Posts Tagged With: light fixtures

DIY Remodeling plans for 2016 year.

The plans for this year’s remodeling include the front entry of the house and new french doors. We knew when we bought the house that the front entry area was in poor shape not only on the inside but on the outside also. There are several problems we will be tackling over the next few months and maybe even into next year.

Front French doors with stone surround

Front French doors with stone surround.

The Problems are #1. the exterior of the front entry is “Fake” stone. They are a molded cement that is the painted with the color and look of real stone. It is then applied to a board with mortar like tile. The problem is that the stones are attached incorrectly and the stones do not have enough mortar to hold securely. Leaving the stones open for water damage and just the effects of gravity have pulled the stones away from the plywood underneath . We have several “stones” that have fallen off and are just stacked up on the porch.

missing stone tile from upper door suround

Missing stone tile from upper door surround.

Problem #2 The doors are old and not very airtight, making them drafty and not as energy-efficient as they should be.

Light and air gaps are visible in the sunshine

Light and air gaps are visible in the sunshine.

Problem # 3 The amount of light that passes through the windows on the doors is not installed with U.V.Ray protective glass and the amount of heat and sun damage from the windows is an issue.

Problem #4 the inside of the entryway looks fine but needs updated with new lights and some wood and stone to tie it with the family room remodel.

inside of all white entryway before update

Inside the all white entryway before update.

So as spring approaches I need to get started on looking at new energy-efficient french doors. I want less glass and the glass that in the new doors must be U.V. Ray reducing.  We hope to install new flooring in the kitchen some time in the future and I want to eliminate the possibility of fading to a new floor. I also want less glass because the doors are on the western side of  the house. The sun just burns through the current windows allowing too much heat into the house the afternoons.

I will be working with a contractor who will be help us with measurements and ordering the new doors and will return again for installation. French doors are a two or three-man job for installation and Tom and I will need all the help we can get to get them into place in one day.

As for the tile on the outside of the house we will replace the doors first and allow any of the old facade to become damaged or cut away before we even think about replacement. Once the doors are in place, the removal of the fake stone will begin and we will be ready to order the new tile. We are planning on using Ledger Tile with natural colors of sandstone to blend in with the brick of the house. The application will be almost the same as the “fake stone” but done with better water-resistant backer boards and lots more mortar.

The inside may not get completed this summer as Tom is going to have Carpal Tunnel surgery, but the plan is to add two wall sconce lights on each side of the doors, remove a ceiling light, and add new wood trim and more Ledger Tile. So the summer work plan is just about to begin and I am excited to get started. The doors are the most important part of the project and our goal is to have them finished before the summer heat keeps us inside. The rest will wait on Tom’s recovery.

We have been having a hard time finding samples of ledger tile here in West Virginia. I am upset that Home Depot does not have them in their stores in my state but have them in Pa.  We can see them  online so Tom and I plan a trip to some of the bigger retailers out-of-state over the summer while he is unable to actually do the work but can see the materials. Sometimes living in the country can making things a little more complicated.

So when we get a few things ordered I will share the plans and photos as we update the doors and stone work. The year looks full of more fun and learning as we learn more about installing new doors, tile and mortar and correct applications outside.


Categories: DIY projects, hobbies, home improvement, home remodeling, ledger tile, light fixtures, spring | Tags: , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Mason Jar Chandelier a DIY project: With Our Barn Wood Update

To add a real personal touch to the family room remodel Tom and I added two Mason Jar chandeliers. We removed an older ceiling fan/light fixture that did not properly light the large room and replaced them with 2 light boxes, with 6 bulbs of soft colored pendant lights. We got the idea from a looking at web pages that had barn wood and county rooms that had used Mason Jars as shades for light fixtures. Tom and I worked out what we wanted and the did some experimenting before settling on two lights instead of just one large one. This is what we ended up making out of the scrap wood left over from the walls. This is just one of the two light boxes we made.

Mason Jar chandalier made from old barn wood

Mason Jar chandelier made from old barn wood

Each box houses three lights (like the one above) and each light has a 40 watt clear appliance bulb inside a pint mason jar. Using the ring and seal as our bracket to support the jar. Each jar is removable can change in color or size, up to a quart jar with many decorative colors… This is my first combination Green, Clear and Blue. At some time in the future I will stain a few clear jars a warm yellow if Ball does not produce them soon!

The room looks like this with both light fixtures, you can see in the photo where the ceiling fan/light used to mount. These lights are about 8 feet apart and mount to ceiling rafters with brackets in our attic. The brackets attached to wooden blocks on the drywall part of the ceiling that slide into the wood boxes and attach with double-sided blots that have wood screws on one side and machine screws on the other, topped with acorn nuts and washers.

two  mason jar light fixtures installed and working ... yea!

two mason jar light fixtures installed and working … yea!


The lights are pretty easy to make and there are a lot of ideas on the internet, some have “how to” videos and others are just photos. So to explain what we did here I have added some photos and descriptions that may help if you to make these  yourself.

First, Tom and I had to decide three things, how much light we wanted, how many fixtures we wanted and finally how big should the shades be. So with a little test light that Tom wired up we started with clear quart jars and the idea of having 8 lights on one fixture using 90 watt clear bulbs. Wow that was just toooo bright.Unless we wanted to buy Edison light bulbs ( they appear sepia in color) at 9 dollars a bulb we had to come up with something less bright.

So we started to scale down what we wanted to make. The one big box idea changed to a two box light set up so that the light would fill the entire room and not blind people watching  the T.V.  Then we needed to rethink the amount of light we needed. I could have used the Edison bulbs at 60 watts they are still a less bright light than clear bulbs but the cost of the bulbs was just silly about ($100.00 ). The bulbs would cost more than the whole fixture.I still wanted clear bulbs so we went smaller and lower wattage. The standard 40 watt clear bulbs cost me 4 dollars for 4 bulbs, so the price was good and we could use a smaller shade and I had many jars to use.I have some clear jars and some colored already. I like the colored ones to use for drinking glasses,vases and candle holders. So I had no money in the colored pint jars and had lids and rings in my collection of canning supplies.

We then decided that 4 lights was really more than we needed wattage wise and the look of three pendants looks better than 4. So the two light boxes with three small jar covers with 40 watt bulbs became the plan. Tom made the boxes out of scrap wood we had left over from the Barnwood Builders remodel and drilled three holes for the light cord wiring. The wire was the most expensive portion of the fixture and we bought a 25 foot roll and had about 4 feet left over. Tom wanted the wire to match the socket and fill it completely so we kind over did what we needed to produce a 40 watt light but it looks great so the extra money was worth it in the long run.

light box with three holes the box face is 36 inches with a 1 inch frame on all sides

light box with three holes the box face is 36 inches with a 1 inch frame on all sides

Tom wiring in light cords into shallow wiring box

Tom wiring in light cords into shallow wiring

wiring for Manson Jar chandelier

wiring for Manson Jar chandelier

From here you can see how we could wire up more than one light to a single fixture. We mounted two Grounding Bars ( found in the fuse box section) to the side of a shallow blue wiring box. Each bar has room for several connections we would only use three on each bar. One bar is the ground and one bar is the hot,then the wiring box  mounted to the center of the light box with wood screws. The cords were then cut to length on the other side and a zip ties  applied to the cord so there was a stop on the cord. This prevents the weight of the shade and bulb from pulling on the cord and possibly pulling the cord out of the grounding bar. Then sockets attach to the cords. We used two-part sockets so that we could add the lid to the socket as the bracket to hold on the jar.

Adding sockets to cords of three Mason Jar light fixture

Adding sockets to cords of three Mason Jar light fixture

Chandelier light test

Chandelier light test

After adding the sockets to the cords it was time to make sure the wiring worked and add bulbs to see how bright the lights were. Tom just stripped an old extension cord down and wired it into the power bars on the inside of the box, plugged the other end into the wall outlet to see if what he had made worked properly; this is what I saw. Now we just needed to get the lids cut for the shades and add them to see if they were going to look good.

Cutting the lids was pretty easy if you leave the lids on the jars and tighten up the rings. Otherwise it is almost impossible to hold the lids in place with either your fingers or small clamps. Tom used a 32 mm hole cutter to cut the holes … the cutters hole is just shy of what we needed and the fit was rough from the cutter.

Standard 32 mm hole cutter to cut holes in canning jar lids

Standard 32 mm hole cutter to cut holes in canning jar lids

cutting hole in lid of Mason Jar for light fixture

cutting hole in lid of Mason Jar for light fixture

ruff hole cut in canning jar lid

rough hole cut in canning jar lid

To make the edges smooth and increase the size of the hole Tom used a small grinding stone bit in his drill. He ground off the edge until the socket fit into each hole and the edges are not super sharp. Then he fits each socket into the lid and drills ventilation  holes 4 each in the lid.

Tom grinding down the lid and enlarging hole for socket

Tom grinding down the lid and enlarging hole for socket

drilling 4 vent hole into lid of Mason Jar light shade

drilling 4 vent hole into lid of Mason Jar light shade

When complete the lids and rings were added to the sockets, then we screwed on the jars and tested again.

Mason Jar light shades... blue green and clear ready to add to light fixtuer

Mason Jar light shades… blue, green and clear ready to add to light fixture

Testing Mason Jar Lights these are ready to install

Testing Mason Jar Lights these are ready to install

The installation was a two person job as the boxes are heavy. The barn wood box with wiring is held in place while the wires connect at the ceiling for a long time. I would suggest using two ladders it makes installation much easier. Be prepared to use a strong set of arms as you push the fixture on to the screws hanging down from the blocks attached to the ceiling. Once in place we were so excited to see that they both worked and the light filled the entire room instead of only in the middle that we just stopped working for a couple of days to enjoy what it looked like.

View from back of room to front with both Mason Jar Chandeliers

View from back of room to front with both Mason Jar Chandeliers


We have also added a small sconce light to the back wall over my computer desk so that we can see at the desk without turning on all the lights. Again it needed rewired because I did not want to open up the wall to install it. Tom added a switch cord and we stuffed the cord between the boars on the wall. It works great and in the future I will get a brown cord and tack the cord in place.

New light sconce light fixture and some of the base board and ceiling molding

New light sconce light fixture and some of the base board and ceiling molding

So I am slowly getting the furniture back in place, photos hung and rugs put down. It will be next week before we have every thing back in place and I can take after photos but this gives you an idea of how far we have come. It has been more work then I imagined and took about a month longer then I hoped. But we did this ourselves no contractor was really needed.We did call on lots of friends and family to help out over the last 4 months and it was all worth it in the end. Can’t wait to share the after photos.

Categories: Barnwood, Barnwood Builders, DIY, Home Decor, home improvement, home remodeling, light fixtures, Mason Jars | Tags: , , , , , , , | 20 Comments

Blog at


The pleasures of a bunch of old typewriters

Mitch Teemley

The Power of Story

Barbour County Development Authority

Providing economic vitality for Barbour County, West Virginia

Life on the Massanutten

Musings from the Massanutten Mountain

The Helsingian Pathfinder

the inward path is the way ahead

Daydreaming Millennial

Come for the thoughts, stay with the journey.

Monkeying Around

Monks, monkeys and monkeying around. An adventurous life.

Dreaming Reality

If Existence is a dream, let us dream perfection....

For anyone who has ever thought of attempting the #vanlife, A Life of VANity is an unfiltered, realistic look at the unglamorous day-to-day happenings of life in a Chevy G20 Conversion van. Unlike other #vanlife blogs, A Life of VANity is here to show you that it isn’t all roadtrips and ocean-side views, and that there’s nothing wrong with living in a backyard or two.

Mark Explores

Nature + Health

Thrifty Campers

Nature Knows No Such Barriers



%d bloggers like this: