October 18, 2019

How To: We painted our fireplace at the river black!

The first time we stepped inside our river house — it was the initial viewing — I immediately knew I wanted to paint the fireplace hearth black, even before we decided to put an offer on the home.

Above, you can see the original firebox and hearth — both in solid condition, but a mix of three different colors if you count the white exterior. Since March, we've mainly been getting used to the house as it is and slowly bringing in furnishings as we figure out how we want to best use each room. Now, we're ready to make some smaller updates and with the weather beginning to turn are focusing on the inside. All of this is to say, I made those dreams of a solid black firebox a reality last week.

For now, the living room has wall to wall carpet. While it wouldn't have been our ideal choice for flooring, it's a quality carpet and we're embracing it while we have a baby that's right on the verge of crawling. The fireplace is a painted brick that anchors the room and we both wanted to be able to enjoy wood burning fires over the autumn and winter months in this home, so we decided to have the entire chimney inspected. It turns out, it hadn't really been touched since the 40's and needed interior resurfacing along with a few other updates to be brought up to today's code for safely enjoying fires.

Once the updating was complete, you better believe I pulled out the can of black paint the very next day. Painting a fireplace is so straightforward and a quick, satisfying project — the challenge around here these days is finding solid blocks of time to get projects done while caring for a baby. The only supplies we used were a high heat paint made to withstand the intensity of a fire and two budget touch-up brushes.

How to paint a fireplace:
  • Clean the fireplace and hearth completely of any debris so you're left to paint onto a smooth surface. A broom or vacuum will do just the trick.
  • Open the windows to provide ventilation before opening paint.
  • Using the tip of the brush bristles, paint the mortar joints first then smooth over the bricks with a thick coat of paint. 
  • Touch up any exposed areas in the mortar and bricks (a heavy dip of paint will get into all those nooks and crannies), followed by a second full coat to smooth over and finish the bricks with clean paint lines.
  • Allow the paint to dry for 48 hours before using the hearth.
We also painted the fireplace grate using the same exact paint in a spray version.

It's amazing how much a fresh coat of paint can make something feel brand new. Once we put the painted grate back into the fireplace, everything felt so slick. Now! I'll be on the hunt for a fireplace screen (got any suggestions?) so we can enjoy a fire in the near future.

Want to see me paint this fireplace in a matter of minutes? Watch the time lapsed version of the entire project right here on our Instagram highlights. Also! Come tour the complete river house in this post and see more of what we're up to in this home here.

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