In which I change the ceiling lamp in the hall and feel mighty

Our humble abode is not in disrepair. The roof is not caving in, the basement is not leaking, and the floors do not threaten to fall away with the lightest of steps.  With the exception of new windows (and eventually, when I win the lottery, extending the ceiling and adding a skylight in the living room), almost everything I would like to do to improve the house is cosmetic. Case in point: light fixtures.

My major issue with this house is that it feels quite dated, and the light fixtures are a serious contribution to that problem. It’s not just style and design I’m talking about, although that is a major failing of whomever decorated previously. (Frosted, floral, gold-trimmed bits of daintiness may do it for my grandmother, but not for me.) It’s also function. Of all the ceiling lamps that were in the house before we moved in, not a single one was appropriate.

For example, in the largest rooms (the master bedroom and the dining room), ceiling lights are in the form of teeny, delicate, frosted covers that hugged the plaster so tightly that I’m surprised any light got through at all. Larger rooms, in my opinion, require larger light fixtures to a) create more light, and b) balance the proportions of the room. Conversely, the smaller rooms in the house contain large, bulky, hideous monstrosities that dangle a foot below the ceiling, making the room seem even smaller than it actually is. One of these smaller rooms is a room in which Hubby and I both teach, so we are in there quite a bit.  The light fixture in there is problematic for a couple reasons: a) it’s just plain ugly, and b) it’s treacherous to our noggins. I’m not particularly tall, but my poor head is in danger of getting wanged whenever I wear heels. Since it’s a problem for me, it’s definitely a problem for the Hubborama, who towers over me no matter what my footwear, and who has on several occasions gotten clocked during lessons.

The moral of this unnecessarily lengthy introduction is that I’ve decided to be a little more proactive about home improvement. Specifically, that means not waiting on my keester for the Hubster to help me with something I could easily do myself.

New (to us) lamp - overbearing china cabinet + handsome, handy husband = awesome dining room in a blurry photo

When we replaced the light fixture in the dining room, it was definitely a two-person job – not to remove the existing piece of fru-fru that was already in place, as it was an example of the delicateness I mentioned above, but to install the new light fixture. I have been fortunate enough to have parents who hang on to everything, just in case I might want it. One of the items I grabbed from the We Don’t Want It Anymore But Maybe Our Kids Do pile was an incredible ceiling lamp that I believe was a gift from my grandparents to my dad at some point. We love this lamp – we call it a cross between nautical and steam punk. It is the epitome of awesome. And it is heavy. Not so heavy that we couldn’t lift it, but heavy enough that support was needed. So, while Hubby fiddled with the wires, I held it up so that it wouldn’t rip out of the ceiling. It only took a couple hours (mainly because we foolishly decided to start just before sunset), and we ended up with a fantastic piece of nautical steam punk that seems proportionate to the room both in style and size. Go teamwork!

Only $5!

Let’s switch gears for a moment. While at Ikea on New Year’s Day, we found a simple, frosted ceiling lamp. The Lock, as it is known in Ikealand, is small – only about ten inches in diameter, and being plain, it does not draw attention to itself. The best part is that it was only $5. Perfect, we thought, for the front hall.

The Hubmeister had originally planned on installing it on some afternoon, so I was going to wait for him. However, he has done much of the work around here by himself lately, and as I said earlier, I wanted to be more proactive about my role in home improvement around here. So, in the time that it took him to take a shower, I surprised myself by installing a ceiling lamp all by myself. Nothing broke, the light works, and I didn’t electrocute myself. And let me tell you, gentle readers – it looks good! I love its simplicity, that it doesn’t insist itself upon you as the first thing you see when you enter the house, and that being so close to the ceiling I don’t feel the need to duck.

As an aside, I feel I should mention that Hubby and I are awful about taking “before” and “after” photos. We’re also bad at thinking ahead – we could have (should have) gotten another of the Lock lamps for the hallway outside our bedroom.

I feel like I have been productive today. My project was slightly less monumental than the installation of the dining room lamp, but I still feel like Superwoman.


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