4.16.2014

One Room Challenge - Week Three - Electricity



Welcome back to week 3 of The One Room Challenge™.   Thank you for following along as 20 of us design pros and enthusiasts willingly agree to tackle a room redo in six short weeks and document the process at the behest of our fearless leader Linda of Calling It Home.  I am tackling the dine-in portion of my kitchen.  To catch up from the beginning, click the following links below:

WEEK 1:  Plan & Inspiration
WEEK 2:  Progress Report - Floors

So here we are at the mid-point in the challenge which I like to think of as the moment of truth.  This is where I begin to take stock of the things I have accomplished versus my long wish list to assess what I can reasonably finish by the end of 6 weeks.  This is the point at which my dewy delusions of grandeur begin to lose their dewy luster of possibility.  An ambitious plan, in the best of circumstances, to refinish floors, run electricity, wallpaper, paint walls, sew banquette cushions, and build a table begins to get a little dodgy when halted at the electricity part going into the mid-point.   If you will recall, the mister and I do all of our own work so getting stalled at the second item on an already lengthy punch list does not bode well.  Insert dramatic music.  



Get yourself a cup of something leaded because this is a long one today.  For as much progress as the mister and I made last week with the floors, this week was supremely frustrating.  I had hoped to be able to cross off not only the electricity and lighting install but also painting the ceiling, walls, and trim as well as having the banquette cushions sewn this week.  All predicated upon a simple lighting move which ended up being anything but simple.  


Sadly, these electricity issues occupied our efforts the ENTIRE weekend.  Whomever wired our house prior to our arrival was a closet pyromaniac – as in clearly they wanted the house to go up in flames with their wacky wiring.  Our first clue that we were in for some electrical pyrotechnics was when we removed our switchplate to find mostly red wires.  I’ll spare you an electricity lesson but know this, for the existing 3-way switch that we were looking to swap, there should have been a black, a white, a red, and a ground wire.  Not ALL reds.


Suffice it to say, that we spent all day Saturday undoing the mess that was our kitchen wiring.  Midway through I was more than ready to throw in the towel and call our electrician.  But my mister is nothing if not determined and he tamed that wiring beast.  Sunday was spent cutting more holes in the ceiling and making patches so that I could finally swap out the terrible, horrible, no good, very bad ceiling fan that hung in the middle of no man’s land by our refrigerator.  What is it with men and ceiling fans?  I will never understand. 


my mister and M.I.L.








To lend this saga context, it has infuriated me to no end to have a random ceiling fan/light fixture that hung off center from our butcher block island.  Aside from wanting to burn every ceiling fan I lay my eyes upon, I have wanted to anchor my lighting situation in the work triangle area over my butcher block island.  But the mister kept warning me that this was no small feat.  I kept thinking he was blowing smoke.  How hard can it be to move a light fixture 3 feet?!  The island is where I do all my prep work and often times set up a buffet of sorts.  As such I needed a significant light source.  Outside of being fugly, the fan’s lighting did project light outwards in 4 directions covering the stove, the refrigerator, the island, and the sink.  So I have been on the search for an affordable statement light(s) over my butcher block.  I needed both form and function from one light or a pair of pendants centered over the butcher block that would still illuminate the work triangle.  I love the idea of a statement chandelier over an island but with 8’ ceilings I knew I would be limited due to head clearance.  Every time I entertain, people tend to stand around the butcher block chatting and leaning in to grab nosh or drink so a chandelier would only invite more head banging.  Refer to Week 1 for that reference. Shade pendants would not suffice as they direct light downwards rather than outwards so I have been on the lookout for a glass globe style pendant. 

Most of the ones I liked were well outside my budget but I had spied one at the Ballard Designs Outlet store a few weeks ago with which I became immediately smitten.  For those of you who follow me on IG, you will know the one.  Glass globe with brass detail.  Purrrrrfect.  



But alas, it had some sort of defect and at $300+ which reflected the outlet markdown and the defect markdown, I thought it was still too spendy for a defective light.  I spotted a few more options that might work but ended up leaving empty handed and still in hot pursuit of a functional but beautiful light option for the island.  But with the challenge timeline ticking down, I knew I had to make a decision quickly.  However, the imprint of that gorgeous brass globe became the standard against which I compared my other options.  None lived up to the glorious globe so in a desperate attempt to banish my ‘what if-itis’ I returned to the Ballard Designs outlet with husband and daughter in tow, on a SATURDAY, fully believing that the globe would be gone.  In case you aren’t aware, things move as quickly out of that outlet store as they do Home Goods.  If you spot something you like, you best get it while the gettin’s good.  Not to mention, the Ballard Design Outlet is around the corner from IKEA so most weekend warriors make a day of going to both which means  TONS of people.  YayI can’t think of anything that infuriates my husband more than shopping except crowds.  Armed with an angry husband and a spasmo 5 year old who can’t keep her hands to herself, I had little faith in our chances.  Imagine my palpable glee when I spotted the globe.  But, the already angered mister in his incredibly frustrating albeit practical frugality, began smashing my globe dreams asunder with protests of ‘thou dost want to spend too much’ for a busted globe.  The tag read ‘short on light.’  Mr. Practical wanted to determine if that meant short in length on one of the light body arms or if that meant faulty wiring.  My mister felt pretty confident that he could fix either but the marked down price was still prohibitive to him.  I was still hopped up on the globe juice to which the earnest shop keeper recognized a frenzied dog hot on the scent and quickly dispatched for the manager to see what they could ‘do.’  The long and short of it is this:  the light was tested with a bulb to determine one light did not in fact work; the wise manager recognized an opportunity to move undesirable merchandise that most people could not fix; I got my gorgeous globe that retailed for close to $400 for $75.  Yep.



My mister took that globe to work and not only fixed the short but rewired the whole fixture as he deemed the overall wiring to be subpar.  Turns out the ‘short’ wasn’t really a short but rather caused by someone enthusiastically screwing in a $1 light bulb and bending the contact.  And yes, he still rewired it after that discovery.  But let it be stated, he is as impressed with the quality and workmanship of the brass fixture as I am – and that is saying a lot as not much impresses him.  The globe is everything I dreamed it would be.  I wish I could link to the source, but sadly I cannot find it on the Ballard site or in any of the catalogues so I do not know if it is still available or discontinued but it is the stuff of my brasstastic dreams.

But back to the lighting/electricity debacle.  As I said, after addressing the wiring mess on Saturday, Sunday we planned to hang the globe, patch the ceiling holes, and move on to upholstery.  Best laid plans of mice and the Vs.  That gorgeous light fixture is SUPER heavy and I was the one holding it over my head while my mister attached it to the ceiling.  Once attached, we discovered the threaded pipe was longer than the depth of the junction box so the cover plate was not flush with the ceiling.  After much more atlas shrugging of that heavy globe over my head and plenty of colorful language, we determined we needed to shorten the threaded pipe which was soldered to the fitting.  Say what?  It is at this point that I begin to question the meaning of life and my place in this cruel world.  Off to the back garage we go where my mister performs his machining wizardry.  Meanwhile I am entertaining thoughts of playing baseball with the globe and dreaming of the vat of pinto grigio that will be required to erase this weekend from my memory.







Morale of the story.  We got the deal of the century on the globe but more than paid our weight in sweat equity to get the dang thing hung.  Although I can’t blame the gorgeous light.  But my mister certainly blames me.  Can't wait to show you the sconces I selected from Lamps Plus - super gorgeous also but will wait to show you until after the wallpaper is installed.  Next week I hope to have a lot less sweat and a lot more pretty.  Now let’s go take a peek at what all of my talented friends are up to this week.


A special thank you to the following sponsors and supporters of Chez V and The One Room Challenge that are graciously providing items to help me bring my vision for this room to life:


All photos and styling by Emily Vanderputten unless otherwise noted

kisses,  mrs. V


36 comments:

Kim said...

Got to love a handy Mister! And the light! LOVE!!

Kerry Steele- Design du Monde said...

As I read this I was thinking, "How is she still alive?" My husband surely would have killed me at this level of frustration. Its all looking fantastic though.

Christine Dovey said...

I read every single word of this post and loved every single inch of it- your blog is so so delightful to read my dear- love, love. I'm sorry for how hard this was but so appreciate the honesty and hilarious banter about it all- so fun to read. Oh and the light- amaze, amaze!!!! You're fabulous!!!

Nancy {at} powellbrower at home said...

Man are you lucky to have him around! He is so talented and that fixture is over the moon gorgeous. Good luck with everything, I know wine has to be involved! xo Nancy

rednest said...

Love that light fixture!! Quick question about what is covering your floors. I am participating in the link up on Thursdays and after laying new plywood planks, we are staining and varathaning this week-end. How long before you were able to inhabit the space again, and what type of paper is it covered with now to protect it?

pam {simple details} said...

SO worth it, sweet friend!! I'm feeling pretty bad whining about my week of diy progress right now! :)

SHERRY HART said...

Good Lord....what a freaking story. Your husband is a saint because my husband would have wanted more sexual favors than I am willing to give.....to move that mountain. But it was worth it. Sometimes at Ballard Backroom you find things that are used for photo shoots in catalogs that are not yet available to consumers.....lucky dog.

Tobe | BIA said...

the new globe is baller! next week will be better!!! so awesome of your man to help. that makes a big difference. oxox

Ashlina Kaposta said...

well, that light fixture is definitely worth all of that hard work. my god. as any design gal knows, it has to be just as you envision it and all the work sometimes, makes you appreciate the room so much more.
mega impressed girl.
XO

Linda {Calling it Home} said...

I just can't even believe that he can do this stuff. The globe you found was so worth all the effort (on your husband's part). It will be such an amazing detail in your space.

Mallory said...

Oh I needed these giggles today...you crack me up. The light is gorgeous and so worth the trouble! And big ups to the hubby...I would have been served a thick manilla envelope by now ;)

Albertina M. Cisneros said...

Your husband is a saint! I can't believe all this work you guys did. You need to have your own show on TV or something. I'm so impressed with your major DIY skills. The globe pendant is AMAZING. Wao...that was such a good find.

Carrie @ Cosy Carolina Interiors said...

Gorgeous light! I'm so glad that it worked out. Wishing you lots of easiness for the upcoming weeks!!

Jessie said...

Thanks for sharing with us your light fixture saga, I appreciate your honesty. You are fortunate to have such a handy hubby. The brass globe looks beautiful, can't wait to see more next week!

Jessie
www.mixandchic.com

Sara Lorton said...

So worth it! It looks amazing :)

Elisa of Fancy Free Me said...

Holy smokes what an epic light saga! You deserve a medal after that install.

home before dark said...

WOW! Just WOW! I can't believe you had the good sense to marry a man who can turn dross into fab brass! My husband's grandfather was an electrician. My husband's father and my husband are lawyers. I said for years that two generations of lawyers couldn't change a light bulb. Having paid through the whazzzooo for electricity in my my kitchen gut job, I am saluting a job well done. Hope the Mr. V got as much of whatever adult beverage he prefers.

ps I've learned that it's best to switch to red wine. It lowers the HDL and makes me feel medicinal when it has to be applied in liberal enough doses to calm DIY epidemics.

Naomi@DesignManifest said...

Holla AMAZING globe. Well worth the effort. Also, way way jealous you have a Ballard Designs Outlet near you! We don't have BD up north and its sad.

Andrea said...

My goodness! Your husband is definitely a saint... Just look at his poor knuckles, bless his heart! That globe is fabulous! Once everything is finished, it will be well worth all the hard work. :)

XOXO,
The Glam Pad

Cheryl said...

Your writing is relatable to me on so many levels. My husband is an electrician, quite handy, and I secretly think he likes these kinds of challenges as much as he might huff and puff. Something tells me your husband does too. Great work, awesome fixture, hilarious recount!

erin williamson said...

Man, did I jokingly say I was the king of the world? Handing my pretend crown over. My mind just blew up.

Elizabeth @ The Little Black Door said...

I'm exhausted just reading this. You are one tough cookie! And the electricity gods rewards your endurance with that amazing pendant. I don't have an IKEA OR a Ballard Outlet, I think I need to move!

Beth Connolly said...

That was quite an undertaking, but it's a beautiful fixture.

Reichel Broussard said...

Wow! I'm loving all of the down and dirty progress!

Morgan Smith said...

i would have gone back for that globe light as well. what a deal!! and what a hubbie!!!!!

Tricia said...

So in love with that light and even more so as it was such a steal! How fun to have a Ballard's outlet nearby. It's going to be such a gorgeous room!

Tricia // Suburban Bitches

alison giese Interiors said...

OMGod, you poor thing! I can understand your tenacity, though. I'm the same way. My mother calls it "like a dog with a bone" - whatever that means.

You're right, though. Totally worth the sweat equity. It looks fantastic. Much more Arteriors or Visual Comfort than Ballard.

Cheers to you, E.

xo,
ag

therelishedroost said...

Love the light fixture!

Tiffany said...

I can say that it was so worth all the work since I took no part in it;) It's a gorgeous light at any price.

Laurie from Laurie Jones Home said...

Here's what really happens when you design a room, never fails, nothing can go smoothly right?! Lucky you for a handy husband! The light fixture is stunning though! Love your work!

Brenda said...

Your husband is a prince. Happy that you got the light. It is stunning.

kate@willowinteriors said...

Oh my gosh, you have one fabulous mister and a lot of 'thanking' to do!!! :)
What a deal on an amazing fixture!!! It's so scary to realize we have no idea what's behind our walls of an old house!

Emilie ShellAndChinoiserie said...

There are no words, but imma try: you. are. my. hero. Oh--and does your husband give lessons? My hubs whole extended fam is in Cincy (The Fisks?) and I think we may need to set up a little "workshop" for him on our next trip ;-) Go Vs go!!!

Rebecca { MyDarlingHouse} said...

That light is worth it! So so gorgeous and will be perfection! You are making tons of progress, don't worry, you'll fly thru the rest of your to do list in no time! Last year I had some work done on my kitchen and discovered that the jerks that lived here before me had used an extension cord that they ran up from the basement, through the wall, and then just put an outlet over it like a normal socket! WTF! You never know what you'll find with electrical lol.

Carol@6WilsonBlog.com said...

Oh that light is worth every bit of what you put into it! Your project is coming along so great!! I'm only doing the link up and my husband is tired, I imagine yours must be too!

My Notting Hill said...

The globe is gorgeous - good for you all for persevering. It looks beautiful!