“Whitewashing” A Stone Fireplace with Grey Paint

When I first moved into Berrybrier I knew something would need to change on the Living Room fireplace. It was a stacked stone fireplace and clearly added onto the house in the 60s or 70s. The center was slightly blackened with soot and the stones were wildly different color tones, varying from yellow to red to brown. I did not like it at all and it felt like a jarring mid-century accent in the midst of the turn of the century house. I’m pretty sure this house didn’t even have a fireplace when it was built, just wood stoves in each room. There are two chimney’s on the house. A central one with old bricks that goes through the center of the house and has access holes for stove pipes in many of the rooms and then the one this fireplace vents through which is all 60’s/70’s orange brick. Not my favorite!

Of course, the busy stone of the Living Room fireplace is also one of the first things you see when you opened the front door and walked into Berrybrier! So in the midst of the insanity that was the kitchen renovation I roped my sister in to complete a quick fireplace refresh. I wanted to do a modern take on whitewashing, something that would still let the stone shine through, but would look a lot more subdued.

I considered painting the whole thing white and found some really cute inspiration like this one below. However, after I finally landed on paint colors for the main areas of the house, I thought white would look a bit odd against mushroom walls and forest green trimwork. Plus, I wanted to still have a bit more of the texture of the varying stone colors and true paint would have wiped that out.

Eventually I found a number of photos of white and greywashed stone. Many of them came from blogs who’d had similar fireplaces as me and needed a quick update! I decided I liked the grey color created by greywashing and decided to go with that route.


I picked up a can of Benjamin Moore’s 1475 Greystone and a painting mitten at the local Ace Hardware. Using a spare bucket and a paint stick I had my sister Bronwyn mix up a 50/50 batch of water and the Greystone paint. One it was well mixed, she dipped in her painting mitten and began gently brushing the stone. You could use a paint brush to do this, but I thought the mitten would make it a) easier and b) allow for a lighter sponged on look that would look more natural than a brush stroke.

When Bronwyn first started sponging on the 50/50 mix, she worked on the four right most stones at the top of the fireplace. When I came back a few minutes later, I could barely they’d been greywashed. Especially when I looked from afar.

We decided to up the ratio of paint to water from 50/50 to 75/25. This gave us a bit more coverage. I’d definitely recommend starting low and working up to more paint if you try this yourself, because you can definitely always add more paint or more layers later, but you can never remove it!

Once we had the 75/25 ratio, the colors became much more calm and cohesive, exactly as I’d hoped!

In under and hour she was able to finish greywashing the whole fireplace. It looked so much better! I instantly loved how the varying stone color tones came through, but didn’t scream in my face anymore. It was subtle and relaxed and it no longer looked dirty! Don’t worry, I am painting the walls and trim in here, so we didn’t even bother to try to keep the greywash off the wall.

And yes, this wall is wood paneling… unlike every other wall in the room / house which is lathe and plaster or drywall. WHY? I wonder what it’s covering up / hiding?! Eventually I will completely demo this fireplace and wall and put drywall up instead. For now, I get to just live with it. Sigh.

Back to the fireplace though. Look how much prettier it looks up close! It’s 1000x better. The stone is so rough and incorporates porous volcanic rock as well as more traditional stones, but once it’s more unified in color, that’s a lot less obvious.

I love looking at this side by side, just to see how much this changed it up! Even though it’s just a progress shot on the right, does it looks so much lighter and lifted and newer and cleaner?!

Soon after we finished this project, I painted the rest of the living room Benjamin Moore’s 1485 Brushed Aluminum with Benjamin Moore’s 1498 Forest Floor for the trimwork, just like in the stairway. The wall paint contrasts perfectly with the fireplace. I love paint so much! So quick and easy and *BOOM* huge change!

This room is coming along! I have a post cooking up for you on the evolution of this space. Even thought I’ve only been here at Berrybrier just under 2 years, this room has already had quite a few lewks! Though I don’t know if you can count complete and utter chaos as a lewk…. Ha!

Also I just found this picture when I was looking through my Pinterest board and now I’m wondering if this fireplace should be glossy black at some point in the future?! Hmmmmmm…

Have you ever painted or whitewashed brick or stone? Did you like the end result? I would struggle to paint old brick or stone, but cheap mid-century or later stone? Slap some paint on that!


The Order I Paint Walls, Ceiling, & Trim and the Refreshed Master Bedroom

When I first moved into Berrybrier, the Master Bedroom was one of the nicest looking rooms in the house. Thus, I filled it with all the junk I wanted out of other spaces (think unopened moving boxes) and largely ignored it.

You guys, this room, my room at Berrybrier, the “Master Bedroom” looked absolutely horrendous for over a year and 4 months. Yup, it took me over a year of doing all the other 20 million projects at Berrybrier, before I thought, “You know what would help you relax and feel more at home in this house? If you actually fixed up your bedroom so you enjoyed being in there.” If I could go back in time, I would have fixed up my bedroom first.

It seems silly to do such a non-priority space first, but realistically, all this room needed was a couple coats of paint. With a little help, I could have had this room completed in a long weekend, creating a small haven for myself amidst the utter chaos that reigned in this house for so long and wore on my body and soul. I really would have enjoyed that and have made a mental note for myself on the next place I decide to go crazy on.

But let’s get back to my bedroom. You remember when I bought the house and it looked like this in here? The bathroom was brown and yellow and fifty shades of gross. The room was better, painted in the last 10 years, but needed cleaning.

But then I fixed it up the bathroom! A full gut renovation later and that tiny bathroom now glows! It’s one of my favorite rooms in the house. When I shared the photos from that final picture a couple people commented on the sneak peek of the bedroom as well!

That’s right, ya’ll! We’re going green! Dark green. It’s time to make this bedroom a whole lot more fab. See how sad it is below? This shot is the first thing you see when you walk into the room. There was even a white sticker on the floor. You, know, as one sees on a frequent basis…

The periwinkle blue and brick red wall paint with white trim felt very Federalist and New Americana to me. Which isn’t really my thing. I wanted to get that totally changed up and get some privacy curtains up on the windows so my neighbors wouldn’t see me changing. I also wanted curtains to hide the just ever so slightly off center window.

The room is a decent size and even though there is a chimney stack housed in one corner, the room has numerous furniture layout possibilities. This is the door to get into the room, which yes someone decided to make smaller at one point and just cut off 3″ on the hinge side and rehung it. Questionable! But, still, it’s a beautiful, stained, solid wood, 5 panel door. I’m not trading that for anything!

This is the far corner of the room. The outlet placement was excellent for putting a bed on that wall and the vent on the floor is an intake air vent.

When I first bought Berrybrier, this room was on the bottom of the list of renovations, so it became the dumping ground for all my junk. I’d bought a bed for $25 off craigslist when I bought the house and threw it on bedrisers so I could fit some under-bed storage containers below. It was a lewk. And not a good one!

I bought all my bedding from West Elm way back in 2015 and still love it so much. When I first moved it, though, I kept half of it in storage and just threw the main pieces I’d pulled out of boxes first on the bed. I knew that whatever I did with this room, though, the floral duvet comforter would help dictate it. The bed, however, had to go. It was uncomfortable, old IKEA, I think? And it had been modified with random parts of other beds over the years.

After I’d settled into the house a bit more, I did try to dress up this set up a bit more and hung some art. But that didn’t really do much. Especially once I started swatching colors on the wall. I knew I wanted something dark and dynamic. A terracotta-y red, perhaps?

I ended up throwing a whole lot of colors on the wall. Oh, and guess what? I left the walls swatched like this for 8 months before actually painting this room. I’m super classy!

I was debating a charcoal wall and sampled two of those colors, one a bit warmer than the other. Then I looked at three different terracottas before realizing that my floors were so orange it would clash with them. Okay, cool colors. Which cool colors do I actually like? GREEN!!!

I only swatched two greens, because the second I realized the room should be green, I knew I wanted to continue the green trim color (Benjamin Moore 1498 Forest Floor) from the bathroom and kitchen into here too. The walls and trim could all be the same color, exactly like I did in the bathroom, but that felt repetitive and boring. So what about a very subtle contrast between the dark green trim and walls?

The top color is Benjamin Moore’s HC-112 Tate Olive and the lower color is Benjamin Moore 1490 Country Life which was on the same swatch card as the 1498 Forest Floor trim paint (which is on the trim below).

Can you guess what I picked? The top color! I loved the subtle contrast and the depth of tone. Plus it’s one of Benjamin Moore’s historical colors and that always feels kind of cool. I quickly went out and picked up a can of Natura Eggshell in Tate Olive.

Then I had to prep the room for work! I never remove all of the furniture in a room before painting, sure I move the light weight stuff, but for the most part, I just shove everything into the center of the room and throw big drop cloths over everything. Since I knew this would take several days, I left all my bedding on the bed too, so I’d have some place to sleep.

Before I could paint the room the room though, there were a whole lot of dings and repairs to take care of! This included a delightful ceiling patch that needed fixing; a result of the construction on the dormer. Oh yay.

First, I took out a scraper tool and used it to knock and scrape off any loose bits of plaster. This rough, textured ceiling coat is over the original lathe and plaster which I’d guess had a smooth finish like the walls. The textured ceiling is in every room in the house, but I have no idea why the texture was added! It’s rather annoying, sucks up a ton of paint, and shows every repair job super obviously. Once the loose plaster was off, the holes looked MUCH larger! Oh yay!

I threw up a layer of mud followed by a layer of pink to white spackle. I tried my best to match the texture of the ceiling, but it’s already been blatantly patched a few times, so I didn’t stress about trying to perfect it.

Once that was taken care of, all of the trim work needed sanding and cleaning. My sister Bronwyn took on that task, doing a quick sand on the gloss trim paint, so the new paint would stick better. A quick wipe down with TSP after sanding made sure there was no residue left behind. Things gotta look rougher before they can look better, right? Note: none of this trimwork is original to the house. It was all added in the last 20 years, and thus does not contain any lead.

I also used the drywall mud I already had out to fill in some uneveness on the walls and patch a small crack.

Then, because, no-prep-work-left-behind! I caulked all the seams of the crown which were gapping at the ceiling in places as the house had settled.

I wipe all my excess caulk with a sponge which ensures what’s left on the wall is only in the areas needed. This is a handy trick that works WAY better than a wet finger. I loathed caulking before I learned this trick. Now I only extremely dislike caulking, so it’s a huge improvement.

Finally, finally, after several days of prep work, it was time to paint! Woopee!!

The Order to Paint Walls, Trim, and Ceilings

  1. All Trimwork: including crown, baseboards, casings, decorative mouldings, etc. This allows you to no worry about getting the trim paint on other surfaces
  2. Walls: cut in your paint with a short handled brush, creating crisp edges against the straight lines created by the mouldings, then roll your main wall surface.
  3. Ceiling: cut in your ceiling around the trimwork, then slowly roll the main surface.

I began in the Master Bedroom with my usual down and dirty method of painting all the trim work first. I find it much easier to get a good coat of paint all over the trim — in and around all the curves, gaps, and edges — if I don’t have to worry about getting trim paint on anything else. It’s very easy to cut in a straight line against flat wood trim later, you see, but difficult to paint a curvy trim piece and get a straight line against the wall. Of course, this method results in a whole lot of crazy that looks like this picture below. BOY DO THOSE COLORS NOT GO TOGETHER!! Can you tell I began working on a ladder first?

Anyways, as I worked my way around the room cutting in all the trim, my trusty assistant and sister began rolling the first coat of paint on all the walls. We both like to use a W paint rolling pattern which helps to get coverage over every bit of wall – particularly if you have textured walls. These are flat thought, so it’s less essential.

Yes, this order of painting things meant the whole space looked like chaos, but the middle never makes any sense anyways.

Bronwyn also rolled the tad bit of space between the picture rail moulding and the crown moulding. Then once those coats were dried, I went back and cut in a first coat of wall paint around all the painted trimwork. I use a short handled brush exclusively for all my cutting in and trim painting. I find it much easier to handle and it gives me much more control.

Now it was finally looking like I envisioned with the subtle contrasting greens creating a very traditional take on the modern monotone vibe! Yes, even at this point, one coat half done, I was in love with where this space was going. It was certainly going to be a bit darker, a bit more cave-like than before, but in a cozy, moody way that’s just perfect for a bedroom. I love to sleep and frequently stay up late and sleep in late, so a nice dark space is perfect for me!

After all the walls and trim were painted with two coats, I went and cut in the ceiling paint and rolled the ceiling, careful not to drip or splatter the walls. That was the last step before I could finally bring this room back together!

When day broke after the painting was complete, I had a huge smile on my face. The room was exactly the way I pictured it and the two-tone green looked excellent — by itself, but even better next to the orange-y doors and floors! I needed to reinstall the outlet covers and put the room back together, but for a few minutes I just stood here, so excited and happy by this transformation. It was a lot of prep work and the room took over a week to prep and paint, but now it was glorious!

These are slightly different angles, but you can see how different this room looks with paint! It’s darker, but more romantic and cozy. The cool periwinkle color before was slightly hospital-feeling, a decade after it had been first painted, and the room was ready for fresh paint. We all know that view behind the bathroom door has changed a lot too!

I had taken everything out of my room the day all the painting was complete, which is why this room is now suddenly empty. I wasn’t planning on bringing it back in either! I have slowly been gathering new pieces for this space — antiques I’ve found on Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace — and now the room was painted, they could finally be installed in their new home! I hadn’t wanted to bring them in until this room was finally painted. This way, I got to have my own little mini-install and reveal day.

I can’t wait to show you what this space looks like, now that everything has been re-furnished! I’m working on the final touches, updating art, adding ambient lighting, and hunting for that last nightstand… It’s so close to being a completed space, ripe for a reveal!

What do you think of this take on the modern monotone concept? I see walls painted the same color as the trim all the time to make it feel more contemporary and moody. My version feels more traditional, which feels right for this 1909 house. I absolutely love it, though I know a lot of people think I’m completely crazy for painting all my white trim dark green! What would you do? Monotone? Tonal Monotone? Or Team White Trim? Let me know in the comments!

One Room Challenge: Week 6 – Final Master Bathroom Reveal

It’s done — whoopee!! — get ready for the reveal!!! Welcome back to the One Room Challenge: Berrybrier Master Bathroom Edition. I finally have a place to get ready that doesn’t make me concerned for my personal health and it looks so good! First, let’s remind you where we all started here.

The Master Bathroom at Berrybrier is — like most Master Bathrooms — right off the Master Bedroom. It’s an awesome addition that is so great to have, even if it is only a half bathroom. When I bought the house, it was right there, peeking out into the periwinkle and red Master Bedroom.

When I moved in, the bathroom had yellow walls, faux wood wainscotting, loose peel & stick vinyl tile floors, a sink falling off the wall, and a deep and desperate layer of grime. It was a teensy little room (only 54″ deep by 30″ wide!) off my Master Bedroom and hardly big enough to use! The sink stuck way out into the space and you could easily brush your teeth while on the toilet.

Even though the space was small, I knew that with two roommates, any additional toilet and room to get ready for the day in would be an asset! Plus, it’s super great to wash your hands while still sitting on the toilet, right? Right?!

With my moodboard in hand and the One Room Challenge deadline, I got to work demo’ing this little room down to the studs and completely rebuilding it!

Bath Accessories | Sink | Tile | Beadboard | Lighting (Similar) | Paint | Bracket | Faucet

At the end of last week’s post you saw this little sneak peek of how the room was chugging along after all the fixtures were installed and before I worked on final styling. It was a far cry difference from where this space started!

Well, look at her now in all her styled glory! I am just so excited, y’all! This little bathroom was one of the worst rooms in this house when I bought it, and now it’s bright, light, and oh so happy!

I had fun styling out all the shelves in this space, because designers just looove open shelving! I know it’s not for everyone, but if you can style shelves and maintain that look, it becomes such a fun thing to play around with. In this room, a heavy cabinet over the toilet would have felt like too much, so open shelving was really the only option. I’m so glad I went with it though!

Because the room is still tiny, adding inches when I reset the side wall to it’s original location only brought it to 40″W x 54″D! So yes, you can still reach out and turn on the water to brush your teeth while sitting on the toilet, and no, there’s not room for two in here, but it’s just SO MUCH BETTER than before!

I’ve added tons of plants to the shelves, because even though the window faces north and is only about 20 feet from the neighbor’s house, it still gets decent light. Plus, it’s one of the few rooms I can hide spider plants in without fearing that my devil cat will bite off the leaves to play with! I had fun styling it out and just adore the face planter and how the little aardvark I got in New Mexico 11 years ago hides in the string of bananas plant!

On the wall with the sink is the ring for the hand towel and the toilet paper hook. Because this room needs to pack in all my bathroom storage, I also utilize the deep window sill. I keep a black Target tray here with little glass jars holding my incense matches (if you haven’t tried these you need too!) and bobby pins as well as a tiny bowl that I use for the incense. The incense matches are my fave, because I can light one in the mornings when I’m getting ready and enjoy the scent and by the time I’m done with my routine, the incense is out, so I don’t have to worry about it.

My tiny sink is just perfect for quick mornings and I love the accent the black and ceramic faucet brings in as well. I’ve tied in the black faucet with other black accents throughout the room, so it feels purposefully mixed in with all the chrome fixtures.

As for the shelves, they pack in the bulk of my storage! The top shelf holds some extras of hand sanitizer (back stock for one I keep on my desk at work), magic balm, bubble bath (just in case!), etc. The gold container holds tampons, and next to the plant are three bars of soap in front of the art. Yes, I am the only millennial still using bar soap, but I love it and have no plans to stop!

The next shelf holds a basket chock full of the tan Target wash clothes I use to take off my make up and wash my face, as well as some tightly folded bath towels.

The second from the bottom shelf contains more towels, the pot I hang all my earrings from (inside the pot are earrings that don’t hang!) as well as my extra shampoos and conditioners. Since I always buy the same brand, I stock up, and some times there are more or less bottles.

The bottom shelf has two capiz shell boxes that contain all of my make up, my three-eyed cat bowl (which I use for quickly dumping earrings or whatever when I’m feeling lazy), and my stash of extra hand towels.

On the toilet, I’ve squeezed in even more storage, stacking a row of jars that hold q-tips, cotton balls, and flossing tooth picks.

I love that a quick glance at my shelves lets me know if I’m low on shampoo or if I need to wash a load of towels, because I’m getting low. It’s nice to have it all within sight, but organized and contained. All of this used to be stored behind a closed door in an old IKEA wall hung unit that came with the house. It looked terrible inside there! Having it all styled on shelves forced me to not only take a hard look at what I have and pare down, but also store it in a way that is pleasing to look at and very organized.

On the right wall I decided to add a medicine cabinet beneath the light fixtures. Although it’s not right over the sink, it’s still practical. In here I keep my contacts and solution, my jar of make-up brushes, my tooth brush and paste, face creams, sunscreen, moisturizer, and deodorant.

Can you believe that medicine cabinet used to be in the Main Bathroom off the kitchen?! I kept it after I demo’ed that room and a quick coat of paint made it better than new! It’s hard to believe it’s the same storage unit.

Now, it sits on the wall underneath one of the scones I got from my Aunt Steph, next to a picture I found at Goodwill. I love that I was able to reuse the mirror that came with the house, even if it wasn’t exactly original to the house (which probably had an out house when it was built!). The towel bar is centered between the two light fixtures below it.

Undoubtably, the shelves are FULL. They are packed with storage, yet there’s still room for more if I did need it. Most of the items I keep, I’ll have a couple on hand and even if I doubled those things (like shampoo), I wouldn’t need to restyle or move anything.

These photos really show the paint color true to life. It’s Benjamin Moore’s Pink Beach and it’s the most perfect, subtle shade of pink! It really does look like calamine lotion. I actually took the lid of one of the boxes I store my make-up in (bottom shelf) to the Benjamin Moore store and picked a paint color that matched the one on the box then and there without even swatching it on the wall! It was a bit crazy, but I knew what I wanted and I knew the color was greyed out enough to look good in any space. It worked out just as I’d thought! I really couldn’t be any happier. I love how the little room just glows pink in the morning light and how the color is flattering, so I even look good in this space on my most exhausted mornings!

So did I meet my spending goal of less than $650? Let’s see…

  • Drywall = $15 (one sheet, plus left over pieces)
  • Electrical Box + Wire = $50 (I bought extra wire, so I’ll have some for the next project)
  • Sconces = $0 (free from my Aunt Stephanie)
  • Tile + grout + mastic = $20 (tile was left over excess from my parents’ bathroom reno and I had left over mastic and grout from my Main Bathroom tiling, but I did pick up more grout in the end.)
  • Beadboard + Crown/Baseboards/Shelves = $250
  • Shelf Brackets = $32
  • New Sink + Plumbing Pipes = $100
  • Faucet = $75
  • Bathroom Accessories = $40
  • Styling Accessories = $0 (I had all of these already!)


Now, that’s certainly not free. It’s actually quite a lot to spend on a bathroom I don’t even feel will be permanent (I eventually want to knock down the right wall and steal the shower from the main bathroom to create a true master bath), but for a down to the studs bathroom renovation, that’s pretty damn good! The space is a million times better now and even if I had spend a little on things like tile and lighting, I still would have stayed under $1000.

I think it’s great to consider something like this for your own bathroom renovations. If you have a space that’s just making you unhappy, if you can get pretty thrifty, you can still completely transform it!

How’s this for a before and after!? Can you spot all the big and the little differences? Can you guess what else I’ve been working on? Can you believe it’s the same space, same toilet, same configuration? I can barely fathom how far this little room has come!

Now that’s a real transformation! I’m so glad it’s complete and I’m just absolutely loving getting ready in this new space! What do you think of how it’s turned out? Would you be able to keep all your bathroom and make-up items in open storage like this?

Have you followed along with any of the other One Room Challenge transformations? There are some impressive ones out there!