I decided early on that I would leave the brickwork exposed above a datum set by the the old ceiling line along the party wall rather than plaster it all in, just as a small reminder of how things used to be. By the time the structural crack repairs had been undertaken, the brickwork filled in around the old chimney flue, and a scattering of mortar gaps filled with new mortar, the wall looked pretty patchy. Although I do like exposing building elements which tell the story of the building’s past – I just felt that it looked too beaten up to keep natural.
So last weekend we decided to paint the brickwork in the study white. Once the timber trusses go back in, it will be more difficult to reach it, and we will need to protect them so they don’t get covered in splatters. I did consider a translucent white wash, but because there were yellow, red, and new bricks all patched in, and original light grey mortar, new yellow mortar (as it was what my builders had to hand), and dark grey resin where the structural repairs were made I thought the best approach would be a solid opaque white to unify it all, while still benefiting from the textural interest.
The builders applied a coat of PVA for us in the week so the brick would be less porous. We then applied a coat of Johnstone’s water based primer undercoat, (suitable for wood and brick) and then a top coat of Dulux brilliant white emulsion. I have to admit that painting bumpy brick walls takes a lot longer than painting a smooth flat surface. To paint one coat over 8m2 it took 4 hours to get into all the little nooks and crannies. Luckily I have a tall fiancee to reach all the high awkward bits! This is a photo was taken after the base coat, so we still have a few corners to fill.