A friend of mine reminded me that I never posted photos of how my parent's mantle turned out. It has been months since it was completed and I think they are enjoying it so far. They decided on a neutral paint color and neutral tile. I couldn't convince them to do a Taj Mahal style of tilework, but they are sort of the cowboy/country type, so I'm not surprised. The painting on the mantle has been hanging there for at least 10 years and was painted by yours truly. It's a picture of some of our horses, Rhythm and Jungle Rose out in the pasture behind the house.
Finally, NO MORE WHITE BRICKS! Ironically, they will probably be back in style next season. :)