You should all know well by now that I’m not a fan of the “boob light.” I’m not really a fan of much that’s “standard” or “construction grade” anyway, but especially these ceiling fixtures. I can’t exactly pinpoint what it is about them that I loathe so much, but as luck would have it, we moved into a house with 4 of them. I’m certainly willing to acknowledge that this is not a high number, but it’s enough to be annoying. Especially given the fact that the only other type of light fixture in this house is a ceiling fan – which doesn’t exactly make me swoon either, but I keep them out of necessity.
Perusing IKEA’s website one afternoon, I came across this beauty:
Photo Credit: IKEA
Calypso … and finally in that moment, I knew it was time to replace the light in the kitchen. I just couldn’t stare at that old fixture one more day knowing that such a beautiful alternative existed in the world.
A few weekends ago, I fought off beach traffic on I-95 to go buy her. Luckily, I’ve replaced a few light fixtures in my day and am familiar with the process. Unfortunately, that didn’t seem to make a difference. Installing this fixture was one of the biggest pains in the butt I’ve experienced. But let me back up a bit to removing the boob.
For anyone out there who has never had the pleasure of removing one of these fixtures from their ceiling, let me enlighten you on the process. First, TURN OFF YOUR POWER. Easiest way to make sure you’ve done this is to turn the light on, then go to your circuit breaker panel and flip the switch to whichever room you’re working in. Go back and check to make sure the light is now off. Then with one hand holding the glass cover to the ceiling, unscrew the knob holding it in place. Then slowly lower the fixture from the ceiling and set it aside. There should now just be the base of the fixture and a small metal rod extending from the center. Unscrew the rod and set aside. Remove the light bulbs. Now for my little trick. If you’re doing this next step alone, take some painter’s tape and tape the base to the ceiling. This way you can use both hands to unscrew and you don’t have to worry about the fixture dropping on your head.
This trick would have been incredibly helpful had the base not been adhered to the ceiling from 20 years of being painted over. Excellent. We’ll just pry that off with a screwdriver then shall we? With the wire exposed, remove the orange or red wire nuts and untwist the wires. You’ll probably need to use a screwdriver to loosen the screw holding the copper ground wire. Now you should be able to remove the entire base plate.
Now for the fun part. We’ve got 8 1/2 ft ceilings on the main floor of our house. Something of a love hate relationship depending on the project. Aesthetics? LOVE. Painting? HATE. Replacing light fixtures? HATE. So there we were, the mister on the ladder and I on a kitchen stool, arms fully extended and shaking slightly with exhaustion.
The base fixture for Calypso isn’t exactly heavy. It’s just… we were exhausted. We were exhausted, you couldn’t see where the screws needed to go, and then after 10 minutes of cursing and grumbling, we realized the the old fixture plate didn’t have the right size screw holes to begin with. We set it down and walked away. This required time, rest, and a moment to come up with a plan B. I just couldn’t stand the thought that we might just have to put the boob right back up there.
After resting up, we decided to jury rig it. We connected the wires and set the ground wire. Then using the screws that hold the fixture plate to the ceiling, we attached the base to the plate to the ceiling. Not ideal, but hey… it’s up.
The rest was easy after that. Screw in new bulbs – we used Energy Star LED’s. The fixture holds 3, but it was already bright enough with 2, so we didn’t see any need to use another. Luckily it’s one of those fixtures that you wouldn’t really notice if a bulb was missing. We put the glass cover up and flipped the power back on to admire our new beauty. Ta-da!
Anyone else done any electrical work recently?