This is latest fireplace project. The brick is wrapped in tar paper, then written on with chalk.
I saw it done at the Bachman's Fall Idea House in Minneapolis - done by the fabulous Ki Nassauer of Junk Camp fame.
We currently have the black and white thing going on. When I first saw this done at the Idea House, I knew I had to try it. As In "Great Scott! That's fabulous, I must do my fireplace!" kind of epiphany. Plus it's a great way to break up the large brick fireplace in general - until I can have my master plan, which is for Paul to wrap it in wainscoting.
The brick was originally bare, with basic built in cabinets on either side. They had to go -we immediately ripped those out and I white washed the brick in 2000. I painted it solid white about 2 years ago.
To attach the tar paper, not wanting to drill holes in the brick, we used industrial strength velcro instead. Then, because the picture holes had to be predrilled into to mortar, Paul meassured where'd they'd go before putting up the tar paper. The tar paper, we had from adding the porch. The moulding, Paul had. (Velcro - Home Depot $8. Chalk - Target $2)