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Another New Chandelier, this time the Dining Room gets an IKEA PS Maskros

We’ve apparently have been on a lighting kick as it’s two posts in a row about switching out chandeliers.  Last time it was the living room that got a switch and this time it’s the dining room.  When we bought the house I The old circle table and UFO lightthink the only ceiling fixture we agreed on liking was the UFO themed light in the dining room.  it was mod, clean, and matched the cheap hand me down circle glass table we were using at the time for our dining.  In fact, these two combined turned the dining rooms unofficial name into the circle room, and we adorned it with circle placemats, a circle rug, circle photo frames, etc.

After a few years with the existing light 2 problems became pretty apparent.  (1) it was pretty dim.  A single halogen bulb diffracted through a cylinder of glass is not a formula for bright lighting.   The room didn’t work well for games at night because it was too dim to read cards/rules/etc.  (2) it generated a lot of heat.  Those halogen bulbs are hot, and even though it was small, it hung low to the table, and thus you got the heat from it right up in your face.

As a bonus problem that came of our own designs, we switched the dining room table out with a triangle shaped one.  The table has a built in circle Lazy Susan , so it still works in the circle room, but it happens to be exactly the same size as the light, but based on some unfortunate geometry of the room, we could never align The old UFO light off center from the new tablethe two.  It may seem silly, but this got really aesthetically unpleasing to me.  So 3 strikes and your out I guess?

We were taking a nice afternoon stroll over at IKEA and they had on display their new PS Maskros Product, a giant more than two an a half foot diameter sphere of petals with a lighted core.  When you see it, you cant’ stop and look at it, then you get close to it and realize it’s made out of paper, wire, and that’s about it.  it’s very surprisingly affordable at < $100.

Installation was pretty easy, the big problem I ran into (that I always run into when replacing lights in this house) is that the plate’s screw holes didn’t line up with the ceiling box’s screw holes.  Apparently ceilign boxes changed their diameter at some point between when our house was built and the last couple of years as none of the newer lights fixture match up right.  Not a big deal though, just a titanium drill bit away from a making it all fit correctly. Also, since I have the standard 8 foot ceilings I had to fix the length of the wire so that the globe was very close to the ceiling.  On this model that can be a little tricky because you actually have to make the wire longer when securing the plastic base cover to the ceiling as it slides up and is held in place by locking it down to the wire.  It came out fine in the end though, so no biggie. 

The IKEA PS Maskros chandelierOne other note, I saw a lot of people complaining about this light because the plastic base cover’s diameter was smaller than the metal plate’s diameter.  This seems to be a problem with the smaller version of this light which is simply known as the Maskros (san PS).  If you get the bigger one, there should be no problems with the plate or covers side (unless you have a smaller ceiling box like me).

As far as the bulb, you can use any standard one.  I went with a 100 Watt equivalent dimmable fluorescent to eliminate the main problems of (1) not enough light & (2) light ran too hot.  I had never used a dimmable fluorescent before, and I’m not totally sold on them as they do not seem to gracefully change brightness as I would like as much as I would like, it’s more like they turn off and then back on at different settings.  But I can’t argue with the brightness quality, things are very easy to see in that room now, nor can I complain about the heat when sitting under the light.  so I will claim problems solved.

Because it’s paper, a lot of people have gotten creative and started to color it with markers and highlighters.  Once example is over @ http://www.ikeahackers.net/2011/06/mod-verner-pantonesque-lamp.html that I found to be a really nice color fade.  However the boss disagreed and hence we haven’t taken the extra step to color it in, but I still think it came out A-OK.  Here’s a picture of it lighting up the room, notice the cool shadows it creates:

The IKEA PS Maskros chandelier lit up

 
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Posted by on January 13, 2012 in Dining Room, Ikea, Lights, Things bought, Things done

 

New Chandelier in Front of the Fireplace

We’ve recently had a new addition to the family and it was decided that mom deserved a push present for her hard 9 months of work. A while back we were looking at fancy modern lighting on ebay of all places and saw The Old Can Lightsome really cool pieces that we drooled over a bit.

We Discussed where we thought we needed to change the lighting and determined that we were both pretty unhappy with the recessed Can light that shined down on the fireplace in the living room.  It was pretty dim, the opposite of ornate, and since it was an angled can really didn’t server any function.  You can see it in this first picture at the top, it kind of looks like a zit on the ceiling.

The first chandelier that caught our eye was this beauty, a De Majo Processco K19.  This thing is clearly ornate & eye catching, and we would have bought it right away…accept the auction was starting at $900, which sounds like a lot until you learn that retail on this thing is north of $2500.  I’m all for the nicer things, but didn’t think this really fit the bill.The $2500 De Majo Processco K19

From there we started looking at more affordable options and over & over many of the auction were being presented by a company named Great Shoppers (http://greatshoppers.net/) which appears to be a company in hong kong that cut out the middle man distributor and ships their products direct.  We agreed that if we were to get something then this bad boy would be the one that we’d want, so when it came time to shop for a push Silver Aluminum Wire Ceiling Lightingpresent the under $200 price was exactly the right spot.

I was a bit hesitant as there’s not a lot of info about great shoppers on the net, and they don’t have the most advanced fulfillment system, there’s no tracking on your packages, and it takes a LONG time for the stuff to get here.  I think shipping was over $70 as well, adding to the price, but it was a big (4’x4’x1’) box being shipped from the opposite end of the world.

Once it came, we were a bit busy with the new baby, but eventually I got around to installing it.  The first step was to take out the old can light.  When I unscrewed the bulb there were two pins on each side that allowed the lower part of the assembly/crown to detach.  It had two wires running to it which I cut to detach it.  That left the outer assembly which was attached to the mounting bracket which in turn was attached to the dry wall and studs.  I thought about keeping this there and just mounting the new light over it reusing the wires, but they weren’t long enough to make assembly easy and they were of a pretty thin gauge as well.  The new light was rated at 270 Watts vs the older bulb at something like 70 watts (less since it was fluorescent).

There were 3 screws holding the top can to the mounting bracket so I took those out and the can dropped down. and revealed a small junction box where the crappy wire was twisted into the standard romex.  The existing wires were shielded by a metal tube so I detached the tube and ran my own romex through it, hooked it up at the junction box and ran the tube right out the hole.

The hole was a bit of a problem as it because a huge source of cold, cold, cold air.  There has always been a draft in that corner of the living room and I always assumed it was from the fireplace but I think I discovered that The Original Can for the Old Lightit was this recessed light as there was virtually no insulation around it (probably because of heat).  Since the light was no longer recessed I put stuffed some insulation up there through the hole but the next time I climb around in the attic I’ll need to do a much better job of insulating that specific area.

The hole posed another problem.  The new fixture mounted to the ceiling with 4 screws, 1 each per sides of a cross or + bracket.  The fixture than mounted to that bracket via some screws that were fixed to the bracket (so they’d line up with the holes on the light’s base (the square part).  There was no way to mount the bracket through the dry wall appropriately using anchors as 1 hole would always line up on top of the existing can hole (you can’t mount to air) and another was right underneath the afore mentioned junction box (which wouldn’t accept a drywall anchor as it was made of The New Light Before Adjusting Heightstin).  I had a eureka moment and fashioned by own + shaped bracket from two straight brackets and put that above the drywall in the ceiling, then bolted that to the lights bracket.  This created a squeeze bracket that I wish I had taken a picture of, but none the less it was very sturdy and secure.

After that I just wired up the transformers to the new romex and tightened all the screws up.  At first the globes were all hanging much too low as you can see in the picture, but you can actually adjust them after you mount the fixture to the bracket & ceiling by just pushing the wire up and in.  If you go to high, you can push up on the lip of the hole for the wire and pull the wire down, but this is a bit harder and tears the hell out of your nails.  We played with a lot of different configurations and a few fingers nails later go it exactly as we wanted. 

The last step was to remove the protective plastic, this was actually harder than it should have been. Since I had such a snug fit to the ceiling and the protective covering went up and over the sides I actually had to un-mount it to remove the plastic where it would be squeezed (it would drive me crazy if a little bit of frayed cover was left) and I had to go a step further as every location a wire comes down has a mouth lip that actually is covering the protective plastic as well, so you have to loosen each of those by unscrewing a nut on the back and pull the plastic away from them otherwise you’d have frayed edges around them.  I would suggest doing this first before you wire it up as it makes things a lot easier, kinda like prep work.  It was all worth it though as you can see, I think it turned out great!

DSCF1339.JPG

The globes cast a really interesting pattern on the ceiling.  The base is a lot more reflective than the picture on the website which makes it look more like a brushed nickel than the mirrored steel look it actually has.  This mirror’d surface means it’s a bit easier to notice scratches so be very careful when handling it if you get one.  here’s another look at it where you can see the shape of the globes (they’re kinda hard to see with camera flash as they are a bit reflective):

DSCF1341.JPG

It’s been a few weeks and most the wires have straightened out from gravitational forces.  The globes themselves are not shipped as perfect spheres, but you can kind of man handle them and mold them to the right shape.  they don’t have to be perfect, but you can kinda see the flat edge on the front middle one, since the time the picture was taken I’ve rounded it out.

As far as Great Shoppers, I was hesitant to buy more than 1 thing even though they have a lot of cool stuff because you never really know what you’re getting.  This thing isn’t made of the best materials, and if it was mishandled it would probably not stand up to the abuse, but since it’s a chandelier that will likely never be touched it’s pretty safe.  I would probably buy from them again in the future to do other lights in the house, as long as they are away from contact.  Also it sucks that the little bulbs aren’t LED’s or Fluorescents, maybe I can find compatible bulbs although that might mean I’d need to change the transformers which would be a project for itself.  For the prices they offer things at, I think it’s worth the gamble as I feel like the pictures were pretty accurate to the product I received.

Finally, the new fixture sits right over a newer swivel chair that I’ve been using instead of a lazy boy and it works great as a reading light.  The living room is MUCH brighter (9 lights at 30 watts each will do that) now, so we’re pretty damn happy with the purchase.

 
 

Fixing the SUPERDRAWER

After spending about a year using the SUPERDRAWER we’ve found it to be awesome.  But every so often the left cabinet wall gets a little loose and the space for the drawer becomes too wide and the CIMG1119.JPGdrawer gets hard to move because it’s not on the rollers or it will just fall out altogether.  After adjusting the wall a few times I finally decided to fix it.

I went with a simple L bracket that mounted it to the bottom of the counter.  I also put a few screws from the side into the divider between the drawer and the cabinet space below.  This won’t do a lot to support the wall, but I figured it wouldn’t hurt.

Overall, as you can see in the picture, this doesn’t look too visually appealing, however  I don’t really care too much.  Hopefully one day we can update all the kitchen cabinets.

While I was tweaking the drawer, I decided to fix another nagging problem.  When I created the merged SUPERDRAWER I apparently didn’t make it to a perfect size as it hung a little off the edge of the rails.  To remedy this I decided to put a few washers between the rail and drawer on one side.  At first I put two washers behind every screw and tried that out, but it got really tight when it got near closing.

CIMG1121.JPGA quick measurement showed that my drawer was a little narrower at the back then at the front.  Reducing the washer count for the screw at the front down to 1 evened it out just right and now the SUPERDRAWER works better than ever.  You can see the washers in the picture.

 
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Posted by on February 16, 2011 in Kitchen, Things done, Things to do

 

Rerouting some wiring in the living room

As part of a much larger project we needed to move an electric box over a few feet in a wall in the living room.  The new location was on the opposite side of a supporting beam, so it wasn’t the easiest task.  CIMG1028We ended up drilling into the beams from the side (less than 1/3rd the width of the support, so within code) and just laying the wire across the wall as shown in the picture.

The big downside to this, is that if you ever tried to screw or nail into the part of the wall that has these wires, you’d probably get quite a shock.  So I now have a golden rule to never screw or drill or whatever into the wall between the 58” & 66” inch marks.

 
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Posted by on January 26, 2011 in Family Room, Things done, Wiring

 

NBA Style Basketball Hoop

Late last winter, I was windows shopping at Dicks Sporting Goods in the basketball hoops section and there was a sign on one of them that said something like “ask us about last years models at a The new goalrilla GS-I from our bedroomdiscounted price”, so I did.  turns out Goalrilla refreshes their displays ever year or two and Dicks sells the previous display models at a huge 70% discount.  I asked if they had any left, and sadly they did not, but there’s lots of Dicks locations in the area so I started calling around, and a few of them had hoops left.

There was 3 systems for sale, the GS-1, GS-2, & GS-3 (the goaliaths were on sale too, but I’m not a big fan of them as I’ve seen them fall apart pretty easily) which are normally priced at $1800, $1500, $1200 each.  The discounted prices were $700, $600, $500 so the only question was which one I wanted to go with.

The new goalrilla GS-I from belowAfter some debate, I decided on the big one, the GS-1, as it was the sturdiest and it would fit ok on the driveway.  I had to wait 2 months after purchasing to get it installed because the ground was frozen, but once they got it up I was in love.  It makes an awesome sound when you bounce the ball of the backboard, it’s so sturdy, and there are no noticeable problems with it from being on display for a year.

Two things I’ve noticed since it went up:

First, I have a really unfortunate crack down the middle of the hoop side of the driveway that needs to get fixed, I’ve already rolled my ankle twice.

Second, I need to extend the driveway in some way to get more surface area, it’s just a little too narrow with the 4’ overhang of the GS-1.  I’m thinking maybe something like a circular driveway or maybe just an extension to a third lane which would also be useful for parking needs.

 

Opening Up the Kitchen by Removing Cabinets

Even before we bought the house we agreed that the kitchen was a little outdated.  The sink was weird How the closed off kitchen looked before(we fixed that, even though it’s still pretty small), the tile has really weird old pictures on it, the stove is small, the microwave is really old, the stovetop is the old style coil, the fridge is pretty small and not one of those fancy tri-doors, and lastly it feels really closed off from the breakfast nook (although not the living room thanks to the picture window over the sink).

Slowly but surely we will fix all the problems (probably do a complete kitchen remodel one day), but for now we’re just trying to tackle them one by one.  This post is about that last issue of the kitchen feeling closed off.

How the opened up kitchen looks nowOnce we switched the trash compactor for more shelving we had enough shelf space in order to remove some of the cabinets in the middle of the kitchen, and that is exactly what we did.  As you can see in the pictures it really opens up the breakfast nook & kitchen and makes them almost appear as one giant room.  We had to patch in the soffit as it was just an open hole above the cabinets, but that wasn’t too hard.  We also used some contact paper to cover up the rough side of the remaining exposed cabinet.  Overall it looks pretty snazzy I think.

We’ve been toying with the idea to turn the counter into some sort of two tier system with a breakfast bar & some stools, probably using something like this capita mount from ikea.  This wouldn’t be a long term How the kitchen and nook are more together nowfix to all the kitchens problems, but it’d be a cheaper quick solution for sure.

 
 

New Lights in in the Bathroom

Ever since leslie’s secret project in the downstairs bathroom which turned out to be new paint we’ve been without a light in there.  It hasn’t really been too bad because of the giant window in that room keeps it pretty light in there during the day, New bathroom lights onand you can still see pretty good even at night,but clearly this wasn’t our long term plan.  for a while I even was using the old kitchen light in that room.

Why it took nearly 2 years two years to replace the light is because we are extremely picky.  For a long time we were looking for some type of chandelier to put in the bathroom.  We thought it would be a cool concept to have a chandelier in the bathroom, but we just couldn’t find one that was tight enough to the ceiling to fit the space that we had.

I think we went through about 4 product refreshes at the local lowes & home depot before we finally came across one that we both really liked.  We never really went searching the web for lights, and maybe that was a mistake, but it’s all over now.

Installation was really easy.  The main part hangs off the box, and the two arms require one screw each.  I ended up using some drywall anchors for those, and they’ll be a bit of the pain to get out because they are the cobra drillertoggle zinc type, which are really awesome and my personal favourite.  BTW, avoid New bathroom lights offthe non-zinc ones as I’ve found these ones to be total pieces of shit that will crack their plastic base if you hit any type of resistance.

 
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Posted by on December 30, 2010 in Downstairs Bathroom, Lights, Things done