Limewash or Plaster? Here’s the Finish I Chose for Our Basement Fireplace Brick

Interiors & Decor

The Brick Finish I Chose for Our Basement Fireplace | Wit & Delight
Photos by Judith Marilyn

As regular W&D readers will know, my approach to home design this year has been all about tackling fewer projects with more intention. One of the areas we’re focusing on updating in 2022 is the basement family room. I’ve already updated the layout of the space to make it more conducive to both family time and hosting larger groups of people. Next up, I’m adding a different finish to the large brick area surrounding the fireplace, which is the natural focal point of the space. 

I was originally going to treat the brick with a limewash application, but recently a different idea came to mind: doing a smooth, plaster finish over the brick.

Today I’m sharing the choice I made for our basement fireplace brick finish!

Let me walk you through my decision-making process around whether or not to change the direction for this project.

Why I’ve been considering a plaster finish for the brick

As I was putting together a few mood board options for the project recently, I realized I wanted to seriously consider removing the brick pattern almost entirely. Both the flooring and the brick in this space are so busy right now. I thought covering the brick would allow for less visual competition between the two elements.

Here’s why I decided to go with a plaster finish

It ultimately came down to the look I want this space to have in the long run. I think the Spanish-inspired style of a plaster fireplace will allow us to better highlight the floors, which are original to the house and which we have no intention of replacing. While it will be more of a process than originally planned, I’d rather do it the way I want the first time instead of doing the work twice.

We also plan to keep some of the brick exposed as trim and will likely do a limewash finish on these sections. I think the mix of brick and plaster will feel really complementary. I’ve been really inspired by the updates Kirsten Grove has made to her fireplace and have that in the back of my mind as inspiration!

Here’s an inspiration mood board, with an example of how the fireplace could look treated with a plaster finish. Note: These likely aren’t the exact products we’ll choose when we update furnishings in the space.
Sources: Image: Remodelista | Sofa | Coffee Table | Table Lamp | Chairs | Lampshade | Rug

What is the new timeline for this project?

I originally planned to do all of the work myself at the end of July. The timeline will now be extended about a month. I’m going to have some help from our handyman too. He’ll be coming to the house this month to install Durock, a brand of cement board, over the fireplace brick. The process of buying, cutting, and installing the Durock will likely be parsed out over three or so days. He’ll also be removing the mantel in the process.

Once he’s finished, I’ll do prep work and apply the plaster. I hope to have the entire project done before the end of August, with some room for flexibility if it needs to take a little longer. I’m so excited to share the before and after when it’s complete!

What about the brick in the rest of the basement?

We plan to do the same plaster finish for the rest of the brick in the basement family room. There is no set timeline for this right now. Because the fireplace updates will include both plaster and brick trim, I think the mix will work in the meantime!

The Brick Finish I Chose for Our Basement Fireplace | Wit & Delight

BY Kate Arends - August 3, 2022

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August 4, 2022 4:48 pm

Good call! I was for painting but I now love your idea, especially with retaining some brick for trim. Good luck with the process!

September 1, 2022 9:08 am

Agree completely with Judy! Plastering wouldn’t have occurred to me, but it seems like the perfect choice. I’m not anti-brick by any means, but it does feel like A LOT down there. Looking forward to seeing it done!

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