I considered trying to frame out the mantle. Again, more expensive then what it is worth.
Then it hit me, I didn't like the gold. Cue heat resistant paint for grills. (I used Rust Oleum.) I pulled off the cover. My unwilling assistant, my husband, removed the gold flaps and I spray painted them black. (My husband may have done a few coats of the spraying when it got too cold in the garage.) I let it dry overnight before my husband reassembled it. What a difference a few coats of paint make!