Over the summer I've been slowly working on our fireplace. This winter past we bought a gas insert that we really enjoy, but have wanted to replace the eyesore of full-wall-length red and blonde brick that surrounded our fireplace.
Earlier this summer I started demo on the wall. I broke the bricks by hand with a 3-inch brick chisel and hammer, leaving only the center portion of the brick wall. I recommend renting a concrete saw if you ever find yourself in a similar situation. Anyway, after removing the brick I did a ton of wall repair and then began to frame the new hearth.
Leaving the bricks around the fireplace allowed me to reuse them as a surround, rather than having to reframe and cement board the new fireplace. When it came time to lay the new stonework, the old bricks worked well to support the thinset and stone paneling.
Next up is a set of homemade bookends over the new sheetrock. I've got plans for surround sound and my TV is already wall-mounted and ready to fold into the bookshelves and out of sight for all those fancy dinner parties Carrie and I like to throw.
Anyway, always looking for a set of extra hands if anyone wants to come out and lend some support! Hope all is well. I'll post some family pictures shortly...