November 2, 2009

Let There Be Lights!

It seems like a long time since I've had any progress on the house to report. I have good reasons though. For one, Dan has been working a lot lately, which is good for affording the projects we're up to, but not good for having the time to do them. Plus, we've been taking advantage of good weather for outdoor projects, such as putting in fence posts and preparing next year's garden. Sometimes we figure the house can wait. It's over 80 years and has been like it is for awhile, so what's a couple more weeks or months going to hurt.

Some house projects we've been chipping away at, like replacing the old knob & tube wiring. Actually, Dan pulled out all the K&T last September. He's been rewiring the ceiling lights in each room one at a time. This has meant that I've had no overhead lights in most of the house all this time! It has been a real "make it do or do without" experience.

Anyway, I am very pleased to report that I now have ceiling lights in every room in the house! (Insert thunderous applause here.) And, I have pictures to show you.

In some ways I would have loved to keep all the old ceiling light fixtures which are original to the house. In other ways, some of them weren't practical, some had frayed wires, and one was just downright ugly.

The original overhead light in the living room looked like this:

Original living room overhead lightAs much as I liked it, we decided that lights with a ceiling fan was much more practical for our hot summers and also to push heat from our woodstove out of the living room and into the rest of the house (which is working very well.) This is what we replaced it with:

Living room upgraded with fan - light comboThe dining room fixture on the other hand, was downright ugly:

Original dining room lightAfter some debate and a lot of looking around, we decided to go with something more elegant:

New dining room lightThe medallion was affordable and easy to install. The light wasn't what we originally envisioned, but from the selection in our price range, we liked it best and are really happy with the choice.

Overhead light in hall bathWe did something entirely different in the hall bathroom. The old ceiling fixture (pictured on the left) definitely needed to be replaced, but we didn't touch it. For one thing, we still need to finalize plans for this bathroom, which includes adding ventilation and heat. Under consideration for that is a combination ceiling vent/electric heater unit.

For another thing, the placement of the ceiling light isn't optimum for whatever one wants to do at the bathroom mirror. Dan definitely didn't like shaving with only that light. Our solution?

New over sink bathroom lightsTwo old-timey looking wall sconces with functional pull chains, leaving the wall switch for the future ceiling fixture. The only problem with these lights is, now I can hardly wait to replace the mirror/medicine cabinet.

In the hallway, we're did another switch-up.

Original overhead hall light.The original hall light is at the bathroom/linen closet end of the hall. There are switches at either end of the hallway which control this light. However, we have an idea for a master suite combining the spare room, hall bath, and a portion of the hallway, so...

New light added at other end of hallway... Dan put a new the light at the opposite end of the hall. The light switch at that end operates it, leaving the switch by the bathroom for a light in the suite. (Which is whole 'nother story.)

No fixture changes were made for the kitchen, bedroom, nor spare room at this time. We will change those when we get to doing those rooms. As you can imagine, I'm just happy to have the overhead lights again.

Let There Be Lights! photos & text copyright November 2009
by Leigh at


Life Looms Large said...

Love the new lights - especially with the medallion in the dining room. (We have a medallion in our dining room too!)

I like how you timed it so that you'd have lights now that daylight savings time is over!! I can't believe how early it gets dark now (before 5!)


Theresa said...

Hooray! Lights are always nice esp. now that we've all gone back to daylight "savings" time. I'm still not sure it saves anything at all and hate the turning back the clocks quite frankly.
Your lights in the bathroom look a lot like my bathroom lights. Very pretty and I commend you on your good taste! ;-)
I'm late on the rosehips but our main route into town is literary lined with wild rugosa roses and the hips are plentiful this year and large.

Julie said...

I love the new lights, the one in the dining room is so pretty! I don't think if you have old or a new home there is so much work to do!

bspinner said...

We have matching ceiling fans. Your lights are so nice!!!!

Is your old telephone in the last picture a working phone?

Have to admit I thought of Catzee when we decided to bring the cat into our home. I still hope we'll be able to find his owner and if not he'll be with us until......


Love the lights so beautiful done. I love the first old one, it looks like it has character. Could you re-configure it for a table lamp?

Renee Nefe said...

very nice! I especially like the lights in the bathroom.

but your pictures are lacking in kitty. ;o)

Leigh said...

Sue, when Dan first suggested a medallion I wasn't so sure. After I started looking around at them I decided one would really look nice in our dining room.

Theresa, thank you! Great minds think alike after all. :) Lucky you to have wild rugosas!

Julie, I think you're right. New or old, there's always a lot to do on a house!

Barb, the phone is actually a new push button model, fashioned to look like an old phone. When I saw it I really thought it suited the little phone cubby and couldn't resist.

Deep End, I really like it too. I may try to use it in one of the bedrooms; not sure yet. I hadn't thought about a lamp but it may be a really good idea.

Renee, you're right, no kitty. Of course Rascal is too sophistocated to hang from the ceiling :)

Robin said...

Oh my goodness. I seriously LOVE the old living room light. I would so re-wire that and put that in my house. Are you going to try and resell it?

Where did you get the bathroom lights? Those are really neat too. I had been looking at some lights from We will probably try to keep with old style looking lights when we start the rewiring project. You are much farther along then us as I am still living with extension cords for our lighting. We plan on getting the rewiring done this year.

Benita said...

Lots of work! I'm glad to see you are using the telephone shelf for a telephone, though!

Does remodeling a house ever reach a point of being done, or do we just start all over again at the beginning?

Flower said...

I like what you have done, the choices you have made and what thought you put into each change!
You are doing...and that is so fun to watch!!
Ok...Rose Hip Jelly?!! I have them in the woods...had no idea that you could make jelly from them!
You might add a couple of berries to change the color? Maybe a mild raspberry? Or a handful of rose petals? Rugosa hips are large...and they would add up faster! Mine are wild...hmmm? Something to think about.

Randy said...

Nice lights! I had to laugh when I saw your old lights - many of them resemble lights in our home! I have been dying to replace them, but need to do so much more remodeling first. You are very much ahead of us in the remodeling...

Leigh said...

Robin, I'm sure hoping to re-use the old living room light, I just haven't figured out where yet. Perhaps my studio, which needs a different ceiling light.

Benita, I'm definitely going to keep the phone cubby! The old-timey looking phone was a chance find on Craigslist, modern enough to have buttons instead of rotary dial, but with the right look.

I chuckled at the rest of your comment. Dan and I have been talking about that very thing. His dad was a project person so their homes were constantly evolving. We got so many outdoor projects though, we'd like to get to a point where we can just live here and move on to other things.

Flower, you should try all those ideas! I found that the rose hip jelly by itself mild flavored, so any additive would be fine. Actually the recipe calls for 1/2 cup lemon juice, which adds a smidge of tang to it.

Lynn, how funny. We may be ahead of you and Robin with the wiring, but I'm sure we're way behind in something else. :) For example, I've got a pile of hardwood flooring in my living room, a bare dining room, and two rooms filled with boxes I can't unpack until we get the dining room done!

Leigh said...

Robin, I almost forgot! I got the bathroom lights at Lowes.

Katrien said...

Thunderous applause ;)

Sharon said...

Improvements - every one. You're really going to enjoy that fan next summer. We ended up putting in five and they make all the difference in the world.

Unknown said...

You did better than i did Leigh. Ive been in the same house now for 18 years and i still have light bulbs hanging from the ceiling. My husband is an electrican !!!!!!

Leigh said...

Lynda, LOL. I'm guessing that when your husband is home from work the last thing he wants to do is work on electrical projects!