Alright, let’s keep things 100% real. When we first decided to put a brick wall in our house, I had zero intentions of starting a blog. In other words, I didn’t document as much as I’d have liked and will do my best to paint a clear picture. Speaking of pictures, after a bit of searching, I did find a few on my phone that I’d sent to my sister. I also ended up doing some touch up work and snapped some explanatory pics along the way.
First up, to faux or not to faux? What are the benefits? For us, we’d wanted a “German Smeared” brick wall for a long time, but decided it may be a bit trendy (thanks Joanna Gaines) and felt like the faux paneling might be a better option for resale purposes. The panels are only 1/4″ thick and we did not glue them to the wall, which will make it fairly simple to remove if we ever feel the need. Also, of course, it is less costly and something we felt we could do on our own. We have a red brick chimney thingy on the exterior of our home that I love and was shooting to mimic. Though I am certain the real deal would look better, I am quite happy with how it turned out. The whole project from start to finish was under $100.
John came across the red brick paneling at Lowes and picked up a few sheets one Saturday. We were surprised at how authentic they looked. The panels are made of a hard board, embossed with a brick pattern, texture and grout. We only needed 3 panels for our room. Of course, you will need to measure your wall ahead of time and calculate how many sheets you will need. I left all of the cutting and nailing to John. It was a pretty quick and easy job (says the person who did none of it). The hardest part for him was getting the seams aligned. He used a table saw to cut the long edges where needed and a level to ensure everything was straight. He also used a nail gun to save on time, it took him maybe an hour to hang the entire wall. John’s tip: Make sure to nail the boards to your studs! We did not do this initially and had a bit of pulling away. I also think it is best to remove your baseboards and reinstall them on top of the panels.
Now for the fun part! Seriously, it was fun. I had actually never heard of the German Smear technique, but I knew what I wanted the wall to look like. Since then, I’ve seen a variety of different techniques on Pinterest, but here’s what we did:
Though it did look more realistic than I had thought, our wall definitely needed more texture and that’s what I set out to create. We decided to give it a go with the joint compound we already had on hand…Since that time I’ve seen people mix the joint compound with water and apply with a sponge. Using the putty knife and full strength mud worked great for me so that’s what I’m going to recommend.
Using a large putty knife, you basically want to press the mud into the grout lines and then spread it across the bricks as you go. Make sure to create plenty of texture, leaving just a thin layer of mud across the bricks.There was no rhyme or reason to my technique, in fact, I wanted it to be very un-perfect. It went surprisingly fast, I believe the whole wall took me around 30 minutes. Since we were replacing our flooring, I didn’t worry about a drop cloth. However, it is a messy process with lots of drips. If you like your floor, cover that thing up!
Phone pic I sent to my sis halfway through:Once the wall is completely covered in mud, you will need to let it dry. It dries fairly quick, but we waited a whole 24 hours before painting. I actually didn’t mind the look of the wall at this point, however the plaster is very dusty and chalk-like and definitely needs some sort of over-coat. I used the paint (Snowbound by Sherwin-Williams) we’ve used on our ceilings and trim, mixed with equal parts water. I then used a rag dipped in the paint/water mixture to “white wash” over the plaster. Honestly, I had no clue what I was doing and just sorta wiped some on, wiped some off, creating a variety of coverage levels as I went.
Another phone pic after I’d finished white-washing (pardon the disaster):I liked the wall, but wasn’t sure I LOVED it. I messed with it for a few days, sanding a bit here and there to reveal more brick…then painting more, then sanding more…I couldn’t quite get it right. I realized I missed the red! After a few months (cause that’s how I roll), I finally got around to lightly sanding the entire wall with our electric sander.Don’t judge my protective wear! I sanded some areas more than others (to reveal more of the red underneath) in various places. Okay okay, I went a bit crazy every now and then and had to add a bit more plaster and then sand some more. In the end, I was exhausted and a gigantic dusty mess. Those pants were once blue.But it was finally the look I’d been after. A whole lot of sweeping, vacuuming, mopping, and then some more mopping later and it was just right.It is so exciting to have one of our projects finally wrapped up and able to start decorating our home. Living in a real life “fixer upper” is kinda great and kinda terrible at the same time. It’s so much fun, but a long hard process. Our music room is finally coming together and I can’t wait to finish up a few more areas and do a full room tour. In addition to our brick wall, we closed off the opening that connected this room to the kitchen (it was a dining room) and replaced the flooring, light fixture and trim.
If you are considering a faux brick wall I would definitely say GO FOR IT! It was a fairly simple, quick, and inexpensive project that adds a ton of character to any room. Let me know if you have any questions! And speaking of questions, I have one for anyone who reads this: What (if any) kind of window treatment should I do?!! This is the view out our brick wall window……so I kinda want to leave it completely uncovered. Does it look naked without blinds or shutters? I don’t want curtains to be in the way of John’s guitars either. Any thoughts? Let me know! Happy DIY-ing!
If you’re wondering where we got that awesome vintage trunk (full of Johns amps, mics, wires and doo-dads)……my husband found it on the side of the road in a pile of trash. Yep. He asked the owner if he could have it and a sweet old lady helped him (it’s surprisingly heavy) load it in his car. That’s also how we roll. Actually, not we…just him. I’d never do that. But I’m glad HE does!