Here are some pics of the fire surround I'm building for the Glencroft. I wanted something a little more substantial and more Tudor than the kit supplied mantel. I've scavenged the surround from the kit but added a hearthstone, larger surround and mantel.
I used varying thicknesses of balsa.
Then added the kit surround.
A mantel came next.
And then picture moulding from Bunnings hardware for the mantel detail and a first coat of gesso to start to bring it all together. Am currently experimenting with stone powder to get a stone finish, but it isn't quite working so looks like I'll be making use of some sandpaper to rub it back and think of a different medium to finish it in. Paint effects might be the way to go. Ever noticed how some folks can get the hang of a product no problems, and you're left wondering how the heck they did it? That's me and stone powder. Maybe it will come to me later.