So my family and I moved into our new home on Christmas day. Actually, we began living there Christmas day, and are still in the process of moving in, laying floors, decorating, etc. One of the things I love the most about our home is our fireplace. This is the first home I've ever lived in where I've had a working one. The smell of the fire, the sound, watching the fire dance, the heat, the glow....ahhhhhhh. Now, the home has the firebox built into the wall (it's a wood burning fireplace might I add just for clarification purposes), with a mantel that was also chosen and installed by our builders. Right now, the fire box is surrounded by sheetrock (typical wall), with the mantel of course above. I built the hearth myself, however I have not begun the tiling process. My question is this....I like our mantel, however I would like it to be more rustic, and look less....store-bought. I was thinking about making one myself, and was curious if any of you have completed such a task. If so, how did you do it and what did you use? As far as the hearth and surround goes, I'm planning on using some ceramic tile I have left over from my last house, and tiling it all. I may opt for using some flagstone or something else though, although price is certainly a consideration. I have plenty of tile, and it's free, so you can't beat that. What do you all have for your hearth and surround? Stone (dare I ask if it is real or faux), tile, etc?