Whitewashed fireplace: disaster and fix

Bronchitis for the few weeks leading up to Christmas can be a real downer – that is, unless your doc prescribes you an upper! Sleepless nights and bounding energy have turned me into the energizer bunny. Browsing around Pinterest I found some awesome pictures of whitewashed fireplaces and decided to make that my Prednisone Project #1. Here’s the inspiration:

Whitewashed Fireplace from theyellowcapecod.com

To start with, this was my fireplace:

Red brick

Plenty of character, but with the nice hardwoods and the large oak built-ins on the wall, it made the room look dark and dingy. So, I followed the instructions from The Yellow Cape Cod, mixing my paint with water, and brushing on. But, seeing as how the prednisone had me going a mile a minute, I didn’t take time to do it slowly and check my progress. So I ended up with a white fireplace. Much whiter than I wanted. Boo.

White fireplace

So, back to Pinterest I went. How do you un-whitewash a fireplace? Pinterest was no help. Neither was google or a handful of do it yourself sites. The best advice I found was to repaint it another color. Yikes! Could I really have ruined my fireplace? A little more research, and I found that I could pick up some denatured alcohol or paint stripper at the hardware store and remove some of the paint. And, a bottle of Motsenbocker LiftOff and some old towels did the trick. Spray on, leave for 1 minute, then rub with a towel. Here’s the finished fireplace:

IMG_2050The natural patina of the brick is back, but the lighter finish really brightens the room. I may go back over it in a few places with the LiftOff to bring out the natural brick tones just a bit more, but for now, I’m quite happy with it.


3 thoughts on “Whitewashed fireplace: disaster and fix

  1. I just used the LiftOff – spray on, wait a minute, then wipe. The waiting a minute is important! Work in small sections at a time, and be sure to ventilate – that stuff is strong!


  2. I made the same mistake using the same picture as inspiration 😦 Did you use denatured alcohol, then paint stripper, then LiftOff each for one minute, or did you just use the LiftOff?? Any advice is greatly appreciated as our fireplace looks stark white!


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