Do you remember this monstrosity? Lets focus on the wooden surround. The dark varnish, the LIONS CLAWS for goodness sake. Just no.
Something needed to be done, but what? I am certainly no DIY expert and didn't have a clue where to start. Luckily I have a friend who is a joiner and he has done a wonderful job in reworking the surround. First he stripped the varnish to reveal the actual wood (it turns out to be a good quality pine), removed the hideous lions feet embellishments and added a simplified trim (trying for more of an arts & crafts look). Finally he waxed the wood to give it a lovely natural finish.
I think it's wonderful. I cannot believe it's the same surround, can you?