As many of you know, I just added a new category to my blog, DIY. My first post was on using Instant Art to spice up a bare mantle:



I thought this post rocked. Easy DIY.  It was funny that some of the responses I got from friends in family was not, “Oh! I love your mantle!” but “Oh! You painted your brick!”

Yes, my fireplace used to have a red brick insert. (The white mantle was always there.) In fact, probably 95% of the homes in our neighborhood still have the red brick insert. I come from a long line of brick masons, so I feel a connection to it. I like brick. I do not like red brick though. It just doesn’t work in my color scheme. (yes to grey, orange, lime green, dark brown, white….but red brick, no)

Here’s what it used to look like:

My first wish was to tile it, perhaps with something like this:

merola tile penny white from


But I’m kind of nervous. Will I prep the surface right? Will I buy the right thinset that won’t melt or explode due to heat? How much money will this cost me?

So, I put it off. Trying to gather my courage. Until I just couldn’t take that red looking at me every day. But I decided to start small and begin with the gold accents and the peg wood handles.

Back in CA, our fireplace also had these gold accents along the glass doors of the fireplace. I discovered that they were magnets. Very strong magnets, but magnets. I could just pry them off. Easy-peasy.

Here in Cary, they are not magnets. Those suckers were glued on. Not easy, not peasy. It came off with brute force and high degree of fear that I would shatter the glass. I didn’t shatter it, however, it left this:

crap on frame

I tried using chemicals to smooth it out, but seriously, that crap ain’t budging. I think if it ever gets to the point where I do something, I’ll have to sand it then paint it black. Yeah..that ain’t happening. Solution: just don’t look closely, and you can’t tell.

Next, I did this:

tape & paint


I taped off the black insert, pulled out some left-over white paint, grabbed an old paintbrush and started. I have no idea of what type of paint it was, only that it was interior. It was left-over, thus free, and white, so it worked. It took maybe 45 minutes from start to finish. It only needed one coat, but I did a second just in case.

I love the finished look. So much, that I’m moving “tile fireplace” down the To-Do list. (It was number 4…now number 200.)

I do still have some little things I want to do: add some loose “river rock” stones to the bottom where my white candles sit and frame the interior in mirrors. (Is this crazy? I think it would look cool to look into a “mirrored” fireplace. I wouldn’t make the mirrors permanent, just place them in there so instead of a black “hole” it would be filled with light. I just need to either a) pay someone to cut mirrors to size or b) figure out how to cut mirrors and do it myself. Guess which route I’m heading….just gathering my courage to do it.)

So in conclusion: Don’t be scared- Just Paint Your Brick. Here’s what it will look like:


What do you think?