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. Yay. I 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