Facing Your Fears of Painting A Rock Fireplace to Transform Your Space

This past weekend my parents came into town to celebrate my 32nd birthday and visit the kiddos.  Whenever they come into town, they always help us out with some sort of home renovation project we have going on. This is usually in the form of finishing the last 10% of a project that has been on my to do list for months.  

On this particular trip I really wanted my dad's help painting the ceiling in the rock room and switching out some black outlets that I wanted white.  

The ceiling project was knocked out in a few hours and they were ready for more!

Daddio working hard on the ceiling

We then moved on to the outlets and decided to finally swap out the 1970's light hanging in the hallway. These little upgrades make such a difference!

We ran into a few small challenges with the outlet updates but all in all it was a pretty easy project (says the girl who passed this task off to her husband and father).

White light switches and an updated light fixture made this birthday girl very happy.

Once these projects were done we finally addressed the elephant in the room, the big, brown, mossy rock wall that we lovingly named this room after.  I have struggled with this wall since the day we moved into the Accent House.  

Whenever someone visits our home, I inevitably ask them what they think of the wall. "If you were looking for a home, would you love it or hate it?" Many of my friends said it was cool, the guys thought it made an awesome man cave, but I really wasn't convinced.

While I never liked the wall, I was also slightly terrified to do anything to it for fear of making it look worse, then I would really be screwed.  My parents, who are also avid home DIYers, convinced me it was a good idea and helped me take baby steps with this project.  

The first step was to scrub the mossy rocks clean. Whether I wanted to paint the rocks or not, we decided that cleaning them would make the wall look better.  When I started to examine them closer, I couldn't believe I hadn't cleaned them sooner!

How To Clean The Rocks:

  1. Use a wire brush to clean off any loose debris

  2. Wash rocks with TSP and warm water

  3. Wash with warm water only to remove chemicals

  4. Let the rocks dry


Face masks and eye protection were a must since particles were flying everywhere. We couldn't find clear glasses, so sunglasses did the trick and also made me look like a bad ass. This was actually pretty fun and only took an hour or two.

Sweet action shot.

Next we washed the rocks down with TSP and then with water to clean away the chemicals & grime.  Thomas was my big helper scrubbing the rocks down with the water.

There you go folks, nice clean rocks! While we were working hard on scrubbing the rocks, we all decided that painting the wall was the right way to go.

Step two of this project was to paint the entire wall with KILZ to seal the rocks and provide a base for our wall color.

My boys

I am so lucky to have such a hard working family. We spent our entire Sunday working on this wall and we all had so much fun transforming this 1970's eyesore into a bright fun wall feature.

Working hard applying primer

My momma is the best

Painting the base of the fireplace

The last step was to choose the wall color and then get it on the wall! We were able to get an idea of what white would look like with the first coat of primer and decided it was definitely too harsh to do an all white wall.  

In the end we decided to carry the wall color, Eider White (Sherwin Williams) in the rest of the room onto the rocks. For the base of the fireplace we kept in the same color family but chose a dark gray.  The darker color would help conceal any soot or dirt from the fireplace.

I absolutely love how this wall turned out and am so grateful to my parents and family for spending the weekend working on one of my crazy projects.  

Here is a reminder of what the rock room looked like shortly after we moved in.



This project definitely energized me and I can't wait to start my next project on the house!