Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Let There Be Light

So while Mocha's been doing this:

Keith's been pretty busy. Last Friday, we headed to the Home Depot in search of a new light for Bert's room. Because the existing one was, to be nice, dated. And kind of naked looking. We pretty quickly found one that we both liked, was a reasonable price, and had the same aged-bronze look as the curtain rod we bought for the room. So we pulled it off the shelf, bought it, and brought it home.

On Saturday, Keith began the tedious process of installing the new fixture. Normally, this wouldn't be so difficult (at least it doesn't seem like it should) but because the house was built in 1923, the metal ceiling mount and junction box don't fit standard modern light fixtures. We ran into this with the new lights we installed in the kitchen, dining room, and living room shortly after moving in and it can be done with a little creative engineering.

After several hours of tinkering and a trip to the hardware store, Keith came downstairs. And here's how that conversation went:

K: We can't use this light.
T: Why, did you break it?
K: No, it doesn't have a chain.
T: I know. Why would we want a chain?
K: No, not a chain to hang it from, a pull chain.
T: Oooohhhh. Well that was stupid.

In our excitement over our next home project, we had completely forgotten that all the bedroom lights upstairs turn on and off with a pull chain. No light switches in the bedrooms. (Envision much fumbling in the dark, hand outstretched, looking for small dangling chains.) So, our choices either became head back out and shop for a light with a pull chain (do they even still make them?) or  Keith could install a light switch. We opted for the switch. Two reasons behind this: who wants to fumble around looking for the pull chain with a baby in hand, and if we ever sell the house, light switches might be appreciated.

At this point, the project had to be put on hold until Sunday because the hardware store was already closed and we had plans to go to dinner with friends that night. We were telling them this story and they had a great suggestion: a dimmer switch. They have a new baby and said it was really nice to have that dimmer for checking on him in the middle of the night and not have bright lights (thanks guys!).

Like a trooper, Keith went out Sunday for conduit and brackets, junction boxes, dimmer switch, and non-metallic Romex wire. Luckily, the wall where we wanted the switch is shared with a closet so instead of having to run wire down inside our plaster-and-lathe walls, he was able to install a junction box in the attic crawlspace,

run the wire down inside the closet (inside the conduit), drill through the wall and cut out for the switch box,

put in the switch box,

and install a dimmer switch.

He did reference the handy Reader's Digest Complete Do-It-Yourself Manual for some drawings that described how his switches needed to be wired (page 143 if you really want to know). His only other electric experience is working for the electric company. Well, that's not quite true. He did help my dad install an outlet for our freezer in the basement. 

Here's the final results:

I have to tell you, neither of us can keep our hands of that fancy little dimmer switch.

My honey's no dim bulb, now is he?

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