design dilemma: to paint or not to paint


Alright, folks, I’m once again coming to you with a design dilemma . . . this time, about painting the fireplace.  A few months ago I wrote about all of the different options for our fireplace, and due to the fact that we have basically run out of money, it looked like painting the thing was our only option.  When we first bought the house, I felt like the fireplace was a huge eyesore in the middle of a dark and dingy house.Photo Feb 18, 3 31 47 PM
Since that time, though, we have opened up walls, painted with brighter colors, and replaced windows.  All of these changes have really dramatically changed the light in the house, and even though we haven’t done a thing to the exterior of the fireplace, I feel like it looks totally different in it’s new surroundings.
Photo Feb 18, 3 32 25 PM (HDR)
The area of brick is much smaller since we opened up the wall, so now it’s really just a large pass-through fireplace as opposed to half of the kitchen wall.

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And the thing is . . . the brick is kind of growing on me. I had every intention of painting it a matte concrete gray, but now I’m wondering if we should leave it be. Of course, painting brick is a no-turning-back kind of decision.

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At the same time, it is a rather prominent feature in the home. This is the view as you walk thought the front door.


I have also wondered about the possibility of doing some kind of a white-wash on the brick, to soften down the red tones while still keeping the look of exposed brick. I stumbled on this picture on pinterest, which I loved because it shows a white-washed brick along with the same blue we’ve got on the kitchen walls and the same white Eames chairs.


So . . . what do you think? Should we leave the brick as-is or should we paint it?  Is the red brick too busy or distracting, or does it work in the space?  And what can be done about the unsightly black soot discoloration on the living room side?

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