About six years ago, my boyfriend and I bought a severely neglected 1970s ranch house. It was basically a grimy, character-free tract home with critters living in the garage and AC return duct. We had a lot of issues to deal with after we bought the house, so the limestone fireplace was pretty far from the top of the list, and we ended up ignoring it for years while we worked on other parts of the house. Eventually, it became harder to ignore. Even though the fireplace facade was real stone, it was ugly, hard to clean, and had a way of sucking all the natural light (which is in seriously short supply) out of the room. So one day, we just picked up a couple of sledgehammers and started tearing it out.... and a quick year and a half later, we finished!