We've since finished, I've just been way slow in updating since work picked up towards the end of the project.
Taking the furring strips off wasn't too hard, we cut a hole in the drywall and used another board about the same width as the furring strips to get behind the drywall and pop it off in big pieces. And then just using a good ole fashioned crowbar and hammer we were able to get all the strips off. Luckily, it was all clean brick underneath the drywall except for one section (a three foot span of wall) that was painted white where the washer and dryer used to be. We ended up chiseling out a chunk of wall and taking it to get color matched at Home Depot and then painted the brick to match, seems like a silly solution but it totally worked!
Having a housewarming party soon, so I'll take a bunch of pics with it all clean and finished and then post em!