It's big, the brick is was dark and dirty, and where in the world were we going to put our TV?
We still wanted the stove to be a focal point in the room but we initially couldn't figure out how the flow of the room was going to work for a sitting/TV area with this giant eye sore in the way, and there was no way a brick demo was going to be in the budget after buying the house. Enter: Pinterest.
I did some searches for some corner fireplaces and paid attention to the finish, layout, and where they put their TV. I knew there was no way I could live in this house and look at that hideous dark red brick everyday of my life. Then I finally figured it out, I'll paint it. And then I found this:
Color me sold on painting the brick. Amazing. I've never done anything like this before, but that never really stops me anyway so I just went for it. First I washed all the brick with an old rag and water. Just to get all the brick dust and ash and whatever else off. Then I used one coat of an oil based primer on the whole thing. I used a brush to paint the entire thing. I used a roller at one point and all it did was splatter paint all over the black wood stove and it wasn't getting all the holes and cracks anyway so I just brushed that bad boy for hours.
And brushed... (in this one you can see that we had the TV on the floor at this point which is a really smart idea for parents with three kids under the age of 4 to do. Real smart. We didn't have a couch or chairs for about 3 weeks too. Our couch was being custom made at that point. (I can't wait to show that to you too!)
When one is painting brick, one must paint in the following clothes: your husband's Coast Guard sweatshirt that you accidentally bleached while cleaning the house, your husband's soccer shorts from college, and a pair of Ugg boots because your feet are cold and they were the closest. (My sister thinks this picture is hilarious and she'll be happy I included it. haha)
Just keep painting and painting and painting and then caulk and paint some more and eventually it will start to look like this. I used Ultra White Valspar Paint and Primer in one for the top coat in semi gloss. It's the same stuff I'm painting all our trim with and I highly recommend it. It's expensive so I saved money on the paint by going for a cheaper paint for the walls themselves. I wanted to use semi-gloss on the brick because I knew it'd be far easier to dust and keep clean, and brick looks great in slightly shiny finish. I read that somewhere on the internet, so you know it's true.
And then, when you're all done, step back and admire your handiwork! Things to ignore in this picture are: the popcorn ceiling, the reflection of a mess in the TV screen, bad track lighting, lack of pretty things flanking the wood stove. Things not to ignore: Gunner's very cute butt as he stands on the gate which is supposed to prevent him from being interested in the fireplace.
It probably took me about 8-10 hours over the course of about 5 days to get this done. I could only work on it while Gunner was napping and Devin was working so much the poor man didn't even have time to breathe so I just chugged along and finally got it done. My sister, Mel, came to visit from New York and helped me paint the bottom part under the stove itself too. Bam. Done. (Eventually, I'll replace that track lighting with something more modern and relevant to our decor, and I need two tall somethings on either side of the wood stove but I haven't figured that out yet either.)
Once it was all painted and dried, we mounted our 50 pound TV. Thank you God for bringing Mel to us to help with house stuff that week. Her and Devin held the TV up while I screwed it into the mount. It's actually mounted on the right side of the brick as you look at this picture and it swivels into the corner. Here's the mount that I researched and bought in case you're looking for one.
Once we had it mounted there was a big cord and cable box and blu ray player problem that we finally figured out an answer to after a few failed attempts. But, since this post is getting lengthy, I'll save that for another day.
Whew! One project down, 80 gazillion left to go.