I’m starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel on some of our new home projects. It’s been a patience growing time for sure but it’s worth it now seeing things starting to come together. One of the very first projects I took on was this fireplace makeover. I wanted an instant gratification project to get me motivated and this fireplace makeover totally was that. The two main things I did was paint the mantle (we plan to have hardwood floors in here and with the wood beams and windows we were feeling like there was a lot of wood) and then add a white mortar to brighten up the brick. I love brick, well pretty brick, and I liked the color of the actual brick just not the yellowish tan mortar that was used on it.
Before beginning, I vacuumed the brick and wiped down the mantle. I prepped the mantle with a light sanding and did another wipe down with a deglosser. Then I taped it off so I wouldn’t get paint on the bricks. I painted it with Behr Ultra Pure White in interior semi-gloss enamel. It was straight off the shelf, but I always have them shake it up for me at the store. For a piece like this, I paint an area of it with a brush and then go over what I can with a roller so it looks nice and smooth.
It took me three coats to get the coverage I wanted. Now, I think two coats would have been okay, but I’m picky and really wanted it fully covered. I also did two coats of matte polycrylic on the top shelf to protect it from all the things that would be placed on it.
For the mortar I found this at Lowes. It was the only white mortar that wasn’t in a giant bag. I could have tried somewhere else, but I just bought it and gave it a try. I used a plastic bucket and mixed up a little bit at a time with water. This allowed me to work in small sections without it all drying up in the bucket. Oh, and as always, I went for a peanut butter consistency of the mixture before applying.
I used a small plastic spatula to put the mortar on the cracks. I thought about using a grout bag and piping in on the lines like I have done on brick backsplashes, but this was such a large area I felt this would be easier.
This method worked well and let me be a bit creative with the placement and such.
As you can see, it looks kind of messy and lumpy after first applied.
Once I had done a small area I went over the mortar with a damp sponge. I tried just dabbing it with the sponge and then I tried gently wiping over it. I ended up preferring how it looked when I gently wiped it. I was able to finish this mortar part in about four hours and that included going to pick up my kids from school. It went a lot faster than I thought it would for sure. I have done quite a few backsplashes and other similar projects so I felt really confident in what I was doing and with the material I was working with.
It brightened up the room so much and we are all so happy with it. I also like that if I wanted to add more mortar later for a german schmear look or even paint the brick I can still do that. We have had about 8 fires since I finished this and so far it’s holding up really well. I’m aware that I might have to freshen it up periodically, but I’m okay with that. That’s part of having a real fire no matter what the brick/mortar is. After I did the fireplace I painted all the trim and walls and have decorated some. We even changed out that old ceiling fan last weekend, after I took these pictures of course lol. So the last two big items is to figure out that track lighting situation above the fireplace (we are considering can lighting so it doesn’t compete with the main light) and then to get the flooring changed. My girls are loving the carpet for now though. They think it’s so soft! And I’m glad they are enjoying the comfort of it 😉