Until this July when inspiration struck. I love the look of brick fireplaces, but actually laying brick is way outside of my DIY abilities. I would need someone's help to do bricks and since I like to do most of my renovations from 10pm - 3am on weeknights, I need to be able to work alone. So instead of real bricks, I went with stencil bricks. Cheaper, easier, less difficult to remove/touch-up if I don't like them.
I bought a herringbone stencil, and decided to go with a paint called 'copper kettle.' So technically I still picked a metallic color! Maybe the White Witch influenced me after all. But I didn't want copper bricks with silver grout so I painted the fireplace white first:
(Later I painted the black grate surrounding the opening too.) Then I went to town with the stencil!
But I couldn't just stop at the front of the fireplace. I had to go all the way around, to the left and the right!
I did all of it in one night. Like a maniac with zero self-control. Ta-da!
But it still didn't real feel light enough. I wanted to paint the part of the drywall between the metal and the brick. I picked a color at the store called 'Campfire' because I loved it and it seemed appropriate. When I finally painted it on I was worried it was too intense, but it's grown on me, especially with the fireplace screen I bought. I'd been pining for this screen since I discovered it about a year ago. It went out of stock for awhile but it came back just in time for my project. If in the end I decide to change the 'campfire' color out for something more subtle, it's nice that I won't have to repaint too much of it. Maybe I'll switch it up every year! Anyway, to the final results.
Around the corner where I keep my DVD player, printer, etc. I've had a boring desk lamp to light up the area. I was super excited to find a Moravian star lamp on clearance to replace it with.
As you can see, the bricks on the back wall of this area aren't all picture perfect. It's difficult to paint with the stencil while leaning forward into a corner. If I'd been more patient maybe I would have gotten it down, but I actually like some of the irregularity. I made it myself!
I've always wanted my fireplace to be the center of the living room, but with the standard fireplace screen I had before, the space was like a black hole unless there was a fire lit. Now I can feel like it can be a place of warmth and light year round.
Ahhhh I love that screen so much. (Oz clearly thinks it's a good background for photo-shoots.) It's art deco and so colorful, but also reminds me of a half mandala, like the ones I like to draw. The glass itself is gorgeous. It sort of ripples with texture, and each piece is a different, unique color.
I can't wait until it's cool enough to put a real fire behind it and see how the colors look! (Right now it's just two lamps without shades.)
You might have also noticed I added a floating shelf as a mantel. I may have gone all out for the fireplace screen, but the shelf was waaay on clearance. And I got what I paid for. As you can see from this photo, it's not exactly...straight.
I tried using that level app on my phone, but apparently something happened between the level and the actual drilling. In true DIY with Maryann fashion, I left it the way it was. I also decided to put it on upside down, because right side up the ends were curving downward! Regardless the shelf totally slid downward. You might be able to see a little something underneath the shelf. That's a part from a previous unsuccessful floating shelf I tried to install at my old apartment. Until I can buy some cute brackets (canceling out the whole appeal of a floating shelf), this random part seems to do the job.
One more thing. On the right of the fireplace you can see a black shape hanging off the side in the middle. I bought it on Ebay last year. It's an exact replica of the matchbox holder I grew up with. When my parents sold the house I told them I wanted to take it with me. But since it was nailed into the wall, I couldn't. But thanks to Ebay, no part of childhood has to be lost! Well, no material part.
Here it is in the old house:
I took pictures of it before we left so I wouldn't forget it.
One Ebay purchase later...
I had my very own! It now hangs on my own home's fireplace. When I showed it to my mom for the first time, she seriously asked, "Did you break back into the old house and steal that?!" :)