This was the fireplace in our living room.
It never worked properly since we moved in, since the previous owners didn’t use it once in twenty years. Fixing it would have cost as much as replacing it, and in order to replace it, we would have had to tear out the surround, and in order to tear out the surround, we would have had have to remove the bookshelves… Long story short:
We planned on replacing it all with a setup that looked like this:
We hired a professional to install the new fireplace and run a new vent line, but I did the rest myself.
We bumped the fireplace out into the room so that it would be more of a focal point, and we replaced the side bookshelves with different shelves on the top and a drawer/cabinet combo on the top.
The panels next to the fireplace open up to reveal storage with adjustable shelves — a good spot for video game consoles.
The panel above the fireplace opens up to allow access to the area above and behind the fireplace, just for good measure.
Because the fireplace was no longer embedded in the wall, it opened up a space between the living room and the utility closet behind it, so I built a shelving unit to use that space.