Stringing Along

As the new living room ceiling comes into being, so does the room’s new overhead lighting scheme. Bob bought some nifty flush-mount lights and drew up a plan illuminating the room’s main axes. Then I set about stringing low-voltage wire to the light locations.

We certainly don’t want any exposed wires in the finished room, and we can’t cut through the ceiling joists without serious structural consequences. So I used the utility space behind our knee wall, which we built into the attic’s south side where the roof is lowest. For the circuit that controls the lights along the living room’s north axis, the wires follow a serpentine route: each string runs south three quarters of the way across the room, up into the utility space, back down in the next bay, and back north to the next light.

One future living-room light location, cut out and wired.

One future living-room light location, cut out and wired.

Where we’d already installed the ceiling, I located the center of each light, drew a circle with a compass, and cut out the hole freehand with a drill and jigsaw. I used a fishtape – an extendable piece of fairly rigid metal – to pull wires from one hole to the next. I also wired up each light connection using two pigtails apiece, hot and neutral.

The basement stair nook will house the transformer for all the living room lights, and Hans and Mark spent nearly half the week cladding it with salvaged lumber. A slew of mitered corners and the time-worn imperfections of their wood made this task quite difficult, but I love how it came out. When I wasn’t wiring, I stayed out of their hair by demolishing the kitchen ceiling, pulling down first the drywall, then the strapping. What I revealed is an interesting ceiling-joist pattern, with the kitchen joists running perpendicular to the rest of the house. Not sure why the original builder did that.

The newly ceilingless kitchen.

The newly ceilingless kitchen.

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