what. the. fireplace.

We painted the fireplace this weekend.

It looks amazing, and I’m so glad we (I) finally decided to do it.

It was, however, the most annoyingly tedious household project, EVER.

Let me start by saying that I am a pretty good painter.  One summer in college, I joined the University Paint Crew, and spent 40 hours a week repainting vacant dorms and administration buildings.  Well, ok — I realistically spent about 15 hours a week painting.  I spent the other 25 hungover, napping, occasionally swimming, eating  a lot and making out with one of my hottest co-workers.  That’s what happens when you put 30 attractive single people in a building full of beds, and no air conditioning.

But when I was painting, I was damn good.

For Operation Fireplace, I was so confident in my painting abilities, I did no prep work the night before.  I didn’t even have the paint we needed yet.  I even went so far as to invite people to my house for a cookout post-fireplace painting.

The plan was to get up, go shopping, paint and then BBQ.

Saturday morning,  I get up, and run to Home Depot for paint, the nappiest of nappy rollers, and primer for the tile on the hearth.  I leave with paint and rollers, and only remember the primer when I’m back home, and — you know — ready to prime something.

In the meantime, I tasked Mike with removing the 70’s chic fireplace doors.  But then we couldn’t find the bolts holding it in place.  So he’s halfway up the chimney while I’m holding a flashlight, and 20 minutes later we discover the world’s smallest bolts in the last spot we expected them… Turns out, there wasn’t much holding that bad boy on in the first place.

So, doors removed and unceremoniously deposited outside, we vacuum every square inch of the fireplace.  I’m ready to start priming the tile…  and that’s when I remember I don’t have any primer.  So, I go back to Home Depot.

Then we realize we’ll have to pull back the wall-to-wall shag carpet (I told you — 70’s chic) because I don’t want to have to attempt to clean White Truffle paint out of gray-ish shag carpet (and also because I’m lazy and I hate drop clothes).

But in order to pull back a wee bit of the carpet — we have to empty out the entire left side of the room, disconnect the sectional and swivel it into the middle of the room — and then pull up about four feet of carpet across the entire space.

Also we decided to take the mantle off as opposed to painting around it.  The official technique for removing a really heavy slab of wood from bricks it’s been liquid nailed to?  Hit it really, really hard with an enormous hammer.

I officially start priming and painting at 12:30.  We had planned on 10.  So … awesome.

I knew that the grout between the bricks was going to be a pain the in ass — but I’d foolishly hoped that the super-nappy roller would help squeeze some paint into the cracks.

It didn’t.  At all.

So, it took me, seriously, 10 minutes to roll out of the front of the entire fireplace, on all three sides.

Seven hours later, we were finished.

It took us SEVEN hours to paint the individual spaces between each brick.  With a one-inch paintbrush.  I wanted to strangle someone.

Two hours in, I tell Mike to call off the cookout.  No way is that happening.

Thankfully, my bff Matt took pity on us, and came over anyway to help paint and entertain us.  We thanked him buying him Chinese food, making him s’mores, and then beating him at dominoes.

I feel I should add that I’m a little bossy.  I tend to lean towards the my-way-or-the-highway kind of approach to projects.  What?  I’m an only child.

Let’s just say that Matt’s painting technique and mine were drastically different.  I couldn’t figure out how he was painting so much faster than I was…  and then I walked around the corner and saw how much paint was on the floor.

And Matt knows me.  I think he was afraid.  While I was painting the family room side, he and Mike were working on the laundry room side, and I kept hearing things like this:

“Uhh… Mike.  Can you bring me a paper towel?”
“Ummm… maybe the whole roll.  Now.  Please.”

As in, “Shhhhh…. she’ll murder you!”

But, beggars can’t be choosers, and I was willing to have to clean some paint off the floor if it meant I wasn’t going to have to paint for 10 hours.

And those s’mores I mentioned?  I opted to make mine in the microwave.  Mike and Matt opted to make theirs over the stove.  With wooden skewers.

Mike somehow managed to set his skewer on fire, in the middle and on the end, so when it broke off, there was a smoldering piece of wood stuck inside his marshmallows.  I was cleaning up dinner, so all I heard were the sounds of Matt panicking, Mike shushing him, and eventually water running.

I asked Matt to be careful with his.  He insisted he knew what he was doing.  And two second later his skewer was on fire too.

But at that point, I didn’t care.

I was exhausted, wanted to take a shower, and hadn’t played Words with Friends ALL DAY.

When I talked to my other bff Kristina (Ashley, Kristina & Matt = Three Peas in a Pod) the next day, she said, “I knew something must have gone wrong.  You didn’t send me a word all day!  I was worried you’d gotten raptured by mistake.”

Because I think we can all agree, my being raptured would have been a major error on someone’s part up there.

In the end we also opted to replace the mantle with something a little less rustic-farmhouse, and I think the finished product is perfection.  And we really only needed two cans of paint, and new piece of wood — so the whole project cost around $75, which is just fine by me…

… So here are the before and afters.  We’re still figuring out what to do for the art on both sides of the fireplace.  Alas, I think Prince may find a new home in a different room…

… and can we talk about how cute my new bird lamps are?  I love them…  The laundry room got a mini makeover thanks to some new office furniture.  Our old computer desk is the perfect size to hide both crates, and now we have a proper space to dump all of our crap as soon as we come in the house…


5 thoughts on “what. the. fireplace.

  1. Your fireplace looks amazing. I was very entertained by your tale. If there’s one thing I don’t look forward to its painting, but the result of making good memories always makes it worth while.

  2. Pingback: I’m Kind of a Big Deal. | Spite or Flight

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