DIY Fixes for Ugly Fireplace?

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Q: I have a really ugly fireplace that I want to fix up myself. There's a gas fire in it now that doesn't work. I'll probably remove it or the fake coals at least, but I'd like to be able to put a new fire in again in the future, so any work I do needs to be suitable for being close to fire. I'd love to change the mantle somehow to be nicer. I've thought about painting it, but I'm not sure what type of paint is suitable. I also can't stand the gold rims. The ugly purple paint above it is also going to be cream shortly. Any advice or ideas would be much appreciated!

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Regina is an architect who lives with her husband and children in Lawrence, KS. As a LEED Accredited Professional and longtime contributor to Apartment Therapy and The Kitchn, her focus is on healthy, sustainable living through design.