Recently, my husband and I purchased our first home. Technically, the property was "move-in ready," but we made several alterations to personalize the space. In our great room, the oversized fireplace is a focal point. With original handiwork, circa 1980, the flagstone facade and wood-paneled walls felt a little lodgey for our taste. To modernize, we ripped down the wood panels, slapped on a fresh coat of paint, stained the beams a deep espresso, ripped up the laminate, and mudded the fireplace, replacing the flagstone with copper-toned tiles. We were able to accomplish a lot of the work ourselves, but for everything tile-related, by brother-in-law was a godsend. Our new fireplace is a satisfying juxtaposition of modern and contemporary decor.