That detail now creates a decision for me. Do we replace the block with brick which will then be painted with the rest of the wall, or do we put a trim board over it. The latter is cheaper and might look just fine.
It is getting much easier to understand the volume which will be the living room. The front (tall) window is now framed in. To me, this is the most important, but undesigned room in the house. This room is most important because this is where all the special details and materials are seen - wood beams, unique windows, fireplace, balcony railings, and kitchen.
The more I see this room, the more important that the fireplace wall becomes. My original and current thought is to put a grid of bookshelves on either side of the fireplace - up to a 9' or 10' height. With the height of that wall, it will be important to use these as a design feature to humanize the 14' height. They should match either the height of the adjacent window or the ceiling line under the balcony. Pulling from one of these lines will help unify the space. The budget may delay this for the time-being.
It would be very dramatic to put the chimney stone on the inside face of the fireplace wall - all the way up to the ceiling. The wood ceiling beams will then frame either side.
I'm starting to realize just how many decisions are still to be made - and some design tweaks that I'm finding now that I see the space. Architects have an enhanced ability to understand theoretical space, but there's nothing quite like being in the actual built space to really see how space is connected and how the details intersect.