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If its painted white then you need to paint the whole thing a grey "grout" color. Then use sand texture paint in brick colors applied each brick.
Since your doing it brick by brick you can stop and start.
Not sure of your layout but you may be able to forgo drywall and just skim coat with topping compound. Youd be surprized what it will cover. I just used 4 buckets to skim coat a small hall. In some spots its 1/2 inch thick. Sounds like a lot but its only $7 a bucket.
Anyhow...K2: good luck on your kitchen! I think it will be great fun. And, yes, take lots of before and after photos. I would love to have a web site with a reader suggestion board attached. You've probably figured out by now that I bought a fixer-upper...solidly built, just in need of some major updating and beautification and TLC. A website with a reader response board and photos would make it a real community project and lots of fun. I would love it. The thing is, I have no time to build the website now that I am taking possession of the house next week. (Any readers out there want to take on the creation of a website?? Reality Web for home improvement freaks. The diference between "our" site and the HGTV show where you follow the homeowers' remodeling over several segments, is that readers would offer their input on all the changes in the house and landscaping. I think it would be great fun!)
Anyhow...we are in the Concrete section, so back to my firelplace issue. I have put it on hold for now while I decide what to do about the floors. The 60s green shag wall-to-wall carpet is coming out on day one! Now here's the budget decision: Do I re-carpet all three bedrooms, hall and living room OR carpet just the bedrooms and spend extra to install "wood" laminate in the hall and l/r? If I go all carpet I will have $ for a new fence in the backyard or $ toward gutting the dark dingy kitchen. Hmmmmmmmmmm! What to do? I must decide SOON! Stay posted to see what she does. (PS: Keep those ideas and suggestions coming to this highly enthusiastic little home improvement novice!) TTFN...S