OK... we all do it... use a can of mushroom soup (instead of making it from scratch) for a casserole... this is (sort of) the same:
I really disliked my ORANGE marble-ish surround on the fireplace of a townhome I bought about a year ago.
I was going to tackle the project myself... and then worried about potential cement board cutting and then tile cutting (altho I had laid ceramic tile on two bathroom floors... but no longer had the little tile cutter.)
So... I sifted thru boxes of real stone tile at Lowe's --- trying to find those with no pink or purple cast to them... a random "feature" of the tile. --Mission accomplished for $45! (I brought my measurements to Lowe's and the tile department figured out how much I'd need. BTW: what's great about Lowe's is that you do not have to buy BOXES of tile... you can go thru them and buy by the piece!)
I hired a tile guy... his job: tear out old tile, replace cement backer board if needed (was needed!) apply his thinset, cut and apply tile. Tile-guy cost: $175 + $10 tip
Then! my (sweat equity) re-do began! I knew the stark white columns would be too "classic/traditional" for my taste with the new stone tile...
I used a wax brush and dark wax to get in all of the groovy grooves. Then I took old dish towels and wiped the excess away. Waited 24 hours... then waxed again with clear wax for a bit of a more finished look.
I am SO PLEASED with the results!! ...a new focal point in my living room!