Not sure what to do with your old ugly brick or stone fireplace? Call a decorative painter. Most likely the options for a finish will be more cost effective than ripping it out and rebuilding with the materials that everyone else has. The old fireplace in this lovely Portland bungalow home was very ugly stone most likely installed in the 60s. The contractor built up the fireplace, covered with wallboard and skimmed it out. Then came time for our magic... a pounded copper faux finish leaving the client with a custom, unique treatment that blends in with their decor.
The mantel was a custom finish as well. The client wanted the brand new mantel to have an aged feel to it. As you can see in the closer photo there is crackle in some areas.
The bookcases were painted white when we started with this project which seemed out of place and floating after the fireplace and mantel were complete. We came back to give the bookcases a lighter treatment so the mantel would still stand out.
The final result -- happy clients are good clients!