The husband came through with his awesome wiring skills. After five years in this house, we now have a dining room light I approve of. (As a small warning, let me say I am well aware of the popcorn ceiling, unpainted bookcase and tattered bland curtains that say "Jessie's dining room." We're working on it. Slowly.)
You'll admit it lacks a certain ambiance. Even lit.
Not only was it not good for seeing your food but the glare when reading a newspaper could positively blind you.
I saw somewhere online that people have refurbished older "brass" chandeliers cheap, so I decided that's what I would do. I have re-wired ceiling fixtures before. How hard could it be? (Cue violins in minor key.)
First, to find a chandelier. I trolled eBay for weeks and then came upon the perfect item. Hanging in my friend Jenn's kitchen. She swore she wasn't using it (it was not even over her table) and I offered to take it down. My husband, fortunately, stepped in and did the work, including replacing it with the above ceiling light so she could have some emergency overhead lighting, because it was not a straightforward job and I would have left wires hanging out of her ceiling.
Then I went home and got to work.
I ditched the old-fashioned flutey/frosted glass globes, wiped the lamp down, and masked off the unpaintable parts, like so:
Cleaned the little "candle stumps" (so realistic!) with a toothbrush and soapy water.
I had to get a little creative to clean inside the brass cups.
Next, I had to cover those candle stumps. Online I had seen people use newspaper and masking tape, but I found something better. If you are not lucky enough to have college students in your house, you might not have plastic shot glasses on hand. But I did.
Next, I took a can of metal primer and got to work. Eventually I realized hanging the light worked better than setting on newspaper. Live and learn. Also, it was damp and drizzly so it took longer than the "15 minutes" mentioned on the can. More like two days.
I then hung it, and did the necessary touchups, and then got to the fun part: the finish coat in matte black. Only it appears I never took pictures of that step.
Moving on: Rewiring. The old cord was old and frayed and only a few inches long. Apparently this had been mounted close to the ceiling in its original location, but ours would need to hang lower and be swagged over to the center of our table. I bought seven feet of black wire and seven feet of black link chain and took apart the lamp guts. I pulled out the old main wire and threaded the new wire down through the center of the light.
Below you see the new wires, stripped. I joined them to the five wires from the arms of the light (which were not in bad shape) and wire nutted them together. Again, no more pictures. What is wrong with me?
Next the lamp sat for weeks and weeks as my husband continued his unbroken streak of now 26 days without a day off.
Tuesday night he came home, dog tired, and suggested that we get the lamp off the table and hung over it. Being a contractor with a background in electrical, he happened to have two toolboxes devoted to wiring, which he brought in.
You know my personal motto, right? "Nothing is easy."
And so this old phrase proved true again. The box that had held the ceiling wires had been improperly installed by the former owner of our house and was ready to fall out. It was the wrong size. Plaster ceiling fell out in chunks. But he did wire the light.
Then I handed him the new dimmer switch to install. Again, the switch had been put in improperly and the new dimmer was too deep to fit in the existing box. Over the course of a couple of hours and numerous trips out to the workshop, he managed to get a box to fit the hole and get it all installed.
And, drum roll please, we now have a dining room light:
I was not allowed to show the plate on the ceiling because there's a piece of plaster missing and my husband didn't want his reputation ruined online. There's also a hole next to the ceiling hook where he drilled the "center" hole in the wrong place. He blames me for holding the tape wrong; I blame him for not listening to me when I said it didn't seem right. Whatever, there's other patching to be done so I'm not worried about it.
Edited to add: Anyway, in case anyone is curious, I didn't track all the expenses on this project, but I believe I had about $10 in spray paint and $30 in dimmer switch, wire, chain and lightbulbs. I consider that money well spent.
That's all I got for now except this:
That's a BLT made with homemade bread and homegrown bacon, lettuce and tomato. (Actually that's baby broccoli rabe greens because I didn't have lettuce. Humor me.) It's probably the last BLT of the summer so I feel it deserves recognition. Delicious.