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:
Of the 5 fireplaces in our house, two have ugly brass covers. Luckily, all the original cast iron covers were still stashed away in the basement. Yesterday we tackled the fireplace in the garden apartment. It has the least ornate mantel.
This is the best photo I have of it in it’s “as purchased condition” (The flower arrangement came with the house).
The ill fitting cover obscures most of the original tile. You can also see the open archway on the left that was replaced with the awesome set of free French doors, courtesy of the Internets.
Just removing the modern cover and replacing it with one of the original cast iron ones made a huge difference in my opinion.
Up next: a fresh coat of paint and some serious tile cleaning.