My family bought our 1980s Williamsburg-style home, in Peachtree Corners, GA, in 2006. The home is tucked near a nice little cul-de-sac, deep in a subdivision full of 1980s Williamsburg-style homes. The homes are not too varied, interesting, or exciting, but do we love our home, our yard, and our neighborhood. The previous owners, who were the original owners, had made some quality upgrades to the house over the years. We have enjoyed continuing with numerous renovations ourselves.
One update we made a few years ago was kind of a big leap for me. It wasn’t a huge project, but was definitely a commitment. We limewashed the brick fireplace surround. When it comes to painting brick, there’s no going back…you can’t really “unpaint” brick. I’ve always felt that brick and wood are some kind of Sacred — you just can’t paint them on a whim! I realize many people feel this way. …but many don’t!
To my eye, the brick in our family room was a drab color, and while the surrounding oak bookcases were a great quality and of nice workmanship, I was tired of the heavy, honey-colored oak. That whole end of the room was dark.
I looked into adding a fresh, current tile over the brick to update it, but after looking at pricing and logistics, we decided to try the limewash (since it’s inexpensive), and if we hated that, we could reconsider the work and expense of adding tile.
I was inspired by a few photos I found after Googling “painted brick fireplace” and settled on the limewash effect. We went with Romabio Avorio White Limewash Interior/Exterior Paint, which was in stock at Home Depot. I liked the limewash because it wasn’t going to completely cover the tones of the brick. Limewash paint gives a unique “whitewash” effect. The product we chose is a one-coat process, no priming required. That’s what sealed the whole deal for me. According to the Romabio website this product is toxin free and environmentally friendly. Romabio Limewash is mineral-based and is derived from sustainable materials. . . . Bonus! And we were thrilled with the results!
The limewash process gives an old-world, antiqued/weathered look. Some of the brick color remains exposed, which results in a warmth you just wouldn’t have with a painted brick.
We decided to keep the oak mantle in place, as is, as it compliments our oak floors, and has a nice, neutral style. So after taping off the edges by the mantle, bookcases, floor, and ceiling, we were ready to experiment.
The application was very easy. We went with the recommended 50% dilution (see chart below; the .67-gallon can was plenty for our fireplace surround). Before applying the limewash, we misted a 3’x3′ area of the brick with a spraybottle of water. Once the brick was damp, we used a paintbrush to apply the wash. It soaks right in!
We adjusted the look by applying plenty of the product and then washing off in random areas, so the brick color would peek through. We were able to balance out the intensity with some vigorous buffing, and there was lots of stepping back to observe, adding or removing the wash, and more observing after that!
Removal is possible for up to two days after the initial application — very forgiving. This product can be re-applied to add color depth, even past the two-day removal limit. Since the finish is flat, touchups are undetectable. Nota Bene: the product dries more opaque and it looks “thicker” or “darker” when dry than when it’s wet. We ended up removing quite a bit over the next couple of hours, adjusting the amount of brick color and the “location” or “pattern” of the red that showed through.
Romabio Classico Limewash dilution recommendations
After the wonderful transformation with the limewashed masonry, we decided to go ahead and have the woodwork painted to coordinate with the wall color, Silver Strand (7057, Sherwin Williams). The paint colors we used are: bookcases “Attitude Gray” (7060); wainscoting “Unusual Gray” (7059); all Sherwin Williams colors.
This update truly brightened this part of my home. Adding the limewash to the fireplace surround and then painting the woodwork gave everything a fresher, cleaner, more updated feel. I just love it!