Posts tagged "electrical"

I mentioned earlier that we had decided to finally update the master bedroom – woo-hoo!  And, clearly, the first thing that came to mind as needing to be replaced was the carpet.  So, I promptly went to the carpet store, brought home about 8 samples, laid them all over, looking at them in different lights and at different times of day.  Then I got confused and decided we could just start with lights instead – ha!  (As a side note, that first trip to the carpet store was back in September … and we finally made a decision just before Christmas.  Seriously – I can’t be the only one who finds picking carpet to be the most frustrating thing ever, right?)

Anyway, lights.

Here’s what we started with – a couple of mismatched white-ish ceiling fans that didn’t work quite right anymore:

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Replacing those ceiling fans was a close second on the list of updates, just behind the green carpet.  We went back and forth, but ultimately decided not to put ceiling fans back up because we just didn’t use them that much.  Instead, we picked a couple of semi flush mount fixtures from the Hinkley Sussex collection.

Hinkley Sussex Semi-Flush Mount – 4791EZ. (image source)

We liked that they take 3-75 watt bulbs, which (even with the shade & diffuser) is plenty of light.  We actually bought 75W equivalent LED bulbs when the fixtures were first installed and they were crazy bright.  We’ve since swapped them out for 60W equivalent bulbs, which is still plenty bright, without being blinding.

Plus, we liked the style of the lights.  They are updated while not looking out of place in our 100-year old house.  (We have some sconces from the same collection in our entry way and guest bathroom and love those as well.)

Because we never know exactly what scary things we’ll find when it comes to electrical in this house, we opted to have the fixtures installed by an electrician.  With all of the different generations of wiring in the house, combined with some interesting DIY stuff, hiring a real electrician even for “simple” jobs like switching out some light fixtures always feels like money well spent.  While the electrician was out working on the fixtures, we also had him swap out all of the outlets and light switches in the room for white, which feels a lot fresher than the beige ones we had before.  It’s also good knowing they’re all safe – we had a couple of outlets where GFCIs had to be installed since the old ones were missing a ground.  True to form – the electrical in this house keeps us on our toes!

Anyway, here are some photos of the new lights installed in the bedroom.  Such an improvement!

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In the end, we’re totally happy with the new fixtures.  They are a complete improvement over the old fans and, even with the old green carpet, they make the room feel just a bit fresher, which is such a welcome change!  This is definitely one of those updates that makes us wonder exactly why we waited so long!

You might also notice from these photos that I decided to just bite the bullet and re-paint the bedroom too.  Chad says the new color is so similar to the old one that no one would ever notice the difference and painting it was probably just wasted effort, but, to me, it makes all the difference in the world!

The "before" photo.

The old paint color – Sherwin Williams Sand Dune (SW6086).

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The new paint color – Sherwin Williams Accessible Beige (SW7036).

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Before

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After

True, both the old color and the new fall squarely in the “beige” family, but the new color feels a lot fresher to me.  Where the old color (SW Sand Dune) had pinkish undertones that came through in spades in our darkish north facing bedroom, the new color (SW Accessible Beige) is more of a greige.  It reads a little more creamy some times and a little more gray others, but it always feels light, airy, and fresh, which our room was really lacking before.  I think it’s definitely a better color choice for a north facing room than the color we started with.

Anyway, between the lights and paint, the room is starting to feel a lot more intentional than it did when we started.  I have a feeling the new carpet will really make it feel like a brand new space.  I can’t wait – installation is scheduled for next Monday (finally)!  I feel like we have been waiting for this upgrade since we bought the house … EIGHT years ago.  Needless to say, we’re totally looking forward to bidding that green floral carpet farewell!  Monday can’t come soon enough!

On Monday, we’re taking the first steps toward a project we should have completed long ago – removing a couple of wall-mounted window air conditioners from the sunroom and master bedroom.

In the Sunroom / Family Room

In the Sunroom / Family Room

In the Master Bedroom

In the Master Bedroom

(Yes, that’s Haley’s no-longer-used cradle in the corner of our bedroom.  I still haven’t figured out how she got old enough to not be using it any more and I’m so not ready to put it in storage.)

Other than being old and not so efficient, I suppose there’s nothing wrong with having window air conditioners in these two rooms – in theory – but they were there when we bought the house 5 years ago and we’ve never used them.  We aren’t even sure that they work.  Aside from being an eye sore, they also aren’t very weather tight or critter tight – they’re usually home to a nest of something or other and we’re pretty sure the one in our bedroom has let a few unwelcome bats in.  On top of that, they’re just plain loud.  It sounds strange, but it’s true.  We can hear everything that goes on outside like it’s happening in the bedroom because of the stupid air conditioner.

Having said all of that, I suppose there was a time when they made a lot of sense.  The sunroom used to be a screened in porch that was closed in sometime in the 50s.  The master bedroom is located right over the sunroom and used to be an open sleeping porch that was converted to living space around the same time.  Before the house had central air, it was probably a great feature to have air conditioning in these two rooms … but now that we have central air, there’s just not much of a need for them.  We’ve been ready to say goodbye for quite a while and just haven’t done anything about it, but that’s about to change.

So, the project starts on Monday with a visit from the electrician to remove the middle-of-the-wall outlet in the master bedroom since that would be pretty a pretty awkward location once the air conditioner is gone.

Up close and personal.

(And, yes – in case you were wondering, that is window film covering the air conditioner in the bedroom.  It’s our attempt to make the thing a little more weather tight.  It also collects dead bugs – ick.)

Our expectation is that it shouldn’t be a problem for the electrician to remove the outlet and associated wiring completely so that we can patch the wall and pretend it was never there.  If not, our second choice will be to just relocate the outlet lower in the wall so that it’s at a more normal height and won’t draw so much attention.  Either way, it’ll be an improvement.

Once the outlet is removed, the next step is taking out both air conditioners and patching the wall, inside and out.  We’ve hired this part also – largely because the second floor air conditioner is up high and that side of the house borders a pretty steep ravine so there’s really no safe way to do the work without setting up scaffolding.  Plus, it really wasn’t that expensive.  This is loosely scheduled for when the weather gets a little better, but we’re hoping for sometime in March.

It seems like such a trivial change – I mean, it’s just a couple of air conditioners – but we’re both so happy that they’re on their way out.  No more nights spent listening to birds or squirrels or whatever else is living in the air conditioner, more comfortable (less drafty) rooms, fewer bugs/bats/mice making their way in.  I am sooo ready to say goodbye!

We had an electrician out for a few hours this morning to replace the old knob-and-tube wiring powering the wall sconces in our dining room and wire them to the light switches for the room (rather than having them only switched at the light fixture).

New Junction Boxes for the Sconces

New Junction Boxes for the Sconces

The job turned out to be a little more complicated than we expected due to a portion of the window framing extending into the stud bay where the new wire was being fished from the basement, so we wound up with a couple more holes in the walls than we expected, but we’re hoping the plasterer will be able to patch and skim coat over them so that they aren’t noticeable when he’s done.

A couple extra holes in the wall ...

A couple extra holes in the wall ...

Even after this, we still have some knob-and-tube wiring in the dining room that we’re probably not going to replace, which powers the chandelier.  The ceiling is in such great condition that we don’t want to tear into it to run new electrical, so we’ll just have to live with not being able to replace all of the knob-and-tube in the room.  There’s also knob-and-tube running up from the basement to supply power to the light switch.  We are planning to have that run replaced when the electrician comes back on Friday to do some work by the pool.  Once that’s done, we’ll be one step closer to having all of the knob-and-tube in the house updated – we think all that’s left is just a couple of outlets in the living room and a few light fixtures on the main floor.

For the dining room sconces, we’re planning to reinstall the same ones we took down since we believe they’re original to the house and match the chandelier.  We dropped them off today at a lamp & shade store to have them re-wired (and hopefully shined up a bit).  They think it’ll only take them a week or so to get them back to us.  We’re excited to get them installed again and actually be able to use them more now that they’re switched with the rest of the lights in the room.