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Panel Discussion

Avocado Stoves are probably my absolute favorite interior designing dinosaur left over from the 1970’s.  Close seconds include a fully wallpapered kitchen and orange formica countertops. Something about the aforementioned items will always feel trapped in a time warp. However, there has been an item from the seventies that is having an evolutionary  and fashionable resurgence – Wood Panelling.

(From Elmira Stove Works by Northstar.)

(Photo by Adrian on Flickr)

(This gaudy and match match interior was found in a 1971 Better Homes & Gardens via HERE.)

Panelling includes  any wall covering constructed from rigid or semi-rigid components. These are traditionally interlocking wood, but could be plastic or other materials. There are even specific names for the locking components: Tongue and Groove (which sounds like a great band name). In antiquity, wood panelling was first used to make cold stone walls more comfortable and inviting. The wood also served as insulation from the chilly castle walls or stone interiors. In more modern buildings, that did not need environmental insulations, the technique is mostly used for decoration – showing off ornate engraving, beveling, wainscoting (usually on oak), and as a way to show off contemporary artists of the day. The most intricate form of paneling is known as boiserie. As a note, and a fun future trivial pursuit or jeopardy answer, the word “wainscot” is from [wageschot, Dutch] and means the inner wooden covering of a wall (To wainscot [waegenschotten, Dutch], to line the walls with boards) – found here.

(Perhaps I should begin getting all of my fashion and interior design cues from JamesFranco.com? – which has not been updated in years. This is an image from the set of Freaks and Geeks , meant to take place in 1980, Michigan.)

(Note the wainscoting – from the set of That 70’s Show, meant to the place in 1976-1979 ,Wisconsin. Found Here.)

OK, now let us hop into the DeLeorean and reach speeds of 88 Miles Per Hour so that we can travel to the year 2012 where panelling has actually been reinvented. (How do I spell “panelling?” or “paneling” because neither is being corrected by autocorrect!? Are both right!? Interrobang!?) Modern panels often feature unfinished, untreated wood for a sleek, clean, and light wall.

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