If you missed the first three chapters of our fireplace mantel story, you can catch up here:
Chapter One: A Blank Wall
Chapter Two: Purchasing an Antique Surround
Chapter Three: Fireplace Mantel Update
The short story is that we started with a blank wall with a gas fireplace box. We shopped architectural salvage to find a full fireplace surround that fit our dimensions, style and budget.
We purchased this ugly duckling: solid oak fireplace with at least four layers of paint from as many generations if not more.
The details: We used a chemical stripper to get off as much paint as we possibly could. This took a very long time, as each stripped coat of paint revealed another coat of paint, in a new color, underneath. I couldn’t be around the chemical stripper or the endless layers of lead paint due to the pregnancy, so my marvelous husband did most of the hard work. As a result, we decided against stripping down to the bare wood and staining and we removed the bulk of the paint and put a fresh coat of white paint on her and called it a project well-enough done.
Close up of tile detail: