Fireplace : New Look!

Brad and I bought our first home this past January of 2016 and since then have had the blessing and joy of remodeling as we go! Our home was built in the 70’s so with that came a lot of fixtures and color pallets of a 70’s home, which wasn’t exaaactly what we were going for. So the first items on our agenda before moving in were scraping the pop corn ceilings, priming all of the walls for paint, ripping out the carpet and putting new floors down and installing new fixtures. It’s been a blast working together on our first home!

Today I’m sharing our fireplace update with you all, as requested! As you can see below, on the right is a “before” picture of our living room/fireplace. I have saved inspiration on Pinterest for a long time for my ideal fireplace. I searched everywhere to figure out how to achieve the whitewashed look — not the painted over kind. The pictures I was observing looked like it was a white paste of some sort. Relentless in my search, I finally found an INSTAGRAM COMMENT on what this method was called: German Smear. I didn’t know it at the time, but apparently Chip & Joanna Gains have used this method, too! I have to admit that it was EXTREMELY  intimidating doing this as we knew that there was no turning back once we started. But boy, I don’t have any regrets whatsoever!

As for the mantel, we were able to encase the previous wood beam with some cedar wood (not in our budget to purchase a new one!). We used Minwax wood finish in the color Provincial and used a protective finish on top of that.

Below are the steps we took to create this look.

Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

First off, we had to get all the materials we needed, which we found them at Home Depot:


  • 1 Bag of white mortar (CLICK HERE)
  • Paint scraper (CLICK HERE)
  • At least a pack of 3 sponges (CLICK HERE)
  • 2 plastic buckets (CLICK HERE)
  • Power drill mixer paddle (CLICK HERE)


  1. We first prepped our surface (fireplace) with water — whether that’s using a water sprayer or sponge
  2. Then we mixed up the mortar and water in a large bucket (using another bucket as the waste bucket — the mortar you scrape off the fireplace). When mixing the mortar you want the consistency to be like peanut butter (not too runny but not too thick). We mixed the mortar with the power drill mixer paddle we got from Home Depot and that worked like a charm!
  3. Then after trying to apply the mortar in multiple ways, Brad found the best method of applying it was to do so with a sponge. When applying, make sure you cover the entire area/crevices
  4. You are then supposed to let it set for 30 minutes before scraping off with the scraper, and then you take a cold wet sponge to wipe off even more. The cool design on our fireplace is where we wanted more brick to show through, so on that part we had to apply a lighter layer of mortar and then immediately wipe it off with a scraper and wet sponge, instead of letting it set for 30 minutes. We found it better to start off with less mortar because you can always put on more later. If you have lose bricks laying around anywhere, it might be a good idea to practice on a couple of those before attempting to do your entire fireplace (just so you can get a feel for how it will look depending on if you go heavy with the mortar or do a lighter application)


It honestly isn’t too messy, but I would recommend putting down some drop cloths around the fireplace to allow space for things to fall off. Below is a video of mortar being put on the fireplace — the batter wasn’t thick enough, and you’ll see what that looks like in the video. So Brad just added more mortar and mixed it up and we were golden!

It was so much fun writing this post because I absolutely love love love remodeling, decorating, and being inspired by others in things related to these interests, as well! Please let me know if you have any questions!

Merry Christmas!




  1. Alyssa Lewis says:

    Oh Abby! I’ve got to come visit at some point! Your home is turning out adorable! <3

  2. Mollie says:

    Love it! I watched the show where Chip did this to an entire house. I would love to do it to mine. I just haven’t convinced myself ,Yet! LOL

    1. Thank you so much! You should definitely do it if you can someday — it adds so much charm and character!!

  3. Ruby says:

    I absolutely love it! do you have videos on how your hubby scraps and sponges 30 mins after applying it???

  4. Ruby says:

    Absolutely love it! do you have a video on how your hubby scrapes it and sponges 30 mins after applying??

    1. admin says:

      Hey Ruby! I wish I did! It was a drawn out process but it was simple — we used a scraper and then a sponge to wipe off and it’s really just to your liking. Something to remember: you can always put more on but you can’t take more off — so I would be safe and scrape away more than you think you want scraped away because it will dry whiter than expected. You can always add more later if you want!

  5. This looks amazing and is my inspiration for my fireplace. I’m taking the plunge! But a quick question about the grout. I have grey grout and it looks like your grout was quite dark. I see in your video the grout lines on the lower half of the fireplace are white. Did you do a separate application of mortar just the to grout lines before hand? Is that paint? Did you do that on the entire fireplace? I’m wondering if I’ll need to do an extra application on the dark grout, so this info will be a big help. Thank you!

    1. I’m so sorry to just now be seeing this! My blog doesn’t notify me when someone comments and since this was an older post, I haven’t gone back to check it in awhile. :(( So sorry! I realize helping you now might be too late, but just wanted to go ahead and inform you of what we did! We thought it would be a good idea to paint some of the grout before doing other applications, but then after a few minutes we thought we would just see how putting mortar on the bricks would look without prepping with white in the grout lines. And it worked wonderfully! So if you haven’t done your fireplace yet, I would suggest not taking the step of painting the grout lines white and just going for it with the mortar, being sure to slap it in the grout lines! :)

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