When we bought our house 2 years ago there were a lot of ugly factors we knew would have to be taken care of. The house was built in 1962 and I don't think it had any remodeling since then. One of the biggest ugly factors was the fireplace. It was almost one entire wall of the living room. It was originally floor to ceiling brick and about 10 feet across. The people who owned the house before us tried to do something to it. Notice I said tried. They did a faux plaster look with exposed brick. They didn't bother with plaster but rather used colored mortar. It was extremely ugly (see top photo).
Right from the start I wanted a river rock fireplace. I love river rock. Something about it reminds me of a cottage. I love cottages and anything like that with the shabby chic look. We were able to get a bunch of free river rock from a couple that my mom knows. The husband is the head of the agricultural history museum and when he came over to look at our old manure spreader that we wanted to donate he offered us the rock and we gladly went over and picked it up. Johnnie did all the rock work and I think he did a really good job. Th mantel is made out of a piece of black walnut that our neighbor gave us. Johnnie also built the cabinets on each side - which are not done and I'm not sure when they will be but someday.