The Great Fireplace Weekend-Makeover

This post is a long time comin'.  I'm so proud of this fireplace makeover!  If you read this post you'll remember I got the bug to fix up my home, and this fireplace project is a precursor to painting my kitchen cabinets white.  I'll sort of run through the details as the project unfolds...

(I'll put my Amazon affiliate links to show exactly what I used)
Here is the "before"...  

First step: paint.  After thoroughly researching paint, I went with Benjamin Moore Advance paint in Paper Mache. It's water-based which was important to me because white oil-based paints tend to yellow, and this room gets full sun.  The Advance line is supposed to cure and be very durable like an oil-based paint, although I admit I already see a couple of chipped spots where it got dinged (maybe it wasn't fully cured?).  The jury is still out on that one.  

I first sanded with my new Mouse sander!  Then I taped off and used an angled brush to cut in and get the moldings, and rolled the rest.  I primed and then did 2 coast of paint.  I think the paint made the biggest difference in this makeover! Already a thousand times better, in my opinion...

Next step: stone! Air Stone is a lightweight easy-to-DIY stone veneer from Lowe's.  It turns out the color we wanted (the grey tones called Spring Creek, are only available in the Eastern third of the U.S.  I was able to have it shipped (for free) but I ran out mid-way through and wasn't able to find more. Air Stone customer service responded very quickly and explained that it is continually being supplied to Lowe's but sells out very quickly, so she suggested check availability first thing in the morning.  Sure enough, after a few days my husband was able to order online and have it shipped.

Air Stone couldn't be easier to install ("apply" is a better word), but I still had my share of frustrations...  You just spread the putty on the back of the stone and stick it to the wall, or in my case, tile. The area on the sides of the firebox were so narrow that I had to trim lots of little tiny pieces which is a pain.  I had one box of "natural edge" pieces and two boxes of "flat edge" pieces, and I blew through the natural edge pieces in a hurry.  I used all flat edge pieces for the rest of the project and think it looks fine.

At this point I was already so over Air Stone

When you need to trim a piece, you can use a miter saw.  This is where I had my first hang up.  I got a new, inexpensive miter saw - FAIL.  Would not cut worth a damn.  The saw displayed with the Air Stone at Lowe's is very dinky looking, so I didn't think I needed anything special.  I went next door to see about borrowing my neighbors table saw, and he sent me home with this contraption which worked out perfectly.  So a higher quality miter saw should do the trick.  

When I had worked my way to the top of the firebox, I used painters tape to keep the first row from slipping and stopped working for the night.  It was cemented in place by the next day.  

And, by the next day, I was in love with Air Stone once again and the rest of the project went much faster.  Doesn't it look amazing?!  I plan on using Air Stone for my kitchen backsplash as well.

I'm currently in the middle of putting the Air Stone on the wall above the fireplace.  I'll post more pictures when I'm all the way done.

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