Posts Tagged ‘light fixture’

Glass Bead Wallpaper in a Powder Room

May 21, 2017

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So, O.K., it’s a hard room to photograph. All I can show you is the papered wall behind the beautiful light fixture and the really cool mirror.

This wallpaper is embedded with tiny glass beads, which give it dimension, texture and sparkle. In the 2nd photo, you can see how the beads shimmer when the light hits them.

This wallpaper is by Antonia Vella, for York Wallcoverings. It is a non-woven material and is a paste-the-wall product. It is very thick and stiff, and difficult to manipulate, and very hard to cut through, especially the beads. Used lots of razor blades today.

I hung it in a powder room in the Rice Military neighborhood of Houston. The interior designer is Pamela O’Brien of Pamela Hope designs.

A Little Electrical Gerrymandering

May 9, 2017

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I removed a wall-mounted light fixture in a powder room and discovered this.

This is not really dangerous (depending on what’s inside the wall, that is), (and it’s been up for 20 years), but I doubt that it would pass code.

Several things are amiss… First and foremost, there is supposed to be an electrical box here. That’s a plastic or metal box. And all electrical connections are supposed to be made inside that box. In this case, the connection was made somewhere inside the wall.

The connection in this case is between the home’s wiring (either 12 ga. or 14 ga.) and the stranded wiring used by light fixtures. Somewhere along the line, someone fished some stranded wire through the wall, and made a connection somewhere inside the wall, and any cuts in the drywall were hidden, perhaps by the wall-mounted mirror.

So when I installed the new light fixture, there were not the usual 14 ga. wires to connect to, but instead stranded wires.

It’s a little unorthodox, not up to code, but not all that uncommon, and probably not dangerous.

All went well, the bulbs light up, and we expect no house fires. 🙂

Electrical Box Placement Throwing A Wrench in Wallpaper Job

January 25, 2017
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Here is a double-sink vanity in a master bathroom (Photo 1). For this post, we are focusing on the right sink and light fixture. In Photo 2, the original light fixture has been removed. It was a “bar” type fixture, meaning that it had a backplate and front cover that were rectangular (bar) shaped, and you can see the outline of that by the different paint color in the Photo 2.

In Photo 2, you also see the electrical box in the wall that supplies power to this light fixture. It is not centered over the sink. That was OK, because the original light fixture was centered over the vanity, not over the individual sink. The electrical box was not centered over the sink. This could be because there is a stud in the way, or because it was centered over a previous, pre-remodel sink that was situated differently, or because the electrician was lazy.

Either way, it didn’t matter, because an extra length of electrical wire was added, and the bar fixture was long enough that it could be moved horizontally to the desired position over the sink, and it was perfectly centered and looked wonderful.

The problem came when my clients, new owners of this ’50’s era, mid century modern ranch style home, wanted to install an updated, sleeker light fixture Photo 3). This new fixture has a canopy (front plate) that is plenty large enough to cover the electrical box. But it is NOT large enough to cover a trip horizontally across the wall to a point centered over the sink.

Which is another way of saying that if this new light fixture is positioned over the sink, as the homeowners want, it will not cover the electrical box, and the electrical box will show. And plus, the connections will not meet safety codes.

This leaves the owners in the hapless position of either living with the new light fixture slightly off-center over their sink. OR they can have the electrical box moved to exactly centered over the sink.

This is sometimes more easily said than done. There may be a wall stud in the way that prevents repositioning the electrical box. If the box can’t be moved, and the electrician elects to run a wire along or through the wall, there will be cut-up Sheetrock, and patches and possibly humps in the wall. Lots more complications that electricians and Sheetrockers know that I don’t.

And it caused the homeowner to have a delay in the installation of their dream wallpaper. I can’t hang wallpaper until the box is moved and the wall is repaired. And more cost top to pay the electrician – on top of the new wallpaper, new towel bars and light fixtures, and labor to install all of this.

Probably the worst part is having the wallpaper install scheduled, then not being able to move forward, and then having to scramble to find a qualified guy who can get the lights positioned correctly, and all with a quick turn-around, so the wallpaper install can happen within a reasonable time of the original install date.

Moral of the Story: If you are going to change light fixtures (or any fixtues), it’s a good idea to do this before the new wallpaper goes up.

Wallpapering Around a Wall-Mounted Light Fixture

January 29, 2016
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Wallpaper looks much better when it goes behind switch plates, light fixtures, etc. Here is what it looks like after I have removed the fixture. You are looking at the electrical box, and the safely-capped wires inside it. The white holes on either side are where the screws that hold the fixture to the wall go.

The second photo shows you what it looks like with the light put back in place.

This material is a woven grasscloth, and has a texture that homeowners are loving right now.

New Toy – Cool Light

January 21, 2016

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This very bright LED flashlight is no larger than a Magic Marker, but it sure puts out a LOT of light. This is the small version, just $10 at Southwestern Paint (Houston). They also have a larger, brighter one for about $25.

It fits in my already-stuffed-to-overflowing toolbox, and stands by itself, two nice features.

Today, my first day to have it on the job, I used it to light the bathroom room while I removed a light fixture.

A Little Creative Wiring

January 6, 2016
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I am working in powder room in an expensive home in a brand new subdivision in far northwest Houston, built by a big-name tract home builder. I have removed the wall-mounted light fixture and found this … The horizontal bar is the mounting bracket for the light fixture, and the round tube is the nipple that holds the fixture in place. No on to the electrical wiring …

Electrical connections are supposed to be enclosed in a plastic or metal electrical box. As you can see, there is no box in sight.

The wires were fished through the wall and pulled through a hole, sans box, and then connected to the light fixture.

The other problem is, the wires you are seeing are not the 12 or 14 ga. AWG copper wires that carry the household current that the light fixture is supposed to be hard wired to. Instead, thinner braided wire has been used to make connections somewhere inside the wall, hopefully inside a proper box, and then pulled through the wall and connected to the light fixture. You might also notice that these wires are silver (aluminum?) instead of copper.

At least there is a ground wire.

I suppose the electrician did this so he could center the light fixture over the sink. The subdivision may be outside any incorporated city limits, so possibly there are no governing building codes. Either way, I doubt this would pass code in Houston, or any city with an attnetive Building Inspector.

Why I Carry a Lot of Tools

November 9, 2015
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I like to remove switch plates, towel bars, and light fixtures before papering, so the new wallpaper can go behind them, for a neat, uniform look and no edges to peel up. Many bathroom accessories come off with aid of an allen wrench. In the top photo, my usual allen wrench set is in the back. But it would not turn the nut inside the towel bar – it did not fit.

Good thing I also carry around a set of metric allen wrenches. That is the larger one in the picture, and it did the trick. In the second photo, you see the mounting hardware that is still on the wall. I will use my screwdriver to remove that, so that the new wallpaper will cover the entire wall surface. Then just a few holes for the screws to hold the bracket in place, and there will be very little damage to the appearance of the paper. This will be helpful in case the homeowners decide to change or move accessories later.

Keeping Paste off the Light Fixtures

May 14, 2015

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Usually, I remove light fixtures, so the wallpaper can go behind them. But this one was a little complicated, plus I knew that the wallpaper pattern would allow me to disguise “relief cuts” so I could pull the light fixture through the wallpaper. But doing that would mean the light fixture would be exposed to the paste on the back of the wallpaper.

So, as you can see, I wrapped the sconce in plastic. This kept it clean while I maneuvered the wallpaper around it and into place.

Don’t Scratch the Light Fixture

May 2, 2015

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I usually remove the light fixtures, so that the wallpaper can go tidily behind them. On these sconces, though, the nuts that held them in place had been turned “man-tight,” and I could not turn them with my fingers.

So I pulled out my trusty pliers. But, the pliers are metal, and, if they rubbed against the metal light fixtures, could well scratch the finish.

So I put blue painter’s tape on both the pliers and the light fixture. This provided adequate padding that neither the nut nor the metal base of the fixture were damaged.

Getting a Snug Fit Behind Light Fixtures

March 8, 2015

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I always take the light fixture down, so the wallpaper can go behind it, leaving a seamless look, and no chance of any wallpaper peeling up.

But, with certain types of fixtures, I will usually take it one step further, and remove the mounting bracket, too. This way, I can be sure the wallpaper goes well behind the bracket and the fixture, and no wall or gaps will show.

This is important, because some light fixtures (like this one) fit really tightly around the mounting bracket, and you want to see wallpaper around the fixture, not wall or gaps.