Farmhouse Update: On Painting Our Fireplace (Again)

5 days ago 7

Over the last year, I’ve made around 45,263 design decisions. Not all of them were “correct” and while many weren’t “wrong” per se, they may not have been the best choice. I’ve come to realize there is a big difference between a “design mistake” and a “design regret”. The former is something that is “wrong” and you really try to fix or come to terms with not ever fixing, and the latter is more nebulous and painful (where something could just be better). I’m writing a full post about it for the living room (where a couple of huge design regrets live) but today’s post also contains a very fixable design regret. The fireplace in the main bedroom was designed and built to mimic the original one in the living room. We installed the same brick and then painted it.

The Inspiration

design by max humphrey | photo by christopher dibble

Max Humphrey designed my friend’s beach house living room with a dark-painted fireplace and we loved it. Sometimes it looks dark blue, sometimes closer to charcoal but it’s just so pretty. And it’s my personal and strong opinion that TVs and gas fireplaces (the black boxes) look better on darker fireplaces. So before we left for all of July we attempted to choose the right color that gave it this vibe.

We chose Smoky Blue by Sherwin-Williams, felt confident, then went on our trip. Done!

Seeing these photos of me holding up a swatch even now I want to shout, “Hey past Emily! That color is much lighter than the inspiration shot!”. But that’s what that lady chose and now this lady has to live with it (or change).

The Current Paint Color: Smoky Blue by Sherwin-Williams

So we get back and turns out it’s a lot lighter than I wanted. We were all like, “Wait, that isn’t Smoky Blue. Then, sure enough, we held up the swatch and it matched perfectly. HAHAHA. It’s SUCH a good color (so good that we decided to put it on our stairs, which we did and LOVE) but it is lighter than we had wanted in here. Then we were told that the masons weren’t done with the fireplace – that the bottom wasn’t grouted (as you can see) and there were like 4-5 missing bricks on the side, so the painters (or us) would have had to paint more anyway.

This is not the only paint color I was “surprised” by when I got back and I made the decision that I would live with almost all of them – to ensure that whatever we do choose to do that we take our time and do it right (and btw, we have so much leftover white base paint that we can take it in and just have it tinted so we aren’t ordering new paint or wasting the paint we have). And of course the longer we live with it the more we like it – it’s just a really really good blue…

Fireplace Other Paint Colors I’m Thinking About…

left paint color: night watch by sherwin-williams | right paint color: cascades by sherwin-williams

So I asked my team to photoshop on all some other colors to see and boy is it helpful. The left is Night Watch by Sherwin-Williams and the right is Cascades by Sherwin-Williams. I definitely like how the one on the right still has some blue undertones. We didn’t want a pure black, just an almost black.

left paint color: pearl gray by sherwin-williams | right paint color: night watch by sherwin-williams

But just in case, I wanted to see what it would look like if we did a lighter color like Pearl Gray, and as predicted it just doesn’t look as good. Not only does it not ground that wall enough, but I have found that gas fireplaces and TV just pop out too much on a light fireplace.

Now we aren’t deciding on the new color today because I’m not secure on the design of this room yet. Here is what is up in the air:

  1. We’ll get the new bed in a few weeks, and it is a tone but having it be here in person will help a lot.
  2. We are using our old living room rug, which I still love but is very stained. I’m going to try to get it cleaned and if it’s still kinda bad (which is very possible) then I’m thinking about having it cut down into smaller rugs to layer over the kids’ wall-to-wall carpet (after being cleaned). But if we get a new rug in here it will definitely help dictate the fireplace color.
  3. I’m thinking about painting the walls in here a light tone – just something to warm them up (I miss the wood trim around the windows and ceiling A LOT, TBH).
  4. Art, accessories, another layer of curtains? I’m loving how simple this room is TBH, but I can admit that it’s also kinda boring right now.
  5. I almost always like to choose paint colors last, but as you know when you are renovating they want them before you move in as they usually paint before finish electrical and plumbing fixtures go in (understandably) so thus the regrets happen. For us, we were choosing them against tarped-up spaces and artificial lights (and even left a few rooms only primed because we felt so insecure). So to fix or figure out how to live with these regrets I’m taking more time and making sure that the other elements are dialed in before finalizing the paint color. A HUGE thanks to our partner on this Sherwin-Williams for understanding the challenges of renovations and being patient with me.

So that’s where we are currently at. Wish us luck! xx

If you are curious, here are the rest of the room sources:
Wood flooring: Oregon White Oak by Zena Flooring
Windows: White oak, Aspen Casement by Sierra Pacific Windows
Fireplace: Slimline 7X with Tranquil Greige Refractory Brick by Heat & Glo
Current Fireplace Color: Smoky Blue by Sherwin-Williams
Skylights: Skylights with Room Darkening Shades by Velux Skylight

*Photos by Kaitlin Green

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