Posts tagged ‘Lighting’

August 18, 2011

The Blues

by Cait

Things have been hectic around here lately. A lot of working too much and coming home too tired to do a whole lot of anything in the way of projects. In spite of all that, we’re baby-stepping our way through a front porch mini-makeover this summer in an effort to improve our curb appeal and stay busy enough to keep our sanity. We already have the mailbox (a gift from Robert’s parents for my birthday), and we talked about our new door hardware and other changes we’d like to make here.

The next step in the process was to give our front porch ceiling a facelift. We’ve both been on a blue kick recently, and it’s a southern tradition to paint porch ceilings blue, so we embraced it. We started with a peach ceiling (which made the ceiling feel very low and closed-in), sporting asymmetrical trim (to hide the seams in the drywall), a HomeGoods lantern we turned into a porch light pre-blog, and far more dead bugs than I care to think about. (The photo below was taken after Robert started to pry the trim down, but there is a really old iPhone picture in this post with a true before picture.) Robert did all of the work (and took a lot of one-handed pictures),  since this took place during a period of time when I was working 58 hour weeks.

Robert pried the trim down using a razor knife & a screw driver, then added a few more screws to reinforce the drywall.

After everything was secured better he caulked the drywall seams.

Then he took down the old light and sanded the edges of the old layers of paint to help give everything a smoother, more seamless look in the end.

The first layer of spackle went up.

Followed by a lot of sanding and more spackling.

After waiting out a summer shower, he taped off the ceiling and rolled on two sample cans of  Valspar Grand Hotel Mackinac Blue (we changed our mind about the Glass Tile color after taping some paint chips to the ceiling and staring at them for a while).

Then the tape came down, and we added a new light.

All in all, it’s a cheerful addition that you can see peeking out at you when you pull up in the driveway.

I can’t wait to tackle the back porch now! Maybe we’ll wait until it cools off a little…

Edit: I saw this link on another blog (I wish I could remember which one!), and when my mom emailed it to me I thought I should add it to the post. Thanks to NPR for such a great link about blue porch ceilings.

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July 6, 2011

Lighting the Way

by Cait

Thank you all for your well-wishes yesterday! I’m feeling much better now, and I’m turning my attention away from Grey’s Anatomy & How I Met Your Mother reruns and back to house-related topics, like exterior lighting.

It’s a subject I’ve touched on before, but we have yet to actually buy any. When we left off last time Robert and I had been planning on getting a couple of lights like the upper left for the backyard. Having looked at them in Lowe’s several times since then, we’ve decided  that we prefer the style of the  lower left light for the backyard (slash Robert used his veto power, and I agreed that the galvanized will look nice with the outdoor shower and eventual tank pool).

The light in the lower right is what we already have near the top of the driveway (we replaced it last year pre-blog when the old light began letting rain water in, which besides being generally unsafe was causing the bulb to shatter) and the upper right is what we are currently considering for the front porch. (Sidenote- we replaced the “boob” light from the former owners on pre-blog. Below is a super-old, super-crooked iPhone picture of our previous solution.) We also have these lights from Target strung across our porch.

cheap HomeGoods lantern turned porch light; worked like a charm for over a year

The  style we’re going with for the exterior of our house (at least for the front, but we’ll get to that later) is rustic & electic modern with traditional & Spanish influences*. Yes, that’s a mouthful. (Please, someone invent a design term for my style! If I have to coin a term it’s going to end up something like Dowisetrepla.)

So the question is: should our exterior lights on the front of the house coordinate with the ones in the backyard, or does it not matter? Generally speaking I’m a “buy what you love, the rest will fall into place” kind of person. I think the galvanized lights will fit better with the plan we have in mind for the backyard. We do have a corner lot, but for the most part you won’t be able to tell that the front and back lights are different styles.

What do you think? Do the front yard and backyard have to be cohesive? And also, does your design style mesh bewteen the interior & the exterior of your house or are they totally different?

*The direction of the backyard is a bit more rustic modern while the front of the house is (currently) more traditional. we’re working to make it more modern, with Spanish influences. (Both because of the area of town we live in, and the fact that we love some of the elements of Spanish houses, but more on that in another post.)

May 18, 2011

Living Room Light Update

by Cait

Other possible title: The One In Which I Gloat

Speaking on things I’m really, really late telling y’all about… Remember in February when Robert bought me the West Elm Flat Stock Flush Mount Light for my birthday? We wanted it to replace the fan in the living room, seen here (pre-trees).

Other Table

Well, we put it up in March and I haven’t posted about it because Robert was supposed to write the post. You might ask why that is, and the reason is that the wiring looked like this:

Whoever did the wiring (and plumbing) for our house scares me. A lot. Please do not consider this a how-to.

Robert’s post would have been a lot more technical and would explained exactly what we did to make the switch for the back porch light into the switch for this light. My explanation? We switched two wires. After I said “shouldn’t we just be able to switch two wires?” and then a lot of trial and error while Robert chose not to listen to me. (I’m still allowed to gloat two months later, right?)

Speaking of gloating, this whole switcheroo took place spontaneously one Sunday after Robert bet me $100 that the fan did not come down the way I said it did. (I’d like to let the record show that he still owes me that $100.) And then we switched out the porch fans.

And as a related note, the base is not actually brushed nickel as listed on West Elm’s website, it’s polished nickel.

March 30, 2011

Light Up My Life

by Cait

In researching my design board for the backyard and the back porch, I found a website called Barn Light Electric.  The website says they sell “true American-made and manufactured light fixtures”, which is awesome.  Unfortunately my wallet does not really agree with their prices, so I was forced to consider other sources for the extra exterior lights we need and I was surprised and amazed to discover some of the options available from Lowe’s.

1. Bel Air Lighting 1-Light Stainless Steel Wall Lantern $29.98

2. Portfolio 1-Light Outdoor Wall Light $21.98

3. Portfolio 1-Light Rust Outdoor Wall Light $19.98

I think when we get around to putting up  a couple more exterior lights we’re going to go with #3 (although #2 was a close second, and Robert really liked #1).  I love it when my favorite option also happens to be the least expensive!

While looking at the above options for around the outside of the back porch, Lowe’s thought it would be helpful to break my heart with the price of a light I decided we needed for the front porch (right now we have a lantern from HomeGoods that we retrofitted, but it hangs kind of low).  Thankfully I found another option with a quick Google search, and I like it even more!


1. Sea Gull Lighting Specialty Finish Metal Ceiling Fixture Outdoor Light $103.50

2. Grand River Lodge Fisherman’s Ceiling Light $39.99

I also loved this (and the price was much better than the one for $93.63 at Lowe’s), but that might be a bit much for our small porch.

Is anyone else thinking about changing up exterior lighting soon?

February 9, 2011

Oh And Also?

by Cait

West Elm sent Robert a present for my birthday!**  Aren’t they nice?

My Super Sleuthing Skillz (in other words, me reading the top left corner of the box and spoiling any ounce of mystery left in Robert telling me that he maybe, possibly ordered something) tell me it’s the Flat Stock Flush Mount Light I wanted!  Woohoo!  Now we just need to add a switch for it, since the fan it will be replacing only turns on with pull chains (despite there being two mystery switches that don’t do anything near the door to the guest room).  Any volunteers to crawl in our super tiny attic and install the necessary wiring? ;)

PS- And by “sent Robert a present for my birthday” I mean, he bought the light I wanted when I oh-so-helpfully mentioned they were having a lighting sale a while back (and then it was on backorder, so it didn’t show up until now, but it did come before they said it would), because we are still way, way too small of a blog for anyone to even think about making offers of free stuff for us to decline.

PPS- I like the pretend to make a big deal out of my birthday by drawing it out for about half a month and calling any purchases “birthday presents”, when in actuality I don’t really care all that much and I rarely ever tell anyone when my birthday is.  In fact, Ryan (who I’ve know for over 8 years) still asks me every year around March or April “when is your birthday again?”

February 5, 2011

Making Light of the Situation

by Cait

Since I sometimes have decorating ADHD an inability to focus on one space at a time, I’ve been driving myself crazy trying to decide what kind of light I want over the living room table (as I mentioned here).  The current frontrunners are:

The Victory pendant is a bit more than we want to spend & might blend into the wall too much, the Eden may be a bit big, and we would most likely DIY a slightly smaller version of the West Elm Cluster Bulb Pendant.  Also, if we got tired of the bare bulb look of the DIYed Cluster Bulb look, we could always add cage to them.  (Which is a much more pleasant option if you have access to a large number of wire coat hangers and/or a friend who has a tendency to get bored and make things, rather than paying $110-195 a pop.)

Apologies for the blurry HTC pic, I tend to get text messages like this after I ask Ryan about making something

I also have it on semi-good authority from the Birthday Fairy that the light over the table needs to at least coordinate with the light I wanted to replace the living room fan with from West Elm.  Said Birthday Fairy recently said something like “It would need to coordinate with the West Elm light which I might possibly have purchased when it was 20% off. But I didn’t.”

I guess it would have been helpful to wait about a week in case I “maybe, possibly” receive something light-like for my birthday,  but at least it looks like the DIY Cluster Bulb pendant won’t clash with the Flush Mount?

January 16, 2011

Easy Update: Hall Light Fixture

by Robert

The flush mount light fixture in our hallway has bothered us from pretty much day one. But, for some odd reason we decided to save this o’-so-tiny project until now, for your reading pleasure.

It’s not our style, and it’s always seemed a bit busy with the texture of the ceiling.  We like the overall shape of this fixture, but the “gold” and the textured glass are a little dated for our space.  And, well, yeah…. Also, C strolls through our local Habit-for-Humanity ReStore and finds killer deals on a regular basis. During this particular trip to “Heaven”, she found exactly what we wanted, that we had argued about at great length discussed after an amount of research that would make the average consumer bleed from the eyes/ears/fingertips.

Replacing a light fixture like this is pretty simple, thankfully.  To take this down we  just turned the power off, undid the set screws holding the globe on, took the light bulbs out (because we were going to reuse them in the new fixture), and then removed the screws holding base up and disconnected the wires.  Which left us with this.

It was at this point that we noticed that the new fixture did not have the same mounting holes as the old one.  Namely, it only had the center hole (for which there is obviously no stud above) and needed some smaller holes on the side to mount to the bracket shown above.  So, we made some.

We measured and marked for the new holes with a sharpie-pen and drilled appropriately sized holes for the screws to hold it into the bracket.  Then Helper Dog inspected it to make sure it didn’t contain food, and we went back inside.

Why is there no food?

We then simply repeated the take-down process in reverse.  Tighten the screws, put the bulbs in, replace globe & tighten set screws, admire non-dated light.

Total project cost? $4.97

Gotta love with when you find the exact light fixture you wanted for one fifth of the price they go for in the big box stores.

Has anyone else finally gotten around to a simple project that kept getting put on the back burner?

January 11, 2011

Shedding Light on the Situation

by Cait

As I mentioned yesterday, we are trying to decide what to do as far as lighting in the living room.  Currently we have a ceiling fan with light, a lamp on our new sofa table (more about that later), a lamp on the side table we moved from the guest room, and a stool with a lamp balanced on it (a very temporary solution).  Shamefully I still have not taken an updated photo of our living room, but you can see the lamp on the side table below (the one with the white shade) and the lamp with the grey shade now lives on our Hemnes sofa table (I first mentioned wanting that here).  The ceiling fan was to my right as I took this picture, and the wall with the trees is just beyond that.



As I said yesterday, we are thinking of hanging a pendant light over the table in the living room.  The one I have been considering is the Eden pendant from CB2 (below).  The only problems with this choice are that I prefer the color the shade appears when on (right), and I think the diameter for the shade is a bit to large for our space.

I am also ridiculously in love with West Elm’s Drum Sconce and Flat Flush Mount Light.  Well actually, as far as the sconces go, I really, really love the way they look, but I’m not sure they are the best choice in this area.  I could very easily see putting one of these on either side of our bed, but I love our touch lights from Target, partly because I am lazy (I know you can get touch kits to make pretty much any lamp a touch lamp, but for now I think we’ll stick with our Target lights and drool over the ones at West Elm).  I think that the Flush Mount would be a big improvement over the current low-hanging ceiling fan (our tall friend, Jason, wouldn’t hit his head anymore!), and I have looked at a bunch of similar options from Overstock and Lamps Plus but I keep coming back to West Elm based on the size and construction.   Another thing going for the Flush Mount is that we could potentially use a gift card from our credit card reward points (although we don’t exactly rack those up quickly, so that would mean waiting longer for the light).

Even supposing we have solved the ceiling fan issue with the Flush Mount, I still want a light over/near the table that could be turned on independently of the Flush Mount.  Another CB2 find that caught my eye (but scared my wallet) is the Firefly Pendant Light.  It reminds me a bit of the light fixture we made for the dining room, and if we remove the ceiling fan we will have 4 seeded glass globes we don’t need so I could DIY another fixture. The correlation between the two would be nice, since the tables are in eye-shot of each other.

On a side note, Robert recently asked me about moving the hutch back over there, so we’ll see what happens!

There are a couple other lights that I am in love with, but that didn’t make the cut for this space (and for length purposes I’m not including them in this round up of choices).  Maybe soon I will do another post on lights that have caught my attention recently.

Has anyone else made a light fixture, replaced a ceiling fan with a light or put a light where there previously wasn’t one?  (Which reminds me I need to post about the process of putting the light over our sink.)  Personally I love Kara Paslay’s DIY Mason Jar Chandelier, and if you haven’t seen it you should check it out!

July 29, 2010

Fisherman Sconce

by Cait

Ok, so I totally love this sconce, but that is not the point of this entry.  Someone in the blog world was looking for something like these. Problem is I don’t know a) how recent the post was, b) who it was or c) what their budget is.  I happened upon their blog but can’t find it again to link them (you’d think I would have put that bad boy in my blog roll).  Life is sad!  Here’s hoping someone stumbles upon this post and knows what/who I’m talking at about to link them back to these beauties…

PB kids wall sconce

$69.00 at Pottery Barn Kids (comes in pendant as well)