Team White or Team Wood? Our fireplace mantel gets a new look

Some people are die-hard fans for Team White. They’ve never met a wood surface they haven’t liked better with a coat of crisp white paint.

(They often cheer loudly for Team Pottery Barn, too.)

white painted mantel

Others are Team Wood. It pains them to the point of offense–deep, deep offense–when natural wood is painted.

(You can hear their cries of outrage most clearly over at Apartment Therapy.)

wood mantel

We are Team It Depends.

We think paint is the best choice sometimes. We have a little chair in our garage right now that’s been dismembered and all cleaned up in preparation for some Martha Stewart metallic paint that I’m itching to try. (Yes, I know that sounds like it will be weird. Trying it anyway.)

detail of wood chair

The chair wasn’t a high-quality piece to begin with, and the wood is so far gone that restoring it would be way more work than I want to do. We have no problem with painting it.

But, in general, we like wood.

wood vase on wood mantel

It’s warm, simple, and rustic–sorta like our door-turned-storage bench.

mantel with salvaged door storage bench

Or like the braided wool rug we love more every day.

fireplace with wood mantel and braided wool rug

We’ve been meaning to strip the mantel pretty much since we moved in. I’m not sure why Cane suddenly got a bug to do it last weekend, but he did.

cane beginning to strip the mantel

It took less than two hours, even with four coats of stripper and two coats of MinWax Polyshades in walnut (a polyurethane and stain in one).

scraped paint

paint nearly scraped off

mantel stripped of paint

We think it’s real pretty. A lot of bang for our Sunday afternoon buck.

close up of mantel

corner detail of mantel

Maybe that’s our team:  Team Pretty.

Yeah, we can cheer for that.

What team are you on?

We’d love to know. If I had more time and know-how, I’d put a fancy-schmancy poll right here. But I don’t! Maybe you can show your allegiance in the comments.

And, if you want to see lots of practical and pretty, there’s plenty to be found at the Pancakes and French Fries weekly William Morris project. We’ll be linking there.

william morris project