Over the past month I have pathetically taken a major blog hiatus. During this past month however, we have been cramming in more work at the house than probably any stage yet! The biggest news of the season…get ready for it…we are now a 3 TOILET HOUSEHOLD! After sharing one bathroom with 4 girls in the house (ok granted one is still in diapers but whatever), this was incredibly exciting and I will share updates on our bathrooms soon! Not only have we been staying up till the wee hours painting, woodworking and piecing together the upstairs bathrooms, but we have been blessed with some much needed visits from family and friends. Time with loved ones is always important but when you haven’t had any in 10 long months, let’s just say I appreciate it now more than ever and found myself wishing they would all miss their return flights!
Another part of what’s been happening this Fall at the Varghese home is full blown fall frenzy as Isla has become a major holiday enthusiast. She came home from school last month and announced that our house was not spooky and we needed to get the halloween ball rolling. Thankfully my mom was here and took the responsibility for setting up halloween craft boutique central and the girls cranked out paper bats, pipe cleaner spiders, sheet ghosts and pumpkin everything. No sooner had Halloween candy been consumed, and Isla announced that we needed to get cracking on Christmas set-up.
The girls are hoping for a white Christmas (quite rare in Tennessee so likely wishful thinking) and getting ready for Santa. So I figured now would be the appropriate time to deal with the fireplace disasters…don’t want Santa splashing around in all the soot and accumulated ash from the past 40 years. There is a very simple brick fireplace in the family room downstairs and the master bedroom upstairs. The brick is very dingy and the interiors were an absolute mess. As nice as a woodburning fireplace is in the winter, for us it’s just too messy and too much work with little ones. Plus we have a firepit in the backyard we enjoy. So we have run gas lines to install inserts in the future and for now we just want clean and decorative.
Step 1: I took the grate outside and hosed it down. After it dried, I applied several coats of black high heat spray paint.
Step 2: Thanks to our shop vac, I sucked out the majority of the crud and wiped down with old rags.
Step 3: Using this brush attachment which attaches to a power drill, I scrubbed with soapy water plus a little vinegar tossed in. The process was pretty messy, but since flooring in both rooms hadn’t been redone yet…no worries! I just went back and forth between power scrubbing for a few minutes and sucking out the sooty water with the shop vac (I really do love shop vacs. To me, this is an essential household tool). I then gave it a final wipe down with some rags and let it dry for a few hours.
Step 4: I painted black with high heat paint. This paint is sort of like stain meets paint and goes on super smooth and easily. I would recommend using an old brush as it pretty much will ruin it. Be careful not to get any on the surrounding brick unless you intend to completely paint the brick later. This paint is pretty wicked and won’t wash out well of anything.
Step 5: I went into the Tennessee forest and chopped down a young aspen tree, cutting logs to place inside. I wish. Ok I ordered some logs from Etsy for downstairs, and the upstairs fireplace got candles.
Yes, I realize everything around the firebox still looks like crap…work in progress! But moment to appreciate that firebox- hopefully Santa does. I’m going to German Schmear the brick soon and I’ll share how that goes!