Chalk Painted Electric Fireplace

My basement always runs 10 degrees cooler than the main floor of the house. Nice in the summer. Less so in the depths of winter. The bunker needed something to warm it up, both for a little localized actual heat and for the welcoming feeling a flicker of flame can provide.

On the someday list is adding a gas fireplace. For now, an electric fireplace or just a space heater would be the only options. I preferred a fireplace for safety and aesthetic reasons. The trouble was, I just could not bring myself to open my wallet to drop $300-$500 on the kind of unit that would look good and warm up that space. And they were mostly unappealing to me, with that faux wood/veneer look they all seem to have.

You know where this is going! It was time to lurk around Craigslist and see what could be found. It turns out that Summer is a good time to shop for this sort of thing in the classifieds. Without too much looking, I found one in good condition last summer.

Still, not a look I loved. But at the el cheapo Craigslist price, painting didn’t feel like an affront. Regular paint wouldn’t work over that hard poly finish most electric fireplaces have. But chalk paint, with its superior adhesion, could fix all that.

Roanoke 23 in. Convertible LED Electric Fireplace - Oak

I used the great recipes from In My Own Style to get the job done.

So here it is. In the winter or when there are overnight guests, it adds some nice, quick warmth to the basement. The electric flame is janky but cheerful. I even kind of love it, which is not something I ever thought I’d say about a fake fireplace.

Chalk painted fireplace. Sealed with Miniwax Finishing Paste.
Chalk painted fireplace. Sealed with Miniwax Finishing Paste.

Now I just have to decide whether to turn my parent’s brass candlesticks into lamps . . .

What about you? Have you refreshed an electric fireplace unit? How did it work out?

Refinishing Johanna’s Landing Strip Chair

On my wish list was a better chair for my front door landing strip. I love the chair my grandfather made but it has arms. That means that whenever I’d sit in that spot to put on shoes, I’d bang my elbows. Plus it’s old and creaky, not as sturdy as one would like for regular use. So on my wish list has been the right chair to put in the landing strip, one that could also be pulled to the dining table when extra seating was needed.

No Spend Spring meant that this item would probably be on the wish list for awhile until . . . my friend Johanna moved gave me her old sewing chair!

It was pretty for where she had it but not right for my use.

Johanna's old sewing chair
Johanna’s old sewing chair


I’ve got pink accents in my living room, anchored by a grey sofa and white chairs. There’s other color as well so I try to restrict the palette on the furniture. My ideal makeover would be to paint this new chair white and upholster it with this fun fabric from Waverly called Lotus Lake Blossom

Waverly Lotus Lake
Waverly Lotus Lake

I love the grumpy looking koi. discounts the SRP of $23.99 a yard to $17.99 plus shipping. I really only needed 1/2-3/4 yard but No Spend Spring means even that was out of reach.

I rummaged in the leftover fabric stash and pulled out a remnant from my ottoman slipcover. Went into the paint pile and found a quart of muddy grey sample paint. Pulled out the calcium carbonate and mixed up a small batch of chalk paint. Sanded, painted, waxed, stapled and ended up with this.

Johanna's chair, remade
Johanna’s chair, remade
Johanna's chair, being usability tested by the Mints
Johanna’s chair, being usability tested by the Mints
Here's Johanna's chair in its new  home. Max is good with it.
Here’s Johanna’s chair in its new home. Max is good with it.

All done! The gray, which makes the chair disappear against the sofa was the paint color on hand that worked best with this fabric remnant.

There’s a part of me that’s still yearning to do something great with that wonderful Waverly Lotus Lake Blossom fabric. I console myself by remembering that the Mints eventually ruin all upholstery. Someday I’ll have the excuse to cover it anew with Lotus Lake.

What do you think? Does it generally works okay where it is? Should I save my pennies for Lotus Lake Blossom and/or go creamy white on the chair? Or is that too much contrast? Is it necessary to get the giant potato dog in every picture?

As always, thanks for taking a look. And thanks Johanna!

Chalk Paint!

Beautiful bones + ugly finish? Chalk paint!

Many, many thanks to In My Own Style for making chalk paint accessible to me! Diane Henkler gives you three different recipes so you can mix it up depending on what you have around. I appreciate also that she gives her take on which ones work best. I keep it simple (the calcium carbonate+water version) because I just never seem to have the other stuff on hand and it has worked great so far on a couple of chairs, shelving and a fake electric fireplace in the basement.

If you haven’t used chalk paint before, its big draw for me is that you can paint with it even on glossy surfaces without having to strip off the sheen (but I think a light sanding is still a good idea). It has other benefits including a lovely flat finish, that you can write on it in chalk, and how nicely it takes wax.

If you don’t want to mix your own, premade ones from Annie Sloan and CeCe Caldwell get the best reviews. For me right now, being able to inexpensively mix and test my own makes all kinds of things possible. Thanks Diane and all the other bloggers who have showcased their chalk paint projects.