I am in the process of closing on a 1959 ranch home, and the fireplace needs an overhaul. The plan is to rip off the mantle and existing shelves, remove the gas insert to bring it back to the original wood-burning state, and to put in a sheet or so of drywall to bump out the left side, which is currently recessed a great deal.
Here is a photo showing the current state of the room. Don't worry - the curtains are going, and there are gorgeous wood floors under the hideous carpet! The trim is all going to be painted as well.
We are going to decorate the entire house in a mid-century modern style, and I would like to also extend the fireplace brick to the ceiling - the height is a little under 8 feet. My question is how best to do this. I am not new to DIY work, but the idea is a little daunting. I have zero experience with brick. The fireplace is going to be painted a dark gray, so we don't have to match colors here. It was suggested to me that there is a product that is sold in sheets, that is like, half-thickness bricks? I have tried googling, but I can't seem to find much help on extending fireplaces up.
Since we are a fostering sort of family (I currently have 11 cats in our house), we want to build a cat highway that will cross over this fireplace further up. Here is an inspiration photo - think of these shelves as ledges for cats to travel across the room.
Obviously, the shelves won't have a bunch of knickknacks or collectibles on them.