Bring Nature Inside To Create A Beautiful Easter Display For Your Mantel Or Table

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Easter Sunday is coming up and what a great time to add a touch of springtime to your home just in time for entertaining family and friends.  You can create a lovely arrangement on your mantel or on a table near your fireplace using many things you probably already have around your house.

First, gather any small baskets and neutral colored ceramic pots you can find.  You might already have some house plants that will fit in the pots, and you can use those for greenery.  If you’re lucky enough to have flowers in your yard, cut some to fill several small vases.  If not, most grocery stores have a floral department where you can purchase some pots of blooming flowers like daffodils or tulips.  A few blooming branches from your yard can add height to your display.  Spanish moss can be used around the top of pots to add visual interest.  A piece of tan burlap fabric looks natural and can be used as a runner or table cover.  Natural fiber twine or ribbon can be tied around pots and vases for a decorative touch.

Next, add accessories that say “spring”.  Bird nests with fake eggs are a great place to start.  Ceramic bunnies, eggs, and chicks add a cute, colorful touch. You can purchase some of these from a local craft store.  You don’t need a lot…just a couple of items to add some fun to your display.  And you can use them again and again for years to come.

If you are accessorizing your mantel, try placing a mirror in the center to start and then adding a pair of vases on either side with some blooming branches. Place a small vase of blooming flowers on one side of the mirror to add a pop of color.

Whether you’re decorating your mantel or a table near your fireplace, bringing nature inside makes a fresh, natural  display that is perfect for Easter.  Remember, you don’t have to spend a lot of money.  Think about what you already have and then add to it.  Have a great weekend!

Oh My Gosh…Is That the Same Fireplace? See What a Little Paint Can Do For Tired Old Brick

BN BAAWe’ve heard it all before.  A fireplace with dark, outdated, and dare I say “ugly” brick has a homeowner exasperated, frustrated, and ready to pay any price to make it go away.  Well, there is a solution that makes sense, doesn’t cost a fortune, and gives amazing results. Painting your brick fireplace gives a face-lift not only to your fireplace but to your entire room.

Are you one of those people who cringe at the thought of putting paint on brick?  There are a lot of you out there, especially men!  You’re afraid that if you  don’t like what you’ve done, there’s no turning back.  You’re right, once you paint, it’s hard to go back.  Well, I’ll give you some food for thought.  If your brick fireplace is ugly, you’ve got a few choices.

1.  Leave it like it is.  Heck, I’ve lived with it this long. Maybe it’ll grow on me.

2.  Hire a contractor to tear the whole thing out and start over with another building     material like tile, marble or granite.

3.  Sheetrock over the entire fireplace.  I never use it anyway.

4.  Install tile, sheet-rock, or granite over the brick.

5.  Paint it.

These are all viable options depending on how much money you want to spend on your project.  Most of us are working on a limited budget so why not try the “painting” option first. If you don’t like it you can go to plan “B”.

Painting your brick can be done pretty quickly if you go to the paint store, buy a can of paint and paint away.  You’ll get a solid color look over your entire fireplace.  Many times a homeowner will choose white paint (I don’t know why).  But I prefer a soft tan or gray to compliment the wall color.  Another option is to paint your brick and get a real brick look with the Brick-Anew paint kit.

The Brick-Anew do-it-yourself paint kit has all the tools you need for your project…brushes, rollers, paint tray, sea sponge, and painters tape.  It comes with 5 shades of paint for brick that work together to shade each one to create a “real brick”, not a painted, look for your fireplace.  An easy to follow instructional DVD makes the project simple.  When you’re finished, your fireplace looks like it’s been rebuilt with a different color brick.  You’re the only one who has to know it’s been painted!

So, consider painting your brick as one of your Spring projects.  In just a few hours, you’ll have a new, fresh look.  You’ll wonder why you waited so long to do it.  There’s no reason not to if you’re sick and tired of your outdated brick.  Oh, and did I mention there’s a money back guarantee with Brick-Anew?  What have you got to lose?  Let us know how it goes!

Fireplace Safety 101

@image by aliofish

image by aliofish

What’s better on a cold night than to light a cozy fire and enjoy its warm ambiance? But before you light that first log, you need to be sure your fireplace is clean, your fire is manageable, and the area around your fireplace is safe.

Cleaning and Maintaining Your Fireplace – Always make sure your fireplace is clean with no debris blocking the chimney.  Check your roof for leaves that have fallen from nearby trees that could block the chimney and cause smoke to come back into your home.  Ash or creosote should be cleaned at least once a year.  There are a number of cleaners to choose from for cleaning creosote build up.  Using a chimney cap can help keep your chimney clean and free of water damage.  It’s a good idea to have your fireplace inspected once a year by a certified chimney specialist.

Managing Your Fire –  Building  a small fire at the back of the firebox on a grate  will burn completely and produce less smoke.  Never use flammable liquids to start a fire.  Burn only seasoned dry wood to prevent creosote from being formed.  Never burn cardboard boxes or debris in your fireplace.  Glass doors should be open while your fire is burning with a mesh curtain in place.  After the fire dies down, the doors can be closed to keep out cold air from the chimney.  Allow ashes to cool completely before disposing of them.  Use a metal container and douse them with water.  Never empty them into a trash can.

Make Sure the Area Around Your Fireplace is Safe – A nonflammable rug, which is available at fireplace supply stores, keeps sparks from damaging carpet or flooring.  Fireplace doors should be kept closed when the fireplace is not in use to keep small children and pets out of the firebox.  Keep flammable items away from the fireplace and make sure all drapes, furniture, or rugs are not close enough to be damaged by a spark.

Keeping these tips in mind will allow you to enjoy your fireplace for years.  Not only will your fireplace keep your home warm and cozy but you can be confident that your home will be safe as well.

Consider a firebox paint to bring the inside of your fireplace back to life! Formulated to withstand temperatures as high as 1200 degrees without cracking, peeling, or blistering

Fireplace safety Infographic

Spring Fireplace Painting

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Warmer weather is just round the corner and even though there’s still snow on the ground in some places, it’s time to start thinking about updating your home’s decor for spring and your fireplace is a great place to start.  It’s worked hard keeping you warm all winter and now it could use a little freshening up.

Think “neutral”  for your fireplace and consider these spring fireplace painting ideas:

1.   Paint your brick fireplace with a light, neutral color to create a soft background for your  mantel and accessories. Instantly, your room will look brighter. Brick-Anew’s color choices make it easy to change your brick’s color while keeping the “real brick” look.  Twilight taupe has shades of taupe, tan and cream.  Misty harbor consists of light gray with creamy white undertones, and frosted sunshine has shades of light tan and yellowish cream.

2.   Use a cream colored paint to update a tired, outdated, wood mantel.  This will create a more subtle look that will blend in with your new brick color.

3.  Don’t forget about the firebox!  There’s a high temperature paint that can make it look like new, no matter how sooty and stained it looks.

After you’re finished painting, it’s time to accessorize your mantel.  Don’t be tempted to put everything you had right back up.  Find a large mirror or painting to place in the middle. Then use bright vases on each side in varying heights to add a pop of color.  Orange, turquoise, and lilac and hot spring colors.  A vase of live greenery will add a touch of nature to your room.

Home decor for spring doesn’t have to be super expensive.  Some paint and a few accessories can be  just the thing to add new life to a home that’s been closed up all winter.  The best part is, these projects can easily be done in just one weekend.  So paint away your winter blues and think spring. It will  be here before you know it!

 

Brick-Anew Colors…Which One’s For Me?

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Brick-Anew’s easy to use brick painting system consists of three color choices…Twilight Taupe, Misty Harbor, and Frosted Sunshine. When you paint your brick with Brick-Anew, each brick will mimic real brick with several shades of color within each brick. Each of our kits contains five shades of paint which make up a unique color scheme. Take a look at the descriptions below to decide which one is right for you!

Twilight Taupe – This color combination has shades of taupe, tan, beige, and cream.  The end result resembles tumbled marble.  This neutral color goes well with a wide range of colors and decor.  If you have hardwood floors, brown leather or upholstered furniture with rich tones, cream colored furniture, dark wood accents, or tan or medium tones on your walls,  twilight taupe would be an excellent choice to lighten your room.  Bright colored accessories add interest  and a bold pop of color to your neutral background.  On the other hand, you could create a clean, restful look using cream and tan accessories.  A dark stained wood or rustic mantel would look beautiful against this color background.

Misty Harbor – This color combination consists of light gray, cream, and dark gray.  This color works well with gray carpet or tile.  The gray color theme works well with modern decor using black furniture and chrome/glass accent tables.  You can add a few splashes of color with decorative pillows or lamps.  A cream or black painted mantel would work nicely with this look.

Frosted Sunshine – This color combination has tan, beige and a yellowish-cream.  This is the lightest of the Brick-Anew colors.  The yellowish-cream enables this color to go well with “shabby chic” decor.    If you have lighter colors in your room such as pastels or soft muted colors,  you might like this color choice.  It would also work well with light beachy decor and a pickled or driftwood mantel.

These are just some ideas to consider when trying to decide on a Brick-Anew color. Each color combination is unique and every home has it’s own feel and personality.  We want to help you choose the color perfect for your home’s decor.  Please call 800-897-7175 or email us with your phone number at sales@brick-anew.com to get a free personal design consultation. After talking with you and possibly reviewing some pictures, we’ll help you choose the right color for your brick fireplace. We would love to talk “decorating” with you, so give us a call!

 

Three Ideas so simple even your kids could do it.

Painting your fireplace

You want to enjoy your brick fireplace during these cold, snowy winter months but every time you go to relax by the fire all you can think is…”Does my fireplace need a quick update?”

If you  have dark, heavy-looking “Brady Bunch” brick that’s ruining your room’s decor and keeping you from enjoying your nights by the fire, no worries.  If you have just a few hours of free time, I’ll share three easy do -it-yourself painting solutions for your outdated brick that can change your fireplace from frumpy to fabulous in a snap.

First, prepare your brick for painting.  You need to clean your brick with a brick and mortar cleaner and/or trisodium phosphate (TSP).  Be sure to wear safety goggles and gloves. Take a wire brush and scrub the bricks to remove any soot, dirt, or dust.  Rinse and let dry.  Use painter’s tape to tape off areas you want to be paint-free.  Lay down a drop cloth to protect your carpet, wood, or tile floor.  Whether or not to remove your mantel or work around it during the painting process is up to you.

Painting Your Brick A Solid Color – The first solution involves using a solid color paint to cover all your brick.  With the right shade of light-colored paint, this process will instantly lighten your room.  If you’re painting a brick wall or fireplace in your basement where you have few windows to get natural light, this idea will make your space seem brighter and more open.  First, apply an oil-based primer that blocks stains.  Follow the fireplace paint manufacturer’s instructions on the can as you apply the primer to the entire surface of your bricks.  After the primer dries, apply a latex paint, using a roller, to the brick surface. You can choose a flat, semi-gloss or gloss, depending on the look you are trying to achieve.  Have a small paint brush handy to get areas that your brush misses, especially if you have rough, jagged brick.  You can apply a few coats of paint if you choose.  Make sure the paint can withstand heat from your fireplace, about 200 degrees.

White Washed Brick – If you don’t want to paint your brick a thick, solid color, you might consider a white washed look.  This process involves covering your brick with a thin, white paint mixture that tones down the look of dark brick and allows some of the original brick to peek through.   You’ll have  a fresh, light “pickled” look that works well with cottage chic or beachy decor.Simply mix equal parts latex paint and water and use a brush to apply the mixture over all your brick.  Before the paint dries, use a rag to remove any excess paint to achieve a thin, see-thru look.

Brick-Anew Paint Kit –  If you want to keep the “real brick” look and not just paint over your brick with a solid color or wash, there’s an online  brick paint kit you might want to try. The Brick-Anew paint kit comes with shades of paint that work together to give the impression that  you rebuilt your fireplace with a different color brick.  In other words, even though your bricks are painted, each brick will have a mottled look that mimics real brick.

The paint kit comes with everything you need…five shades of latex brick paint product, painting tools, and instructional DVD.  First, you brush a base coat (no need to prime first) over all your brick and then apply 4 other shades using a small roller or sponge.  It’s an easy process with dramatic results and a money back guarantee. There are three color kits to choose from including taupe, tan, and gray.

I hope these painting solutions have given you food for thought and some motivation for an indoor project on a cold winter’s day.  After all, spring is just around the corner when all those outdoor projects and gardening will crowd your agenda.  I’d love to hear how your project turns out!

 

“HGTV HOUSE HUNTERS HOME RENOVATION” FIREPLACE PROJECT – Part 3 of 3

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“A Mantel Would Look Nice”

After the fireplace bricks and firebox were finished, we thought about what we could do to make the fireplace not look so plain.  The firebox opening was offset to the side and we thought about a mantel to hang over it.  Carmen and John chose a rustic mantel shelf called the Ridgewood from our website.  It was almost a perfect match to their new hardwood floors in distressed medium oak.  Carmen found a painting she had purchased at a garage sale to add some color to the fireplace and the new mantle.  We loved how the blue sky in the painting complemented the walls and windows in the room.

When Tim the contractor came to install the mantel, he couldn’t believe fireplace transformation.  He said he would have charged thousands of dollars to tear out the fireplace.  We had to convince him we had painted the brick with Brick-Anew…he was amazed it still looked like real brick…just a lighter color.  Lucky for Carmen and John they can spend the money they saved on new furniture for their room!!

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“Fireplace Doors Finish Off the Firebox”

After examining the firebox, we determined the fireplace was masonry like practically all fireplaces in older homes.  Carmen and John chose a set of steel fireplace doors in oil-rubbed bronze from our website.  Tim, the contractor, installed the doors quickly and easily.  The clear glass, cabinet style doors gave a clean, finished look that was amazing with the new twilight taupe brick color.

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“Time to Get Back to the ATL”

We spent our last day sightseeing and eating some fabulous food!  We took a beautiful drive through the canyon to Santa Monica.  Then it was off to Hollywood to dinner.   I love our new friends and California!  Hopefully, they can visit us in Atlanta soon.

 

“HGTV HOUSE HUNTERS HOME RENOVATION” FIREPLACE PROJECT: “Brick-Anew Paint Kit to the Rescue!”

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“Brick-Anew Paint Kit to the Rescue!”

Carmen and John are both actors and have limited time to devote to each of their home renovation projects. (Maybe you’ve seen John riding a motorcycle with Flo in those cool Progressive Insurance commercials!)  They have to be able to go for an audition on a moment’s notice so they weren’t real thrilled of adding another complicated project to their already long list.

I convinced them that the Brick-Anew paint kit project would take just a couple of days and they’d get a lighter real brick look without a huge mess or expense.  So after the decision was made, it was time to get started!

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First, Carmen taped off the fireplace and cleaned the brick so it was ready to paint.  The base coat went on first.  The brick was rough and porous with ridges and cracks so it took a little more time to apply the base coat.  When the base coat was finished, we let it dry overnight.

We could have kept going but were were ready for a break.  Carmen made home made organic pesto and pasta for dinner …Delicious!

“What About the Firebox?”

After the Brick-Anew brick paint was finished, we noticed the firebox was this big, unattractive opening about 36”wide by 29”high stained with soot and ash.  There was a faded metal grate in it for holding logs.

We took our high temperature black firebox paint and got to work.  We sell the firebox paint on our website.  It’s a high temperature grill and stove paint that can be used inside the firebox as well.  We opened all the windows and doors since there’s a strong odor until it dries.  Carmen painted the grate a placed it back in the firebox.  Voila!  Beautiful, new firebox!

 

HGTV HOUSE HUNTERS HOME RENOVATION” FIREPLACE PROJECT: “LA, Here We Come!

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When Carmen called me a couple of months ago asking some questions about our Brick-Anew paint it, we hit it off right away.  She described how she and her husband, John, had just bought a house in the suburbs of LA and how HGTV was filming in their new home for a new show in their “House Hunters” series.  She sent me a picture of her living room area and the old brick fireplace she was trying to figure out how to remodel.

The fireplace, made with bright red brick from the 1950’s, covered an entire wall.  She didn’t want to just slap a can of paint over the brick to cover it up but didn’t know what else to do on their limited budget’ and time frame. They had considered tearing out the fireplace and starting over.

I knew the fireplace had so much potential…it just needed a little work.  So it was off to LA to see if we could help!

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 “What Do We Do With That Old, Outdated Fireplace?”

When we got to LA I was amazed that the traffic was as bad or worse than Atlanta!  But when we got out to the suburbs of Van Nuys, it was beautiful.  Carmen and John’s home, a 1950’s ranch style brick house, was on the end of their street with a wonderful, private lot.  I love old houses so I enjoyed walking around the property hearing them talk about their decorating and renovation plans.  HGTV’s crew was there working on converting a detached garage into a game room.  Oh, and the best part is that there’s a pool in back!

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Seeing the fireplace for the first time in person, I noticed the roughness and ridges in the old brick.   The fireplace was about 80 square feet covering an entire back wall which really weighed down the room and caused it to heavy and dark.  What a shame since the room was really open and had lots of windows and doors opening out to an amazing pool and patio area!  Carmen had painted the walls a beautiful light, blue which seemed to help.  But we had at lot of work to do to take the fireplace from UGGG! To AHHH!

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Part 1 of 3 of our HGTV House Hunters Home Renovation Fireplace Project

Why burning with your Fireplace Glass Doors open matters

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Fireplace glass doors are one of the greatest additions to fireplace safety and comfort.  Protecting the immediate area near the fire from excessive heat as well as from burning embers, glass doors provide a neat partition.  The glass doors manage to control the size of the fire and the temperature of heat in the room.

If the fire suddenly gets bigger than expected, closing the doors will reduce the flame by limiting air to the oxygen-hungry fire.  It is wise to remember that while we have learned to control fire by containing it in a fireplace, the elements still can wield their unpredictable powers over us.

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Special Z – Trackless Bi-Fold Door

The U.S. Fire Administration gives these helpful tips on fireplace and home safety (here are a few)

  • Keep fireplaces clean – have them inspected annually by a certified chimney specialist.
  • Leave glass doors open while burning. This ensures the fire receives enough air to escape any combustion type situations.
  • Never use flammable liquids to start a fire
  • Do not leave a fire in the fireplace unattended.
  • Extinguish a fire before going to bed or leaving.
  • Always make sure you have smoke detectors installed and keep fresh batteries in them monthly.

There are many websites you can go to for fire regulations for your state and city. Burning with your fireplace doors open can prevent all kinds of potential fire hazards in your home. Combustion and shattering of glass is always a concern. Make sure you know your states laws and check the links provided to ensure you are fire safe.

Please use the link above to read more about how to keep your fireplace safe and the proper suggestions for using your fireplace glass doors. You can also find more information about fireplace safety at the below listed link.

Hearth, Patio and Barbecue Association

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