Advice on redoing my fireplace – want to add a mantle, new stone facing, and cover the chimney w/drywall?

I have a 2-story vaulted ceiling in my living room. The current fireplace / chimney has no mantle and is red brick that has been painted white. I’d like to add a simple mantle, some marble, slate or other stone facing below the mantle and on the brick hearth on the floor.

Above the mantle, because the brick chimney goes up 20 feet, I’d like to cover the chimney with some drywall so it hides the brick and adds some depth to the wall. So my questions are:
– Are there any risks in covering the existing brick with mortar & stone? Given the brick is structural, not decorative, I don’t want to tear it away.
– Are there problems covering the brick above the soon to be built mantle with drywall? Not sure if given it’s a chimney i need to worry about any potential heat or fire code issues.
– Any thoughts on how much this should cost?

Thanks in advance!


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