I spent the weekend in the living room with "The Silent Paint Remover" heat plate and a paint stripping heat gun. Drew was working until Sunday night, so I had no one to tear me away from the project anyway. Here is just about a third of the paint chunks I peeled off.
The doors to the side bookcases have been removed temporarily so I can do those outside, which will reduce the strong vaporized paint fumes in the house. (Note: the guns heat the paint to 800 degrees and lead does not volatilize until 1100 degrees, so I don't think I'm inhaling lead vapors. Now solid paint chips, that might be another story. I try to wear a mask most of the time.)
I still need to go over the whole thing with non-toxic Soygel paint remover to get in the cracks and remove the shellac or varnish, but it is looking much better.
Here is the insert we found to go back into the firebox. We went to a local salvage outfit; they didn't have anything, but gave us the name of a fella that had two matching coal-burning fireplaces he was going to use in a construction project, but didn't. This one is all original with all the parts intact: a rare find! This could be inserted to be a working coal or wood fireplace, but we are going to outfit it with a natural-gas coal-look basket. It is similar in function to a gas log insert, but looks like coal instead. Our attempt at authenticity, but without the coal dust and pollution.
My next step is to rent the electric jack hammer again and remove the rest of the mauve tile and try to salvage the floor tile. Man, am I going to be ready to go to Maui on the 18th!