Fireplace Fix-Up

Back in December, I gave my two fireplaces a quick makeover with paint. During the holidays, I didn’t get a chance to talk about the update here on IBC, so I thought today I’d share with you what I did and why I did it.

As you may know, there are two fireplaces in my home. One is on the first floor in the living room; the other is on the second floor in one of the guest bedrooms. Given that there are gas lines in both of the fireplaces, I assume that both were functional at one point. However, when I purchased the house, both gas lines were capped off, and the chimney was boarded up to prevent drafts.

When I was first transitioning this space a few years ago, I looked into getting the fireplace in the living room functioning again. The quote I got was high, plus I wasn’t a fan of the system they wanted to use. (Now, that really has nothing to do with today’s post other than the fact that part of the refurbishing process would have included replacing the tile around the fireplace.)

The tile around both fireplaces was in rough shape. That was another reason I wanted to give the fireplaces some attention. Not only did the color of the tile not work for the space, but it was also cracked, stained, and just generally not looking great.

While I assume the mantels, which are original to the house and almost 100 years old, could be removed so that I could replace the tile myself, I wanted to first figure out a plan for the actual fireplace in order to avoid removing the mantels twice or screwing up the tile when installing a fireplace insert.

In the meantime, the ugly tile was starting to drive me bonkers.

You may have never noticed, but several years ago, I painted the tile around the living room fireplace. It used to be a drab tan …

Fireplace Fix-Up |

(Sorry, I had a hard time finding photos. It seems I used to crop out the “ugliness.” [For good reason.] Ha!)

painted fireplace

… Now it’s the same color as the walls.

If you were paying extra close attention during my holiday home tour (bonus points to you), you might have notice that I painted the interior brick of the fireplace. Plus, I removed a piece of scalloped metal at the top of the fireplace. (Another detail that drove me crazy.)

Fireplace Fix-Up |

While it’s a small change, it made a big difference in the space.

Fireplace Fix-Up |

This recent change was made because I wanted black accents in the room.- I’m attempting to tone down my color palette a bit, and adding some black worked well when I decorated for the holidays this past year.

Although I did appreciate the charm of the black soot surrounding the untouched brick, it just wasn’t quite working with the rest of the room. With these two small changes, things look a lot cleaner.

Fireplace Fix-Up |

Now, you’re probably wondering about the paint. The tile wasn’t particularly glossy, so I didn’t do too much in terms of preparation. I did start with a primer. I used this Rust-Oleum Zinsser White Primer. Once that was dry, I chose to paint the tile with my wall color which is Aloof Gray from Sherwin Williams. I used their enamel paint in satin for a stronger finish. For the interior brick, I used Sherwin Williams enamel paint in satin again. The color is Black Magic.

Fireplace Fix-Up |

In addition, I purchased an iron fireplace grate to get the birch logs inside the fireplace off the floor. It just makes more sense this way. And it makes cleaning a bit easier. Even though the fireplace isn’t functional, I did get crafty and drill a few 1 1/2-inch holes into the logs. This allows me to tuck in tea lights to create a glow and flicker.

Fireplace Fix-Up |

Also, please don’t mind my lack of decor. I still haven’t “redecorated” after removing my holiday decor. I’m kind of enjoy the lack of “stuff”.

For the upstairs fireplace, I more or less did the same thing.

Fireplace Fix-Up |

As you can see, the tile “before” was pretty bad.

Fireplace Fix-Up |

I never showed it close up, but in addition to a few of the tiles being cracked, the finish on the tile was starting to look crackled. I’m not sure if this was intentional, but I wasn’t feeling it as it seemed to make the tile look dirty.

In this case, I just coated the tile with three coats of the white Rust-Oleum primer. Again, other than cleaning the tile, I didn’t do any prep work.

Since I still don’t have a clear direction for this space (after three years – ugh!), I wanted to keep it neutral. There’s nothing more neutral, fresh, and clean than white.

Fireplace Fix-Up |

Fireplace Fix-Up |

The interior brick in this fireplace was not soot covered, so I left it natural. Then, once the painting was done, to fill up the actual fireplace, I tucked in a few cacti / succulents that I brought in from my porch for the winter.

Fireplace Fix-Up |

Now, I know that’s not the best solution, but right now it works well for me. Fresh and clean!

Fireplace Fix-Up |

Also, before I sign off, can we quickly talk about the new artwork I have in this space? It’s actually the reason I decided to finally just paint this tile.

Fireplace Fix-Up |

This piece comes from Lindsay Letters. You probably remember me talking about her during my holiday home tour. She’s the person who creates and sells the Elf prints.

Fireplace Fix-Up |

Anyway, she kindly sent me this piece, and I’m just in love with it. It’s called Pink Bomb. It was photographed by Lark Photography, exclusively for Lindsey Letters.

Fireplace Fix-Up |

The image is this gorgeous bomb of smoke that starts with this beautiful orange-y coral color and eventually becomes a beautiful soft pink. Framed with a simple gold frame, it’s ideal for this space.

I do want to actually get it hung on the wall and pair it with a few more things on the mantel. One step at a time.

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The piece arrived back in November when I was struggling personally, and when I put it on the mantel for the first time, I sat back and cried. I tend to be an emotional / heart-on-the-sleeve person, but that was odd even for me. There was just something about the piece that touched me and gave me a little hope, not only for the space, but for life in general. (Thank you again, Lindsay.)

Fireplace Fix-Up |

If you want more details on this piece or want to learn more about Lindsay’s canvas and print work, hop on over to her site here.

Anywho, that’s my little (yet somehow long-winded) Fireplace Fix-Up. Isn’t it amazing what a few quarts of paint can do?

How do you think they look?

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Posted By at 5:42 PM
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  • Mridul Saikia at

    That’s a great share. Hope, I will do the same in my next vacation. Thanks for this cool information.

  • Maria Delwyn at

    Thank you for sharing. This is a great idea to welcome your friends in a beautiful space.

  • Norah Brown at

    Love the look. Need to find the triangle patterned rug in spring colors.

  • Greg at

    What an awesome end product, I love the white finish to the fireplace and how it really opens up the room, great job!

  • John Dean at

    This is beautiful. I like it, thanks Michael for your innovative article.

  • Mae at

    where can I find that rug with the geometric triangles I could not find it @ CB2 . Do you know the name of the rug??? It would be perfect for my bohemian family room
    many Thanks

  • Elise at

    That pink smoke print is beautiful! What a striking piece!

  • Tracey (From KY) at

    I love what you’re doing in both spaces! I painted my downstairs red brick fireplace white a few months ago and just love it!

    Can you please tell me where you got the coffee table in the guest room? I really like that!

  • Gwen at

    I think it looks fantastic, Michael. I think there is something very emotional about that pink bomb photograph…

    I love the cactus there. It’s an unexpected and vibrant touch!



  • Heidi at

    Great job – they both look so fresh! And the art as well! May I ask what you cleaned the interior of the firebox with before painting? I need to do the same with one of mine and have been looking at different ideas to just cover up the bad. Thanks!

  • Colleen at

    I love receiving your newsletter in my inbox, Michael! I wish you could come to my house and do some decorating for me! I love absolutely everything that you’ve done to your place. I have a question. Where did you get your grey knitted poufs? I love them!

  • Patricia at

    Can i say that I cannot stop saying “pink bomb”? I love the painting and those two words just make my day!!!
    I love the crisp clean look of your fireplace redo’s. I hate the sooty backs of fireplaces and for functional fireplaces i am so glade they make hi temperature spray paint that can be used to to even out that whole mess. Call it OCD, but it just makes me feel better.

  • Candice at

    Love your fireplace! We recently moved into a house that has the worlds worst tile on a fireplace: cheap purple/burgundy porcelain 6″tiles. In the dining room – can’t miss it. Now I have a solution until I can decide what to do permanently.

    Also love the pink bomb print. My new house is apparently 8 miles from Lindsay Letters! Thank you so much for the introduction to a wonderful shop!

  • Vanessa at

    I love what you have done…both fireplaces are beautiful….I ADORE paint! 🙂 Also, I love the Pink Bomb piece. I see the emotion in it…I felt the hope and for me it seems like feeling of freedom, or a release. I am also a very emotional person…I get it! Beautiful!

  • Barb Feidler at

    Love the fireplaces. I frequented the Brusselles St store when both you and Dolly had the stores at the B &B. Question: My house was built in 1991 – a trilevel. I have a woodburning fireplace variegated beige, soft pink and white brick…very muted natural look. I need to replace my glass fireplace screen. Where can I find a modern screen? Any suggestions as to finish? It is so dated right now with the antique brass!! Wish I would have thought to ask you at Camilla’s birthday party!

    • Michael Wurm, Jr. at

      Hey Barb! Crate and Barrel has a great selection. Maybe a oil rubbed bronze would be a nice option for you!

      xo Michael

      • Barb Feidler at

        Great Michael! I like that finish! I will check out Crate and Barrel! Thanks!

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