Our fireplace was 22 years old, huge, and very dated. The brown walls and ivory furniture looked out of place in the old fashioned room. The project was fun, and because of the size of the wall it took a little bit longer then the average person. We love it. The photos don't even do it justice. I can't look at a red brick fireplace anymore without wanting to "fix it".
Here is the kit I used : Twilight Taupe a combination of taupe, tan, beige and cream. The color blends easily and resembles tumbled marble or natural sandstone.
First I got rid of all dust, dirt, loose mortar, and soot on the brick to ensure that the base coat/sealer completely bonded with the brick.
You can try using soap and water or household cleaners, but I recommend this particular fireplace brick cleaner. It dissolved my tough creosote and ash residues and no dangerous acids. OH, and don't worry about stains on the brick they will be covered by the base coat/sealer.
After I taped off the fireplace, I painted on the base coat/sealer over all the brick and mortar using the paint brush in my kit and like I was painting a wall.
Then I used the small roller or sponge to apply color 1, followed by the glaze, color 2 and color 3, letting the paint dry between each step. The written instructions and DVD that came with my kit will show you exactly how and where to paint to make your work look like a professional did it.
Then I applied the clear matte finish after allowing the paint to dry completely.
Now, I have a masterpiece!