Our house has this huge chimney going through the middle of the main level. It’s not the worst color but it’s also not the best. It’s has a rough finish so cleaning it is a huge hassle. The previous owners had this ancient gold metal screen thing that we instantly threw away. The main part also had a ton of smoke stains which looked terrible. The first steps was to remove everything and clean everything the best I could. I used a formula I found online and a metal brush to clean the smoke stains. They didn’t completely come off but good enough for me. I also painted the inside of the fireplace with black stove paint.
I had no plans on using the fireplace so it’s pure for cosmetics. With the chimney being such a major focal point, I knew we had to break up the intensity somehow. I came up with the idea of a floating mantle. I found a guy in St John who build custom mantles out of old barns from the 1800’s. I wanted something light grey so this was perfect. Installation was super easy as you only have to drilled into the mortar. Once the mantle was set, we added big pictures from some of our trips. The last step was to add some real wood to make it look like we use the thing. You can still see the smoke stains but definitely a huge improvement.