The first project
Rob and I Rob tackled in our house was to paint the brick around our fireplace white. This came as no surprise to anyone who knows us or who had visited our apartment in the South Bronx, where we had white walls, white furniture, white plates and…white brick around the TV (I guess it was formerly a fireplace or maybe a dumbwaiter?). Here is the only photo I have of that white brick, taken while watching the Winter Olympics a few years back. (And yes, my PJs have pink bunnies on them):
Not that there’s anything so wrong with regular reddish-brown brick; it’s just that, for our taste, it can be a bit heavy and, well, not white. We wanted our place to be as light and bright as possible. I did have a photo of this project mid-process but it seems to have gotten lost in the shuffle (i.e. was on an old phone that is now no longer with is, RIP.) There was a tarp involved, a stepping stool and some of that blue painters tape. In lieu of the photo, I have decided to interview Rob about this fascinating process…
Jocelyn Jane Cox: I noticed that you commenced this project almost the second that we received the keys to the house, and before we moved in. To what do you attribute this swiftness? Why this project first? Do you think you were sub-consciously and pre-emptively warding off a sense of homesickness for the South Bronx apartment and simultaneously subverting a fear of home-ownership and suburban malaise?
Rob: Umm…I thought we both agreed that we wanted to do that right away because it would look nice.
JJC: Yes, but tell us more about your process. We know you have an extensive background in fine arts and that you are an accomplished artist in many mediums. What effect were you going for here and were there existential and metaphorical implications?
Rob: Well, ermmm…yeah, I think we both decided that it would look nice white.
JJC: Okay, now, did you start at the top and work down, did you go left to right, or right to left, or did you paint the bricks randomly? Because this could tell us a lot about your psyche and your placement on the Optimism/Pessimism scale, your spiritual health and your political affiliations.
Rob: Well…honestly, I don’t remember. I think left to right, top to bottom, definitely not random. These questions are more personal than I expected.
JJC: Oh, I think our readers will find your answers to be VERY interesting…What about materials? Did you use a paint brush or roller? Did you use a specific kind of paint? A magnifying glass, a level, a color wheel?
Rob: Let’s see…umm, a paint brush. Semi-gloss acrylic latex and I did wear an old T-shirt.
JJC: Okay. Did you injure yourself in any way during the process or learn anything about yourself while you were doing it?
JJC: Do you have anything else you would like to add at this time?
Rob: Not really.
JJC: Thank you so much for participating in this interview. I know our readers will find it to be just as scintillating as these before-n-after photos.
FIREPLACE BEFORE WE MOVED IN:
Note: The previous owners had an incredible sense of style – we loved how they designed, decorated and maintained this house. I think their online photos sold us on the place before we ever crossed the threshold. Guess what color most of their stuff was, aside from the brick? White.
Voila! White brick. This wasn’t a huge project, but it made a pretty big difference. At least in our eyes.
Happy HIMP! Go ahead, give your house a big hug today.