one portion of it. I’m wondering if this method would work on outside brick as well?? I’ve contemplated painting the brick outside, but the whitewash is so pretty!!
I don’t think water based paint would work outside, but maybe exterior paint would work? Or you could go with the traditional lime-wash thing (if you google that I hope info comes up for ya).
Christina P. says
Glad you asked because I want to paint our exterior brick too!
I dig the whitewash! The wood actually looks great against the white and neutral walls, now. At least leave the mantel unpainted!
I love the whitewashed brick, but I must say not a fan of the tan colour your have on the walls… maybe its better in person but all I see is old yellowed walls!
Still look forward to seeing it all come together though.
Sarah H. says
Looking Good!! Glad to read you are painting the beams and trim. I have been checking in everyday anxiously awaiting to see if you are painting them yet. We have dark wood beams in our living room. I have been forced (by my husband) to live with them for 7 years now. Just this past week I began to prime them to get ready for white paint. Man, that job is a beast! Any suggestions/tips since you’ve been down this road before? I did one coat of primer and the dark wood is still showing in places. Should I do more coats of primer and less coats of paint? Or vice-versa? What is your experience? Either way, I am loving it already! Thanks!
I think it’ll probably take us two coats of stainblocking primer and then 2-3 coats of white paint. It’s definitely rough while you’re doing it but so worth it when you’re done!
Personally I’m not a fan as I don’t like the contrast of the bricks to the white walls. If the walls were painted a different color, like grey, or that amazing teal blue from the guest room in your last house I’d be more in love.
Bottom line though, what makes you happy.
I think when the trim is painted that’ll be a game changer for the wall color (since the white trim and doors with this color in the foyer is so pretty to us). But who knows, we might end up repainting if once we paint the wood, the walls look off to us!
I agree with Robin about a bold paint color if you paint the wood white. I was thinking the color from the back of your bookshelves (I think it was called Firefly?) in House 2 would look really sharp.
Oh yes, we love us some Dragonfly!
Hmm definitely like this color in the foyer with the trim but hate it in here with the white you’ve added. As I’ve learned from you, colors can look completely different in different lights/parts of a house. Maybe it’s because this room doesn’t get much light?
By the way, I’ll admit I’m distraught you’re painting all that gorgeous wood– I’d love to see you work with it this time. But it’s your house, so just a suggestion to seriously rethink that wall color. The white paint and wall color and white stool and ivory ottoman are looking bleak. :|