We had an ugly fireplace! Our basement was finished about nine years ago and we tried to cut too many corners. We hired someone that took a lot of liberties with the project at a “bargain” price. He came up with a stone and stucco creation that looked like it came straight out of the 70’s.
It was definitely time for a stone fireplace update!
My DIY stone fireplace update has been a real difference-maker in slowly transforming our basement into a more modern space. This was a fairly simple project that looks a bit intimidating, but is so worth it. But, let’s start with a before shot!
BEFORE OUTDATED STONE FIREPLACE WALL:
It was pretty ugly.
When our carpenter suggested he was going to use stucco in addition to stone, the image he described sounded amazing. However, the end result was not great at all.
The stucco and stone combination look a bit like misshapen breasts. Not my idea of the perfect basement feature wall.
It is so important to get ALL of the details documented before committing to a home renovation project. A good salesperson can convince you of a lot of things, but you have to protect yourself. You will be the one living with the end result.
Learn from our mistake!
Requesting a simple sketch might have saved us from having this crazy wall in the first place. But, what was done was done. After living with it for nine years, I decided it was time to give that stone fireplace a makeover!
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MATERIALS for painting stone fireplace:
- Gray paint (I used Intellectual Gray by Sherwin Williams on the stone and Mindful Gray by Sherwin Williams on the stucco).
- White paint or very light gray paint to dry brush (I used a can that the paint store had on clearance for $1.00 that is just a tad lighter than Revere Pewter by Benjamin Moore).
- Chip brush
- Painter’s Tape
- Roller brush if painting stucco
- Drop cloths to protect floor and other surfaces
More Before Pictures of brown, 70’s-looking stone:
The above picture is on the wall opposite of the stone fireplace, behind our bar.
As I mentioned, it looked straight out of the 70’s! An up close look at the orange/brown stone used on the walls:
After searching Pinterest for weeks and weeks for stone fireplace ideas, I decided to paint the stucco and fireplace.
It wasn’t in our budget to do a total remodel of the space. I decided a little sweat equity could make the space much more modern and I was right! I completed the painting of the stone and stucco in an afternoon.
Seriously! Why did I wait so long?!
Little effort with a big return!
STEPS FOR STONE FIREPLACE UPDATE:
1. Water down the gray paint.
If you’ve been following Love Our Real Life for very long, you know I paint all the things. Because of this, I have a ton of left over paint from various projects. I grabbed some left over Intellectual Gray from our great room.
I mixed 50% paint with 50% water. This was obviously very runny, but I didn’t want full coverage of the stone.
The stone was pretty porous, and I knew some of the natural look of the stone would show through with the watered down paint after it dried – exactly what I was going for!
2. Paint the stone
The chip brush did a great job of getting into all of the little crevices of the stones.
3. Wipe off stone slightly after applying watered down paint.
As soon as each stone was painted, I immediately took a slightly dampened cloth and lightly wiped the stone. This took care of drips from the runny paint, but also ensured the stone didn’t have a total coverage look.
Although this is an easy project, it is really messy due to how thin the paint is. As I mentioned earlier, protect your floors (or anything else in close proximity to the project) with drop cloths.
In the above image, you can see that some of the natural stone color is still peaking through, but is no longer orange.
This layer dried relatively quickly since it was so thin. After about an hour, it was ready for the next step.
4. Dry Brush white or light gray paint onto stone.
To add a little bit of dimension to the stone, I dry brushed each stone with very light gray paint. If you’ve never dry brushed before, this post gives more details on how to complete this.
Super easy, I promise!
Here’s the jist of it:
Dab a dry chip brush in a tiny bit of light gray paint, then off-load the brush on a paper plate to ensure very little paint on the tips. Then, paint / highlight the raised areas of the stone to add depth.
Start with a tiny amount of highlights. Add more highlights if desired.
Keep in mind, if you get too many highlights, it’s easy to fix. Just dry brush over it with your initial base color (in my case Intellectual Gray).
5. ONLY IF YOU HAVE STUCCO: Paint the stucco:
I seriously doubt that many of you have this specific stucco and stone combo (if you do, you must send me a photo!;-)
But, if you happen to be considering painting stucco, it’s easy. I grabbed some left over Mindful Gray in eggshell finish.
After taping off the area I would be painting, I used a basic paint roller to paint all of the stucco. One coat covered pretty well. There were only a few places that required minor touch ups.
The After – Stone Fireplace Update:
Take a peek at our bar space above. The wall is done, but the dark brown decor is going to be changing soon. Stay tuned for that in the upcoming weeks as well as my bar transformation.
Update: The bar space is finally finished, too! Take a look at the new DIY wood shelves I made!
BAR / STONE WALL BEHIND BAR AFTER:
A FULL BAR BEFORE (NOTE THE STONE WALL CHANGES BEHIND THE BAR):
Also notice I painted the brown tile countertops, bar stools, stenciled the floor…pretty much everything got a fresh coat of paint!
Paint can fix just about anything;-) Plus, paint is budget friendly when comparing with the cost of trying to replace.
I love it! It’s certainly not perfect, but I’m definitely happy with the change. Painting the stone was a little scary. But, since I didn’t like it before, I was willing to give it a go.
I’m beyond glad that I did!
A FEW OTHER BASEMENT UPDATES:
- New lights, Sennett 1-Light pendant from Wayfair (LOVE them!)
- Shelves (How to Install Rustic Shelves using Dry Wall Anchors)
- Changed outdated decor on feature wall
- Stenciled tile floors (Wow! I love this, but man, it was a ton of work.)
- How to Paint Tile Countertops
Don’t forget to pin for later!