BFHU – the fireplace

A budget friendly house update (BFHU) for the fireplace.  Here are the details of my experience, and some super simple directions for whitewashing brick.


It was a tough decision whether or not to paint the brick fireplace.  While we love the look of natural stone and brick, our fireplace was just not working.  And those mirror tiles in the back of the shelves… wow.

I started by getting rid of the mirror tiles, which came down surprisingly easily.  And to our   surprise we found that the wall was made of thin wooden planks and was signed and dated by prior owners!  Super cute.  After removing the tiles I sanded the wooden planks a bit to remove any leftover sticky from the mirrors and wiped away the dust with a damp rag.

With the wall prepped I wanted to start painting straight away.  Literally could not wait, so I used some white paint we had leftover from painting trim around the house (Benjamin Moore Regal Select in White with Pearl Finish).


And when I was done it looked SO MUCH BETTER! … but still didn’t feel quite right :-/


(Still less than good, huh?  Yah, I was a bit bummed too.)

All that work, and it still felt like a cluttered mess with no clear style direction.  Sigh.  But that was about to change.  My mom and sister came for a visit and the three of us decided to see what the fireplace would look like white.  So we read some online tutorials for whitewashing brick, watched a couple YouTube videos, and went to work.

As an aside, I might suggest giving your husband or domestic partner a heads up before beginning similar projects.  I did not, and there was an initial adverse reaction.

A short time later, the fireplace was white – glorious gleaming white!


I instantly LOVED the crisp clean feel of the white… but how to style it?!  Well the big style reveal and details will be up on the blog soon.  In the interim I’ll leave you with some super simple whitewashing instructions.  🙂


Whitewashing Brick

You’ll need:  

  • rags
  • painter’s tape (optional)
  • drip cloth (optional)
  • paint brushes
  • white paint (we used Benjamin Moore Regal Select in White, Pearl Finish)
  • 1/2 gallon(ish) sized container  (we used tupperware)


  1. Use the painter’s tape and drip cloth to cover anything you don’t want paint to get on.  (good luck)
  2. Using the 1/2 gallon container, mix some white paint with water –  roughly 50/50 mix depending on how opaque white you want the result. (FYI:  We ultimately decided we wanted the bricks solid white, so our ‘mix’ got progressively thicker… hindsight we probably could have just applied the paint straight from the bucket.)
  3. Paint a section of the bricks (maybe 1.5 ft square) and then dab at the wet paint with a rag to give a slight texture and remove any drips.
  4. Then move on to paint another section of bricks, dab at the wet paint, and repeat.  After 5-10 minutes you’ll notice that the bricks will have absorbed some of the paint and the white will fade a bit.  Simply keep repeating the process until the desired color is achieved.


Happy renovating!



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