Over My Head

Wiring is complete for the overhead lights in Bob’s living room. But we can’t install all the fixtures yet. I’ll explain shortly.

I made up three circuits for the living room ceiling. One switch will control the lights on the south side of the room, illuminating a new L-sectional sofa. A second switch will control the lights on the north side, a more open space visible from the kitchen through the stair landing. And a third switch will shed light on the wet bar Bob plans to install on the west wall.

The lighting is low-voltage, using 14-2 cable with no grounding wire. Each circuit includes a “home run” back to the barnboard-clad basement stair nook, which will house a transformer. I stubbed out cable ends at the rough location of each light, giving myself plenty of slack, and I made up each converter box with wire nuts. Later, as Hans and Mark installed more of the ceiling, I measured the precise light locations, cut holes with a jigsaw (making sure the cables were taped up out of harm’s way), and let the converters hang through.

Converter boxes hanging down, awaiting lights.

Converter boxes hanging down, awaiting lights.

The light fixtures themselves came with the converters, and we have the right number of them. So why not install them? Wrong color! Bob ordered white fixtures to match the ceiling and trim, but 17 out of 20 packages were mislabeled and contained satin-nickel fixtures rather than white. Worse, the two colors connect to their converter boxes differently. That means I might have to take down all the boxes and make them up again for the proper connection when the correct white fixtures come. Fortunately, the lighting company’s customer service seems pretty responsive.

The white fixture on the right is correct. The satin nickel (aka grey) fixtures need to come down.

The white fixture on the right is correct. The satin nickel (aka grey) fixtures need to come down.

While those technical difficulties get resolved, we have an array of wall projects to take care of upstairs. Stay tuned.

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