Restoring Craftsman fireplace
We're in the process of trying to strip many layers of paint from the fireplace in our 1915 California bungalow, and have hit a few glitches--wondering if anyone has ever tackled a project like this and might have pointers! Our fireplace is some type of cut stone (not brick) with a hearth that seems to be made of sandstone tiles, or something similar. If it matters, our neighbor has the same fireplace unpainted, so we could find out in more detail what type of stone it is.
First, we stripped the tile hearth, revealing beautiful rose tiles--with big soot/creosote stains on them. Is there any way to get these off? We've sanded it down and tried bleach, but the stains remain...worst case scenario, we'll just go ahead and seal it with them--more "character"--but we'd love to get them off first.
Second, we've tested paint stripper on the main fireplace in a few places without much luck. Has anyone ever stripped a fireplace like this? (Stone--maybe fieldstone or granite?--cut with many rough crevices, so nothing smooth to strip or sand.) If it's not even worth bothering with, are there techniques for painting this to look more natural, or will that just look sillier than keeping it the white that it is now (it currently matches the built-ins and panels in the room, which are also all covered in white paint).
Any ideas or experiences would be welcome--thanks!