Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Mantel Makeover and To Dos

Our fireplace wall has been the bane of my existence lately. As I mentioned before, I've hated the rag roll paint since the day we moved in. I tried a few test paints, but nothing looks right. I threw up those swatches back in October, so we're closing in on a year--time to make some progress, I'd say!

I have so many "started but never finished" projects going on, and I'm just sick of looking at all the mess. I am trying to just force the time to get a few done. (Easier said than done, but I'm trying.) And I'm really going to try not to start any additional projects until the following in-progress messes are complete (in no particular order):

1. Paint the fireplace wall.
2. Paint the downstairs bathroom. I tore down most of the wallpaper but never got to the top portion and never painted.
3. Paint the kids' bathroom. I've always hated the bright green that the previous owners put up. I tried a few sample colors but never liked any of them. There are also holes from where I put up the hooks.
4. Paint the laundry room/garage entry. I started to paint, didn't like the color, tried several more colors, and haven't found a winner.
5. Create "mud room" in garage entry closet. I took down the door and relocated our winter stuff to another closet, but I need to paint and find a bench with storage. I'll also probably take down the wire shelf and replace it with a "real" shelf and add some hooks to the wall for coats and bags.

Do you see a theme here of struggling to find a color. It is what is holding me up in almost all these projects. I've never been great at making a decision, but also it is just hard to find a color with our ugly orange wood trim. Which brings me back to the fireplace wall and mantel...

I tried a few more paints, but they were both too "cold" with all the brown and wood trim. So I decided to paint the mantel first and see what that does to the space. I think it made a huge difference! I have avoided painting our wood trim because I'm not sure I'm ready to tackle such a big project, but I figure the mantel can be white even if the wood trim isn't painted. I tried to convince Mike that we should also paint the brick white, but he wasn't buying what I was selling. Why do men like ugly red brick so much?

Here are the Before and In-Progress photos. I can't really call it an "After" due to the state of the wall paint.


An up-close shot so you can see how orangey and hideous the wood is.

PROGRESS: white mantel

I followed Centsational Girl's tutorial, and it was super easy. And the best part was that I had all the supplies already on hand (primer, Swiss Coffee in semi-gloss, sanding block, etc.), so this project was free!

I think that next I'm going to tackle the weird "shelf" on the wall between the kitchen and family room and the chair rail in the dining room. I know I said no new projects, but I consider these an extension of this project. ;-)

My only change will be to use some Floetrol the next time to eliminate some of the brush marks. The brush marks aren't too bad, but if you look closely, you can see them.


  1. Really makes a difference! I don't know which shocked me more - that it is so much better or that you actually did it! I have seen some wonderful rooms lately that have both white and wood and they look great. I'll try to find you some links.

    1. I thought I might shock you. I agree, huge difference. Much better!

  2. Me again! Have you checked out Silver Strand by Sherwin Williams? Jo on the HGTV show "Fixer Upper" seems to use it on all the houses that I find very attractive. And if you haven't seen that show, you should.

    1. I'll check it out. I thought navy might look good, so I threw some up last night out of my paint stash. Too dark. Now I'm leaning toward just going with the kitchen color again for some cohesion. Ah, why is this so tricky. :-)