Wonderful, this works for what I need at the moment, which is a preset number of panels within a container. Looks just like I envisioned, so I appreciate your help in getting me to this point!
Now I would like to figure out how to generate html dynamically (using php) that will conform to this design regardless of the number of panels and regardless of their differing sizes (based on the content which they contain), but that's a topic for another section.
If you or others reading this have any preliminary ideas you'd like to throw around, please do. But I will be signing off for the night, likely.