We painted our stone fireplace white, which you may have seen me mention on my personal Instagram last month. And here’s a secret: I’m a fan! We’ve been in our house for nearly three years, and I wish I’d painted our fireplace sooner. I know a white fireplace isn’t for everyone, but I really adore it and am so happy I finally made the purchase. That being the case, what took me so long?
As you can see in the photo, our fireplace was in pretty bad shape when we first got here. The stone had previously been painted white by the previous owner, who used this type of stone imitation to do so. I think they did a good job because, until you looked very closely, it appeared like stone. So, I believe that was my first point of hesitation. Something in me resented the idea of painting the fireplace white after someone had painted it to appear like stone and then hand-painted it again. I was reminded of the Sisyphus myth if you know what I mean. Hopefully, you’ve understood.
I had to get rid of a huge and hefty fireplace insert that came with the house (it helps to exhaust hot air after the fire is set), and even though it brings me no joy, I felt guilty about doing so for a long time. However, I made up my mind quite soon that I would not be lighting a fire in this fireplace. Although I’ve learned how to do it (thanks to my father, who came over and gave me a tutorial), it wasn’t really useful. So, after having the fireplace properly cleaned, I filled it with candles and let it sit there for a year or two before doing anything else with it. The insert’s black borders bothered me, and the stone’s discoloration immediately in front of the hole didn’t help my feelings.
And now for the embarrassing part. To be honest, painting our fireplace white, as everyone else does, made me feel foolish. White won out over other options like black or even a dark gray because of how dark our living room gets, so I went with that instead. However, it struck me as so trite that I regretted my choice. Which, if you think about it, is really absurd. Surely Trey and I would be unable to agree on color if this were the case.
The cost of painting can be prohibitive, which is also an acceptable explanation. Or, if we’re getting ready to relocate, that’d be a decent excuse. However, refusing to do it even though I knew I’d like it because I feared people would think it was unoriginal and simply another “blogger painting his fireplace white” is a pretty weak reason. Once again, I’m embarrassed to tell you this, but it’s the truth.
In addition, I enlisted the help of my good friend Ethan, who built this bookcase to perfectly occupy the available real estate in front of the door. I had in mind a little bookcase for this spot because I knew I wouldn’t be lighting a fire there. Because it’s detachable, the fireplace will be available to the new owner even if we move. But this is what I’d prefer. As you can see, I turned the book’s spines over to create a monochrome effect. Except for a small part on the top shelf that I turned on its side, almost all of these books are paperbacks that I kept (they are all around $150). Those are the books I want to be sure I don’t miss, therefore I’m bookmarking the list now.
Maybe one day I’ll construct a rainbow bookcase like Elsie’s by flinging them around. That sounds like yet another brilliant idea for keeping books organized.
What kind of paint do we put on the stone fireplace? To begin, Ethan used an adhesive primer to seal the stone and the mantel. It’s extremely sticky, which helps paint attach better to non-painterly surfaces. After that, he painted on two layers of white masonry paint. We used a high-temp paint to touch up the black in the fireplace (behind the shelf), where he can’t see it.
Because the stones are so irregularly shaped, this is the kind of job you should avoid trying to complete. Brush painting or spray painting is the finest possibilities. If you’re going to spray, it’ll take less time, but you’ll need a paint sprayer (which you can rent; I have no experience with them, so I can’t comment on how well they work). You’ll also have to spend a lot of time prepping your space because it gets dirty quickly. While brushing takes a little longer to apply paint, it’s far easier to prepare and clean, so that’s what we did for this job. I just thought I’d mention that in case anyone else is considering painting their stone fireplace the same neutral shade as I am.