Now that the area that's hardest to reach (inside the alcove) has been done as the first part of this project, it's time to move on to the face of the main wall. In this project we measured and cut several 5"-long bricks on the wet saw since this was the size needed on the skinny part of the front wall. Cut the bricks to size as needed for your project.
As you near the bottom of the arch, set a notched brick in place on the last inside row. Next, set a corner brick at the end of the arch and draw a line to act as a guide for the bricks that need to go around the arch.
Place the next flat brick over the corner brick and mark where the brick will have to be cut in order to fit the space.
Lay the marked brick on some newspaper, place the next brick on top of it and use a straightedge to continue the angled line. Make the angled cuts on the bricks with a wet saw. Then, set the angled cut bricks on the wall.
Apply mastic to the area and put the first corner brick at the beginning of the arch where you installed the angled brick. Make sure to allow some space for the mortar joint.
Continue to work your way across the inside of the arch. In our case, we cut 1" pieces of brick on the wet saw and placed them behind the corner brick along the archway to hide the remaining area (see image).
Set whole bricks up the side horizontally until you reach the top. When the last one is set, you can adjust the spacing for the mortar joints. Repeat this process for the other side.
Apply the mastic across the top and set the vertical bricks. Once again, you can adjust the spacing after all the bricks are in place along the top.
Since the area above the arch is the main focal point, we chose a unique herringbone pattern.
To start this pattern, apply mastic to the first section and set the first full brick in the upper-right corner on a 45-degree angle (Image 1). Mark the smaller 45-degree angled pieces to fill in the gaps and cut them to size with the wet saw, and set them into place (Image 2).
Start working the herringbone pattern out by using whole bricks as far as you can. When you come to the edges cut the smaller pieces with the wet saw to fill in the spaces along the perimeter. Continue to work the pattern with whole and cut pieces of brick. For areas that aren't big enough to spread mastic, you can apply it to the back of each brick one at a time.
When you reach the top of the arch, lay a brick over the open space and mark (Image 3). Cut with a wet saw and lay the cut pieces. Continue on to complete the herringbone pattern.