The fireplace in the garden apartment looks like this:
It seems OK, until you take a closer look:
Varnish is splashed all over the tile. On the floor, the tile just looks sad. Sure, this tile is over 100 years old but it still has some life in it.
Enter my favorite tool in the whole universe:
Turns out the tiles had a layer of polyurethane on top. Some scrubbing and some Mr. Clean Magic Eraser did the trick:
While the tile is definitely showing its age, cleaning the gunk off it makes a huge difference. Here is the half way point with the right side cleaned up and the left side intact:
Here is a closer shot of the cleaned up border: