Here is a picture of the fireplace prior to painting.
We first wiped down the fireplace with Simple Green, and then dried it off with a towel. I purchased the masonry primer from Sherwin-Williams that was approximately $54 a gallon prior to the sale discount. It took a half a gallon for the size fireplace we have. You must wait 24 hours prior to painting. I assumed we wouldn't tackle this project any time soon, but Rob got started as soon as Wynn and I got home with the paint. The new paint job is Davis approved.
Then we used the same colors we have in our master bedroom to paint our family room. The fireplace was painted with Sherwin-Williams Amazing Gray along with three walls. The wall adjacent to the fireplace and behind our bookcases was painted with Anonymous Gray. It took approximately one coat on top of the primer using a roller. We used a brush to get any deeper sections of brick that needed to be coated better. We used their Harmony line with no VOC's in the paint.
Now the mantel really stands out and does not blend into the brick. I was so happy that Rob did this project and painted all the walls in this room in a day and a half. The next weekend he even took out our ugly florescent box lights and put in some recessed lighting. Who knew you could get more done in the house with four kids versus zero?