Anyone want to guess which one we chose???  Drum roll............. This one!!!

We decided to go with white.  It's clean, simple, and since we're not sure what paint color the living room/dining room will eventually be, we figured it was a safe bet.  We wanted to go ahead and do it before we began the/any "decor" process because we knew it was going to clean up the area and make it feel bigger.  (Which it desperately needed.)  The only difference between ours and the one above, is we painted the front left and right sides of the firebox white instead of painting it all black inside.  We thought it created more depth.  To make that clearer, here's a picture... 

So without further ado... Here's an "in between" picture.  

We still lacked painting/trimming underneath the mantel in this picture, but with Juliet coloring in the floor I couldn't resist but to snap (this very blurry) pic.   You can see the dark areas on the bottom.    

Here's a pic of it all completed.  
Joey stayed up last night and finished painting underneath the mantel and the sides. Well worth it.     

We just lack filling in the gaps between the brick and the ceiling.  We're waiting to do that because the ceilings in the living room, dining room, and kitchen are popcorn ceilings and we are going to be scraping them soon.  Also, the three toned wall is still there to the left... if you remember, that's where the desk and book shelves were that we ripped down.  It's never ending.  On to the next project!  

If you are thinking about painting your brick fireplace, here are the steps we took to achieve this look: 

1.  Clean entire fireplace- find instructions on that here.
2.  Prime brick & mortar.  We used SW Loxon Concrete & Masonry Primer/Sealer 
3.  Wait at least a day for the primer to dry.
5. Add decorative touches and enjoy!