|Here's a Visio sketch of what I was trying to accomplish. I've learned that
my visualization abilities on projects like this are limited, and so I sketch
things out by hand or with Visio if I can't visualize exactly what I want. My
original concept was that the upper panels on the walls would be wallpapered
rather than wood paneled (which accounts for the red rectangles in the Visio
sketch). Once the project was underway, I concluded that the room was just going
to look too busy with wallpaper, so changed the plan to just use wood
are lots of ways to do recessed panels, and I'm not sure I did it the best way!
Considering how many panels I was going to need, and my level of carpentry
skills, which are modest, at best, I decided that doing full-custom panels using
dimensional lumber would probably not turn out very well. I took a look at
pre-made panels and decided that they wouldn't really give me the look I wanted.
I ended up cutting the panel frames out of birch-faced 3/4" plywood, and
then ripping a small number of "runners" (the horizontal raised
pieces) for the spots where a full sheet of plywood wasn't needed. This worked
very well, overall. The plywood was easy to mount. I had trouble getting the
edges of the runners to butt up against the plywood sheets as tightly as I
wanted, but I considered this a small victory because the problem cropped up
only with a small number of runners. If I'd tried to build the panels from
scratch, I would have had that problem with every joint in the room.
Toward the end of a project I stayed at a hotel that had similar paneling in
the hotel elevator. Something looked a little funny about the panels, and upon
examination it turned out that the panels were made of wood-grain Formica! This
was actually a very good design for paneling in an elevator, which needs to
take a lot of beating, and it actually looked pretty good.
For the recessed part of the paneling, I originally thought I'd use 1/4"
birch veneer plywood. I wasn't able to find any veneer that didn't have
repetitive stripes about 8" wide. Eventually I stumbled on birch door
skins, which normally have only 2 stripes that are about 20" wide rather
than 5 stripes that are 8" wide. I liked the patterns in the door skins, so
ended up using those instead, and the grain on those after they're stained and
urethaned looks great.
|I debated whether to include baseboards. I have other
stained paneling in my house (not built by me) that doesn't use baseboards
but looks great. I finally decided that the additional articulation would
be good for the room, so I included them. I had to make that decision
fairly early in the project, because you have to allow room for the
baseboards when you cut the panel frames if you're going to have them. In
the end, I was very pleased at how much the baseboards dressed up the
room. They're subtle, but the eye does notice that extra detail.
Here are some notes on the