Accent on Modern Walls

Story in Fall CA-Modern offers cutting-edge options that will allow Eichler walls to ‘sing’
Fridays on the Homefront
A pop of texture, color, or new wood paneling can bring an Eichler interior back to life. Above, two walls of mahogany paneling do a nice job of offsetting the white paint that surrounds them. Photo: courtesy Modern Homes Realty
Fridays on the Homefront
The three Eichler interiors above use different approaches to accent walls covered in white: one painted wall, and another covered with textured wood paneling (top); grooved wood paneling (middle); and grooved thin-line Eichler siding extending through the kitchen and into the backyard (above). Photos: Sabrina Huang

Sometimes it's the accent that carries the whole presentation.

For instance, on Eichler exteriors, earthy brown and gray paint tones are often turned from sleep inducing to stimulating by the contrast of a colorful front door.

Similarly, inside the home an accent wall can bring a sense of liveliness and warmth to a room's décor, especially for interiors in which the original wall paneling has been whitewashed, ruined, or removed.

So says CA-Modern magazine home improvement editor Tanja Kern in her latest feature, 'Walls That Sing,' in the new Fall '18 CA-Modern.

"A pop of texture, color, or new wood paneling, added to a single wall in a room, can bring a white interior back to life and restore some of the home's lost original look and feel," she says.

For her peppy, informative story, Kern interviewed numerous experts, and reviewed a host of interior paneling products before offering profiles of ten that pass her modern muster. She concedes that such materials may be the only paths if your home's original walls have been painted over or have not received adequate care through the years.

"The ideal choice is to be able to restore the [mahogany paneling] originals, but that's not always an option," Kern says. Though the story highlights a few types of panels as particularly cost effective or environmentally sustainable, she admits that it's hard to improve on the original.

"If the [original] paneling is salvageable, then cleaning, sanding, and a light coat of urethane is probably the cheapest option," she said of unpainted wood panels found in many Eichlers. Likewise, she said with a laugh, "I kind of think restoration is the greenest option too!"

Kern said her biggest surprise in researching the story was the unavailability of the lauan panels originally used in Eichlers, also known as Philippine mahogany because it's dark hue resembles that wood.