May 30, 2019 1:06 pm

DIY Fluorescent Light to Flush-Mount

When we bought our house in 2015, the hallway lighting situation was grim: an old, painted-over inset fluorescent light was the only light source. It took several seconds to come to full brightness once it was turned on, and it looked very dated. I wanted a regular flush-mount light in its place.

The before.

I had been complaining about several house-related projects I wanted to start but didn’t know how to do, and Daniel told me to just pick something and go with it, so I did! I started by researching how to replace a fluorescent light with a standard flush-mount one, and then I took the step of ordering a new light fixture.

To start the demo, we turned off the power at the breaker, and then ran a box cutter around the frame of the light to cut the old layers of paint free. Once that was complete, the edging came off and we were able to remove the diffuser and the fluorescent tubes as well. Then we pulled out the entire metal housing box and were left with… a giant ceiling hole.


We took a break for about a week to allow product orders to arrive and to formulate a plan. I did a lot of Googling and asking my dad and assuming we’d figure things out.

As the gallery above indicates, we installed the electrical box, cut out a circular hole for it in the drywall patch, installed the wood supports, dry-fitted the drywall patch, screwed in the patch, and then used drywall tape and joint compound to patch the ceiling. Whew!

I let the joint compound dry overnight, and then after work the next day I sanded all the worst lumps and ridges out. I didn’t think to buy any ceiling-specific paint beforehand so I raided our shed to see what the previous owners had left behind. There was a partial gallon of old flat white interior paint that was weirdly thick/grainy and kind of separated but you know what? It was a holiday and the paint store was closed so I just went with it.

Patched ceiling!

It’s not perfect and I will need to actually paint it with good ceiling paint at some point in the future, but several rooms in our house could do with some ceiling paint as well, so eventually I’ll get the good stuff and commit to doing several rooms. I was not going to do that for this project.

My haphazard 1.5 coats of paint dried quickly, and then it was time to install our flush-mount light! I got the Geometric Diamond Ceiling Light from Shades of Light designed by Young House Love, and an LED Edison bulb to go in it. The bulb is a little yellowy for my taste but it’ll do for now!

We did it!

I am so pleased. I’ve been thinking about doing this since we bought the house, but had assumed we didn’t know enough to do it. Turns out that flying by the seat of your pants can sometimes work!

It’s so nice to have a regular light! It feels like such a simple upgrade but I think things like this make a house feel a lot less dated – there’s no way someone would choose that fluorescent light for this hallway if it was a new build, and this way if we ever want to change out the light in the future (or if we ever sell and new owners want to!) it’ll be a piece of cake and won’t involve a two-foot wide ceiling hole.

I keep walking by to admire it!

Matte black everythinnnnng!
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May 2, 2019 1:53 pm

Buffy Merch Roundup

Yesterday was the final episode of Season 4 for the Buffering the Vampire Slayer podcast, and I now that I will have a hole in my life on Wednesdays until they come back in September, I wanted to do a roundup of the Buffy merch hanging out on my wishlist.

Girl Gang Tee

I live for Slayer (the band) and slayer (the chosen one) mashups! I have a different mashup tee that seems to have disappeared from the Internet entirely, and I would love this one too.

Get it here: Girl Gang Tee by Buffering The Vampire Slayer

Slayerette Enamel Pin

This cute pin was designed by Kate Leth! There’s also a matching “Cordette” pin if you’re a Cordelia fan (and why would you not be?).

Get it here: Slayerette Enamel Pin by Buffering the Vampire Slayer

Team Buffy Enamel Pin

So many good things happening here, including the scythes and stakes and the teensy-weensy little gravestones.

Get it here: Team Buffy Enamel Pin by ProphecyGirlClothing

If My Heart Could Beat Enamel Pin

“If my heart could beat, it would break my chest” is from Spike’s song (Rest in Peace) from the musical episode of BTVS!

Get it here: If My Heart Could Beat It Would Break My Chest Enamel Pin by The Silver Spider

Pain That You Feel Enamel Pin

Also a line from Spike in the musical BTVS episode. The Silver Spider has a ton of amazing items and always has entertaining IG Stories. My faves have been her Veronica Mars and Buffy rewatches!

Get it here: Pain That You Feel Enamel Pin by The Silver Spider

Bourbon Not Blood Enamel Pin

Another winner from The Silver Spider! Spike’s flask of bourbon.

Get it here: It’s Not Blood, It’s Bourbon by The Silver Spider

Be Like Buffy Tee

Pink and black and an excellent life motto.

Get it here: Be Like Buffy by TopGeek

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April 30, 2019 9:21 am

Hallway Closet Update

As part of my ongoing “small-improvements-can-have-big-impacts” updates to the house, I made a few changes to our hallway closet that have really improved its functionality.

The refresh actually began when I discovered that a mouse had been having a grand old time in the closet eating all the kids’ leftover halloween candy. It had left… evidence. In addition to setting out mousetraps around the house, I pulled everything out of the closet — all our bins, sheets, towels, and rags — and commenced washing it all and reassessing what really needed to be in there.

(The mouse was dispatched and we took some measures to help ensure it doesn’t happen again.)

I was able to get rid of some old blackout curtains we hadn’t use since we moved out of our old apartment, and I moved our sheets from the hallway into the specific bedrooms to which they belong. This made a big difference in the number of things I actually needed to fit in the closet.

I ordered a bunch of glossy white IKEA bins to replace the mismatched dollar store bins I’d had in there previously. I also committed to “folding” our towels in little jelly rolls versus flat-folding, which made it easier to choose a single towel without upending the whole stack.

Glossy white IKEA bins
Gotta work on not overstuffing the bins but it’s all a work in progress!

The crowning achievement was purchasing a battery-powered motion-sensor light for the ceiling. There isn’t a hardwired light source in the closet, so previously you were at the mercy of the ambient light in the house or the horrible fluorescent hallway light that doesn’t do a great job illuminating the contents of the closet. The motion-sensor light automatically turns on when you open the door, stays on for a length of time, then shuts itself off once the door is closed and it doesn’t sense any more movement. It has been a GAME-CHANGER. I marvel every time I open the closet and can actually see what’s in there.

Overstuffed IKEA bins and a motion sensor light!

In the future, I would like to drywall the closet (the back “wall” pictured in orange/brown above is the back of the fiberglass shower enclosure) and build actual shelves in there so we can stop using the wire shelving rack and have a more solid, built-in solution. For now, though, this is working much better than what we had before!

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