The question is though, would the white brick be too stark? Would it make the area look disjointed? Because you know, once you start down that road there is no going back. Painted brick is painted brick. And I'm really afraid of making the wrong decision and then regretting it for as long as we live here. But then again, could it be any worse than the current bright red ugly hideous brick?
While I'm posting pictures, I thought I'd show you how the rest of the room turned out with the blue paint. We kind of love it.
We need to do some touch-ups here and there (including the tiny strip between the fireplace mantle and the built in china cabinet), and then re-hang the pictures, but it's coming along. With the darker color though it's really obvious what a horrible painting job the previous owners did before we moved in. Almost every single part of the wood is covered in primer or pink paint. It's really quite sad that no one cared enough to clean up after themselves along the way. We're going to pick up some brown paint to match and start covering up their carelessness but that project's going to be extremely slow going since it takes a bit of precision.
So, going back to the fireplace - what would you do if you were us?