What better way to start off February than with a quick project recap for you all! If you’ve been following along for awhile or follow me on social media you’ll know my fireplace has gone through many stages over the last three years of owning our home.
Let’s take a trip down memory lane! When we moved into our 1960’s home, we had a red/orange, floor to ceiling, bulky hearthed fireplace. This feature was not original to the house, but added probably sometime in the 70’s (according to county auditors record permits). Which makes total sense because the exterior chimney brick is not the same brick that was used on the front facade (I limewashed the exterior here). Immediately, I knew something needed to be done about how bold and dingy the fireplace looked! One feature I had always hated was the mantle. The positioning was far too high and it wasn’t very deep. Both these “issues” presented challenges when decorating the mantle.
After white washing (1/4 white latex paint, 3/4 water) the brick, I was much more content with its appearance, but it still wasn’t exactly my taste. In all honesty, we have never used the fireplace in three years primarily because of safety concerns. It probably needs a good professional cleaning and inspection, but it’s just never been a priority to have a fire. It's funny to look back at how much our home decor style has changed and matured since moving into our home with our one bedroom apartment decor and furniture!
About a year ago, we realized we had a major issue. The fireplace installation was done poorly and the floor was not reinforced beneath the hundreds of pounds of brick which over time caused the joists to slip off the footing (it is a crawl space beneath the fireplace room). It was a really unfortunate finding. So our temporary solution (as I’m currently pregnant and not looking to undergo major projects, especially in the winter) was to remove the upper half, which was pulling away from the wall, likely from the floor sagging. Some might think we’re crazy for undoing such a “beautiful” fireplace, but there are bigger safety concerns. Ultimately, we removed a significant amount of weight off of the already compromised floor joists and spruced up the top and mantle. I would not be sad if we ended up removing the fireplace entirely, but next summer we will tackle removing the remaining brick, fixing the fallen footer situation and rebuilding the lower half out of wood (the top will stay as is and the new bottom will blend right into it).
This project was honestly one of the more simple projects I’ve completed in our home and my husband managed to remove the top portion in less than an hour (if that gives you any indication as to how unsound it was). I find the new look to be less ‘in your face’ than the original. If you’re curious about my paint choices my wall color is Behr Natural Grey and the white I use throughout the entire house is Behr Polar Bear. It’s a perfect neutral white without a blue or yellow undertone.
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