Monday, July 21, 2008

What to do with that brick?

The brick hearth in the kitchen came out two tone - red paint and a strange mustard yellow color. At first we thought okay let's just clean it off. Then after careful consideration we decided that not only would that be time consuming, we weren't sure that the traditional exposed brick look was the look we're trying to achieve in our kitchen. Yes, the rustic red of exposed brick is beautiful but as I was picturing it in my head I just couldn't see it with the modern fittings we've already picked out. Plus, if the exposed chimneys in the attic are a good example, I don't want mortar crumbling over my stove while I'm cooking! Yes, I know you can seal brick. ;)

Here she is in an early shot with some of the old framing still in place:

One look I've always admired is the brick wall treatment at BDDW. Digging around online I discovered that the owner achieved the look by layering joint compound over the brick surface. Since we had nothing to lose (we'd still have to clean the brick anyway) we decided to scratch up the paint with some sandpaper and start layering.

We discovered that joint compound will take some time to dry (especially on a humid day) and it is best to not try to help it along. After using a fan on the surface we had cracks on a test patch. Lesson learned and fixed with more compound.

Here you can see the progress (thanks to my Dad) so far:

I'm really liking the look already and hoping it will hold up over time. I'm not really worried since it's interior brick and not exposed to moisture from the elements. I think we'll paint it a similar white for a bright, clean look.


  1. Oh, it's going to be gorgeous! I love the walls at BDDW, too.

    We tried to expose the brick hearth in our kitchen (you can still see the shape of it, but it's covered with plaster), but after removing a small chunk of the plaster, it looked like the bricks were going to crumble and we quickly patched it back up!! :)

  2. Our bricks are not doing so well in some places too... we just had the chimneys pointed and the roofers (they really are amazing) are working on part of the back of the house. Up in the attic we have a lot of crumblage (that's my new word) so I think we may have to point up there too in the future.
    I love your kitchen btw... definitely a huge inspiration! We had the same range as you in our co-op. It was fun to cook on - I hope I like the new one as much.

  3. CasaCara did a post today about BDDW's move to philly and their former studio/workshop being for sale {}. I have their website open in another tab as I type this. Interesting the way things overlap & pop up. Your blog & BDDW were completely unknown to me until today.