Fireplace (mini) facelift

The living room fireplace is a favorite feature in our house. 
Recently, I gave the tile surround a quick facelift:

This is how it looked when we first moved in (2007):

I painted the mantel a soft white soon after.  We've since discovered that while a wood-burning fire during a brisk night is quite cozy, ours wasn't very house-warming unless we sat right in front of it.  It actually caused the heat to kick on more.  So these days, our fireplace is more for looks.  One thing's that never really appealed to us is the dingy tile surround.  No matter how much I scrubbed those tiles/grout lines, they never looked clean.  So when I saw how Erin painted her fireplace surround, I knew it would be the perfect quick & inexpensive fix for ours; one that would at least get us  me by until the day we can replace the insert (with an electric option) & retile the surround (dreaming of something like this or this).

So I got to work & it was pretty quick work at that.
{ via my Instagram @freckleschick4 }

primer coat

Instead of using the paint mentioned in Erin's project (the label warnings are too intense for my paranoid mom-brain), I went the lower VOC route: one coat of Kilz Premium Primer + three coats of Behr's Self-Priming Interior Flat Enamel (color: Jet Black).  Full paint choice is not as durable in the long term (there's been a few tiny scratches in the paint surface from Quinn's antics already).  Obviously, we don't walk on the tiles nor pile wood there so it's fine for now.

I'm looking at these photos & am sure I'll be painting the handles black just so they don't stick out like sore thumbs.  While this look probably isn't for everyone, we're pretty happy with it! The tiles now have a honed granite look to them, which is a vast improvement from their previous outdated, dingy look.  We also dig the contrast of the black & white.

You can't see it in the reflection, but just beyond this strategically close-cropped photo is one hell of a hot mess.  
I'm not just talking about myself here.  *:-O surprise  #lifewithatoddler  
Once I clean up that chaos, maybe I can post updated photos of the whole living room.

Have a wonderful weekend!
(It's Thursday, close enough.)