Reduce the size of a brick facade
We're in need of some fireplace expertise. We would like to reduce the size of our brick facade to gain wall space for built in shelving units on both sides of the fireplace. The room is 20x12 and the fireplace is on the 12' side so space is an issue for us. We'd like to reduce the height and width of the facade, (standard 1 course on paneling)but want to keep the fireplace intact without damaging it. I've read posts about endangering the structural integrtiy of the chimney by monkeying with the masonry. Can this be done without causing an unsafe situation? Help! Please!