Architecture magazines are keen to present high-style homes and decorating—that which is fine, large, urban. But the old house you inhabit was likely built in what was then a rural area, or in an early suburb. The house may not fit into any particular “style,” or be ornate, or have high ceilings. Its rooms would not have had expensive wallpaper imported from France or England hung above a mahogany linen-fold wainscot.
Paneling and wainscots were, however, used in even the simplest homes, as they are practical as well as attractive finishes for a plaster wall. Many were made of lower-grade wood, meant to be painted. Here you’ll see a handful of historic wainscots, mostly from what were once, or are still, farmhouses.
1. Board Wainscot [above]
Original woodwork in the dining room of an 1811 Federal house in Newport, Rhode Island, includes a simple board wainscot topped by a chair rail.
2. Victorian Beadboard
3. Cottage Beadboard
5. Early Planks
6. Battened WallOld-House Journal December 2013