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Paneling - Love it or Leave it?

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Joined: Sep 14 2004

I'm interested in finding out what Eichler homeowners do with the original paneling. Does the paneling make your rooms feel dark? Do most love it and keep it, stain it, paint it, or tear it out??? Thanks for you input.

Joined: Jan 16 2004

Our panelling was ripped out by the previous owner and while we wished we had some of it left. Our house is a "Whole Lot Bigger" in feeling than many in the area. Our living area has 1 wall that is Grooved siding so we do get the Eichler touch on the biggest wall in the home.

I would as many people state, live in the house for a year and then see how you feel. It is Dark, it is different but it also is very beautiful.

We are going to put panels back into 1 bedroom as a start and then see where we go from there.
Again, hope you find a great home for your family...

Joined: Apr 8 2003

Our house had most of the original panelling intact when we bought it, however its condition was variable. Yes, it made the rooms dark, especially the smaller bedrooms. We removed the panels that had been wallpapered or had cork bulletin boards glued (!) to them. What we ended up with was each room having at least one, usually two panelled walls, contrasting with white or brightly painted sheetrock walls for the remainder. We enjoy the panels a whole lot more now that they act as a deep rich accent, as opposed to overpowering the room with brown. We have done nothing to the finish and we still have all the removed panels in our garage.

A separate note from previous threads on this: That panelling does burn easily, so rocking the walls - even the ones to keep panels as a finish - is a good idea.

Joined: Oct 10 2003

gturetzky, what a great idea! I like the idea of showcasing the uniqueness of the panelling without letting it turn each room into a dark cavern. also a great compromise between keeping the original 'feel' and adding lightness where needed.

Joined: Mar 22 2003

I'll probably get shot for saying this, but for us, painting over the paneling was one of the BEST design decisions we made. (Alright. Second best. Tiling all the floors was the best...)

When we bought 10 years ago, some of the paneling had already been painted. It was still in tact, however, in the LR and MBR. Like others, its condition was variable, with some looking pretty good and others showing streaks or water spots. Thank goodness none of the previous owners smoked, or there would have been zero hope for the paneling.

Like all guys, hubby loved it. I did not, but was willing to live with it, being very familiar with Eichlers - since my parent's first home was one in Sunnyvale. I hated the darkness, as I am a light freak, so my response was to get up every morning and turn on every light in the house and leave them on all day. Ugh. We both were very concerned about maintaining the beauty and integrity of the home, while tastefully upgrading it and the "what to do about the walls?" was a common dinner topic.

We searched for 3 years to find furniture that would actually look good against the woody walls and finally just gave up. Some of the Scandinavian teak stuff looked good - but too much wood for me - iron and glass was OK, but not quite right - leather looked too cold. In the end, hubby gave up and let me paint the walls. What a difference. Now, rather than being chopped up, with every room and wall being different, the house flows throughout, from one room to the next. The floors are the same. The walls are the same (flat Navaho White). We should have sheetrocked for fire safety and to get rid of the "Ten-minute home" label, but we did not. We may do this in the future, but if we do, we will maintain the smooth minimalist texture we currently have. I don't want my house looking like an apartment building!

If we had not painted the walls, we would probably still be sitting on orange crates...


Joined: Sep 14 2004

My husband loves the paneling very much but I'm a light freak like Cathye. I really like the idea of using the paneling as an accent instead of on most of the walls in the home. The fire issue is something that hubby and I did not think about. Was there a previous thread about the fire safety issue with the paneling?

Joined: Mar 22 2003

Hi laynaga:

I don't know if there was a past post on the fire safety issue or not, but a label that you will often hear associated with Eichlers--especially from contractors--is "Oh, you mean those 10-minute homes? Ten minutes because that is how long it takes for one to burn to the ground..."

For this and also the reason that the walls rarely contain insulation, many contractors recommend replacing the paneling with sheetrock - something that is far less flamable. The one thing I do not know if whether or not we pay more for fire insurance because of the wood paneling. If you are going to replace the paneling, then it is also a good time to take a look at adding insulation, upgrading the electrical system and taking advantage of the walls being opened up to add more outlets, high-speed internet connections and the like.

We were flat broke when we bought 10 years ago, but if I were king and could go back in time with today's bank account, I would have upgraded the electrical and had the entire house sheetrocked and insulated BEFORE moving in and BEFORE adding the tile flooring, the new foam roof and the upgraded kitchen!


Joined: Mar 20 2003

Our Eichler was built later, around '64, so there was no paneling up in the rooms, just white walls. Our rooms still have dark stained ceilings and dark concrete floors, so compared to our neighbor's (they have white ceilings and light grey carpet) our rooms still look smaller. I can see how dark paneling on the walls might make the rooms look even smaller.
We kept all the original paneling in the main rooms, having them stripped and restained and sealed. The panels had light and dark areas because of hung pictures and sun damage. It would have been less expensive to replace all of the wood paneling. Another neighbor installed new wood paneling, which I must say is gorgeous compared to ours. At the time I really wanted to keep things as original as possible, and looking back, still not sure if i would have kept the old paneling or replaced it with new.

Joined: Mar 20 2003

Well when we moved in 5yrs ago we didn't have any choice since all our paneling except one bedroom had been textured and painted over. Now along with Cathye I have to admit I am not a big fan of the paneling. I think if the paneling looked new I would feel differently about it. However 40 plus years of sun and wear and tear the beauty of the wood has gone. My husband made me promise not to touch the one bedroom with the paneling in tact and that's fine because we use it as a Den and of course there the paneling looks very appropriate. My dream would be to take all the paneling out since it's all been painted over and sheet rock or even better put up new paneling in the main rooms in the house, but unfortunately our bank account says otherwise right now. I was in a open house Eichler today and the paneling was in fantastic shape, but sadly I don't see that quality left in many of our aging Eichler homes. I try and honor my Eichler home in other ways, but fortunately or unfortunately it won't be with paneling right now.

Joined: Mar 24 2003

i LOVE my paneling.

Please don't paint it or remove it - because once you've done that - you have destroyed the historical fabric of the home and ruined it for the next owner who may very likely really really want it.

Instead look for reasonable reverseable solutions if you are concerned about darkness. The previous owner of my home had the kitchen cabinets stain lightened - and that is a great solution. But other than that - all the original paneling was still in place. Thank goodness.

If the paneling is in disrepair - it's wood! a) it is Phillipine Mahagony - a rare wood - no longer readily available - i.e. it is VALUABLE. and b) you can refinish it. duh!

Paneling provides warmth in the Modernist home. I just spent the weekend at the Eames House Case Study House #8 - and the thing that struck me is their use of natural surfaces like wood paneling, etc. that made the industrial post and beam architectural statement very humanistic and livable.

If you are concerned about darkness and livability - you may find that large pieces of bright art and the furniture you chose can counteract any concerns you might have brilliantly.

Your Ultra Guide for Googie, Atomic Age and Mid Century Modern Living: OPEN 24/7!

Joined: Mar 20 2003

The Philippine Mahogany you see in an Eichler is an important design detail which makes an Eichler, an Eichler. Aside from the warmth and beauty of the golden patina of the slab paneling, it's also represent another ingredient for indoor/outdoor living.

This isn't the same crap which we all saw in the 70s that was glossy and had groves running through it. You can't get what you have on the walls any more. If you bought a Neutra, would you tear out all the birch walls and built-ins? Or paint them? God no! By the way, when you paint your panels, your interior will look like a mobile home. I have seen MANY RUINED EICHLERS BY PEOPLE WHO DID THIS. Sorry Cathye.

There has been much discussion on this board and site regarding refinishing Philippine Mahogany panels. Use the Search function of this board. Refinishing can lighten them too. Also, you can come close to matching old stuff with new luan panels, which are quite inexpensive.

Joined: Mar 22 2003

Hi Joe b:

No need to apologize. Those passing judgement about what I have or have not done on my own home mean nothing to me, so whack away.

Just a quick question for you: What Eichler tract do you live in and which floorplan do you have? What is on your walls, original Philippine Mahogany, painted Mahogany, or something else?


Joined: Mar 23 2011

Regarding Eichlers, few things are more upsetting than hearing that another one was ruined by destroying the panelling. It's like cutting the mahogany tree down all over again.

When searching for an Eichler of our own, it made me furious each time we saw a house that was original, but was painted on the recommendation of the stupid real estate agent. It's too bad this isn't a felony.

The solution seems simple. If you don't like the panelling, but you like Eichlers, then buy one that's already been ruined. There are plenty of them, and fewer and fewer in original condition. I consider it a crime against humanity to ruin a perfectly good Eichler, when there are so few of them left.

As far as the idea that painting makes the room seem larger, I disagree. I lived in an Eichler in the Fair Meadow neighborhood in Palo Alto. It had the panelling when I lived there. I visited the house after the new owner rolled the place white. It seemed tiny. Not only that, but the cracks between the panels made the place feel like a junky mobile home.

The grain in the wood creates a sense of depth that actually makes the room seem larger. This is an aesthetic consideration that escapes most people who are quick to pull out the paintbrushes.

Lastly, there's the darkening aspect of the wood. One can lighten wood without painting it. Ours has a light golden tone that does NOT seem dark.


Joined: Nov 9 2004

laynaga wrote:
I'm interested in finding out what Eichler homeowners do with the original paneling. Does the paneling make your rooms feel dark? Do most love it and keep it, stain it, paint it, or tear it out??? Thanks for you input.
I am with you. It is too dark to me. In one room I painted one wall off white and either side of the fireplace a crisp spring green..really sets off the fireplace. Then I cleaned and painted remaining 2 walls with oil based polyurethane. It looks really great. Shiny ( you have to like shiny) and looks brand new and clean...Plus they are easy to keep clean. I painted wood window sills and trim with the polyurethane also. Any ideas how to lighten the paneling and still be able to keep the wood grain look would be greatly appreciated. Thanks..Soberedperch.. :oops: :wink:

Joined: Mar 20 2003

cathye: "Just a quick question for you: What Eichler tract do you live in and which floorplan do you have? What is on your walls, original Philippine Mahogany, painted Mahogany, or something else?"

Wow, I missed this one. Cathye, I speak from an architectural preservation view point, which sometimes is missing on this board. Yes, I am a freedom loving person and feel any home owner can do what they want to their home. But the fact is, Eichler homes are being destroyed everyday, many by unknowing owners and ignorant contractors. Eventually, time will pass and so will any architectural significants of an Eichler home. Removing original design elements just quickens the process.

As for me, I am restoring a 1955 home designed by Cliff May in Eugene, Oregon. My research of Cliff May has crossed over into Eichler research, as well as many other mid-century modern architects of merchant built homes. I am happy to share my findings. This research has taken me into many of Eichlers through out the Bay Area and Southern California. I have seen the many mistakes Eichler owners and contractors make when remodeling. It's saddening. Thankfully, forums like this exist to help educate others.

As for my walls, Cliff May used sheetrock on the walls and ceilings. Some homes used birch plywood on interiors, some used Philippine Mahogany, most used drywall. Just as with many Eichlers, my home is 49 years old, post and beam construction, walls of glass, radiant heated floors on a slab. Roofs were low-pitch with glassend gables. Quality finishes are somewhat a draw. I have birch cabinets, solid redwood siding and the same original Armstrong tiles, Formica counters, stainless cooktop/stove, slab doors. I have wood casement windows and custom wood french doors, typical in early '50s architecture, rather than metal sliders of the mid-'50s and beyond. Design-wise, the plan is similar to early Jones & Emmons and Anshen+Allen "L" shaped courtyard homes. Streetside, I have a garage/carport combo with carport entry into the home.

I refrain from talking about Cliff May homes on this board out of the respect that it is an Eichler-centric board.

Joined: Mar 2 2004

Joe - What has happened to you. It took more than a month for your "quick rejoinder". Eichlers are owned and lived in by individuals. Joe Eicjhler built homes without micro-waves, fluorescent lights, color televisions, big closets, thermal-pane glass, air conditioning or sheetrock. If you lived in an Eichler, and wanted to remain pure and authentic, good for you. With my Eichler, I wanted to keep the things I wanted and valued, and improve other the Electrical, which was seriously in need of modernization.

In my Green Gables Eichler in Palo Alto, I was saved the decision re. rehabilitating the paneling. It had been painted. At first I textured the paneling to hide the joints. When remodeling a bathroom in 1983, and soon after, repairing some termite damage, I began to worry about fire safety and the lack of sheetrock. My son Jarom, who works for Dura-Foam, reminded me last week, that I had told my children to just walk out of the house if there was a fire. This is very good advice to children who live in an 'authentic' Eichler. This one Eichler feature has cost many people their homes. When an authentic Eichler burns, the only wall left standing is the garage wall that is sheetrocked....and that's only on the garage side. I loved my Eichler home, and my family enough to make changes necessary to preserve them both. I didn't feel like I was ruining my home. With the added wall insulation and sheetrock, it felt and sounded much better than before. The changes improved the value and comfort of the home. Isn't this what we all want?

Here in California, we don't have mobile homes in such abundance as where you live. Here, our homes are very expensive, and require a very high income to purchase and maintain. Comparing any Eichler to a mobile home is totally lost on me.

Joined: Mar 20 2003

Randy at Dura-Foam: "Here in California, we don't have mobile homes in such abundance as where you live. Here, our homes are very expensive, and require a very high income to purchase and maintain. Comparing any Eichler to a mobile home is totally lost on me."

Ever get out of your metro area often? Doesn't sound like it.

Yes, I know homes are very expensive where you live. That's why I don't live there.

I never compared an Eichler to a mobile home, but if you paint your paneling, the resemblance is striking. But, then, you would need to actually go inside a mobile home to understand that. I was just in a Terra Linda Eichler this past weekend where a realtor convinced an unknowing homeowner to "white out" the interior because they thought it would update it and make it brighter. great logic.

randy at dura-foam: "Eichlers are owned and lived in by individuals."

so, what's your point? If you read my post, you would know I am a freedom loving individual.

randy at dura-foam: "Joe Eicjhler built homes without micro-waves, fluorescent lights, color televisions, big closets, thermal-pane glass, air conditioning or sheetrock."

Yes, they were and are great homes. Please, leave your Eichler neighborhood once in a while. Eichler used plenty of sheetrock in the mid-'60s until his death in '74. Travel to SoCal sometime and you'll find many Eichlers has forced air AC in the slab.

you can preserve original paneling and update electrical and make a home fire safe. I am talking about preserving design details, not forfeiting safety. If someone doesn't want paneling, fine. I happen to think it's part of what makes an Eichler and Eichler. If you want color and not the paneling, do it right. Sheetrock it and paint it.

randy at dura-foam: "What has happened to you. It took more than a month for your "quick rejoinder"

I just missed it. This board doesn't get enough traffic to warrant checking it everyday. Threads rarely advance beyond a few posts.

Joined: Mar 2 2004

The paneling was already painted in my Eichler, so I was saved the decision re. restoring it. I didn't like the joints showing on the walls, so I textured them. This seemed to help hide the fact that someone had painted over paneling.

My feeling is...We are individuals, living in our own homes. If we want to change something, and are willing to live with the change, and the consequences, good for us. When Eichler built these homes there were no microwaves, fluorescent lights, portable phones, air conditioners, big closets, granite countertops or foam insulation on the roofs. If we make changes and enjoy our homes more, we have made a good choice. If we also save money AND the property is more valuable because of the change, we are rewarded twice.

Joined: Jan 4 2004

Hey Joe,
I had to reply on this before retiring. I am curious if yo have researched the cost of building materails in the 50's and early 60's.
You are aware that the driving reason that Eichler used wood paneling in that period was the simple fact that installed material costs in the 50's per square foot (including labor) for batten board/plaster skim coating plus drywall was about 2 times as expensive. Drywall taping and finishing was a new trade being developed in the late 50's; In the mid sixties, it became widely used. It became extremely cost effective because it installed in the same amount of time and the materials were less expensive.
Eichler adopted this for of wall finishing in the mid-sixties, and installed it in most of his tract developments at that time.
Sentiment, while difficult to debate, does not replace facts. Paneling is currently illegal to install in almost every municipality for fire safety reasons. I have personally watched 3 Eichler homes burn to the ground growing up in the SM Highlands. The local firefighters refer to them as "8 minute homes".
Also, part of the evolution of the direction that Eichler was taking his development was to keep up with modern, before deciding to blow everything in a riskier venture.
I think it is ok to install panelling over drywall in a den or study.
I think doing it in the entire house is a bit much.
I also think that while a 54 Chevy is a cool looking car, it would not be:
Practical ($ to mantain, operate)
Environmentally sound
Safe (airbags)
Nice to look at in the garage or take out for a drive once in a while, not what I want to be in day in or day out.
Lauan is the same wood product as Philippine mohagany; philippine mohagany is probably a term that the sales staff dreamed up, but it is the same tree. Timber from the Shorea species group is common throughout South East Asia, and in the UK such material is generally named based upon its country of origin. Timber from Malaya, Sarawak and Indonesia is marketed as Meranti, while timber from Sabah is called Seraya and timber from the Philippines is termed Lauan.
It is cool that you like a 54 Chevy enough to tolerate the limitations;
I think Randy missed that point.


Joined: Apr 10 2003

Would hope that someone-(hey lurking homebuilders out there) would build an 'Eichler' type home(s) with all those things listed in the other posts.
You have an untapped market there.

Wishing for modern home.

Joined: Sep 9 2004

My suggestion would be to live in the house for a year before making any changes and then decide what you can live with. We bought our 1960 San Mateo Highlands Eichler last year, attracted to the view and the original (yet needy) condition of the house. Let me say up front I am a modernist with a pragmatic twist. I want to keep much of the original house but believe that if Eichler were building today he would have made some improvements. Our approach is that change is ok as long as it is in keeping with the Eichler design.

With that said, we sheet rocked the bedrooms as the panelling made the rooms feel cave-like. The ceilings throughout the house have the original silver-grey stain which we love and will always keep. The bedroom hallway has original panelling and a sky light which adds lots of light. I love the hallway panelling but my husband and I keep debating our fire hazard concerns in this "private" wing of the house. The pragmatist in me says we should sheet rock but the modernist in me says leave it original. We also have original paneling in the "public" sector of the house, i.e., the kitchen, family and living rooms - the color is a beautiful and warm caramel. This past week we had a commercial filmed in our living room - the national company loved the panelling and wanted that as the back drop for the shoot. Live with it for a while and then decide whether to keep it or remove it. (If you end up removing, be sure to post on this web site as there are many homeowners that would be interested in panelling in good condition.)

Joined: Mar 22 2003

Holy cow! Joe b does not even live in an Eichler, yet preaches fire and brimstone to those of us who were born in, raised in, and still live in our Eichlers? The silliness of the human mind never ceases to amaze me.

As others have said, just because something is original doesn't make it right or appropriate for today's building and fire codes, or lifestyles. It is one thing to rip out an original kitchen and replace it with a French country one, and quite another to use gradualism to restre AND upgrade the house to modern safety and comfort standards.

"I speak from an architectural preservation view point, which sometimes is missing on this board."

Do you even think for a minute that this board would exist, were it not for the angst that many Eichler owners go through each and every time they have work done on their home? The traffic on this board is testament to just how seriously we take our homes and I for one do not have to and will not justifiy my home improvement decisions to some guy living in Oregon.


Joined: Mar 20 2003

Oh Cathye, clean you glasses.

Are you saying that I need to living in an Eichler to have an opinion? Are you saying that I need to living in an Eichler to understand the design aspects which make up an Eichler? Are you saying I need to live in an Eichler to discuss topics on this message board?

I would say the "angst" many Eichler home owners go through when having work done is mutual to anyone who owns a mid-century modern home. Because of my research of Eichler homes and other mid-century modern tract homes, and similar experience restoring my home, my viewpoint is quite useful on this board. Please tell me if it is not.

To say you have to live in an Eichler in the Bay area to understand and comment is quite narrow. Cathye, please, try opening you eyes and mind to the big picture here. Yes, Cathye, that means beyond your house, beyond your subdivision, beyond the Bay Area, and yes, even beyond California.

In case you have not noticed, our homes are not being built today. In fact, they grow more endangered each day. Because of redevelopment and changes in zoning regulations, Eichlers and other mid-century modern tract homes are being radically altered or torn down. You should feel lucky "a guy from Oregon" cares about the home you live in.

To use a quote from a British journal article about architectural preservation, "Architecture is the only art form that society condones destroying."

No, removing paneling from an Eichler isn't "destroying" an Eichler by itself. But in the long run, little changes here and there ad up. The incremental amount of changes can be devastating. There are not many resources out there to reverse this. I am here to remind folks of the importance of maintaining the original design features. I am not promoting unsafe living environments. You can "update" an Eichler and maintain original features. In the long run, an Eichler which has suffered little changes here and there will eventually lose its architectural significants. When that happens, nobody will care.

Joined: May 20 2004

When we moved into our very authentic Greenmeadow Eichler earlier this year, we decided to remove the paneling on three major walls in the main area. Bedrooms in our circa -1962 home were already sheetrocked.

Reason: fire safety. I got that advice from contractors and designers specializing in Eichlers as well as a friend who works for the Palo Alto Fire Department. "Oh", she said, "you bought one of those 3 minute burns?"
I've got children and pets around all the safety comes first.

Besides being happy with the safety and aesthetics of it, it lowered our homeowners insurance costs.

Other updates were also comfort/safety driven. Dual pane windows and sliding doors, and replacement of old worn vinyl tile with ceramic.

My neighbors think it looks great....they've all lived in their homes 20-35 years, so the updating doesn't seem to offend or bother them.

OTOH i have NOT touched anything on the outside except updating paint, nor have we touched the kitchen design.


Joined: Mar 20 2003

I fundamentally believe that everyone should do whatever he likes to his home. Sheetrock can look very beautiful in an Eichler if it is done right.

There can be many reasons to replace the paneling, in particular if it has already been (badly) painted over, if it is worn beyond repair etc.

It is obvious that sheet rock is better from a fire safety point of view.

Having said all that, I also do not believe that Eichler owners should be scared into ripping out perfectly good paneling because of 'death trap' arguments.

Most people who perish in house fires do not burn to death, they die in their sleep from smoke poisoning because they do not have working smoke detectors.

Most things you do in life are much more dangerous than living in a mahogany-paneled Eichler, for example driving your car to work, climbing on a ladder to wash the windows, or eating Cheetos.

If you live in an Eichler with well maintained paneling, and you do like the looks of it, there is absolutely no need to tear it out for safety reasons alone.

Joined: Jan 29 2004

jnstahl wrote:

Most things you do in life are much more dangerous than living in a mahogany-paneled Eichler, for example driving your car to work, climbing on a ladder to wash the windows, or eating Cheetos.

In defense of Cheetos, they are labeled as being "Dangerously Cheesy" whereas paneling just sits there; a tinder-box with no helpful decal. Also, Chester indicates that "Flamin' Hot Cheetos set your mouth ablaze" and thus should probably be enjoyed at work, not in a mahogany-paneled Eichler.

We tore out the paneling out years ago and installed drywall with a "flat" finish (no texture). The look is much cleaner - I think big panes of glass are better complimented by simple walls with no grain.

Joined: Mar 22 2003

Joe b - True, one does not have to live in an Eichler to appreciate them or have the right to be interested in their preservation. But I do find the fact that you do not live in one (and don't even live in CA for that matter), goes a long way in explaining the extreme and inflexible positions you take, time and again. I think when listening to your advice, readers would be well served to consider the source.

The beauty of these boards is most certainly the freedom to share useful information and exchange ideas, but there is a limit. Someone living in an Eichler community and facing the day to day issues that we do would likely be more temperate in their views.


Joined: Mar 20 2003

fine, call me a carpetbagger extremist. I can live with that.

Joined: Mar 23 2011

It's time somebody put a stake in the heart of this ridiculous fire trap argument.

I wonder how many of these people who are so fearful about their paneling burning up have the following items in their houses: wood furniture, paper (newspapers, magazines, books, bills, etc.), cloth (drapes, furniture, clothing, carpeting, etc.). I'd like to see if any of these folks put Christmas trees in their houses. (Do you have any idea how many insurance claims come in around Christmas because of tree related fires?)

Open plan homes tend to spread fire more quickly as well. Are you going to build sheet rock walls between the dining area, kitchen, living room, and family room? And what are your doors made of? Perhaps you shoud put in steel fire doors.

Are you plastering the ceilings as well? Why not? Consider fire starting in a couch or going up drapes. The ceiling is made of wood. That will spread very quickly.

I have a friend who fought a few Eichler fires on the peninsula. According to him, early Eichler walls were treated with something flamable. This was corrected. It's unlikely that the people ripping out beautiful mahogany paneling live in one of those early houses. The "eight minute house" refers (according to him) to these early homes.

To those who are so concerned about fire that you are willing to ruin a perfectly good house, I'd like to recommend that you move to a concrete tilt up with none of the afformentioned materials. People who are that nervous about fire shouldn't buy an Eichler in the first place.

Joined: Mar 20 2003

Cathye and Joe--
You seem to argue such different viewpoints, but really you're both the same person-- A MOD SNOB!!! :)

And thank you boberonicus for defending Cheetos and all the helpless other artificially flavored salty snacks of the world...

Joined: Aug 28 2003

I agree with you about the fire hazards of Christmas Trees. An eichler in our neighborhood burned down because of a tree overloaded with lights. It happened before I moved here so I don't know all the details. Ever since we burned left-over christmas tree wood in a fire place (in a former house) and saw how quickly it ignited, er, exploded I have decided not to bring dead fur trees into my house. One year we decorated a large house plant with ornaments. For the first time in my life I am considering one of those tacky aluminum trees only because they probably won't burn the house down.
I'd be interested in other eichler owner's solution to this problem.
Cheers, Leslie

Joined: Apr 2 2003

I, too, decided the risks associated with certain "holiday" traditions were too high.

- A couple of years back, I bought an artificial christmas tree--much better than the broomstick and coat-hanger type we saw as kids. We have a tradition in our neigborhood of small real trees on our front lawns--well away from the homes.

- I rarely burn candles, but when I do feel in the mood, I use the kind that are housed inside an jar. The wick/flame is entirely below the top edge of the jar but I still keep in on a nonflamable surface (typically the brick fireplace mantle) away from any hanging combustible material.

Related to the fire safety issue, I'd highly recommend the following:
1) smoke alarms be dual (particulate and heat), checked semiannually
2) that you have fire extiinguishers (1 in the bedroom wing, 1 in the garage, and 1 in kitchen) and know how to use them,
3) that you create/post/practice an emergency escape plan.

Unless you live in a metal house, any home can have a fire--be prepared, drywall can not do it all.


eichfan at rawbw dot com

Joined: Mar 20 2003

OK - I agree with the concept of keeping your original decent quality WOOD paneling, but what about if the paneling is the fake plywood stuff?
I live in an Oregon Rummer home that was built in '68. The "pecan" paneling has been partially painted and is not good quality to be begin with. My sentiment is to rip it out and sheetrock as to my mind it is not worth "saving".

Joined: Dec 20 2004

I just read all the details in this thread and really enjoyed the banter. Its funny I find myself on both sides of the argument but everyone situation is different.

My walls and ceiling where already painted when I moved in (badly I might add) and so the choice was easy for me. I tore it out, updated the electrical and put in insulation. The single smooth wall looks very clean an modern. Like someone else I wish I would have done it before moving in. (Sleeping on the living room floor was great though because of the radiant heat but I digress...)

In one room I left the paneling in on one wall and repainted it the same color as the rest of the room. I'm sorry I did that because it does not look as good. Also in that room I did not caulk and paint the sealing which also was a mistake. The caulking of the small gaps (not the grooves) in the ceiling looks very clean and I'm sure Mr.Eichler would have loved it. I also had the wall floated right to the ceiling smooth so there is no trim. Very clean. I'm still vibing on the floor trim but I'm thinking just some plane 3" or so. Let me know what you did there.

In some rooms where I could I have left a small amount of pannelling around the door. This is hard to describe but some doors are inset a little and I like the quarter round wood better than the offset that is needed otherwise for the extra quarter inch.

Also in one room I exposed the beam all along the outside wall and this looks really cool IMHO.

-- Ralph

Joined: Oct 10 2003


dont just leave us hangin' you gotta put some pictures up! Seriously, it would be really educational to see your solutions, plus everyone else's too. Since I dont have time to barge into your homes to steal your design ideas, this is the next best thing. I'd especially like to see those exposed beams you mention.

Joined: Mar 24 2004

I notice my panels are wallpaper servel layers (different patterns). The last wall paper was painting over white?
Do you think I can hire a wallpaper remover to take the wall paper out and restore the panels?


Joined: Jun 28 2003


I don't it's the worth the hassle. And the results -- removing several layers of wallpaper and paint --, to me, wouldn't look good. I think you're tossing good money after bad results.

I had one wall of four with the same problem. I put up sheetrock (with insulation for warmth and soundproofing) and painted that one wall a green color and it looks wonderful.

Mountain View

Joined: Mar 2 2004

Hi Diana,
I've had experience removing wallpaper. David's quite right. It makes sense to install sheetrock and wall insulation when you get a chance. This brings your Eichler closer to modern building codes. If you want paneling, just put it over the sheetrock. It's important to get the most for your home improvement dollar.

Joined: Mar 22 2003

Keep an eye out for the next issue of the newsletter. We have an article on options for restoring or replacing your original wood paneling.


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