Tag Archive for: whitewashing fireplace

What Do People Want When Buying A House?

A realtor visited  my house to pick up something and she paused to look at my gardens (really a yard at this point with bunch of beds, it’s a work in progress!) and remarked – “You know, most people don’t want all this. Too high maintenance.” Well, perhaps. Though trust me, I don’t want to spend all my waking time in the garden either. I am game for deadheading roses which rewards you so richly with new blooms shortly afterward. Fertilizing, mulching, trimming and buying annuals are a given but beyond that, I hope I am done. One of the things that sold our previous house was actually our yard, the buyers loved the swath of rhododendrons I had planted and mix of boxwoods with knockout roses. So who is right?

A 2018 survey conducted on behalf of National Association of Landscape Professionals found that millennials value the outdoor space and green lawns prioritizing it so much that it ranked 2nd after remodeled kitchens. Most millennials have at least one child, entertain outside and relax at home so an inviting garden and outdoor feature such as a patio, fireplace or firepit or terrace were high on the wishlist.

Another theme that stays constant in pretty much every survey is that millennials do not want to buy fixer uppers like generation before. They are not interested in spending weekends working on projects and are looking for low maintenance, smart, energy efficient homes. While that does sound lovely, they don’t want to pay extra for any of these features. I don’t think there’s ever been a generation that says oh boy, let me spend my free time working on the house. Rather you get the house that it’s big enough and hopefully in a good location and then you slowly go about fixing it up adding sweat equity. So perhaps not surprisingly over 60% of the millennials regret their house purchase according to this study by Bankrate.

  • they underestimate maintenance costs
  • buying a home too small in size
  • picking a poor location

One of the projects I undertook in our previous house was white washing the fireplace.

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Before

 

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After

 

How to whitewash a brick fireplace.

Most homes built around 70s-80s usually have a brick fireplace with colors of brick varying anywhere from orangey-red to black-brown-red. It automatically dates the room and looks drab. One fairly “easy” fix is to whitewash the fireplace, it will instantly change the room for brighter and lighter. However, it is time consuming and can be bit frustrating depending how porous or dark your fireplace is. But it is definitely doable! I’ve whitewashed 2 fireplaces as our current house and previous house each had dark bring fireplaces. Here’s how I did it.

Our last house had a fireplace that looked like this.

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I mixed equal parts of white latex paint and water, stirred and stirred. Covered up all surfaces, got a sponge and a rag and went at it. I sponged the mixture on the bricks, then dabbed the drips with the rag. Sore shoulders – check. I waited a day and let the brick absorb it. I don’t have an in between photo but the brick does absorb a lot of paint. So much so that I had to do a second coat. The, however, it looked too painted and uniform, so I got my sander out and sanded a few areas down. Hello dust!!!! Here’s the after.

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It’s our listing photo, so all crap has been cleared away but it does make a huge difference, doesn’t it.

On to our current (and forever) house.

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As soon as I saw the fireplace, I knew I would have to whitewash it. However, unlike the other fireplace which was built out of interior brick (brownish) this most was mostly red with black. Our chimney sweep said that’s the exterior brick. Anyhuuu. This was one SO difficult. I can’t even. It took my well over a week and I was really panicked because no matter what I did, it looked bad. I started with 1/3 white latex paint I had left over and 2/3 water. I ended up with light pink fireplace. Girls were thrilled. I did half and half and ended up with pink-purple fireplace.

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No honey, there’s no dinner as I have spent all day painting our fireplace purple. So bad. Bad bad purple. Slept on it and decided to add a bit of warm beige on my current white paint-water mixture.

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Better but decidedly yellow-ish. Everyone told me it looks fab and begged me to stop. So I did. But it bothered me. Every single day. It just wasn’t right. I figured if I made the water mixture whiter, got the brush out and painted ALL the grout lines, it might look better. It did. BUT it drips everywhere and I have myself a serious carpal tunnel with this. It still wasn’t what I wanted so I ended up getting my sander out and went to town on all those overly yellow areas, concentrating on the edges. It took hours, 7 sander pads (brick eats though it) and 2 days of cleaning all the dust off. It literally got everywhere and I hadn’t thought to cover anything up. I know.

So this is the after. Sorry, its not the greatest photo. I’m looking for a round mirror to go where the wreath is and need a carpenter to redo the mantle so I haven’t taken any photos. However, it is so much better than the original. Ideally, I’d love to do a limestone veneer over it but that has to wait a bit.

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Before

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After

So what do you think? Would you whitewash your fireplace?

 

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-haiku