Ugly Fireplace Makeover – Before and After

by Steve
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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  • Teresa Ann Ford 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.

  • Kelli Cook Kelli Cook on Apr 30, 2020

    I have a stone fireplace that was painted ugly grey. Is there a way to paint over it or take off grey and show nice stone?

  • Elizabeth Elizabeth on May 10, 2020

    Why can I not click on answers and go to them?

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  • Donna Donna on Sep 24, 2021

    After a closer look at the “before” fireplace, it is not what I thought it was. I must have not had my glasses on that day, because I could have swore it was made of big chunky rounded stones.

  • Nancy Neely Nancy Neely on Mar 07, 2024

    The before was hideous and the after looks terrific! Good job!