February 18, 2012

Bright Ideas

Have I ever told you guys that Tim actually used to be an electrician by trade waaaay back when? Well, it definitely comes in handy all the time. This also means I get to see him up on a ladder and/or sporting a tool belt every so often; which I never complain about.

Behold exhibits A & B:

For example, when I  moved back to Richmond from NYC and needed to set up an office space to work each day, instead of having to decide where to put furniture configured around an outlet or worry about extension cords, he simply told me to set up wherever I would work best and then installed a multi-outlet right there in the wall for me. It was amazing.

When we bought our new house, all the electrical points that came up during our inspection are things Tim knew he would be able to handle, which will also save us a lot of head-ache and money.

Over the past few weekends, he's been able to tackle a few smaller, cosmetic fixes including replacing every last dead bulb in the house (who knew we had 4 lights underneath our stove hood instead of 1 and that there are specialized bulbs you need to get just for stoves?), getting our outdoor garden lights back in working order (I assumed they were dead and would need removing), fixing the outdoor motion light, fixing the broken track light in our upstairs hallway, fixing the broken pull chain in another hallway light and helping me install a few small LED touch lights here and there (which requires no electrical expertise, haha).

Here's the breakdown of a few of these cosmetic projects — we're saving the heavier lifting for a little later.

1. We have this weird and outdated set of track lights in our upstairs hallway, that just so happened to also be broken in the middle. Going back through our house tour photos, I think I subconsciously tried to omit these track lights in every photo since these were the best ones I could find that even included them:

Tim hopped up on the ladder to assess the situation and was able to see it was a matter of one of the heads being loose from the track.

He was able to get them back in working order for now — though down the road we hope to either replace the track all together or update it with something a little more tailored to our tastes. It's important enough for us to want to change it up since as you can see from the photos, this set of track lights can be seen as soon as you enter the home.

2. You may recall when he fixed our outdoor motion detector lights below...

It definitely feels better having this light functional — even if Basil is the only one who really sets it off.

3. Where Tim's skills really came in handy was with the drop light in our downstairs hallway between our kitchen and back room. The light had a really long pull chain that rarely worked and eventually stopped functioning as soon as we moved in, go figure. It was so frustrating trying to turn it on — one of those small things that can really get under your skin for no real rational reason.

This apparently was a laughing matter for Tim, who knew exactly what the problem was and how to fix it.

All it took was installing a new pull chain switch — which apparently looks like the apparatus above. Evidently the current one was getting stuck, rendering it useless. I wouldn't have even thought you could just replace the pulling mechanism from the inside out, but that's why I have the skills of a former electrician on my side :)

We now walk through that hallway and make an exaggerated point to say things like "Oh, there's a working light in this hallway, I think I'll just turn it on..." Yeah, we're geeky like that, and it still hasn't gotten old.

4. For the grand finale of little light projects around the house, I present you with: installing LED touch lights! Womp wooommmmp.

So this update really requires no skills, but was a quick fix for a light need we had in the kitchen. Down the road we may decide to upgrade the lights under our cabinets shown below, but we needed something asap.

For those of you unfamiliar, touch lights are simply round battery operated lights that you can adhere to almost any surface and tap with your finger to provide a little light. This is exactly what we did with ours — placing two underneath our kitchen cabinets for some instant illumination:

We've had fun fixing little things here and there to get the house in full functioning order before tackling any major projects. Tim calls little updates like these things he's able to cross of his "honey-do" list. I quite like the sound of it.


  1. Something about a man and a tool belt. It's so nice to have a handyman around the house! Great job, Tim!

    I'm shocked to see how much light those touch lights give off. I may have to try out a few of those.

    Happy weekend to you two!

    1. Couldn't agree more! It's funny how the touch lights were the least technical update, but just may have packed the most punch!

  2. Congratulations, Tim! Wish I were as well-grounded in electronics.

    1. Thanks Steve - lemme know if you ever need any help/advice.


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