Do Up Diary #61: Beautiful exposed brickwork in my renovation – where and why?

I’m extremely fond of bricks. Big ones, olds ones, fat ones, thin ones, even the huge bulbous huge-at-only-one-end ones which Brian the Brickie nearly threw at me whilst building our box wall to the workshop. Thinking back to previous renovations I remember asking our plasterer to leave a huge curved section of bare brick out of a party wall, making a brick kitchen floor, scrubbing down plaster-stripped fireplaces and generally enjoying leaving some parts of the houses ‘exposed’. I must dig out some images when all my stuff is out of storage and have a Throwback Thursday for past brickwork!

Design wise, the vibe exposed bricks have mostly been responsible for in the past has been either cool industrial:

Bare brick wall in minimalist black kitchen

….or country cottage:

Country cottage look using exposed brick

But this has all changed. Bare brick walls are now, as you design aficionados already know, *huge* on Pinterest and are extremely popular for 2015. There are some brilliant re-inventions which is great as the design style for Moregeous Mansions will be neither industrial nor country cottage so I’ve been working out the best way to include the look.

I’ve decided to feature exposed brick work on the staircase and hallway for three reasons :

  1. HEAT LOSS : Exposed brick on external elevations leads to heat loss through the walls. Our house has lots of external walls due to its layout and is already freezing cold in winter so bare bricks would make heat loss even worse. Remember that any heat your radiators or fires creates will travel straight through exposed walls & disappear outside, plus in the winter months these bricks will be SO cold to the touch. Here we’re boarding all external walls using insulated plasterboard to increase thermal efficiency, it’d be crazy to undo that hard work with a daft design decision.
  2. SOUND TRAVEL : Old houses joined by thin party walls are a devil for sound travel so all our party walls are being covered with either acoustic roll or insulated board. Think about this when you’re planning your exposed brick wall behind the bed and that thin wall goes right though to next door…..
  3. DESIGN : I like the idea of hanging artwork or pieces of the wallpaper I’ve rescued against bare brick, as in these images:

Bare brick enlivened by cool black framed pictures Living-Etc-Harvey-54

Tuscan Powder Room on

But instead of full room walls as above, mine will be in sections up three stories of the stairs and hallway. Imagine a bit of this….

Bare brick with contemporary industrial hallway

Mixed with a bit of this….pic_5

…and you’re getting there. Lots of original coving, corbels and unique spaces framing thoroughly scrubbed down, cleaned and rinsed original brickwork. As I’m typing I can hear the plasterer mixing adhesive for the board which is framing the exposed red brick areas, they’ll almost be like mini pieces of artwork 🙂

I like the way this wall is part brick and part plastered, though I’d have liked to have seen artwork hung from the picture rail to finish the shot off.Brunel Sofa by Sofa Sofa

I’ll post some images of us part way through tomorrow, so you can tell me what you think, but for starters I can tell you that the process is FAR from glamorous 😉

Image credits:

Minimalist black gloss kitchen : HERE ; Country house : HERE ; Bedroom shot : HERE ; *Judy Garland* Kitchen : HERE ; Tuscan Powder room: HERE ; Industrial stairway : HERE ; Heritage coving : HERE ; Sofa shot : HERE

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