Good Questions: Help Us Paint Our Exposed Brick?

Good Questions: Help Us Paint Our Exposed Brick?

Maxwell Ryan
May 23, 2007

Hello AT,

My name's Robin (I post as bird & beef) and I could really use some help from Apartment Therapy and its awesome community.

My boyfriend, Sam, and I have lived in our apartment for about seven months. It was a total disaster when we moved in, but we are in the process of turning it into a space that we love...

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We've done it slowly, deliberately, and on a very tight budget. We're especially proud of how our living room is coming along, with one glaring exception.

We HATE the exposed brick fireplace at the center of the living room.

It has been the victim of several botched paint jobs that preceded us (we've tried to remove it, to no avail), is covered in some awful shellac (varnish? either way, it is yellow and terrible), and it sucks all of the light out of an otherwise well-lit room. It is a black hole and I hate it. We desperately want to paint it white and have approached the landlord to ask for permission. He's reluctant to allow us to do so, saying that it's "the best part of the apartment", which, given the condition, couldn't be further from the truth.

If we can get proof that it will make the space better, he will likely capitulate, and I'm putting together a presentation package to this effect. If I could show him comments from AT andsome emails from designers, I think it will help. We really like the texture, but the colour and condition of the brick is just killing us. Can you guys please help us?

Many, many thanks!

All the best, Robin and Sam

Dear Robin and Sam,

We're with you on this one. Although exposed brick "can" be beautiful, not all exposed brick is, and yours is not adding to your apartment's health or decor. When it gets painted over with that glossy finish, it's deadly. The problem is that most brick is dusty and crumbles slightly, so sealing it is important.

Painting is one easy option that will really brighten your room and tie together your walls, but if you wanted to go a bit further, we'd copy the really nice texture that BDDW created for their NY showroom: How To: Make Your Brick Walls Like BDDW's. Tyler himself goes in for a comment to try to give a better formula.

Anyone else?

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