Let There Be Light

Theoretically, switching out a light fixture is a simple, quick process: unscrew the old light, hook the wires up to the new one, screw the new one into the ceiling and voila… brand new light fixture. The only painful part should be the hit to your wallet (seriously… why are lights so expensive?!).  This project on the other hand… the complete opposite.  We bought a light fixture from Young House Love’s collection at Shades of Light. These lights are designed to be affordable and attractive… mission accomplished.  We ordered the Large Wire Globe Lantern in Rusty Bronze for the Bonus Room.  After it was back-ordered twice… it finally arrived last week.  So this past weekend the husband and I decided to install it.  I was so ready to get rid of this ugly thing:


Now I’m not a newbie at installing light fixtures, and most of them have gone off without a hitch, but this one was a bit complicated.  The simple instructions for replacing light fixtures are to remove the old fixture and then connect the new one in the same way… is basically match the colors… black to black, white to white and then connect the copper grounding wire to either a grounding screw or to another copper wire.  So we started by unscrewing the cover and then unscrewing this from the ceiling:


So when we took this cover off, the junction box was TINY. And normally the bolt would be universal and fit into the brace that is already there, but this bolt didn’t fit into the hole, so we had to remove that as well. The new light came with a brace of its own (they normally do), but it was straight across instead of bending out towards the room like this one does:



So we had to take a hacksaw to the bolt they provided so that it would fit:



The next step was measuring out the wire and chain to match how long we wanted for the light fixture to hang down.  We cut off the wire with enough extra to strip off the outer plastic coating.


This light fixture didn’t have separate black and white wires to match up to the ones from the ceiling.  When that happens, usually one has ridges on it and one will be a smooth coating.  The one with the ridges should connect to the WHITE wire.  The smooth one should connect to the black wire.


Once you have that all set, thread the wires up through the chain and in through the bolt at the top.


We used pliers to open up the chain links to make it the length we wanted it to be.


With the junction box being so small, it was a struggle to get everything to connect and fit in through this hole and into the junction box while connecting it, so unfortunately we needed all four hands so I didn’t get any pictures of that process, but basically this is what you want it to look like when it is ready to hang.


To connect the wires together there should be little orange (or sometimes yellow) plastic knobs that you will put over the ends to both wires (the one from the ceiling and the one from the fixture) and then twist.  Here’s what the connections should look like:


I took the picture above (seriously check out those photography skills…joke joke joke) before we actually successfully got it attached.  Because our wires were getting twisted and didn’t have enough room above the bracket in the junction box to screw in the bolt, we ACTUALLY got this attached to the ceiling by unscrewing that bracket from the ceiling, screwing the bolt with the wires connected through it, and then screwing the bracket into the ceiling as our last step.  Sorry its a bit confusing… and by this time I was entirely fed up with holding my hands above my head trying to screw in screws so I was just a wee bit grumpy.

But it was so worth it because here is what it looks like now:


Sorry for the poorly lit photos, with the time change I am home 0 times during the day when it is light outside. I also ordered this light from Amazon which has a cool antique-y vibe to it (but of course that doesn’t translate to pictures or at least not with my limited photography skills).


And with that project completed, I’m calling this room DONE (for now).  I’d planned to add some curtains around the window that you can see in the picture below, but the fabric I was going to use doesn’t look as great as I thought it would, so I’m holding off on that for now.  As always… I’ll let y’all know if that changes!



Happy Thursday… The weekend is almost here!

Up on the Shelf

My next step in the bonus room upgrade was to hang shelves on the wall.  If you remember from this post there is a wall behind where the couch was that is large and blank.  It made the most sense for us to put the television on that wall and move the couches over to the far wall with the window.  Since we upgraded the dresser to put the TV on I thought shelving would look best on the wall, fill the space, and give us some additional storage for games.  We don’t use this room much, but I’m hoping it’ll be a good place to play some board games.  Eventually it’ll be a kids game room, but for now its just another living space.  We love board games and for our wedding we registered for quite a few games, so we have a pretty extensive board game collection. I thought they would look pretty cute on open shelving and decided to continue the stained dark wood trend so we bought some black track shelving from Home Depot and 3-6′ 1″x12″ boards to stain for shelving.


I used my leftover Varthane Kona stain… I’ll be posting a tutorial with all my staining tips later this week.  But one quick coat on both sides of the board and we were good to go.  Since I am going for the ‘rustic industrial’ look in this room and they won’t be heavily used (i.e. a table top) I didn’t put anything over the stain to seal it.

I thought it was pretty funny that these shelves from Home Depot came with silver screws and little black stickers to cover them up… high class! But it works, from far away you can’t see them.




I love the way they frame the television.  In hindsight I wish I’d hung them just a bit lower, but I still love the way it looks.  And the rearrangement of the furniture has made the whole room feel better.  And HEY look… we folded our laundry! And don’t worry… I’ll get some pictures put in these frames eventually.





Here’s the update on my list of things to do in the room:

  • paint numbers on an old dresser from Master bedroom for TV stand
  • hang shelves
  • make curtains
  • rearrange furniture
  • change out the light fixture (I bought a new light fixture but its backordered… boo)

And I added an item:

  • find artwork or something to hang above the couch in the empty space

By the numbers…

This dresser has been through a few reiterations.  This was another basement find from my grandmother’s house.  This is what it looked like when I got it a few years ago (minus the silver handle on the top right… I was testing out my new handles):


The dresser had been in the basement when it flooded and had a few issues.  The broken drawer (you can see the gap at the bottom right where the broken drawer had pushed the frame outwards) was fixed with a little wood glue and some nails.  The top is warped from the moisture, which I never fixed because it is still functional and isn’t overtly obvious (plus its not an easy fix!).

At that time I sanded this guy down and stained it with a Minwax Jacobean stain with a high gloss polyurethane coating.  It stayed in my master bedroom until we got married and needed a little extra clothing storage.  We upgraded this guy for our master bedroom and moved this dresser out into the garage.  Unfortunately I don’t have a good picture of what it looked like stained in the master bedroom (one day I’ll get the hang of this whole ‘taking before pictures’ thing).

I decided this would be a perfect canvas to do a dresser upgrade that I’d seen around the blogosphere, knocking off this Anthropologie Dresser (you can see some here and here).

I didn’t want to make this a big project, so I left the dresser exactly as it was and just bought stencils and some black paint.

First step, we centered the stencils on the drawer and added some painter’s tape, a little wider than the roller.


Next we just rolled on the black paint:


As soon as we rolled the black paint on we removed the stencils and wiped up with a wet paper towel the one spot that wasn’t as crisp as the rest.



I like that the numbers aren’t super obvious, but think it spruces up the dresser quite a bit! And for 15 minutes and less than 20$ (free if you already own the paint and stencils) it was a pretty stellar upgrade!


We’ve moved it upstairs already and it looks great in the space, but I can’t show you it without ruining the project I’m working on now, so you’ll just have to live in suspense…