I've been using distressed painted wood frames for years. Recently, I have been thinking about a more modern and clean look. I've worked with a great guy all these years who is a "deconstructionist". He takes apart old buildings all over the country and salvages the wood from interiors and exteriors of barns, school houses, taverns, cottages - you name it. A lot of emails and photos later...this is what we came up with. I varnished the first one, and lightly sanded and stained the second one.
My dearest and insightful artist friend Joan Brancale saw them and said they reminded her of a 40's beach cottage.
That is exactly the look I was after. So yipee!