Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Lighten Up

To finish out our Tax Return series, we figured we would share our latest endeavour.

And guess's in two parts!

Part one: Making our Kitchen Glow

Ever since the cabinets have been finished in our kitchen, we knew that they wouldn't look bright and clean without new lighting. As it was, the only light that the kitchen came with was in the center of the ceiling, directional (which meant it was horrible for task lighting), and looked like it was about to burn down our new abode.


 Referred to as "Death from Above" more than once.
It was obvious that it needed to go.

I had been thinking about it for a while. I considered possibly putting in a flush mount ceiling fan with a light, but wasn't sure that was going to give us the light we needed for cooking. I also considered just replacing this centered fixture with yet another centered fixture, but our kitchen is pretty wide, and this really suffered when it came to the corners.

One day while flipping through Pinterest, it slapped me in the face. All of the kitchens that I tended to pin either had large windows to the outside (which would be impossible for us), or had canned lights in the ceiling. After playing around with it in my mind for a while, I really became attached to the idea.

We purchased four lights (actually, two packs of four) from Lowes on sale for $29.99. They are 6" can light inserts in a medium warm light.

 I was also instructed by David (of Over on Dover) which in-ceiling mounts to purchase. They looked like this (one for each light).

After roughly marking the spots that we wanted them mounted, we ventured into the attic and started some recon. We knew that we would need to move insulation and boards out of the way to install the lights, so Scott cleared between both of the sets of studs we were near, just to be safe.

Welcome to our attic! It had the Christmas lights when we moved in. It's actually kind of nice up there, except for the horrible heat.

It was a little tricky getting to the lights located above the fridge and microwave because they were closest to the original outside edge of the house. They were practically where the rafters met the ceiling/addition.

After we had prepped from above, we returned down below to begin drilling holes to allow us to find where the lights would go from the attic. This also helped us make sure that we had enough of the insulation out of the way for the installation.

To do this, we bought the longest drill bit I've ever seen. It is almost hilariously long, but we knew it would poke up through the attic floor, allowing us to see it.


Here is one of the holes we drilled. I would drill up till Scott said stop, then he would make sure that the area was clear of debris and we would move to the next one. We did this for all four lights.

The hole from the bottom

The hole from the attic

After the lights were marked and drilled, we began actually cutting the holes for the light mounts themselves. We thought that this would be the easiest part of the process. We were slightly incorrect.

David brought over this really cool circle cutter that is actually made for this job. It mounts to your drill and it uses two sharp blades to cut circles till your cut comes free. The first time, it worked, but it began to slow halfway through the ceiling.

The second time, it didn't even make it all the way through. Oh, and it began throwing sparks (for video of the sparks, see our Facebook page! It's pretty awesome!). We ended up using it to mark the circle we needed, then cutting it with a drywall saw.

Turns out, our ceiling wasn't drywall. It was a mix of drywall and plaster, possibly with some cement (not kidding), making a cross section look like a Dagwood sandwich.

Hold the mayo.

This also explains why the hole cutter ended up looking like this.

The points are supposed to still be pointed, not flat.


We did finish cutting the holes, though. It was a weird feeling, having a view of the attic from the kitchen.

David then proceeded in installing the ceiling mounts. They are mounted by inserting them from below, then pushing them up through the pre-drilled hole.

This part is then held in by pushing tabs from the inside of the light, out. Tension is used to keep them in place.

Here are a couple of just the mounts installed.

Once all of the holes were cut and the mounts were installed, we could finally take down the center light.

Before: Minus two installed can mounts.

After: With five open holes to the attic.

The hole in the center was patched with a square mesh sticker and some putty. It doesn't quite match, but we knew that painting this ceiling was probably going to be on the docket at some point. At least the hole is closed and less of a spider entry now.

The lights themselves were inserted from below and are held in by tension wires. They took about a minutes to install. Even off, they made everything feel so finished.

When it was all done, it was an amazing change.

Scott had a whole different perspective of this project, but we decided that this post was running a bit long. He'll come back with information on how he and David actually wired everything in from the attic portion of this install in another post. Till then, look forward to Part 2: The Accent Enlightening!

1 comment:

  1. Big improvement! Going to do the same in my kitchen someday.