I am channeling my inner Balki Bartokomous and doing the dance of joy! My fireplace and built-ins have gone from dark and depressing to crisp and gorgeous! I'm like a kid on Christmas right now, so here is the big reveal right here!
And here is what I started with:
I know some people would urge me to keep the warm wood on the built-ins and mantle and to leave the brown and grey fieldstone as is on the fireplace. I actually don't think they're that bad as is. If I had a really neutral palette in the den, it may have worked. But the colors along that wall mixed with the really beautiful and strong colors I have in the den (i.e., navy, grey, white, yellow and pops of turquoise and red) was like a visual cacophony: way too much. So to tone it all down, I knew painting the stone and wood all white would give me the exact look and feel that I wanted. And once I got the fireplace wall taken care of, I could turn to the wall color, which will be some tone of grey (the color of which I cannot decide until I have the white fireplace finished).
So first thing's first: prepping. I did what I always do when tackling a new-to-me project: I talked to my friends at Sherwin Williams and got their advice on how to paint the stone. First, I used Krud Kutter (which the guys at Sherwin just gave to me - nice!) to clean the stone. I could not believe the grossness that came off of those fieldstones. Look. bleh.
For the mantle and bookshelves, I followed the same steps I'd do if painting wood furniture. First I sanded the wood and then cleaned it off so that there was no dust or debris. Once my surfaces were prepped, the priming could begin! I used Zinsser oil based primer on the wood and Sherwin Williams Loxon Concrete & Masonry primer on the stone (this latex primer was specifically recommended by the guys at Sherwin). For the primer step on the wood, I used a throw away brush (I don't bother saving brushes used in oil paints) and for the stone, I used another cheap brush and a really thick mini roller - the thickest nap possible.
When the primer dried, I used Sherwin Williams Pro Classic paint (latex) in semi-gloss and tinted Dover White on both the wood and stone. The guys at Sherwin suggested I use that paint in both places. I really love the Pro Classic formula because it is self-leveling. I've had great luck with that paint on all of my painted furniture and trim. It's expensive but worth it. And if you can find it during one of their 30% or 40% off sales, all the better! Here's the space after a coat of primer:
For the top coats, I used the same technique as the primer: a mix of brushes and rollers. I broke out my good Wooster brush for the wood (as with the paint, it makes a difference) and used a dense foam mini roller. For the stone, I used the brushes and the thick nap mini roller. I really had to jam the roller and brush into the stone to get good coverage. . I painted on three coats of the Dover White on the wood and just two coats on the stone. I finished up the project by swiping on two coats of satin Polycrylic on the wood and a ton (like maybe 5 or 6) of very very thin coats of satin Polycrylic on the stone (the first coat went on too thick and yellowed - I sanded it off and started over). I'm hoping that the Poly on the stone will help keep the color and preserve the finish, since our kids love to play with their toys on and around the hearth (when the fire is not roaring of course!). I'll have to report back with how the paint holds up when we use the fireplace. My eventual plan is to frame out the stone with gorgeous millwork, but that's way down the line.
Here are a bunch more before and after pictures -- yay!
See you swoon,