As the focal point of a room, the fireplace shows off every penny of a makeover fund. Here, we replaced a drab slate surround with richly veined marble and enclosed the prefab, zero-clearance firebox with glass doors set within a polished-brass frame.

To keep costs down on the surround, we hit the remnants section of our local stoneyard and had a slab cut into three ¾-inch-thick pieces for the top and two side legs. Prices start at $195 for the stone and fabrication. We paid $450 for our rare Portoro marble (Bridgewater Marble & Granite Works), bringing the total outlay to about $875, including about $425 for the Thermo-Rite doors (

By leaving the wood mantel in place and removing only the trim that overlapped the surround, we minimized the work—and the mess.
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    Tools List

    • flat prybar
      Pry bar
    • utility knife
      Utility knife
    • small plastic putty knife
      Putty knife
    • caulk gun
      Caulk gun
    • drill
    • multi-bit screwdriver

    Shopping List

    1. Stone surround

    2. Glass fireplace doors3. Construction adhesive specially formulated for marble and granite