This post is showing you how to DIY a faux exposed brick chimney. (it added loads of character in this farmhouse style redo!)
For the past few weeks, I’ve been sharing with you a very inspiring farmhouse style renovation my son and daughter-in-law, Aaron and Melissa, did to their recently purchased 1970-something house. They changed it from a typical house of that era, with separate rooms and a smallish kitchen, to a much more open main floor, beautifully finished with lots of light and whites throughout.
Transforming a space from lots of walls to very few walls can be challenging, however, and this was no exception! The mechanics ie: ductwork and plumbing that needed to go from the basement up to the 2nd floor went through the main wall between the kitchen and living room… that wall was getting removed though! (To see more on this open concept floor plan with before and after, click here)
The solution was to create a faux exposed brick chimney right smack dab in the middle of the space!
Here’s how they did it and how it turned out in the end.
First, the before: (this was taken from the breakfast nook looking through the kitchen towards the dining room)
When Aaron and Melissa bought this 1970-something house, the kitchen looked like this. It was a small, closed off space with a so-so floor plan. the only thing that stayed was the kitchen sink placement. Everything else was moved, including the wall between the kitchen and dining room, as well as the wall behind the fridge and stove!
Here’s another angle, this time looking from the dining room back through the kitchen towards the breakfast nook:
That wall behind the fridge is the wall that I’m talking about.
It came down… mostly… but disappointedly, they found out it was chock-full of the mechanics that had to stay.
Once that wall was removed and replaced with the huge doorway between the living room and kitchen, they had a chase built enclosed with sheetrock to hide the mechanics. The size was a perfect chimney shape and the faux exposed brick chimney could be visualized.
They decided to cover it with a thin brick material, (like the thin brick we created this brick wall pot rack in our 100 year old house)…
Aaron bought both corner pieces and flats for this project. (for our potrack wall, I had purchased the thin brick mounted on a web) He then carefully started to glue the thin bricks on the ‘chimney’ with appropriate spaces in between.
Since they wanted the countertop to be a really good fit around the faux chimney, they waited until the countertop was installed, then carefully taped the edges and covered it while they applied the tile, grout and final paint to the chimney.
Thin brick installs basically like wall tile.
They can be glued on the wall with construction adhesive or thinset. They also cut like tile. Aaron used a score and snap style tile cutter to cut them,
as well as a tile nipper for breaking off small pieces…
like where he created the rounded corners on the short pieces he needed in the run for the pattern to fit correctly in the space he had.
Daddy and son put the thinset on the wall, working a small area at a time, then wiggled each thin brick into the thinset, evenly spacing each one with spacers.
Since this is supposed to look like an exposed brick chimney from an old farmhouse, the spaces in between the brick are fairly large and will be filled with mortar.
Here’s the exposed brick chimney from the kitchen side after all the brick is on:
And from the dining room side:
They knew all along that they were going to paint it white, so Aaron didn’t need to be careful with the white thinset getting smeared on a few bricks.
After the thinset was dry, with the bricks firmly in place, Aaron grouted in between the cracks, creating a traditional mortared brick look. A sanded grout is a must to accomplish this. It not only gives the texture of mortar, it also is necessary for grout lines that are wide like these. (unsanded grout would crack with such thick lines)
Once the grout was dry, Melissa primed and painted the exposed brick chimney several coats of white. Stunning isn’t it!?
Here’s a tip…
To make the brick look like a believable exposed brick chimney, they brought the brick all the way down to the floor. (no baseboard)
A closeup of the painted exposed brick chimney shows the character this thin brick has:
Now, what felt like it was disappointing at first, finding all those mechanics in the wall where they were hoping to have it be open, actually turned into a wonderful feature in the space!
The black cast iron brackets that hold the microwave shelf are perfect for this farmhouse style exposed brick chimney too!
Here’s a link for character filled thin brick that’s mounted on a web!
Be sure to check back as I continue to share details of their house, and check out this page to read everything I’ve written about it so far: Aaron and Melissa’s 1970 redo.
Did you know I now offer e-decorating? I can help you with your decorating needs via email, without having to step foot in your home. If you’re interested in more information, visit my e-decorating site: Frame and Frills. I’d love to help you with your project!
Here are more carpentry tips and ideas:
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