Monday, April 11, 2011

Let There Be Light

Mr. JCrew wanted his man cave to be his. He requested his room be blue, but I asked if I could pick the shade of blue. He asked for a table lamp and I picked the style. I was willing to give him all he wanted; just so that it fit within the style of the house.
His room has his computer in it. It is an odd shaped room; but that’s what I liked about it. He has a full bathroom up there and a walk in closet that leads to the attic. It’s basically a second master bedroom.


The blue color I chose got his approval. I actually chose two shades of blue. This technique can make a room appear larger. The colors should be from the same family, just a shade different.
Behr Brand - Dark Pewter and Antique Tin

The darker shade is used on the far walls to make them appear even further away.
Mr. JCrew loved his new blue room. However, choosing such a dark color absorbs all the light. The corners of the room looked even darker. The light on our new fan was not enough.

We really needed to add more light. I added a floor lamp.

And we added desk lamps for Mr. JCrew’s desk.


This was still not enough light! I knew the next step would be to add canned-lights (recessed lighting.) I just didn’t know how to do it myself and was expecting a contractor to over-charge me for a simple task.
I was proud of myself for installing the carriage lights on either side of our garage last December, that I encouraged myself to tackle this project. Working in the garage, I didn’t have to go inside any walls with the wiring. I had to plan out my method.
There was a two-prong switch by the door that could turn the fan on/off with the flip of one switch and turn the light on the fan on/off with the other switch. That meant there were two wires at the center of the room already running to the power switch in the room.

This meant I could connect one wire to the fan and the other wire could control my new canned lights. I would no longer have the ability to turn just the light of the fan on from the switch, but I was okay with losing that.
Next was to figure out how many lights I needed and where they would go. We moved my computer upstairs so that we could spend our quality time while on our computers, and my corner was so dark! I could barely see the keyboard! So my corner would get two lights. Rob’s corner would get one and the far end near the window would get three lights.

Now that the number was established, we went to Home Depot and purchased a contractor’s pack of recessed lighting. It included everything you need for six lights; the aluminum housing, and baffling. We bought electrical wiring for 100 feet.

Housing

Baffling

The contractor kit comes with a paper stencil to use to mark where the lights will go. You trace the circle and cut out the drywall exactly. Cutting a whole too big is a big mistake.
Now would be a good time to cut off the electricity to the room!
We measured how long the wiring would be from light to light and went ahead and connected the housing with wire.  Only one wire needed to go from light to light. The one light switch was going to control all six lights. It would be a train of lights connected.

The wiring is pretty easy. You strip the ends of the wire to expose the copper wire. The light housing makes connecting wire easy. No need to twist white wires together. The housing has a “Plug” like connector that you simply push with wire into. Remember, white to white, black to black and ground to ground.
Once all six lights were connected in a train, it was time to put them into the holes we cut out. The housing is located above the drywall. We took our lights into the attic and placed them one by one. Since we were working in the attic with little light, having the lights already connected to each other was a huge help.
The housing comes with “arms” that you nail into the studs. Once all are nailed, all that was left was to connect the wire from the fan-area to the last light.
The baffling is attached from down below. I took a ladder and reached the lights to insert the baffling and screw in the lightbulbs.
The next test was to turn the power back on and see if it worked. And it did!
Now that we have the extra light, it’s hard to believe we lived in the dark before. It looks like a high-end professional room now. Love it!

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