We're in the beginning stages of our fireplace (area) makeover.  We're getting rid of the red brick and desk area.  The fireplace has not been touched in years it seems; the mantel, bi-fold glass doors, hearth... ashes.  All original.  (Just kidding on the ashes part.)  However, we were a little afraid that of what we would find while cleaning out the foot of ash that was left behind in the firebox.  It's a working, wood-burning fireplace but we are closing the damper and plan to install gas logs next Fall.

Yesterday morning the area looked like this: 

What?  You don't love the orange-colored paneling desk?  (Please excuse the coffee mug, random vacuum, and paint roller.)  The horse picture will eventually find another home, but for now it needed something to help it feel cozy.  

So our plans for the area is to:

rip out the desk and white shelves
clean and paint the brick 
take the glass door cover off and clean out the firebox 
paint the inside of the fireplace and install gas logs
remove the crown molding around the top
possibly sand and restain the mantel

We're tossing around ideas on how we want the fireplace to look and here are a few of our favorites! 

White brick
via emily henderson

Dark gray brick with natural wood features on each side
via one kin design

Sand colored brick... this one looks similar to our decor so this one might be the winner!
via popsugar

I like the legs on each side of the mantel.
via retro renovation

Two-toned <insert a thousand heart eyes!>
via jennifer weiss architecture

So it looked like this last night...  
Joey demo-ed the desk & shelves yesterday afternoon and then we "roped" off the desk area because we found wires that might be live. He also ripped out the glass doors on the front.  Progress!

The steps to cleaning out the firebox and prepping it for painting:

1.  Shovel out ashes
2. Use Shop-Vac to complete ash clean-up
3. Spray a product called TSP on surface and scrub with wire brush
(you may have to scrub several times with tsp to get all the residue off)

(we bought the liquid version of TSP and just diluted it then put the mixture in a spray bottle)

4.  Closed damper so that it's inoperable and ready for gas logs
5. Caulk any holes or cracks in the mortar and/or brick

*we're waiting a day in between clean-up and painting*

6.  All that's left to do is paint.  We went with Rust-O-Leum's High Heat in black

We will share the finished product next post! Stayed tuned!