Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Let there be lights

1) I plan to put this place on the market in five years or so,
2) and the kitchen hasn't been updated since I had the house built 11 years ago,
3) and the lighting in the kitchen has never been ideal,
4) and it's a wonder I've never cut a finger off while chopping food in the shadows...

Why not do a few upgrades now, starting with the kitchen lights?

My plan was to replace the ugly track lights with a recessed light,
add two more recessed lights above the dark, shadowy prep counter,
move the dining room fixture over the sink, then move the sink light 
to the dining room until such time that I find a suitable replacement. 

Much of this work had to be done in the attic. 
I was fully aware that any one of a number of terrible things could happen in the process
(e.g., electrocution, falling through the ceiling, drowning in a pool of tears)
and tried to set myself up for success by:
a) unlocking the front gate, b) taking the phone with me,
c) alerting those who care about my welfare that I was embarking
on a potentially hazardous mission, d) live tweeting the experience
so that help could be sent if I went silent. 

The project began Saturday morning. There were challenges.

Eventually, all three holes were cut, the light cans were installed, 
and I hadn't fallen through the ceiling.

I ended day one exhausted but thrilled. 
The wiring – the step I feared the most – would have to wait until Sunday. 

My excitement was short-lived.

Let's just say that dimmer switches are the devil. 
Were it not for a lengthy Facetime call with my electrical consultant, Tall Paul in Oregon, 
this post would not have a happy ending.

With the recessed lights working and dimmable, all that was left to do was
move around the existing fixtures.
Heavy fixture...short person...only two hands...what to do?


Would you look at that?
Cooking in my kitchen is an entirely new experience
because I can finally see what I'm doing.

I like the way this fixture looks over the sink, 
though I did adjust the height to prevent further concussions.
I never hit my head on it in its previous location
but many of my guests could not say the same thing. 
Short person's revenge? Perhaps.

I still don't like the pendant which now hangs in the dining room,
but it's workable until I find a new one.

This one would be perfect except for the damned chain covering the cord.
Seriously, light manufacturer, you design a beautiful fixture but
you can't come up with a better way to hide the stinkin' cord?
I'm looking for something light and sparkly to offset the weight and chunkiness of the table.
Do you do Pinterest? Here's a board with some of the options I've found.
Please feel free to weigh in with your suggestions.
Once we get this figured out, it's on to the countertops.
p.s. new appliances arrive the first week of January


  1. WOW Carson, you rule at DIY improvements!!! What great improvements you made, and really like that light over the sink. You go girl!!!!

  2. LOVE the new kitchen look and totally enjoyed the story...

  3. You are fearless, amazing, INCREDIBLY talented and so much fun to watch. I'm pretty sure those Gaines folks over in Waco have NOTHING on you. Congrats on the lovely new lit kitchen.

  4. I am so impressed! Great work, Carson.


  5. Thou art a braver woman than I!!! I salute you for doing this project on your own as I would have fallen thru the ceiling and ended up in the hospital ;) very good job and nice new look in the kitchen.

  6. Good job. As for the dining room light. Simplicity, simplicity, simplicity. It isn't going to be yours in the long run (to dust and clean and find bulbs for). I agree that ditching the chain is a gift to humanity.

    New appliances are wonderful. We had to replace dishwasher this summer - last of the leftovers. This one is quiet and so efficient.

  7. It looks so much better!! Good job, you amaze me!!!

  8. Heather Wilcox12/13/16, 7:39 AM

    You know.... Just because a fixture *comes* with a chain doesn't mean that that it has to be hung with a chain. :-) I'm 100% positive that, between Pintrest, Youtube, Tall Paul, and either a trip to town or perhaps some clever ordering from an online hardware store, a DIY Goddess like yourself could procure the needed pieces and rewire the fixture of your choice to hang from a piece of conduit or some other tubing, painted to match your kitchen fixture. Just sayin'. :-)

  9. I'll see your "Wow" and raise you four "WOW"s! And a huge sigh of relief!

    As for dining room light, I think something long or bigger around than the one you show would be good in order to spread the light around as much as possible; but what do I know? Also, I don't think chains are bad but if you had to cover a chain PLEASE don't do a mushy velvet thing but maybe a suede/leather cover would work in your setting?

  10. Cleaning those beautiful crystals is not a fun job, not even close. My Crystal Chandelier hangs in my storage room now.

    1. As much as I hate to clean, you'd think I would have thought of that. Thanks for the reminder.

  11. I've had a hatred for the ugly, industrial size (6"across, fitted with FLOODLIGHTS for crying out loud!) can lights in my home since we moved here 8 years ago. My husband says to replace them with proper residential hockey-puck type potlights (4" across) would mean first patching in with new drywall the enormous holes taking the floodlights out will leave, then the mudding & drying & SANDING & repeating, & then finally cutting all new holes, etc.
    He's still trying, after 8 years & counting, to convince me that it's more work for him than the joy I would have from nicer lighting. I still have hopes of the sheer ugliness of these floods wearing him down, but it will be an uphill climb.

  12. Once again...so proud of you. You are awesome! I vote for Lighting - Arturo 8 Light Chandelier | Ballard Designs… for the light. Betsy

  13. Can I just say, every time you post pictures, I want to buy your ranch. Except it is probably WAY out of my price range, what do you think about a trade? North Carolina was originally on your list for next places!

  14. Northern AB gal12/13/16, 10:50 AM

    Wow, hats off to you! Marvelous job! Can't wait to see what you are going to do with the countertops.

  15. Well done on the solo renovations! Looks great. :D

    Digging that capiz shell chandelier from your board, though now that Rebecca2 mentions it, cleaning... I have a capiz shell mobile/chime on my porch - they also make a lovely sound in the wind. Can't wait to see how you resolve the situation.

  16. I am in awe!

    Sam in Texas

  17. You Renaissance Woman - is there nothing you can't do?

    I loved your happy dance, and the demo of chopping without shadows. Smooch could have cheered a little more...

    Love it!

  18. sniff, you did not receive my comment apparently! I was saying that you can cover up the chain with a slim tube of cloth that you would sew (matching your cushion, for eg) and you then pull the chain through. By the way, I was sitting the other day and felt all sad thinking you won't post anymore and I felt desperate not hearing anymore of Smooch, Johnny, Lucy, ALan, Georges and the girls and you of course. what a weird feeling and sweet at the same time, knowing I live in France so geographically far from you. I do love and amm quite attached to this little blog community you created

  19. Chains on light fixtures seem to be obligatory. A snappy gal like you can get some tube stock and thread the end of it or deal with at least a link on the top and a link on the bottom to support the fixture. Snappy Metals delivers UPS. I would hate to think of how much you could do there with a plasma cutter and a MIG welder!

  20. Linda, you never cease to amaze me !! I need to do the same thing in my kitchen but there
    s no way I could do that....gotta turn that one over to my fixit hubby, thank goodness !! you inspire me tho to try stuff I would not otherwise try ;) Jeanne from SC

  21. What Rebecca2 said. Just have as many crystals as you're willing to clean!

  22. Gosh, you could move mountains. I am too chicken to do anything electrical. I love, love love love love the new light fixture!

  23. I think the chain is an art opportunity just waiting to happen. Imagine this: copper wire, chunks of turquoise, raw crystals, etc...woven into a masterpiece, using the chain as the armature. A woven sculpture. It could be awesome....

  24. I vote for Warehouse of Tiffany Amerie 3-light Island Edison Chandelier. It's the same but different from the one over the kitchen. You want to keep it simple for resale...

  25. I forgot to mention how wonderful to see Smooch without the cone of shame. Love her and she is a big help, always.

  26. Just wondering of those cans get hot in the attic...I worry about your duct work lying on top of them. On a lighter note...I can't tell you how many times someone fell through the ceiling in our house while I was growing up. I can still see my mothers legs dangling from the ceiling and my dad landing on the couch (different occasions, of course).

    1. Not to worry...these lights are rated for insulation contact.

    2. Good to know. To this day I still remember the smoke and mirrors incident! I am constantly on sunbeam patrol in my house. =o)

  27. There are some beautiful pendants, without chains, here: https://www.birchlane.com/Pendants-C1805545.html
    Electrical work, not me, I hate it when my husband (who is able) says "let's give it the the smoke test"!

  28. Awesome job! I am in love with the light fixture that's above your sink. Looks like where it was supposed to be all along. :)

  29. An American in Tokyo12/15/16, 5:33 PM

    Wow! You are so awesome! Is there anything you cannot do?! SUPERWOMAN!!
    I love the way it looks above your sink, too! =D

  30. I would never be that brave!! Electricity is very scary territory to me. Well done to YOU!