Update: Check out the Final Reveal!
Now, after a very long weekend of cutting and building the stonework, laying down the hearth, and painting, our living room is sporting this!
- Primer (We used Kilz Original because we didn’t know what kinds of paint were in the layers on our very old recycled mantel.)
- White semi-gloss paint (We used Sherwin Williams Pure White)
- 1-1/2 inch angle paint brush (I loooove my Purdy one. It’s survived many DIYs)
- Paint bucket
- A cup or two of water (if you choose to do a whitewash on the stone)
- Clean, lint-free rag
- 3 boxes of Air Stone
- 2 buckets of Air Stone Adhesive
- Hack saw
- Putty knife
- Matte black paint (I just had this chalkboard paint on hand and it worked great.)
- 7 concrete patio stones (Or however many you need for your fireplace’s measurements.)
I just used the same paint that we used on the mantel with one part paint and one part water.
Then, I swiped on the whitewash with a paint brush.
Let it set in for a minute or two since the stone will absorb quite a bit. And dab any excess with a rag.
Here is what it looked like after I dabbed off the excess and let it soak in the wash a little more. There was just enough gray tone coming through the white.
Then, Robert and I started adhering the stone to the hearth. We applied the adhesive like frosting on a cake. Applying the adhesive like butter on bread isn’t really enough. Any extra can always be scraped off with a putty knife once you press it on.
Ta da! 30 stone pieces done, a million more to go!
The Airstone was really easy considering all of the other stone veneers out there. So…okay. I wouldn’t say easy, just easiER. The whole fireplace still took all weekend. I think we clocked about 15 hours on this sucker.
Poor Robert worked the hacksaw 99% of the time…mainly because I’m a total girl and it took me twice as long to cut a stone. I guess he wanted to show off his macho skills. (Just so ya know…that hairy hand below is not mine.)
We attached the Airstone to the bottom of the surround first so we could add to the top of the hearth.
This part required a lot of debate, but in the end, the cheapest and easiest and most durable route for the hearth was repurposing stepping stones from the garden department of Lowe’s for only about $2 each. Those things are heavy! And we used adhesive on them too. They’re not going anywhere.
Once we started adhering the stone, it got a little tricky at the top of the surround, and we discovered that we were half a stone’s height short.
There was no way we could cut 6-8 stones lengthwise with a hacksaw because they would completely crumble to pieces, so we put a strip of wood trim at the top of the surround to paint white, and we spaced out some of the stones with popsicle sticks.
The sticks create just a small enough gap to make a difference so that we wouldn’t end up with a space of bare wood at the top of the surround.
This morning, after we took the sticks out, we had a stone fireplace! I was really tempted to keep the stone gray, but since I had already whitewashed part of the hearth, I had to keep going with it. And the gray wouldn’t have completely worked with the rest of the room anyway.
For the stepping stone hearth, I painted it with a sample pot of Valspar paint called Rugged Suede.
So now we have a ginormous just-about-finished fireplace in our living room! Hallelujah!
As I’m sitting here typing this and I’m seeing the difference between the wash on the hearth base and the wash on the surround, I’m definitely thinking it needs another coat. And I might try to warm it up a little by putting in a small bit of our wall color Sherwin Williams Perfect Greige and testing it on a spare stone.
Update: See the final reveal here!