Part 2.... Bricks.... How every interior can have some.
I have already written a post on how I love exposed brick in the home. I'm lucky enough to live in an old house that has brick internal walls which I have exposed, along with building a new kitchen extension which I had built with a reclaimed brick wall on the inside. You can read the blog post here and it features some other gorgeous examples of homeowners who have solid brick walls exposed in their homes......
Now it's time to show you how you can add the brick effect to your home even if you have a more modern home without the option of chiselling away the plaster or a new build home which has timber and plasterboard internal walls.
If you're not lucky enough to have internal brick walls, or don't have the option of building one as part of an extension as I did, or indeed, if you don't fancy hours and hours of painstakingly chipping plaster off the wall, brick slips are a fabulous alternative......These thin slices of masonry replicate the look of conventional bricks, and can be supplied in a wide variety of styles and colours to suit both contemporary and traditional interiors.
They are widely available these days, just a few years back they were hard to get hold of and very expensive, but the current love of rustic and industrial interiors has lead to a surge in companies selling them. Of course, this means that there is a wide variation in price and as the old adage goes you get what you pay for so I would say get a few samples from different companies to compare quality and also to check the colours are exactly what you're after. Also, be aware of concrete imitations- you can't beat the real thing!
The process of fitting them is reminiscent of tiling, an adhesive is applied either to the substrate in manageable sections or to the back of each tile; and the slips then set in place. You then carry out the pointing between the bricks with mortar, and voila! No one would know the difference!
Here are a couple of fabulous examples of brick slip walls;
1. Samantha @justafewchanges
Sam has put in a whole wall of brick in her fabulous kitchen extension, she didn't want a traditional looking kitchen and knew she wanted concrete effect units so the brick slip wall was a perfect solution to add warmth to the scheme whilst still keeping the industrial vibe she was after..... She was absolutely right too- what a kitchen! It all works perfectly together..... I asked her what the inspiration was behind her choice of brick slips, how it was to install them and what she loves about them;
'I can't quite remember when the exposed brick obsession started but i think it was probably when I watched friends and decided that I would be moving to NYC once I was a proper grown up! Fast forward a few, ahem, years and I live in Essex but visit NYC for work and still have the loft living vibe obsession so I kind of got there!....... I spent ages trying to source the right bricks and thought about having them specially cut but eventually settled on slips. Our bricky installed them and we pointed them over one long bank holiday weekend using iPhone torches when the natural daylight went as there was no electricity in the extension at that point!'
Ahhh yes the trusty iPhone, a renovators tool of choice...... Mine was mostly used to shout at the builders rather than for torchlight, but still.......
2. Jane Fitch @janefitchinteriors
Jane and I 'met' on Instagram when she messaged me to ask if the brick wall in my kitchen was 'slip' as she was starting her kitchen renovation and was using them..... Jane runs her own Interior Design company www.janefitchinteriors.co.uk, so I asked her for some tips on using brick slips as she's used them both in her own home and clients homes;
'After doing a couple of kitchen projects for other people where I'd used brick slips, I loved the transformative nature of them. The way they added texture and warmth to the room really surprised me. So when I came to doing my kitchen, it was the number one choice and it really makes the room. Without it, the kitchen would look really plain. I have no regrets. Also, after receiving many samples from eBay, I purchased mine from said auction site for a fraction of the cost of online businesses. But beware of cheap imitations, which really do look bad. No concrete substitute will do in my eyes. I think my next project would undoubtedly involve them again, although next time I might consider painting them, but in a rustic way - not a complete white wash. Also, just to say that if you can tile, then you can put up brick slips. The main difference though is the tile spacers you use. We used old pieces of cut up ply for our spacers. You need something sturdy as it has to hold the brick tile in place and not let it slip during the drying process. Once the brick slips are in place, then you have the tedious task of pointing. You can't go the easy route and grout. The pointing is a bit long winded and I have to say, my builder was not so good at this and in the end I had to muck in and help him. I used to live in a 200 year old stone house and had pointed many a wall, so it was pretty easy for me!'
Thanks for all your advice Jane..... I think we can all agree they look fabulous!
I've already mentioned the painted brick in the hallway of my home, what I didn't mention is that on one wall we put up a white brick wallpaper...... Now, to be honest, if you look very carefully you can see the difference as we were heavily budgeting at this point and the wall had been partly destroyed when we pulled off the wood chip only to find that there was a polystyrene layer underneath it that also came away in chunks, totally ruining the wall! We couldn't afford to have it all replastered and had recently fitted the floor tiles so the only option was to fill the holes and put another wallpaper up!
There are a lot of people that may turn their nose up at brick wallpapers, however, if you buy a good quality brick wallpaper these days they look just like the real thing, add to that you can get the effect you're after without all the painstaking work and cost too. At some point I'm hoping to change the wallpaper in my hallway for one of these beauties below from www.rockettstgeorge.co.uk and www.rebelwalls.com which look absolutely stunning and very realistic. How beautiful would the moss covered one look in a little girls bedroom too.....It would be like being in a magic fairy land if you added sparkles and fairy lights!
Koziel Moss White Brick Wallpaper
£42 per 10m roll www.rockettstgeorge.co.uk
Shelley, who you can find on Instagram as @hilaryandflo has the most incredible home! Her home has recently been featured in the Rockett st George book ' Extraordinary Interiors' and her attention to detail and creativity is incredible. She often uses wonderful pieces in her home from the shop she owns in Sheffield 'Hilary and Flo', which specialises in eclectic and beautiful interiors and gifts. Shelley stocks the Rebel Wall murals and has used the brick mural 'Industrial Ivory' in her spare bedroom to great effect! I asked her why she chose this particular brick mural;
'I love this wallpaper mural as it genuinely looks like the real thing- like an old distressed brick wall. It is really versatile and looks equally good teamed with dark walls for a dramatic look or white walls for a more Scandinavian look. It is also super easy to put up as you simply input the measurements of the wall and it arrives which each panel marked off with where to cut and hang them.'
Thats great to know! I love (or should I say the husband loves...) a wallpaper thats easy to put up!
2. Kyla Magrath www.kylamagrathinteriors.co.uk
I absolutely love Kyla's beautiful bedroom, she has also use the Rebel walls mural 'Industrial Ivory' as a feature and teamed it with layers of texture and natural materials to great effect. Kyla told me what the inspiration behind her bedroom decor was;
'Basically I wanted to create a more distressed rustic vibe in my bedroom. The brick effect mural adds texture and gives that lovely aged look without having to actually get a hammer and chisel out and start knocking off plaster. I love the fact that there is warmth coming thru from the parts where more brick colour is visible too. It also feels slightly industrial which is nice juxtaposed against the soft textures of bedlinen.'
Well, she has certainly created a bedroom that I'd love to have in my home thats for sure!...... You can see more of Kyla's fabulous home on her Instagram account @kylamagrathinteriors
Brick effect for Bathroom tiles
Our downstairs bathroom is up next to be renovated, it's the only room in the house that's as it was when we moved in and I know for sure that I'll be having white metro brick tiles in it. They are classic and just don't date in my opinion..... They are widely available and, I think, look particularly effective when teamed with dark grey or black grout. Two fabulous Instagram accounts that have inspired my bathroom plans, and have amazing bathrooms featuring these tiles are @malmo_and_moss and @thecraftyfox.uk ....... They are both very different and show how versatile the classic brick tile is, whatever look you're going for you can't go wrong with these......
The Bathroom of Rebecca aka @malmo_and_moss
Rebecca describes herself as being a lover of scandi/vintage style and we can certainly see it at its best in her gorgeous bathroom. I love how the brick tiles stand out against the dark walls and their clean lines are offset by a rustic mirror and industrial elements such as the copper piping and bulkhead lights....... When I asked her why she had chosen these tiles she said 'I'm not sure it is anything beyond I just love how clean and simple they look' ...... they certainly look fabulous here!
Victorias Bathroom.... Pink bath envy.....
Victoria @thecraftyfox.uk has used slightly longer tiles in her bathroom for the brick tiling and teamed them with calming green walls and, what can only be described as a fabulous, pink roll top bath. Add to this a funky shower curtain, plants and stripped wood floorboards and you have yourself one gorgeous bathroom.
Victoria says; 'I knew from the outset that I wanted a traditional, romantic bathroom, so top of my list was a rolltop bath and brick tiling. The two just seemed to go hand in hand to me. Initially I looked at tiles with texture and pattern but as it was such a big space to fill, that proved very expensive and I worried I would get bored of anything too outlandish. These large white brick tiles came in under budget and felt sympathetic to the look I was trying to achieve. I added the bevelled border which finished it off perfectly and chose dark grey grout to stop it from looking too stark. I absolutely love the overall effect, especially against the pink tub and am really happy I kept simple, clean lines.'
So there we have it, three ways to have brick in your home if you're not lucky enough to have original brick walls lurking behind the plaster, and some fabulous examples on how to do it right! Thanks to everyone featured for allowing me to use the photos of your homes and for taking the time to tell me about them.....
I hope you've enjoyed the post, and perhaps I may have converted a few of you into brick addicts too! As always do let me know what you think and thanks as always for taking the time to have a read......