Tuesday, March 1, 2011

DIY: Under-Cabinet Lights

Guys. If there's one thing I can't handle, it's a dimly lit kitchen. And guess what. I've got one.

Our kitchen is pretty much original from 1953, complete with handcrafted wooden cabinets and old electrical wiring that makes very little sense. Our stove's electrical outlet comes out of the floor. We have just one electrical outlet anywhere near the kitchen back splash. This is pretty aggravating whenever I should want to use an appliance of any kind.

But regardless of the lack of any kind of ample electricity source, there's pretty much really crap lighting in the kitchen. There's virtually no sunshine in my workspace and there's just one overhead light in my kitchen. While I keep begging to go to someplace like IKEA to get some cheap (but practical) lighting solutions, I decided to invest in a $20 plug-in xenon puck lighting set. I also picked up a cheap fluorescent strip for my plants, but that will come some other time.

On Sunday, I decided to tackle this "small project" all by myself while Chris covered a short five hour shift at work. This was the project from hell. The engineering of these lights are so backwards, it's frustrating. Clearly, these particular lights weren't really designed for exterior mount installation, despite the label touting the fact that they could be used in either fashion, flush mount or exterior mount!

I eventually got all three pucks mounted under the cabinets and functioning, but then came the fun part of trying to hide the wires! We can't really do the hard-wired thing unless we tear apart the kitchen, due to aforementioned lack of electrical supply in the kitchen walls. We'd have to take down the back splash to even check for available electrical wiring, and that's just the beginning!

So, after much cursing, screaming, and scaring the cats away, I got most of the wires caught up and held nicely under the cabinets. I waited for Chris to come home to tell me how he thought it would be to best hide the connector plug. He ended up finishing it for me (thank goodness); I was just too frazzled to deal with bending upside down below a cabinet with screws and hammers to finish.

What was once a dark and drab kitchen is now a pleasure to work in. I just wish I could rig up more in other places!


Kate! said...

I hate it when the overhead lighting makes you cast a shadow on whatever you're trying to work on! Whatever your looking at, there's your shadow. Grrrr...

So excited for you! The people living here before us installed something similar to what you have- it keeps me sane in the kitchen!

Made by Hand on Planet Earth said...

Way to go! It feels good to do something challenging. I remember installing some ceiling fans several years ago. On a ladder. Ugh. Thank God my husband is the guy who does the electric, now!

Laura Crowell said...

I love seeing DIY stuff happen. congrats on the lighting fix!

however, I must point out some hilarity in the one photo. your power drill sitting next to the stand mixer makes it look like this huge serious business drill. might be just me, but I laughed.