I recently got the wild hair to strip our fireplace. It’s actually something I’ve wanted to do since day one but didn’t quite have the time in the initial renovation process. Ever since then I’ve wondered what the wood actually looked like under the paint. It was painted white when we purchased the house but the paint was yellowed and worn. We slapped a fresh coat of paint in a bold gray on the mantel and called it a day. Over the last year or two I’ve found myself moving away from grays and into warmer tones. The fireplace was the last little bit of gray that was hanging around our home. It wasn’t until our trip to the west coast last month that really had me thinking. I loved our trip to northern California but it was there that I really felt my love of the east coast and our home was solidified. I’ve always had a soft spot for New England in particular. Ever since Josh and I visited Boston for the first time a number of years back I dream of muted colors, cedar shake siding and early American style. I suppose it’s only fitting that we own a classic colonial and so many of the design aspects that I love about New England homes can be implemented right here at home. With that said, it brings me to our fireplace.
A while back I came across this photo of designer Kirsten Marchand’s fireplace and I’ve had it tucked away ever since. I love the rich tones of the brick paired with the classic greenish/beige trim and the warm off-white walls. It just classic perfection in my opinion. The wall color looks so close to the wall color in our family room which attracted me to the photo even more. It was after seeing this photo that I decided to a new paint color was in order for our fireplace. With fall right around the corner I thought, what better time than now?
After a little time went by curiosity got the best of me. Instead of painting the mantel I decided that it was worth seeing what was underneath all of that paint first. I went to Lowes and purchased Citrus Strip, a paint stripper that is same to use indoors, and went home and started stripped the fireplace. I’ve stripped several furniture pieces in the past and knew that this was no easy undertaking. I still felt that it would be worth exploring. Although it was quite a lot of hard work and time I’m so glad I did it. Our old fireplace is made of oak and was probably pretty perfect in it’s day. For a couple of days I decided to opt to leaving the natural wood exposed. It wasn’t until I worked my way towards the top of the mantel that we discovered some damage that wouldn’t refinish well and came to the conclusion repainting the mantel was probably our best option for a clean and classic look.
Here’s a look at the mantel before I began. I know some of you will be sad to see the gray go. Not everyone loves the warmer colors as much as I do and that’s okay!
In the last week I’ve purchased several sample paint colors and I may share each of them with you later if I can snap a photo of them in the day time but as of now I believe we’ve settled on this particular color by Benjamin Moore called Gray Mirage.
If you notice, we also decided to strip the paint from the brick as well. Since the mantel was going to be repainted I decided I’d bring some warmth into the space through the natural brick. I just love the richness of it. I used Citrus Strip on the brick as well and although it was quite tedious, I think it was well worth it.
The mantel still needs a considerable about of sanding and prep work before it’ll be ready to paint but I’m looking forward to wrapping this project up. I knew that it would take some time to complete but boy did I under estimate the mess. I’m dying to have my family back to normal again. Charlie has had his first full days of homeschooling this week, so my work time has been drastically cut during the week. I’m still working out this new schedule and I’m still getting used to it. My goal after painting the mantel is to take on the task of painting the trim in the family room the same color. I love the warm cottage like feel that warm painted trim brings to a space. Below I’ve got a few inspiration photos that show the feel I’m going for with the fireplace and trim.
These two fireplaces in particular give me all the cozy vibes with such a historic feel. One of my favorite things about New England is the rich history around every corner.
Each one is very traditional with a warm cozy feel. I want to make sure that the space doesn’t become dated so I plan on using a lot of crisp fabrics. I can’t wait to share the finished fireplace with you. I’ll also share more of the actual process of stripping the mantel and brick. Until then, I’ll be sanding and painting away! Have a great rest of the week everyone.