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The End Of A (Wood Panelled) Era


My current house was built sometime in the late 1970’s. I know this in part because I remember looking at the date of construction when we were filling out the approximately 64,836 mortgage documents and remarking to myself that “Hey, Self, this is a good thing! My house was built AFTER lead-based paint was made illegal.”

Might not be something that occurred to normal people when they were buying a house, but our condo was built at the turn of the century and as such, when the lead levels were checked before we bought it, they were off the charts. Stupidly, we still bought it.

(let us not make fun of the damage that the lead paint MAY HAVE DONE to Aunt Becky’s brain. It’s likely she was dumb well before this happened)

It’s a good age, I think, my new house is. It’s old enough that while the stuff inside isn’t brand new, there aren’t any surprises left over from faulty construction. At least, nothing that we know of YET. It’s not an interesting looking house, aside from it’s Electric Yellow siding. It’s a standard Colonial, one of three or four models in my neighborhood, but it’s home and I couldn’t be happier (unless, of course, the siding fairy came over night one night soon *hint, hint* and replaced my siding with something less, um, EYE catching).

We’ve been fortunate, however, in that the appliances that were likely here when the house was built–or shortly after–have remained functional despite their decidedly non-fashionable exterior. You’re going to be jealous when I tell you that not only do my washer and dryer have faux wood panelling, but so does our refrigerator.

Doncha wish your appliances were as hot as mine? ADMIT IT, INTERNET, YOU WANT MY SEXY APPLIANCES.

Except that with the possible exception of my refrigerator, which I hate primarily because of it’s utterly ineffectual side-by-side design (which allows for practically nothing to be stored there), I have known that they were on their proverbial last legs since we moved in nearly 4 years ago. The dryer, which takes approximately 4.5 hours to dry a simple load of laundry, has been nearing death for a couple of months, back when I resurrected it.

(My fancy-ass trick? I HIT THE TOP OF IT WITH A BOTTLE OF DETERGENT. It’s a freaking wonder MENSA hasn’t come knockin’ for me. Oh wait, no it’s not)

This morning, however, my dryer rests gently wherever it is that the souls of old appliances go when they die. Not with a bang, but a whimper.

Rest in peace, sweet wood-panelled dryer. *sniff, sniff*

With the death of my dryer comes, of course, the rebirth of a whole new set of appliances (sadly none of them the sexy cherry-red that I petitioned loudly for), which will successfully remove all traces of faux wood panelled artifacts in our house. The 70’s will no longer reside in our home, instead, they will be transported back to their rightful place in hell along with all Lief Garrett LP’s and polyester pant-suits.


On second thought, leave the pant-suits. Maybe there’s some seeds hidden in them.

27 Comments to

“The End Of A (Wood Panelled) Era”

  1. On December 20th, 2008 at 7:04 pm swirl girl Says:

    is there a god of new kitchens? if so, i’m converting right now!

    RIP wood panelled dryer….

  2. On December 20th, 2008 at 7:28 pm Tanya Says:

    When I moved into my first condo (built in 1969) I swear it came with the original appliances… now mine were not HOT faux wood however they were a lovely rust colour… and the fixtures in the bathroom? brown.

    I’m happy to say that when I sold the place the bathroom was WHITE as were the kitchen appliances.

  3. On December 20th, 2008 at 7:40 pm Ginger Magnolia Says:

    I don’t know that I’ve ever seen wood-panelled appliances before. I have seen avacado ones, though! RIP, poor Aunt Becky’s dryer.

  4. On December 20th, 2008 at 7:53 pm Karen Says:

    I have slowly replaced my appliances as they have died on me. Um, my stove, dishwasher and fridge were Avocado Green. And the dish washer was one that had to be rolled to the sink and hooked up every load. Hot stuff.

    Currently, I have the stainless and black stove and fridge. I am dishwasher-less. Which sort of sucks.

  5. On December 20th, 2008 at 8:11 pm guilty noodles Says:

    I WISHED I had avocado green appliances in our old home (also a colonial), but no, it was that urine stained yellow that graced my formica kitchen. I’m certain they were the original appliances too. The kicker?

    Paisley counter tops in faded chartreuse.

  6. On December 20th, 2008 at 8:22 pm Sara Says:

    Wow. Still. I have electric baby blue counters in my kitchen. And dirty salmon colored ones in the bathrooms.

    I also have never seen wood paneled appliances. This is something I must see before I die. No chance you have pictures is there?

  7. On December 20th, 2008 at 8:45 pm Mama Bee Says:

    When we bought our early 1970’s house, it was completely with the original, *olive green* stove, complete with electric range controlled by…wait for it…push buttons! Luckily we have since replaced that monstrosity and sold the place (suckers), but if I remember correctly, the setting on the push buttons were:


    Something like that anyway. It was always a good excuse for why my cooking sucked!

  8. On December 20th, 2008 at 9:16 pm Betts Says:

    I’ve never seen wood paneled appliances. Now nothing will match. Whatever will you do?

  9. On December 20th, 2008 at 9:36 pm Anjali Says:

    I’m so missing out on something big… I’ve never even HEARD of wood-paneled appliances!

    Though I did live several years with pepto-bismal pink ceramic tiles in a bathroom.

    At least they were ceramic, though.

  10. On December 20th, 2008 at 10:34 pm a Says:

    I envy your wood panelled appliances. Well, I don’t actually want them, but I wish I knew you irl so I could come over and make fun of them!

  11. On December 20th, 2008 at 10:46 pm heather Says:

    I *wish* our dryer would die; the no good hunk of shit. Been there with the three hour dry cycle. The husband wasn’t about to be bullied by a machine and a wife with dryer-wanderlust; he drags out the shop vac monthy and blows the lint out through the outside of the house. Damn him and his cost-consciousness. I did snag a stainless kitchen when we built the house, though. So I’ll hush now. But I bet you rocked that panelling like no one’s business.

  12. On December 21st, 2008 at 2:00 am Heather P. Says:

    You are going to be so jealous of me and my 1960’s era avacado green Maytag washer and dryer. The laundry room is right next to the bathroom and the washer & dryer match the toilet, sink and tub. Avacado green all of them. 😉
    I have never seen wood paneled appliances, either. You have to put up a picture!

  13. On December 21st, 2008 at 4:38 am Jessi Louise Says:

    The house that we moved into over here is completely 1970’s. It was built in the early 70’s and they updated NOTHING the entire time they lived here. Luckily, we arranged for them to replace the appliances before we moved in and replace the CARPET IN THE BATHROOMS with linoleum. However, the crazy 70’s carpet in the rest of the house is ours to enjoy.
    I agree with other commenters that pictures are necessary here. And hey, I’m sure it’s only a matter of time before wood-paneling will be in style again. It will be the new stainless steel.

  14. On December 21st, 2008 at 8:28 am Ms. Moon Says:

    I agree with all the posters- I have never seen wood-paneled appliances. Must have been custom-made.
    My daughter moved into a funky old apartment which has what must be the original hot water heater (which works almost too well, by the way) and it is a work of art. It’s a sort of turquoise color and absolutely beautiful. The thing must be at least fifty years old.

  15. On December 21st, 2008 at 9:22 am Madame Yu See Says:

    Oh, I had hoped this was a post on how to paint over a wood paneled wall, entire room actually. I have been reading up on it, and the best answer I’ve found is to take a piece of the paneling (which fortunately I have) into a paint store and throw yourself on the mercy of the person in charge of the place. Buy exactly the primer and paint he recommends, use the contractor he recommends, and hope for the best.
    I’m not really crazy about my ‘bisque’ colored applianced (the new word for almond), but I’ll live with them. But, if I get a decent tax return this year, the paneling in the one room has to go!

  16. On December 22nd, 2008 at 12:04 am Sarah Says:

    You so deserved the sexxy cherry red.

  17. On December 22nd, 2008 at 12:07 am giggleblue Says:

    damn it, you should have protested for the red one.

    was that the front loading goddess of laundry one, with the glass door washer and dryer???

    those things are fucking orgasmic, especially with the bottom storage bin add on. i would have totally bitched about it.

  18. On December 22nd, 2008 at 3:08 am baseballmom Says:

    Our house was built in 1946, and I think about the lead paint thing all the time! The lady who lived here before us had a thing for 70’s decor, though, and we had brown, gold, and orange foil wallpaper with velvet appliques on it in the BATHROOM, plus a green carpet and furry green toilet seat cover, including a furry cover on the actual seat. YUK-I threw that thing away first thing, picturing all of the old people butt germs on it!

  19. On December 22nd, 2008 at 5:44 am SCY Says:

    and here I am thinking that all appliances were supposed to be white to match with a brides wedding dress?? *puzzled look*

    Hope you enjoy getting a new non wood fronted one!


  20. On December 22nd, 2008 at 8:02 am Kristine Says:

    Dude, wood paneled, and not avocado green? I’m so jealous.

  21. On December 22nd, 2008 at 9:42 am Badass Geek Says:

    Well… since you brought it up… I have been pining over your appliances for a while now.

  22. On December 22nd, 2008 at 9:42 am Stacey Says:

    I have never seen a wood paneled washer & dryer, though I have seen wood paneled fridges. Congrats on your new appliances. I know I was very happy when my ancient dryer finally passed from this world

  23. On December 22nd, 2008 at 9:53 am Rachel Says:

    I nursed my aging dryer along for months…held the door shut w/a piece of plywood, was patient with the 3+ horus to dry half a load of clothes, but finally, it stopped heating altogether, and the timer quit working. I woke up one morning, and it was still running from the nite before, but the clothes were still soaking wet and ice cold.
    Rest in peace, my harvest gold friend.

  24. On December 22nd, 2008 at 10:43 am Miss Grace Says:

    I LOVE those sexy red washer/dryer units! Maybe you should petition more loudly?

  25. On December 22nd, 2008 at 11:01 am Coco Says:

    Wood-paneled appliances must have been the cutting edge of The Sexy back in the 70’s, babe.

    Lots of opportunity for splinters during the spin cycle, though. That’s a minus.

  26. On December 22nd, 2008 at 11:01 am Dot Says:

    Yes, the 1970s were color-challenged. I was an adult in the 70s and I don’t remember ever seeing faux wood-paneled appliances. I would have remembered something like that.

    The two hot colors at the time for kitchen applicances were Avocado Green, which was apparently more popular, and Harvest Gold. My condo, which was built in 1970, has the original Harvest Gold stove with a matching Harvest Gold porcelain sink (really). What do I win?

    Of course, wood paneling tops both colors!

  27. On December 22nd, 2008 at 2:29 pm Tiffany @ My Random Wisdom Says:

    Yay for new appliances!!!
    a double yay for getting rid of wood paneled ANYTHING.

    My kitchen was AVACADO GREEN..everything. including the METAL cupboards. they were painted to match the fridge, stove & dishwasher…add in brady bunch brick backsplash…and VOILA.
    we painted it ALL almond and got new appliances. still have the bricks.

    WE need pictures of these appliances you speak of

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