I’ve been teasing it, and you’ve seen it a lot at this point, but we haven’t discussed it yet. The fireplace has finally found it’s groove and is now the focal point of the room! And all it took was some paint.
It’s always a hard decision to paint over wood for me. But this was just waaaaay to orange of a wood. Remember what it used to look like in all it’s chippy varnish glory?
I also wasn’t really sure how to style it yet obviously. I think subconsciously I was trying to distract from the mismatch of orange wood up against bright red brick. But it grew up and has on it’s little black dress now! I chose black simply because it felt different and I have a love affair with black. I was originally considering white and white washing the brick a bit, but that is the norm – the thing you see the most. It’s certainly not bad! There is a reason it’s so popular after all. I just wanted something different.
My change in color choice happened when we decided not to bring the TV back upstairs after the kitchen renovation. I had been planning for so long to put the TV over the fireplace and how I wanted it all to look together, that when we changed the equation it got me thinking of the space differently. It was the creative charge I needed! The TV wouldn’t be the focus anymore, and having the fireplace black wouldn’t be too much black all in one spot with a TV over it. The fireplace could be free to do it’s own thing and be the star!
I came back to this main inspiration photo I have loved for awhile, and shared in the Christmas decor inspiration post a month ago. It just looks soooooo good by itself with minimal decor and feels so elevated. Bonus… it just makes that Christmas garland pop like nothing else too! I wanted that for my Christmas decor!
So here we go! Just after we finished cleaning up Thanksgiving dishes and scuttled everyone out of the house, I pulled a bit of the living room apart so I could get started on the fireplace the next day. I couldn’t contain my excitement. I was also just coming off of our high speed kitchen reno sprint to the finish and Thanksgiving dinner hosting. So I didn’t know what else to do with myself at that point other than just keep doing all the things.
First, I used an orbital sander with a lower grit paper to get rid of the varnish, and hand sanded the detail sections to rough them up for paint. Next, I caulked the edges to give them a cleaner, finished look.
Once I cleaned away the sanding dust, it was smooth sailing with three coats of paint. I used Black Mocha by Behr, which matches our kitchen cabinets. I didn’t want to do an obviously different black since both the cabinets and fireplace can be seen in the same eye line.
And voila! A beautiful little black fire place! I actually like photographing that side of the room now. (Yes… I finally got rid of the Christmas tree… our neighborhood pick up didn’t come until this week!)
It also looked quite wonderful for Christmas too. I might have gone overboard this year for Christmas mantle decor… but can you blame me?!
Once Christmas was over, I wanted to style this thing in a way it deserved. Not just lean every print I own that I don’t know what else to do with on there. I was more thoughtful this go around.
My biggest annoyance doing this though was with the outlet that is centered just above the mantle. Like…. WHHHHHYYYY!!!! I can understand it’s probably nice if you have something plugged in up there. But UGH! RIGHT IN THE CENTER! Doing a symmetrical layout would seem like the best answer, but I couldn’t get anything symmetrical that looked like me because it kept looking too formal. I typically ALWAYS do a-symmetrical layouts. But having that outlet in the center made it really challenging. Well… I think I got it!
With the mirror in the center, I leaned one large frame on one side overlapping the mirror to add some depth. To balance out the large thing on the right side, I added three tall candle sticks to the left. Even though they aren’t as large as the frame, the darker color has a heavier visual weight making it feel balanced. Then I filled in around the center with two small planters to hide the outlet, add some organic features to break up the hard lines of all the other elements and tie in the black of the candle sticks. Oh, and my cool bubble thermometer thing had to stay, of course! It mimics the tall, slender shape of the candlesticks on the other side. After some playing and scooching, I finally got things in just the right spot that you can’t see that blasted outlet unless you go up to the side of the fireplace. I’m so proud of me 😀
Now I find myself thinking about what I could do to the tile on the hearth. I could stencil it to save some money, or maybe just put new tile down? If so, what kind? This classic look is so striking too! Also, do I want to keep the brick red or do something with it? Is black washing a thing? I’ve seen other brick surrounds painted black and I don’t hate it, but I don’t want to just jump to it because there is no going back after you paint brick. Obviously, this was just a phase one paint job with more to come!
This week has also seen a couple more changes to the room. As I said before, the Christmas tree is finally gone, leaving that corner completely open now. I’m toying around with a couple ideas for there that won’t take the focus away from the beautiful star we’ve been discussing this whole time. We also got a new rug for the room, one that actually fits the size of the space! It was a STEAL for a 9×12! You have to go check out the price. There is a reason you see this rug everywhere…
Now, let’s just take one more look at the difference a little paint can make. Ahhhhh…. it’s starting to come together!
I’m sure this space is going to evolve even more this year since it’s been neglected the whole time we’ve lived here. I’m so excited about solving each little challenge it has to throw at me! Although, please no more outlets in the center of a mantle. Just say no!
Last modified: February 1, 2018