How To Paint A Fireplace

This post originally appeared on here back in 2012 from Monica from East Coast Creative and is by far in the top 5 posts on Infarrantly Creative.

Apparently, you guys have a lot of brick fireplaces going on that need a little whitewashing.  So let’s take another look at this timeless idea….

Even though gold jewelry is back in style, a dated, brassy fireplace can put a major damper on the style of a room!

Updating your fireplace can seem overwhelming, but let me tell you it’s not as hard as it seems and if you’re really determined (like me) you can get it done less than 24 hours!

Here’s the story behind this makeover… One of my best gal pals was moving into a new house, so I trucked on down to Maryland to help move and to try to tackle a few fun projects. 

The fireplace wasn’t even something they had thought of me working on, but the moment I walked in, it was SCREAMING for an overhaul. 

brick fireplace update

Here’s the order of my steps:

1- Whitewashed the brick

2- Painted the mantle and built-ins

3- Painted the brass surround


How to Whitewash Brick:

Whitewashing brick is really simple! You’ll need an inexpensive paint brush, a plastic container, a rag, water, and paint. 

whitewashed brick fireplace

I mixed regular latex paint and water with a ratio of 1 part paint to 3 parts water. 

If you want more coverage, increase your paint and for less coverage increase the water.

whitewash recipe

Start in one corner and work in small sections. Your paint mix will be really thin, so you’ll want the rag in hand to catch any drips.

Brush your paint mix on a 1″x1″ area and then immediately use your rag to rub it deeply into the brick and then remove any excess. 

The process goes really quickly, but I’ll warn you it’s a little messy. The grout can be a tad sandy, so you’ll definitely need to vacuum when you’re done. 

The whole fireplace and hearth took me less than 30 minutes. The difference in color is awesome!

whitewashed brick fireplace

After whitewashing and painting the shelves and mantle, it was time to get rid of that brass!

My exact words to my gal pal Mandy were, “Do you trust me?” and I’m so glad she did!

How to spray paint a brass fireplace surround

There are some key items you’ll need to do this project right:  

Step 1 – Cover The Brick

We started by taping off the brick right around the surround.

Make sure that you get it as close as possible. We were lucky enough that the tape could slip behind the surround, so there was no chance of bleeding through.  

Once the edges are take care of, you’ll want to use the craft paper and tape to make sure all of the brick is covered.

It’s sorta like wrapping a really big, awkward present!

Painting your fireplace

Step 2 – Cover the Mantel

Once the brick was covered, we cut a section from the plastic drop cloth and wrapped the mantle in it. 

We were really careful to make sure we’d taped it tightly, so no paint could sneak in. 

rustoleum high heat spray paint for brick fireplace
We started by taping off the brick right around the surround. Make sure that you get it as close as possible.
painting your mantel

For the glass doors, we used more tape and paper

I found that if I used a spatula, I could get the tape really close to the edges for a perfect, crisp look. 

taping off fireplace

Step 3 – Spray Paint

Now it was time for a little craziness… Making a spray paint cocoon!

Since we were spraying in the house, we needed to seal off everything. 

Basically, I got in, and we sealed the drop cloth all around me. 

WARNING: The fumes will be very strong. I recommend a face mask. I didn’t have one, so we used a towel. 

fireplace paint

Thankfully, this paint is awesome and doesn’t require more than one solid coat.

I, on the other hand, required about 3 showers before all the black paint was off my face and hands! It was totally worth it though!

spray painting brass fireplace

Here’s the finished product. Doesn’t it look so much better?

brick fireplace painting

I’d love to show you a perfectly styled mantle, with all the doors on, but we were on a tight time schedule, and I had to get back to PA.

So this was DIY on the fly!

white washed firepalce and mantle

I was so pleased with the update and loved that the entire project took about 4 hours of work time and cost less than $30.00

It looks lovely with the gas logs on! If you have a fireplace that you were wishing you could change, I totally recommend doing it yourself!

The impact it can have on a space is incredible! If you missed it, last month Jess shared another DIY Fireplace Update. 

It was pretty awesome and I’m not just saying it because she’s my BFF!

fireplace painting updates

And here is Infarrantly Creative Stone Fireplace Makeover and “Custom Built-Ins”.

IC Fireplace

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  1. Project is awesome! The end result really looks fabulous.

    I wonder if she already owned many of the needed supplies. If she needed to purchase all of the paint (grey for the shelves, white for the brick, and black spray paint) and the other supplies (frog tape, plastic…), then there is no way that could all be purchased for $30. But if you did buy all that for $30, then teach me master!!!

  2. Hey Mary!
    Yup, we had a lot of things on hand… the tape, old white paint etc.. We bought just a quart of grey, one can of spray paint, and the plastic tarp. It’s always nice when you have most of what you need for a project… then I can tell my hubs it was almost free!! 🙂

    Thanks for reading!

  3. Wow, it looks amazing. I will have to remember as we’re about to move and who knows what our fireplace will look like (or if we’ll have one).

  4. Thanks for the how to on the fireplace surround. I have one that could stand a good update. also trying to find a gently used one for our other fireplace. Now I know if find one and do not like the color can change it.
    The white wash could also be done brick walls .

  5. This is perfect timing for me. I’ve been trying to get the husband to let me paint the brick and now I have this great picture to show him of what it will look like. Do you go into the grout first, heavier with the paint? My grout is nasty

  6. Can you please share the paint brand and color used in this fireplace makeover. I love the color and would like to use it to do my own.

  7. Tried this out. Looks great but wish you had said to use very little paint on the paintbrush. You can tell where I startd and where I startd to get the hang of it. But all in all it does look really good. Just my advise with it

  8. Did you sand the shiny brass first? How do you make sure the paint sticks and won’t scratch off?

  9. I am getting ready to get our fireplace spruced up for our gas logs to be installed on Thursday (insert squeals of delight) LOVE what you did! I have a can of the same paint to do our doors, but was apprehensive about leaving the doors on to paint … this was a great tutorial! BUT the first thing that caught my eye was the happy homeowners’ t-shirt! She is a thirty-one director just like me! hahaha! 🙂

  10. This is AMAZING! I love it! Do you think it would work on a ceramic tile fireplace?!? Mine is currently a mustard yellow, which is really hard to coordinate with. . .

  11. Can you give us more details on the paint you used? The grey and he white. Thanks so much

  12. Would this work on a fireplace that has rocks where yours had bricks? Also the mortar is a dark charcoal color that I’d like to make much lighter. Any ideas? Thanks so much!

  13. Wondering what type of white paint? Expensive paint? Matte? Glossy? Thanks as I am so doing this ASAP.

  14. Hi there!

    I’m also wondering what kind of paint you recommend before I start this project. Thanks for the inspiration!


  15. Thank you for the inspiration and giving me the guts to do this! I had the exact same fireplace AND mantle yesterday. Today I have a beautifully whitewashed fireplace (the mantle is still in progress). Best part is that it hasn’t cost me a cent! I had paint, not exactly white but close enough, from another project – it was a semi gloss from Wal-mart so it was cheap, and it worked great. I’m thrilled with the end result of the brick.

  16. Eric, did you end up doing this? If so, how did it come out? I have a dark stone fireplace with dark mortar, and I want to try this too! Thanks!

  17. Here is one option for paint…latex paint (Sherwin Williams Cashmere Paint~Medium Lustre~Luminous White). Most paints will work…latex or eggshell are usually the best options.

  18. It looks great but the insert around the opening should have been easy to remove to the outdoors. They slide right out of the brick and would have saved alot of taping off.

  19. I love the white wash look. I think I’ll try on mine. I painted my brass with the same paint and it has held up well for 3.5 years now! My only advice…..take it off and take outside. It’s only held on by two screws and will take much less time than all the taping.

  20. Thank you for this post bc now I have a pretty brick fireplace that doesnt make me wanna take a sledgehammer to the ugly it used to be! I wish we had done this sooner! We used a one part paint two parts water, bc our brick was darker than yours. Worked perfect. Great blog! I have enjoyed it. But you get a giant special gold star bc this, my friends, is my first successful pinterest project. Yup. Just divebombed the drop cloth drapes. And lets not even go near Christmas. But hey I’ll take my pretty fireplace. Thanks again!

  21. Looks just like my fireplace minus the built ins. I was thinking of doing this, but your tutorial has given me the courage to go ahead. I will try to pull out the insert because mine is double sided and I do not want to chance breathing in paint fumes with twice the work.

  22. This is great! I got this off of Pinterest. so glad I found this. Was wondering what to do with my fireplace as it looks identical to the before picture. Whitewashing and painting the mantle and painting the fireplace doors, sooo doing this. Thanks much!! Repinned!!

  23. The end result looks awesome! I don’t have a fireplace, but if I ever end up moving and there is a fireplace with brick like that, I’m doing this! Great job!

  24. If anyone want to paint your brass a shinier black but needs high heat you can use engine paint. It is at auto parts stores but I found mine at wal-mart in the auto dpt. it worked great!

  25. Wow that looks great! I’ve been wanting to paint our brick fireplace but was balking at the high price of some of the painting kits I’ve seen.

    How does the paint hold up to the heat? We plan to use our fireplace regularly.

  26. We just did our fireplace like this. Was wondering what color paint you used for the mantel and shelves?

  27. I love this! Could you share the process and paint used for the cabinets and shelves? I love everything about this and really want to try it on my fireplace. Did you have to use a deglosser/liquid sandpaper before the paint? Also, love the color! Thanks!

  28. I’m surprised you didn’t just take the brass outside to paint it! I was going to paint ours until I took it out and saw how nasty it was. I just recycled it because I ended up liking the open fireplace look better.

  29. Your comment just put the frosting on the cake! I hate our 1985 Georgia brick fireplace, it overwhelms the living room and I love New England’s old varied bricks. I was balking at painting the bricks, but white washing (and the directions) look great, and now you’ve suggested a variation on the screen. The shiny would balance well with the TV we just put up above it. Thanks!

  30. Looks Fabulous! I guess you didn’t know that those brass fireplace surrounds have clips inside that grip the brick firebox so you can remove them? We replaced one almost exactly like that in our first house, pop out and popped the new one in:) Loooooove the whitewashed brick. Hope I can talk hubster into letting me do that to ours.

  31. Did you also paint the grout, or just the brick? It is tough to tell if the color of the grout changed. Thanks!

  32. Please share the specifics on the light grey color…..I have cabinets to paint and that is just what I was looking for, thanks.

  33. Instead of getting inside of the plastic to paint, you could have just stuck your arm inside the plastic and tape your arm inside. Hence, no breathing stinky fumes!

  34. You did a pretty great job! I love fireplaces it’s so cozy to just sit in front of it and watch the fire. Sadly we don’t have one at home. I always have to go to a fried to experience it.

  35. My ugly brassy surround is behind the bricks, does anyone know if there’s still some way to take it outside to paint it?

  36. Thank you so much for posting this!!! I just painted mine and it looks Amazing! You saved me $300.00. Before I saw your pin, I was about to order a new black screen.

  37. I REEALLY WANT TO TRY THIS but I have a stone fireplace. I have been research and even a Lowes employee says I should use turpentine instead of water. I do not like this idea since I have an 8 week old and a 4 year old. I would think the fumes would be detrimental. Do you know if turpentine is necessary for the stone or could I use the brick white wash solution recipe?

  38. Love the whitewashed fireplace and am ready to do mine now! A great tutorial, too. Two questions … Did you paint the grout? What color paint did you use? Thanks!

  39. I just did mine today. I was able to use left over white paint from my kitchen so my only expense was the black spray paint. The surround is still in the garage drying; can’t wait to get it all together. You saved us a lot of money. I was just getting ready to buy a new surround when I saw you pin and I loved it.

  40. This is such an awesome tutorial!! I tried to share the link on my real estate facebook page and the pics it’s giving me options for aren’t of the mantle at all. Is there another link that has that pic as the option?

  41. Would you mind to share what color you used on the shelves? I love that grey color!

  42. Hi, Holly. Thanks for reading! Follow the link on over to East Coast Creative and ask Monica about the paint color. Unfortunately, I can’t give you an answer.

  43. When painting the door black– did you cover the glass or paint it also..

  44. Nice update, usually those brass surrounds just pop off though, try doing that before you try encasing your house in plastic.

  45. Fireplace screens usually come off the brick surround fairly easy. Most of the time it just takes a philips screw driver to unhook it from the brick. Probably takes about the same amount of time as taping everything, too. You’d be able to get all the brick white washed and be able to paint more of the fireplace screen too!

    There are many tutorials on how to take the fireplace screen off, here’s one:

  46. I love the look and easiness of this. Did you clean the bricks before starting the whitewash?

  47. Sad is all I can say-to cover up oak wood and ruin it is really a shame. The end result was not better than it was originally. I don’t see what was “dated” about the fireplace and hearth in the first place. What will be next when the painted surface becomes ” dated”????? More paint in some different color?

  48. Will this method work with brown paint (watered down) or black .. Have you tried or know of anyone who has..?? I’ve got that 1970’ish Red fire place,. We’re renters, so would like something extremely inexpensive..Thanks.

  49. I bought all of these items. The paint would not stick. It ran right down the brass.

  50. Ugh! This project was actually done by one of my past contributors, Monica from East Coast Creative. You can follow the link to her site to contact her directly. Maybe she can offer some help.

  51. If you take it outside to paint, then the entire room/house won’t smell like oil-based paint. The aerosol paint smell hangs around and it can get on everything once the paint ‘settles’ from being airborne.

  52. Just did this weekend. I was able to take the gold part off fireplace and spray outside. The rustolem high heat is great stuff! Worked well. I only used a rag for drips and a paint brush for the bricks and between! Turned out great! Thanks for the great idea totally changed the look of my fireplace!

  53. We just bought a house with an ugly fireplace. This gives me hope. I will definitely be using the spray paint trick. The brass look is so dated!

  54. Wow, I am doing this ASAP! To paint the built ins, what did you use? Ours is oak.. does it need some sanding or something first? And painting the brass.. you don’t have to do anything to make the paint stick? Just spray? Thanks!

  55. This project was actually done by one of my past contributors, Monica from East Coast Creative. If you email her directly through her site, I am sure she can help walk you through the process. Best of luck!

  56. This is a great project! Did you by chance do any research to confirm it’s safe to use indoors? I’m ready to do it but we want to make sure it’s safe to use on an indoor fireplace that will generate heat. Having kids and all we want make sure before we move forward but I can’t find anything online that definitively says it is. Thank you!

  57. Could you use that black rustoleum high heat stove paint on old brass cupboard hinges? Is there any prep work to the brass first?

  58. That stove paint is totally safe. that is what it is intended for… people paint their old stove pipes with it… we have done it many times over the years but never painted brass.. I am wondering if there is any prep work to the brass first… I want to paint some brass hinges.

  59. I finally did it! Painted the brass, the red brick and the oak walls on either side… LOVE It. Simple project.

  60. Hi Jessica,
    This post was actually done by one of my past contributors, Monica from East Coast Creative. You might want to try to emailing her directly. You can find her contact info on her site. Best of luck and thanks for reading!

  61. This project was actually done by one of my past contributors, Monica from East Coast Creative. You can find her contact info at her site. Hope this helps!

  62. Ohhhhh I’m soooo In Love with this!! I have the Exact same UGLY Outdated Brick, the brass and glass doors and of course the Oak! As a matter of a fact to be quite honest my house looks like an oak factory EXPLODED in it! My husband likes ALL the oak but I on the other hand prefer the darker woods OR painted lighter colors. Hmmm….you know what they say it’s better to ask forgiveness than “permission”! I am SO DOING this ASAP! Lol! Ladies my daughter and I thank you both and cannot wait to do this! 🙂 Your Fireplace looks awesome!

  63. Yes, love the color!!! I want to do something similar to my fireplace but it’s a bit different. Any suggestions on what to do with all that WOOD?? Don’t mind the box, I am in the process of Christmas decorating!

  64. Yours if the first site I’ve seen that recommends whitewashing the brick as opposed to simply painting it. Aside from having to use less paint, what are the advantages? Thank you!

  65. I may understand now. Does the whitewashing allow some of the original brick color to show through? Thanks again!

  66. Would love to know the color you used for the bookcases and mantle. I’m going to do this to my fireplace.

  67. In case anyone else wants to paint their fireplace doors… did you know you can remove it very easily. Most are attached by a couple of hand screws on the inside and that’s it. Probably easier (and less fumes) to take it outside to paint.

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  69. Please oh please tell me the name of the paint you used to paint the built ins. Thank you so much!!!!

  70. Did you get the paint color name? Would you mind sharing pretty prettyy please? Thanks so much!

  71. Gorgeous! Can you tell me what color paint you used on the shelves? Is it the same as the blog poster’s paint? Thanks so much!

  72. I used my own color for the shelves. I couldn’t find what color that was used on the blog. My advice is to use whatever color that looks best with your lighting. I ended up painting mine twice because the first grey I picked looked blue.

  73. I used a watered down white to do my fireplace and a pale blue melamine paint…. I had my paint store copy the colour off a swatch I found.

  74. Wow. I am SO excited to see this! Our house was built in the 70’s, so I have the dark wood & ugly yellowish brick fireplace & woodstove with brass edges that I’m dying to cover up….I’m planning a bolder look, since I decorate in turquoise & orange…but this will be SO helpful! I LOVE that you did it for $30. That motivates me!

  75. I just removed our brass fireplace . Super easy. Before painting, wipe down the entire fireplace screen to remove all old ashes and dirt. Spray two or three coats for great coverage. Follow wait times between coats of paint. It was easy to remove the screen for easy clean up also. We used that opportunity to do a little repair to the screen before putting it all back together.

  76. Does anyone know if you can use this on chimneys (on the outside)? By this I mean the whitewashing.

  77. Hi, I don’t.. I ended up doing mine a pale blue.. turned out so nice.. but we sold and moved now.

  78. How did the high heat paint hold up on the fireplace insert? We have brass doors with glass centers and they get pretty hot. Wasn’t sure if the paint would bubble and/or peel.

  79. Excellent! It’s a flat black paint. We’ve used it many times in other homes to paint the stove pipe etc…

  80. Thanks!! I’m hoping to get ours done asap- just need to get the supplies 🙂

  81. Hi Kristen,
    This project was done by my former contributors from East Coast Creative. If you click on over to their site and contact them directly, they should be able to answer your question. Thanks for reading!

  82. So I white washed the brick and am in love with it! Did you have to prep the brass so the paint would stick? I have brushed brass and it is so slick, I am afraid the paint won’t stick. Suggestions?

  83. I can really see the whitewash – makes the brick look far better. But spray painting the brass surround? Why didn’t you just get a new surround? Or just ‘age’ your brass? I think you can do that with a variety of treatments no harder than the brick project, and it wouldn’t be a total waste of brass. And did you whitewash the brick above the mantel? It looks like the original color, so you have a two tone fireplace with what looks like an incredibly smoked up surround reminiscent of a stove front. I think the newly treated brick would have been set off more tastefully with the brass, aged or not.

  84. I was searching for an idea of something I could do to my fireplace. I was getting tired of the orange brick with the brass front. I saw this idea on Pinterest and loved it. It was very inexpensive to do which was a big plus! I love it!! 🙂

  85. OMG!!! I love this!! My fireplace is like this and I’m going to definitely copy cat you (if you don’t mind!) 😉

  86. I Just noticed the after picture did not post, or at least I can’t see it. I will post it here. Of course you can. I took the brass off and sprayed it outside, then put it back on. That was easier to do! Opps, I see it did post. Sorry about reposting the pic again, but I do love the looks of it!! Thanks!!

  87. Hi Karen,

    I love your fire place!!! You done an excellent job! I’m tired of seeing my ugly brick fireplace with the brass front. Can you please share the paint color you used for this makeover? I want to give a makeover to my fireplace to look exactly same as yours. 🙂

  88. I just used a basic white paint I had left over and used 1 part paint to 3 parts water. Just paint a brick or two at at time and use a rag to dag off or rub in until you get the color you want. After it dried I went over a couple of them to make part of the rised areas of the brick a little whiter. Then I just got a can of flat black high heat paint at Home Depot for fireplaces and BBQ grills. I did remove the brass and sprayed it outside instead of inside the house.
    Hope this helps!

  89. I would love to see what you would do with an old brass and frosted glass-kitchen hanging light fixture from the 1980’s! 🙂

  90. This is a super great way to update a brick fireplace. I often find that clients that are looking to update their homes, often forget about the fireplace and it is such a focal point of your home. This is a great suggestion for those not wanted to spend a lot and still make a big visual impact!

  91. I love finished look of the entire living room; I was so happy to see this post because the living room has the same set up as mine to include the built in book cases. In addition to the white washed fireplace, I really like the paint colors of the surrounding walls and book case. I want to know if you can recall the colors used on the walls and the bookcases.

  92. How did you go about painting the built in shelves. I have basically the same set up as this redo, but I was more interested in how to redo the shelves. Do I need to sand them down or can I just paint them? Do I use a brush or roller? Thanks

  93. This was actually done by my past contributors from East Coast Creative. You could try emailing them directly about the paint colors. Sorry I can’t be of more help.

  94. I would use a foam roller on the larger areas and then a brush for the edges and corners. I would definitely prime but would only sand if the current finish is very glossy. I hope that helps!

  95. Hello. I love the new look. What color of paint did you use on the bricks, just plain white or tinted? Thanks!!!!

  96. Your finished product is great, but I am horrified to see anyone doing spray paint in a plastic enclosure. It is much safer to remove the fireplace insert and TAKE IT OUTSIDE before painting. Wear a paint mask–EVEN OUTSIDE! It is so dangerous to breath those fumes!! Hanging a towel over your face just doesn’t cut it. I would hate to see the inside of your lungs after this project.

    Once again, I think it looks great. I just think that people should know that the process you used is very dangerous. In addition to lung damage, you could suffer brain damage from toxic fumes. The dangers are listed on the label.

  97. Hi Susan, This project was actually done by a past contributor; however, you are correct that it’s important to take the proper safety precautions while DIYing. Thanks so much for taking the time to comment and express your concern for others’ safety.

  98. Love this post! Can’t wait to try this update. I have basically the same fireplace and exactly the same brass fireplace surround. Just wanted to add one thing: my fireplace surround can be removed completely. I would definitely suggest checking if you can remove yours and paint it in a well ventilated area before doing the spray paint cocoon.

  99. That’s awesome that it can be removed, Rebecca. It will make it so much easier to paint. Best of luck with your fireplace makeover!

  100. Can you please tell me what color and type of paint that is on the fireplace tutorial? On the built in cabinets? I’ve been stressing over what color to paint mine and I love that! PLEASE share!!!

  101. Hi Nancy, This project was done by one of my past contributors, Monica at East Coast Creative. She says they just used old white paint that they had on hand. However, you can try contacting her directly at to see if she remembers specifically what it was. Thanks for reading!

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  103. Looks amazing and just what I’m looking for! We just bought a home and my fireplace doors need painting. One question…..did you remove the doors to tape up and paint? Or did you leave them attached while you painted? Thanks for sharing !!!!!

  104. That not only looks fantastic but the fireplace and the cabinets looks exactly like mine. How did you go over the old color and repaint it in that gray color. It looks fantastic! Would you stay with that color flooring? I was thinking of a hardwood or waterproof laminate that has some gray in it. Any ideas?

    I’m so excited to do mine now! Thank you so much.

  105. I just sanded the gloss off the cabinets and then primed it and painted them gray. Yes wood flooring would be beautiful. It depends on your style. Many people like carpet in their living area. Both would be beautiful. If you are looking for a grayish laminate I love Smoky Dusk Aquaguard. It is gorgeous.

  106. Thank you so much for this tutorial!! I gray washed mine and I LOVE IT!!!! Wish I knew how to post a pick so u could see it!!

  107. I have a dark brick fireplace with a wood stove insert. Not sure if the dark is from years of wood burning. Did anyone clean their brick before painting?

  108. I just finished whitewashing my mantle!! Thanks you
    For the inspiration and great tips! It was a success! We had the white paint so I only had to but 1 can of spray paint! Then I headed to Marshall’s for decorations!!
    Thanks again!!

  109. Hi there!
    Did you use anything to seal your fireplace remodel? I’m a little worried about mine scratching since the hearth is on the ground. Thanks! LOVE how mine turned out. Thanks for the inspiration and instructions!

  110. Haha, this looks so good! I came across this while searching for a way to improve my fireplace. I was looking, however, for an easy DIY which wouldn’t take me too long and I wanted it to be on a budget. Glad I found it!
    I, too, was wondering what did you use to paint between the bricks, but then I read all the comments and I found the answers to all of my questions!
    This is really nice! I can’t wait for the weekend to come and try this idea. I am not expecting it to be as good as yours, but I will try my best!
    Thank you!
    Kathy H.

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