Ugly Fireplace Makeover – Before and After

5 Materials
2 Weeks

This fireplace might have had a chance to win the prize for the ugliest fireplace in the history of…ever. Vintage 1979, no amount of white paint could spruce it up enough to look respectable, so it had to go. Originally we wanted to build a new wall in front of it but the dimensions didn’t allow for the new gas fireplace to vent properly. We ended up removing all that ugly (and super heavy) stone.

Here is the before. Ugly with a capital U.

To remove the stone, we started with a rotary hammer to drill holes in the mortar between the stones.    

And then a wrecking bar and some elbow grease to dislodge the stones.

We framed walls to give the new fireplace some depth and a platform to elevate the fireplace off the floor. We were limited by the ceiling height of only eight feet, so it couldn’t be too far off the floor.

A leftover Glulam beam makes a good looking simple mantle. Some sanding and a clear finish was all that was needed. 

Drywall, mantel and hearth installed. The hearth was a remnant from a local granite supply company. We also painted black the area where the TV mount will go.

Cultured stone is much easier to work with than natural stone products.

All done with the flatscreen installed. Just in time for the big game. For a more detailed look at this project, check out my blog

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Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!


Have a question about this project?

3 of 4 questions
  • Jon wolff
    on May 10, 2019

    Forgive my ignorance, but your walk-through kinda bypasses the stone placement. Was there glue involved? How is this done? Is it stacked only? What holds it there?

    • Becka Posey
      on May 17, 2019

      Oh would use mortar just like you would if you were putting brick on the fireplace. It would have to be heat resist since there would be heat aournd it

  • Cindy Taylor
    on May 10, 2019

    The stone you used is exactly what we've been looking for to reface our fireplace. You included the link to Normal, but which product (name) did you use?

    C. Taylor

    • Steve
      on May 10, 2019

      It's Boral Country Ledgestone, color Echo Ridge

  • Teresa Ann Ford
    on May 11, 2019

    The original fire place had real stone? If it did and it appeared that it did , I think you should have left it and used the space above for a mirror or something else. It appeared authentic and old fashioned . I guess I love that old stone, however; you can now use the space for your television which is wonderful and gets the tv out of the way and creates space. It looks great for a modern appearance and you sure know what you are doing as I couldn't have done it myself. Congrats on a great job.

    • Steve
      on May 12, 2019

      Thanks Teresa, yes the old fireplace had real stone, but it had multiple layers of paint on it. And you are right, putting the TV above really did open up the room.

Join the conversation

3 of 87 comments
  • Kara Wurtzel
    on Jul 8, 2019

    Just beautiful!

  • Susan
    on Sep 8, 2019

    Beautiful! Our home was built in the 50’s and has a fireplace, floor to ceiling like yours. Somebody in their infinite wisdom (prior owners) thought it would be great to paint it and I would like to take it down. In order to take down the old rock/stone, how did you determine that the stone above the fireplace was not attached to your chimney outside potentially causing a bigger project?

    • Steve
      on Sep 8, 2019

      Hi Susan, ours was easy to tell that the stone was only “decorative” because the chimney on top of the roof was made of wood/ siding with the old metal exhaust pipe and it still had the original metal firebox insert. Most fireplaces that I’ve seen from the 50’s were completely masonry. If your chimney is brick or stone all the way up through the roof, odds are that the brick or rock is structural. Hope that helps.

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