|How could they have covered this up?|
When trying to figure out what to put in the fireplace space we discovered the original coal/wood cradle that fit perfectly with the existing surround. Chrissy taped everything around the surround with several layers of painters tape. Then she used a black spray paint for use on metal to refinish the surround. The results really pop compared to what was there before.
We've already done a fair amount of wall work getting things smooth, level, and painted. With a bit of patching on the wall and stripping of the moldings and door surrounds this room should really pop.