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Anne - What a great feature! It made me think of traditional adobe fireplaces so I've included some pictures with more subtle/traditional paint jobs. You might also think about extending the hearth (is there a hearth?) and mantle to give it more presence and a place to sit.
If you really want it to stand out, you could paint it with a bright lacquered finish that is different from the wall color. I also happen to have a soft spot for flat rock tiles and included a reference.
What do the rest of you think? Tiles? Texture? Paint it the same?