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Fireplace Makeover - Removing Bricks?

Below are images of the fireplace in our family room.

We have a Federal-Style House and this fireplace does not carry through with that theme, is very dull,ugly brick, and is too
large for the room. I would like to reface it with a white mantle and tile around the opening to make it recede into the wall. (The country wallpaper will be gone in favor of coordinating style upgrade.)
My main question: There are three stairstep levels of brick that I have indicated that protrude. I would like to flatten both protrusions to apply the wood surround. How were these bricks applied? Can I chisel them away? Any suggestions?
I am not using a purchased mantle and surround but plan to apply
wood and do some panel molding effects.

The present mantle is hollow and was built with crown molding and will be repainted or removed and rebuilt.

I would appreciate any advice from those who have done such a project.

Thanks, Carol

Re: Fireplace Makeover - Removing Bricks?

Bricks on your fireplace are a facade and you can just chisel them off as you suggested. It should bring you back to a flat wall and then you can put on another dressing of tile, marble, or whatever. You'll probably have to repair the wall behind the bricks a little bit to smooth it out prior to putting on your next version. Just make sure you keep any wood away from the firebox if you are using wood trim.

Good Luck.

Re: Fireplace Makeover - Removing Bricks?

It looks to me like you have a fourth row of extended bricks under the trim. You would need to remove the trim and a couple of hits with a hammer and chisel should break those bricks loose so the can be removed. Start with the top bricks. You can then split the bricks to use them for fill and level the hole with mortar mix.

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