I have a fairly adverse reaction to the implication that I can’t, or shouldn’t, do something just because I’m a girl. As if having a vagina must somehow inhibit my ability to move large objects or find my way to the Interstate. In fact, being on the receiving end of this message just makes me want to do the thing in question even more. Now I’m very happy to report these situations are few and far between—but when it does happen, I must blog about it.
Last weekend I was up north visiting my younger sister, Brittny. She bought an adorable little fixer-upper about a year ago and I’ve been helping her with some of her home improvement projects. The weekend’s mission was painting her kitchen. As we were taping, sanding, prepping, and drinking, we asked ourselves—why stop at paint? Why not change out the light fixtures? Truth is, Brittny’s dad is a builder/contractor and the plan was for him to change out the lighting on his next visit, but I informed Brittny we could do it ourselves. I’ve watched G do it several times and I’ve seen it done on HGTV—practically a college education in light fixture replacing if you ask me. So we decided to give it a go. A couple hours later Brittny’s dad calls and she tells him about our big plans for lighting. At which point he totally freaks out, says we’ll kill ourselves, bargains to drive the 4 hours north so he can do it himself, and all-out begs us not to touch the lighting. Did we listen? Hell no. I promptly tell Brittny, “We can do this. Our vaginas can figure it out.”
So the one thing I didn’t factor in is that lighting in a new home and lighting in a 50 year old home is quite different. We discovered this after removing the rusty old fixture from above the kitchen sink. There was no outlet box and no skinny little wires perfectly capped just waiting for their next luminary. Instead we saw one thick wire, which split in two, sticking straight out of a hole in the wall. Time for Plan B. I decided to take pictures of our wiring situation (right) to show to the lighting specialists at the hardware store. Brittny and I quickly agree that if they ask us if we’ve ever done this before our answer will be yes.
We returned from the hardware store with new tools and new found knowledge. Our situation was nothing a little hand saw couldn’t remedy. In addition to being very scary looking, the old wires were not centered above her sink—enter the hand saw. So I got to work cutting a centered hole out of the wall. Then I had to put my hand through the hole, pray there were no spiders back there, pull the wires out of their existing spot into our new spot a few inches to the right, and install the outlet box.
Afterwards, Brittny went to work patching:
Before & After of the lighting above the kitchen sink:
Before & After of the kitchen ceiling light:
In addition to kitchen lighting we also tackled the dining room. When Brittny bought the house there was an atrocious bright gold chandelier hanging in the dining room. There is no wiring through the ceiling so it was actually plugged in to an outlet in the kitchen (pic right). There was also a wall sconce on the right wall. We decided to remove the sconce and hard wire the new chandelier using that wiring and hang it from the existing ceiling hook. We also replaced the vinyl blinds with bamboo roman shades.
Before & After of the Dining Room:
Before & After of the light fixture:
The change new lighting brought to these two rooms was amazing! And completely worth every effort. And the wiring—which Brittny’s dad was most worried about—was by far the easiest part of the entire process. In the end, we were quite proud of ourselves—and our vaginas—for tackling such a “big boy” project!
See more of my sister’s (almost zero budget) kitchen transformation!