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Need advice on refacing huge stone fireplace

15 years ago

Our home has a huge 15' tall rough rock- not stacked stone- fireplace. Not only do we really not like its rustic appearance with large mortar joints, but it is much too large and overwhelming in our modest-sized family room. In a previous home we drywalled over a brick fireplace and installed marble surround and hearth. We'd like to get a similar look here, but the large, chunky rocks unevenly butt against built-in cabinets to either side with very little clearance to open the cabinet doors.

A couple of contractors think the rocks are real and not a facade since similar rocks are on the exterior. Can't afford a huge remodeling job so I thought perhaps a plywood or decorative paneled box could be built in sections and placed over the rocks. Some type of decorative tile surround will be used for appearances and to comply with code.

Any suggestions how best to proceed?

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