When I moved into my house, one of the things I definitely wanted to change was the fireplace. Every time I looked at it - massive.... brooding.... flag-stoney - I couldn't help but hear the theme to the "Brady Bunch" start up in my head. Sure as death and taxes, every time I'd walk into the room, I'd hear "Here's the story ..... of a lovely lady..... etc, etc" - aaaaand I had to make it stop.
So after several months of looking at it (and hearing that insipid song) I decided to tear the fireplace out. After all, what better way to incentivise yourself to start a project than to make it look about a hundred times worse than it already does, right?
I'm going to cover the demolition only to give a few pointers and maybe give some insight into what you may find should you have a similarly constructed fireplace. I'll then cover the construction of a new fireplace that's a lot more to my liking - and a lot less dominant in the room.
Realize that much of what I'm doing here can be adapted to fireplaces of different construction. Even all-brick fireplaces can be given a face-lift - just maybe not as extensive as this one. Sometimes all it takes to get your own "vision" is to see how someone else did it (hence, Instructables!).
Total Cost on this project is roughly $600 - but that's solely based on what I had on hand (leftover quarter-sawn White Oak from another project), what I found (the granite) and the materials I chose to use (spendy countertop concrete). Your costs could be more or less depending on how big your installation is, what materials you want to use, etc.
While nothing in this instructable is terribly complex, it does require some construction and woodworking skills to pull off. Tools (or a well-equipped relative) are always a big plus as well.
As with all home renovations involving sledgehammers, you should ask someone smarter than you if you're not sure it's OK to wail on a particular wall. Make sure to use appropriate safety gear and also make sure you're not violating some obscure building code. Either that, or just don't tell anyone what you're doing and hope you don't do something you can't recover from. I choose option #2.
OK, OK - for all the Hall Monitors out there - I'm KIDDING. Be responsible, smart, safe, and considerate - contrary to popular belief, the world was not made by Fisher Price.