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At Home with the Kings – Whitewashing Made Simple

Our home was built in 1991 and when we purchased it in 2008 there were many things that needed to be updated. The house had a lot of late 80’s/ early 90’s finishes and many of the walls were painted a color I like to refer to as “contractor beige”. We went room by room repainting and changing our hardware on the doors and cabinets.

Front of home in 2008
2008
Front of home in 2020
2020

We did a small redecorating project the year after porter was born (2016) to update some of the paint colors and the living room furniture. Everything just needed a small refresh. Later that year we had a small leak coming from out AC that leaked under the flooring and resulted in us having to replace almost all of the flooring in our house. It was an enormous renovation but really changed up the look of our house.

Living room in 2008
Original Picture of the fireplace when we purchased in 2008
2009
Living room in 2020
2020

The redecorating changes we had made in 2016 all flowed with the new flooring. The only thing that didn’t was the brick fireplace. When Justin and I purchased this house the two things that stood out to me were the windows looking into the pond and the fireplace. We have cathedral ceilings and the fireplace goes all the way to the roof making it a beautiful focal point of the house. The brick was the same color as the brick on the outside of my house which is a terracotta orange color. When the flooring was light tan it worked but when we changed everything to gray it made the brick look pink which I didn’t like.

I wanted to do something to soften the color but not totally cover the brick. I love the fireplace and the brick so I wanted the elements to stay the same without totally changing the way that it looked. I did a lot of research on Pinterest about what would be the best way to accomplish what I wanted and whitewashing seemed like the best option.

Fireplace

Whitewashing is a ratio of water to paint, typically one part paint to one part water. It’s a great option for things like brick and wood because you still see the beauty of the texture just slightly covered up. I tried out a few different ratios of my paint and water mixture and settled on two parts water to one part paint.

This ratio gave me the look that I wanted but was very watery. It did add a little additional time to the project being that applying it was messy and time consuming. I decided to break the fireplace into four sections to make it more manageable.

For the items that I used:

  • White Masonry paint
  • distilled water
  • paint bucket that was washable
  • 1.5″ paint brush for brick
  • white rags
  • bleach and water mixture to clean

Step One

The very first step was to clean the brick. I used a mixture of bleach and water and cleaned everything with a rag.

Step Two

I taped off the floor and decided on the sections I was going to do. I started with the hearth first which ended up being on of the harder parts.

Fireplace

Step Three

I mixed a small amount of whitewash each time. 1 cup of paint to 2 cups of water. I mixed it in the paint bucket with a whisk.

Step Four

I would dip my paint brush into my whitewash and let it drip for a few moments. With medium pressure I would apply it to a 12″ section of my brick and allow to dry for 30 seconds. I would then wipe off the whitewash with a rag in slow, even strokes going in the same direction as I did with the paint brush.

Fireplace

Issues and Tips

One issue I encountered was the thinness of the paint causing drips. Just be cautious when you are painting and look for drips. When I would see them I corrected them with the rag rather than the brush.

I also changed out the rag of cleaned it about half way through each section. As if collected more and more paint it was not giving me the same look on the brick so I would wash it out for consistency.

The easiest part of the entire process was the clean up. Because the paint was watered down everything washed right out of the bucket, rags and paintbrush.

Fireplace
Fireplace
Fireplace

We recently got a new sound bar that needs to be installed so there is a small art of unfinished brick that still remains. Why does it feel like home improvement projects never end?

Tiffany

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