I was going to clean up, fix the landscaping, and style my front porch before showing you how the “German Schmear” (aka antiqued brick) turned out on the exterior of our farmhouse… But I can’t wait! So don’t judge my dead porch plants, haha!
When we bought this house, I was blown away by how close the exterior was to the little farmhouse of my dreams.
Here’s a reminder of what it looked like the day we moved in. It needed a little love on the outside, and a LOT of love on the inside. But overall it had good bones.
We painted the shutters and the door black, and changed out the landscaping. Those little changes made a big difference and freshened this fixer upper up a lot.
Silas and I both absolutely love visiting old houses, and drawing inspiration from places like Historic Williamsburg, VA. So it goes without saying that I’ve always been a sucker for pretty historic houses with antique brick.
Honestly the brick we had on our house was in really good shape… but I wanted to see what it would look like with one little tweak…
I wanted to antique the brick.
Backstory on how this project got started: Silas took me on a birthday date to our cute little downtown area last week, and I got so inspired by all the old brick. I took the above photo as inspiration for what I wanted to do to our house. I asked Silas what he thought, one thing lead to another, and before you knew it, he told me I could “German Schmear” (as Joanna Gaines calls it) our house as my birthday present.
He’s a keeper you guys.
I did a lot of research, and then went off and made up my own method. Haha! I think the most important part of this process is looking at pictures of houses you like. See how much brick was left exposed, how much mortar was splattered & oozing out of the cracks, etc. I’m going to be blunt here and say that I’ve seen some AMAZING results from people who have used this method… but I have also seen others that utterly failed/bombed/looked so fake. One thing I noticed with the ones that looked really authentic, is that they used mortar. I wanted to still have some brick color peaking through, so that’s the route that I went.
Here are the supplies that I used:
Our house is about 2000 sq feet. To cover the perimeter of the brick foundation, I used three of the large buckets of pre mixed mortar from Lowes. They cost about $47 each, and can be found in the tile section. I also grabbed my putty knife and a pair of gloves.
Here’s a video of my application process. I wanted to give you a visual of how simple it is to apply. BUT, please read the steps below for the tips I learned along the way.
This is what the brick looked like in it’s raw state. Not the worst brick in the world by any means.
I was going to use a ziplock bag with a hole on the corner to pipe the mortar, but I ended up just using the glove to directly apply and spread it into the cracks.
Applying it by hand, and sliding your fingers through the cracks really speeds up the process.
Once you have applied a good portion of your mortar on the to brick, go back and scrape it with your putty knife and make it look like it’s splattered and crumbly. The most important part of this process is letting it dry slightly before this part.
If you scrape while it’s wet, it’s going to look streaky. To avoid this, I ended up applying the mortar to one whole side of the house. Then I went back and scrapped it all at one time. Obviously you don’t want to let it totally dry, but you want a slight crust on is. When its a little crumbly you are going to get the best texture while scraping.
For that old world look, you want some of the bricks to show more than others. It’s helpful to take a step back every now and then and pick out the ones you want to peek through.
Just make sure that all the cracks are filled, and then scrape off or add more mortar to the brick depending on the look you want.
Real old brick has no perfectly clean bricks. And some areas look totally white, so don’t be afraid to really lay on that mortar thick in some areas. That sort of thick splotchy white texture is my personal favorite.
We started this process in the back of the house so we could see if we liked it. It also helped me figure out the best application process. At first, I rubbed it all over all the brick (to mute down the red) Then along the way, I realized that I preferred the brick to show it’s true color in patches here and there.
Here you can see me half way done with the mortar.
This process took me three days because we had to keep on going back to Lowes for more mortar. But if we had bought them all upfront, I could have totally done this in a day.
I am so excited! I know this look certainly isn’t for everyone… but red brick isn’t for everyone either. I can’t believe this is the same house we moved into a year ago. It’s making all my white farmhouse cottage dreams come true!
Best birthday present ever.
Again, stop judging me on the dead plants… who knew you still need to water potted plants during the winter…? With that said, I should probably take full responsibility for not replacing them for the like 10 months that they have been dead… lazy much? Haha! #nextproject