Tuesday, May 3, 2011

let there be light

I dabble in electricity.  My brother taught me how to wire outlets and lights when we finished our basement in our old house, and so we wired the whole basement.  We hired a professional to inspect it all and hook it up to the circuit box before the inspector came.  The only mistake we made was that we put the outlets every 6 feet instead of every 12 feet.  Who's ever complained about too many outlets?

Since the moment we've moved into our new house nearly 3 years ago, I've had a hate-hate relationship with the track lighting fixture in my kitchen.  I hate track lighting.  It's stuck in the 90's and I don't know why it still exists.  If I was world emperor, I would annihilate and outlaw it.  I hate the particular pendants in my particular kitchen casting tiny little spots of light down the center of my kitchen island.  I hate that the power source is on the end of the island instead of the center. I hate the tiny light bulbs that if you touch with your bare hands ruin the bulb and shorten its life expectancy significantly.  I hate that one of the pendants quit working 3 months after we moved in and another after a year, so now I only have 2 tiny spots of light.  I hate the giant tubes of plastic at the top of the pendant with writing all over them stuck in a long ugly white track and an ugly white box at one end.  I hate the orange globes.  I hate hitting my head on them because they're hanging too low.  I hate that I can't see a blasted thing in my kitchen once it's dark outside.  It's like having 4 little orange glow sticks hanging above my counter.

I shopped for months at stores and online and came to the conclusion that I was stuck with track lighting unless I wanted to rip my ceiling apart and rewire to put the power box at the center of the island.  My husband was not on board with this idea.  I finally found a website where you can build your own track and add whatever you want to it.  I decided I needed both spots and pendants.  I was so tired of living in darkness for so long.  I found a system that was not hideous and added matching spots and somewhat decorative pendants that I didn't despise and finally got it to an acceptable appearance.  The total before shipping came to $1586.  WHAT?!  For something that I don't love?  For something just to get by?  I'd be better off hiring an electrician and a drywaller to rip the kitchen apart and buying my favorite fixture at the most expensive lighting store I can find.

A couple weeks ago I visited my husband's cousin in her new house and saw that her husband had built his own pendant light fixture out of some scrap wood and inexpensive fixtures.  I loved it and found new inspiration.  Little did they know I would practically copy theirs.

I bought four fixtures for $10 each, re-wired them.  I then bought some wood for $13 and built a trough of sorts to house the wires.  The wood covered the electrical box.

I wired it all together, screwed it to the ceiling, painted it and voila!  Ok, so I shouldn't leave out that my father came over and helped me put it together because two minds work better than one.  And I can't claim that it was even my idea at all because I stole it from my cousin-in-law, but I'm just thrilled that I have four, count them, FOUR 60 watt light bulbs casting light over the entire room.  I can see what I'm doing on a cloudy day and even at night!  And if I want I can use energy efficient bulbs that are even brighter.

The power source is on the right side of the fixture below, just above the end pendant:

And just look when I them on!
 I think I can actually hear the angels in heaven singing with the glorious light!

And scene.
Oh, Thank you!  Thank you!  Oh, stop it some more!
I have SO many people to thank!  Thank you, Beth and Jon for the idea.  Thank you to my Daddy for the help, to my Mom for watching my children and making dinner and folding the clothes, to Lowes for the advice, to the grumpy man at Home Depot for cutting my lumber, and to the friendly checkout lady for ringing up all the little pieces.  Thanks to my husband for graciously receiving all the Christmas and birthday gifts of power tools and saws that I really wanted.  And thank YOU for your endless support!

Bow. Wave. Gracious smile. Blowing kisses and exit.

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