Navy Blue Brick Fireplace

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We moved into our home over three years ago and we’re just starting to make our house a home.  Have you ever done that? Just move in? Well our furniture has been a mish-mosh of hand me downs and left overs from college apartments.  We bought a cheap sofa when we moved in, that did NOT coordinate with an oversized chair or rug. We live in a split level home so the living room is a real challenge to arrange furniture.  With the open concept kitchen, living and dining room, I knew I wanted furniture that would live harmoniously with all three rooms. I also knew the living room needed a pop of personality. And what to do with that red brick fireplace?  

Classic red brick.  I wanted to white wash the brick but the previous owners had a pellet stove insert, fixed to the brick with a thick, black adhesive.  I suppose they took the insert with them when they left and just left us with the glue! We considered replacing the insert, but we ended up getting an infrared electric stove.  The infrared was a safe option for little hands, because it never gets hot to the touch, it was also about a tenth of the cost of a fireplace insert. Anyway, back to the glue. I tried various recommendations on how to remove the adhesive, but ultimately I found that chiseling it off proved most effective.  Goo gone worked on some of the smaller spots too. I cleaned the entire brick with a vinegar and water solution, scrubbing with a brush. After a final rinse with clean water and 24 hours of drying time, I realized the brick was discolored where the adhesive had been. I knew I would need to paint the brick, but white washing wasn’t going to be an option.  I had decided on an olive gray, navy or classic white.

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Fireplace Before

Classic red brick

You guys, I think everyone thought I was crazy.  I thought I was crazy… But when there’s a vision there’s a way!  I charged forward and bought NAVY blue paint- Sherwin Williams Naval to be exact.  With the fireplace prepped and ready to go, I taped off the floor and surround.  I don’t normally use a drop cloth, but I did with this project. I picked Behr paint + primer, with a satin finish.  The brick immediately soaked up the paint, so it required two good coats. Because of the texture of the brick, I used a masonry roller for most of the painting, and a 2 inch brush to trim and smooth out the edges.  I was pleased with the results during the process, but I was so nervous to put the room back together. It was now evident that the rest of the room needed a fresh coat of paint. I was planning to paint anyway since our whole house was a basic contractor’s off white color.  The fireplace is surrounded by beadboard, so I gave it a fresh coat of white (COLOR), covering discoloration and knots that were bleeding through. The rest of the room is open concept with the dining room and living room, so I chose a neutral gray. It gave the room a fresh look, while keeping it neutral and bright.

The navy blue fireplace was definitely a risk, and to be honest I didn’t love it at first.  I seriously contemplated going back to the paint store. Once the room was painted, I had a vision of how I wanted to decorate so I kept going. I had envisioned a large round mirror over the mantel.  Every mirror I found was too large for the space, and I ultimately found the perfect color and fit at Target! To provide some texture and a pop of color to the mantel, I decided to put together a collection of vases, baskets and plants.  I found these adorable belly baskets at Walmart, vases were from Target in the after Christmas sale, and all of the plants I scooped up at Lowes!

We traded in our hand-me-down furniture for a fresh sofa and loveseat- a neutral gray color, accented with patterned blue pillows.  I tied the furniture and the fireplace together by grounding the room with a dark blue/gray area rug and I couldn’t be happier with the way the room turned out.  There’s a spot next to the fireplace that I plan to put a small writing desk for my laptop. I love the whole room and I’m so happy with how it all came together.  Sometimes it’s worth taking a risk on a bold paint color! My next paint project? I cannot wait to get my hands on a funky stencil for the fam cave!

Happy creating!