Tackling a Two-fer: Updating 80s Honey Oak and Old Red Brick

Master Fireplace Final w FireWhat a combination – it must have been awesome in the 80’s!  Though I’m sure it was nice once, our Master Bedroom fireplace decked out in dated honey-stained oak mantle and old red brick has been crying for a facelift.  My first instinct was to go solid, traditional white for the most serene presence in the sleeping quarters … though the more I thought about it (and stared blankly at it, looking for inspiration) – the more I knew that this wonderful feature of our home deserved a more interesting treatment.  I’m thinking soothing, serene Master Retreat… ahhh!!!

We’ve been replacing the carpet room by room, and this one was my first priority.  It’s now outfitted in a super soft, dove white berber that makes me feel like I’ve entered a quiet palace of peace every time I enter the room.  The walls were already a beautiful creamy white, and in pretty good shape – which is saying a lot, since every other room had to be painted post-haste.   Master Fireplace BeforeSo with these elements already in place, I decided to keep the Master very neutral, white-on-white with touches of grey for a soothing Scandinavian style.

The interior of the fireplace has nice, vanilla (in a good way ;) beige bricks – though against the red bricks outside, and the honey wood tone surround, the fireplace is about the least soothing aspect of this room.  Clashy McClashy, for sure – yet it was still a high selling point that sealed the deal on this house for me.  A gas-log fireplace in the Master is kind of a dream-come-true bedroom feature, in my book – especially now that we live in a  famously cold-wintery place.

To get the show on the road, I started with a coat of a neutral, medium grey chalk paint, evenly coating the entire mantle. The best thing about chalk paint is that there’s really no prep required.  Just whip out your brush and get to it!

Now the Color Clash was really getting wild.  To tone it down and work toward that soothing retreat feeling, I took two $3 pots of regular latex wall paint from LowesMaster Fireplace Paint Pots (love these Valspar samples!) in subtle shades of linen white and very light, off-white creamy gold.  I dry-brushed these colors randomly onto the bricks, with various amounts of coverage, sometimes even layering the two colors here and there to create harmony between the two shades, and continuity with the interior brickwork.

I wanted a soft look, though with a bit of contrast against the white walls and carpet – and at this point, the grey of the mantle was a bit too stark for me.  Using two clean rags – one for applying and one for wiping – Master Fireplace Wax Closeup I swabbed the mantle with Folk Art white antiquing wax from Joann’s.  This piece is pretty angular, so there were large flat swaths where I just rubbed in the wax to soften the color and get a slightly time-weathered look.  Where the mantle has detail, I took some care to draw out the highlights with the wax, and wipe away any wax that got into the crevices and deeper sections of the woodwork, to create additional depth.

Master Fireplace Corner ChairOnce the application was complete, the paint and the wax were already dry, so I took the opportunity to light up the gas and get a warm, welcoming fire going… in now what is a cozy, comfortable reading nook that’s much easier on the eyes.

Mission Accomplished!  I can’t wait to snuggle in with a good book and a blanket here once we get our first snow this winter.

What’s calling for a facelift in your home?  What feeling are you going for with your latest project?  Do tell!  And please join in the conversation on Facebook, too!

Love and light,

Samadhi  ✷