I HAS A PAINTED LIVING ROOM
We hired Bob the Painter. He did an awesome job, and his labor charge was so well worthwhile. We went with one color for the entire room - Benjamin Moore Sea Foam in eggshell finish. If we decide to do an accent wall later, it will be easy to paint ourselves. I fricking love the color and the subtle contrast with the white baseboard heaters and trim. I thought it would look strange to have the baseboard stuff the exact same color as the walls, and I'd seen (and liked) white trim with very pale walls elsewhere.
Now we can finally put up the decorative curtain rods (and curtains!) I got a few months ago. Hopefully that will get done this weekend.
I HAS A UGLY FIREPLACE
I don't mind the shape. I don't mind the long hearth. I like the alternating brick pattern under the hearth. And I have seen far worse. But the brick and mortar are dull and dingy next to the perty new wall, and the hearth top is greenish gray concrete slabs. The concrete is supposed to look like rough stone. It looks like a shitty approximation, permanently grody from assorted paint and crud, with a giant mortared crack in the middle for good measure. Who in their right mind ever thought that looked good? It doesn't even go with the red brick, for crying out loud. I guess we could paint it, but the texture and shape would still look crappy.
I've been looking up fireplace facelifts, and it seems like the best idea for our circumstances is to tile it over. Judging from the articles I've been reading and Thar and Anna's bathroom remodeling adventures, simple tiling sounds DIY-friendly. The main problem is that damn concrete hearth top. Its edges are rough and irregularly slanted. At least it isn't structural, and the seams between it and the surrounding brick are readily apparent, so I would think that it could be pried off and replaced with the same thickness of fireproof sheet rock.
I don't expect to come up with a plan any time soon. All I know is that I want a useful mantel and I hate that damn concrete hearth top.