Let's Stare at My Fireplace and Solve all of the World's Problems, or at Least Mine

Because that's what I've been doing -- sitting on the couch and staring at the fireplace. A lot. You may recall that when we moved in the fireplace was a disgusting orangey brick atrocity, a horror of mid 70s suburban design. Well, it's still brick and it's still overwhelming, but at least it's not orange anymore.

Does this fireplace make me look fat? Thanks a lot, wide angle lens. But I digress. Look! It's white now. Simply White, to be exact. And the wallcolor is Cappucino Froth at 50% formula (thanks, Sanders!). I don't exactly hate all the whiteness, but what I really want to do is rip out the entire fireplace and have a smooth wall with a regular old mantel. Sadly that's not going to happen, what with me on bedrest and Ike throwing cookies all over the floor in a mad rush to beat me to the tv (my parenting skills are without parallel).

So let's discuss what I could do with this white wall of shame. Here's another view:

Let us not discuss the peskily persistent speakers, the hideous magazine rack, or the fact that my house looks like a dorm room because I can't have anything on the coffee table but toys. You are allowed to notice our West Elm Niche tv credenza. I think it looks ok, but that wall definitely needs some spicing up. Oh, and we have a new coffee table.

Ok, back to the fireplace. We can't rip it out, so I'm thinking we need layers. Lots and lots of layers. Perhaps something like this hung just below the top of the fireplace from a quilt rack thingie:

And then maybe a mantel on which picture(s) and small lamps might rest in front of the tapestry:

I would prefer something a little less chunky, but I think a reclaimed beam could add some warmth... not sure how difficult it will be to mount onto brick without cornices, though. Moving on:

A pair of Delft planters (with neato plants in them) flanking the firebox, to cover up the hideous vents that I want to rip out and destroy with the hot heat of my hatred.

You do know that delft is the new black, right?

Whoa there, Mary McDonald. You a little crazy.

And I don't know. That's all I've got so far. Maybe a sheepskin on the ledge between the potted plants to add some warmth? Maybe the Moroccan tray from our old kitchen, this time perched above the very tip top of the fireplace?

Sigh. I miss our old fireplace.

It might draw your eye up in a weird way, but the space above the new fireplace between the windows just feels blank.

Ok, what do you guys think? Any interim solutions to turn this sow's ear into a silk purse? Please let it be relatively inexpensive...