This week on The DIY Bungalow is all about fireplaces! Today, I’m going to show you my living room fireplace makeover! I’ll show you the awful before (seriously, hello 1980s!) and awesome after. Then, later this week, I’ll share how to clean and paint a fireplace firebox. And Thursday, I’ll show you how to make the fireplace screen for this month’s Power Tool Challenge!
First, though, here’s our living room fireplace before this fireplace makeover!
“Hello? It’s the 1980s … We’d like our brass fireplace insert back!”
It totally didn’t fit in our 1929 bungalow.
I opened the glass doors and saw that (a) there was a stack of wood and a rusted grate in the fireplace, even though the fireplace hadn’t been used in eons and could no longer be used because it was so dilapidated; (b) it was dirty. Seriously, it probably hadn’t been cleaned since 1929! I laid down a drop cloth and got to work.
First, I removed the brass insert. This was not as easy as it sounds!
I don’t have any pictures of removing the insert because (a) it was so dark inside the chimney/firebox that you couldn’t really see what I was doing and (b) my hands – even with rubber gloves on – got so dirty that I didn’t want to touch anything!
The fireplace insert is held onto the fireplace brick with screws that fit into the backside of the firebox edges. For this fireplace insert, three of the screws came out super-easily and I was feeling great about this whole project.
But there’s always one troublemaker, right? One screw would not come out. It was rusted/sooted/burned stuck.
I tried every pair of pliers and every wrench I had…I tried spraying the screw with cleaner…nothing worked.
As it turns out, there is a metal plate attached to this screw which is used to adjust the insert to the depth of the firebox. THAT screw moved! So, I unscrewed that screw, which released that metal plate, which then allowed the insert to be removed, and I just pulled the screw out of the brick. (Does that make sense?)
The dropcloth here is key – because the insert is filthy, sooty, dirty and you do not want it touching anything! I got the insert off the fireplace and laid it on the dropcloth. Then wrapped the dropcloth around it and hauled it outside to the curb.
Would you believe someone picked it up the next day? You know what they say about trash being another person’s treasure.
I gave the firebox and fireplace a good cleaning.
I’m not going to lie. This is not a fun process. It was three days’ worth of scrubbing – part of which had to do with finding the right cleaning solution! Lucky for you, I’m going to share my secret on how to clean the fireplace firebox with you later this week!
Once it was as clean as I could get it, it looked like this:
Next, I had to decide whether to paint the firebox or leave it as is. I was torn – I liked the patina of the old brick, but – let’s face it – it’s not that pretty to look at!
Dear Husband, who almost never states his opinion on my home decorating ideas and projects, said he thought it looked unfinished as is, without paint.
So, I decided to paint it. I used (affiliate link) Rust-Oleum’s High Heat black paint, not because this fireplace is usable (it’s not), but (1) I liked the jet black color and (2) in case anyone ever did want to fix it and use it in the future, it would withstand a fire in there. I’ll show you how I painted the firebox when I show you the cleaning process (it’s really easy!).
Even with the firebox painted, it still didn’t look right or finished to me. I guess because I’m used to the insert or a screen there, I felt like it needed a fireplace screen.
So, I built one!
This is my Power Tool Challenge Home Decor project this month, and I’ll be sharing this easy and fun repurposing project on Thursday! Can you guess what I made the fireplace screen out of?
You can tell Hank the Dog likes the fireplace makeover!
Speaking of the Power Tool Challenge, this month is a Reader Challenge! Woo hoo! Here are the details:
- The project can be made from anything as long as at least one power tool was used to build it.
- The Home Decor Power Tool Project Challenge is open for entries from 3/16 through 3/30 via a link-up. I will have the link-up instructions in Thursday’s post.
- Submit an old or new project as long as it’s a home decor item.
- Each participant can enter up to three (3) projects.
- Winners must be 18 or older and live in the U.S.
- Void where prohibited.
The Power Tool Challenge Team and HomeRight, our fabulous sponsor, will vote on the best project and one winner will be selected. The winner will receive a HomeRight DIY Paint Package, which includes a Finish Max Pro Paint Sprayer, Large Paint Shelter and Small Paint Shelter, and a Rapid Clean cleaning tool for the Finish Max.
So get those projects ready to link up!
In the meantime, I’m off to finish a long but informative post on how to clean and paint the inside of a fireplace firebox!