Here it is...the fireplace before in its awful messy condition and finally looking finished! The before picture is the condition it was in when we bought the home. Just want to make it clear, that is not my mess. :) We debated different options for remodeling the fireplace, like stucco, eliminating the bench, drywall, and others. However, we decided we wanted to keep it inexpensive so we stuck with mostly paint to update it. We (and by "we" I mean my wonderful brother-in-law) drywalled over the brick above mantel. We also drywalled over the brick to the right of the fireplace. The beams were removed from the ceiling in the family room to help the room feel open and the ceiling higher. That left us with holes in the brick above the mantel (shown below). This is what led us to the decision of drywalling over the top portion. We still need to place an outlet cover on and do some final paint touch ups, but for the most part it is done! My friend Alexis, with Design by Lexi, did a great job staging it for me.
Here is the fireplace in the in between stages, and my little helper.
We painted the fireplace brick in Benjamin Moore's Anchor Gray.
We painted the mantel and the tile on the bench in Benjamin Moore's White Dove.
Our wall color is Benjamin Moore Gray Owl.