Yesterday was like Christmas in my kitchen. After talking to Tim Clark, president of wall paneling manufacturer Decorative Panels International (DPI) a few days ago, his team sent me 10 large samples of designs that looked interesting to me. I rushed to open the box, propped the samples all over my kitchen, inspected and took photos. My mini review of the 10 samples and their potential for your Retro Renovation:
I absolutely love the paneling that is meant to mimic brick and stone. I would use it in a heartbeat in a room where I was working to create a mid-1960s and beyond vibe — one of these may even have potential for one wall in my office craft room design! The stuff is really sturdy and has a high quality feel — the whole panel is texture-pressed at DPI’s factory in Alpena, Michigan — bricks and stone “pop” out just like real bricks and stonework. The colors are great, very realistic. Overall, DPI has 5 distinct designs — a total of 12 colors — of wall panels that look like brick or stone. On these designs — I give 10 stars.
To clarify, DPI has many more wall paneling designs — wall panels that look like ceramic tile, stone tile, subway tile, marble tile, beadboard, textured wallpaper, knotty pine and wood paneling. Be sure to see their site (link below). Continuing on with a look at the other samples that I received…
Above is Honey Pine — This one, I think, is “okay”, a “maybe” depending… If I were going to do knotty pine, I would for sure do more research to find out if I could get the real deal vs. using this printed paneling. Real pine is relatively cheap. At some point, I will do more research on where to get real knotty pine (meanwhile watch craiglist and Re-Store for tear-out vintage.) Meanwhile, if you want cheap and cheerful and just-get-it-done, the Honey Pine paneling is okay. On the right is the Windworn paneling — greige, gouged with deep graining, and even though I am not a greige fan I think it is well executed — it looks just like its name, windworn wood, like driftwood and even a bit like pecky cypress.There are other washed out colors, too.
Above: Paneling that looks like white subway tile — I like it, it looks and “feels” great, however, I wish the “tiles” were 3″x6″ instead of 4″x8″ — DPI’s marketing team reports that the larger scale was a request of commercial customers — their largest market; dat’s business. In any case, I still like the subways — they seem good if you are on a tight budget and want to DIY. The Fireside Cherry paneling on the right: Not so sure. It’s sturdy enough, but I can see the difference between its rotogravure-printed surface design and the circa-1951 cherry veneer paneling in our basement man cave. I think a polished surface might help… I might try to slap some collage gloss on it and see if that *deepens* and *improves* the look; my original cherry paneling has a sort of “eggshell” finish that adds richness. I also have already talked to the two remaining manufacturers making true wood veneered paneling, and samples are on the way. I will compare and report back shortly.
Meanwhile: Lots of potential in these products from DPI. I see in the materials they sent me, they are no dinky company: They are owned by American Standard. Their brochure is also very good — ask your big box hardware store for a copy or see it online here.