I spent most of yesterday formulating a plan for the electrical work in the closet. When I woke up this morning, I had finally hit on a configuration that I believe will work.
With the electrical plan at long last complete, I want to start working right away. However, there are a few additional parts that I need to get, and I am not interested in spending half the day at the home improvement store, on a weekend no less, looking for them. So I think today, after coffee and a generous helping of The Property Brothers to get me motivated, I will rough-in in the new outlet boxes and place the run of NM that will splice into the AC line feeding the closet. Of course, I will have a detailed description and lots of pics, but that is for later.
Yesterday, while I was still considering my options, I thought to myself “Hmm, is there anything that I can do now that will make the process quicker and smoother later on?” The answer was YES! When I started this process months ago, I purchased a Steel City metal junction box and face plate, two metal switch boxes, and two metal switch plates at ReStore. They were all a little dirty and scuffed, but other than that, they were in good condition. Plus, I paid ReStore prices, which I think was something like $4 for the whole lot. I also purchased a can of Rustoleum Aged Copper spray paint at Home Depot.
Since Saturday afternoon was gorgeous, I decided to take the opportunity to upcycle my generic ReStore electrical boxes and plates, and add a little sparkle to them, since they are intended to be surface mounted. First, I cleaned the boxes and plates with soap and water, and used some Goo-Gone to remove the Steel City stickers. I removed the screws from the plates, and inserted them partway into the underside of an egg carton from the recycle bin. I marked each cup with a “J” or and “S”, depending on whether the screw belonged to the junction box face plate or a switch face plate.
Then, I gathered up a couple scrap pieces of drywall, my spray paint, Painter’s Pyramids, boxes, plates, and screws, and headed out onto our front lawn. (By the way, Painter’s Pyramids are the bomb!)
I applied a coat of Aged Copper, allowed it to dry for 30 minutes per the instructions on the can, then applied a second coat. I am very pleased with the results! I will have the prettiest junction box in the upper corner of a closet under the stairs EVER! It’s hard to see in the pictures, but the paint has a bit of a metallic sparkle to it.
The switch plates came out beautifully and will go very nicely with the paint color that we chose for the closet.
And of course, the plate screws will match perfectly.
Even though hardly anyone will ever see them, I will know they are there, and that makes me happy.
Unfortunately, it looks like I will only be using one switch plate and the junction box and face plate for this project, so the pretty switch boxes will have to wait for another application (outdoor shed, perhaps?). After standing in the closet yesterday, looking around for quite a while, I finally concluded that there is no way I can place a switch for the overhead lights in the area between the door and fixture. Even if can get the switch wired from the AC, there is no place to run NM or AC to the overhead lights from that area. There are just too many studs and joints and weird angles in that area to run a line of NM up towards the ceiling.
So instead, I decided to put the switch for the light on the back wall of the closet. I can extend the outlet branch up the wall to the light switch and then on to the overhead lights. And Steve had the brilliant idea to install a lighted switch so that it would be easy to see in the dark closet!
As for the existing fixture, I am going to leave it on a pull chain, at least for now. I can always install a downstream switch for it later, since any switch I install would have to be surface mounted and use AC anyway. And after thinking about it, I kind of like the old-timey pull chain. Having it there would be like a little piece of the original closet, a little bit of the history of the house. The fixture itself is a very nice porcelain and still looks good, but I think I might paint the exposed fixture box, just to give it a boost. And I want to extend the pull chain, since the chain is pretty short, and the piece of string used previously to “extend” it is … well … a gross piece of dirty string.
So I will need to get a lighted switch, an 8-ft AC whip, and some AC bushings and connectors, since I don’t think I will have enough play in the existing AC line to splice into it. And I need to run some final calculations on the circuit see how many outlets and lights I can add. And I need to locate my new push-in wire connectors that I bought, because I am sure as heck going to use those rather than twisting on wire nuts for a bunch of new connections! But in the meantime, I can drill holes for the new NM, rough-in the boxes, finish installing the insulation on the outer wall, and cut a piece of drywall for the ceiling in order to mark the lights. But first, coffee and The Property Brothers!
Side note: As I write this, I have all the windows open and someone in our neighborhood is playing kitschy 1940s music. I love our neighborhood!