When we moved into our second 1920s craftsman house, the fireplace and built-in shelves around it looked nearly identical to our first craftsman! The only difference? The brick on the fireplace was...underwhelming. The brick faces were flat, and the placement and sizes were uneven and asymmetrical.
This bugged the crap out of me. But what really bothered me most was how deep the mortar joints were.
Mortar joints are basically the "grout lines" you see when you look at installed brick, and it's called a "joint" because this mortar holds the bricks together.
Because our joints were so deep, some pretty funky shadows appeared on the brick faces throughout the daytime lighting, and sometimes even made the fireplace appear dirty.
I have fallen in love with this brick look in Jenny Komenda's kitchen, and plan to install brick backsplash in my kitchen similarly this year!
It's the real inspiration for what I knew I wanted my fireplace to look like. In fact, this look is very similar to that of our exterior brick pillars.
I had an idea that I believed would hide some of the uneven placement of the bricks, and create this more subtle brick-wall look (I like to call it soft and fluffy brick).
So, what did I do? I filled the mortar joints with...well, more mortar!
Since the brick joints were already painted, I used the Romabio bio-grip primer on the joints so the new mortar would have a gritty and "raw" material to stick to. My plan was to paint everything after filling the joints, so I decided not to worry about priming the the rest of the brick.
Once the primer dried, I started filling the spaces in with new mortar. This part was so satisfying! It's a bit like frosting a cake, and you can start to the results of your efforts immediately. Here are some photos of what the process looked like, and what the fireplace looked like once the mortar dried, before painting!
I decided to give my built-ins a refresh, too, and painted all of the trim and brick faces in Clare Paint's Fresh Kick's semi-gloss white paint.
I added some peel-and-stick tiles to the hearth while I was at it. (Note: this is temporary. We don't currently use our fireplace - we live in hot and humid Florida and don't have a real need to. If we ever decide to use the fireplace, we'll have a proper fireplace inspection and either remove the peel-and-stick tiles, or retile our hearth).
Overall, I'm so happy I did this. The fireplace looked super fresh for Christmas stockings, and all of the brick in my home will have a seamless look once we install our kitchen backsplash.
Let me know what you think, and follow me on Instagram to find some videos of this project taking shape!