DIY Square Ceiling Medallion

After making a custom wall sconce for the kitchen, it was time to tackle the ceiling. When I removed the light above the island I learned the hole and circuit box wasn’t centered and there were a lot of screw holes to patch. Nothing is ever easy is it?

I thought I’d build some type of box attached to the stud to cover everything up. Then the light fixture’s mount would attach to the box. It turns out this is actually a thing, called a ceiling medallion.

At its most basic, a ceiling medallion is a decorative element that dresses-up and enhances the area around the ceiling canopy, where the wiring for a chandelier or other fixture enters the ceiling junction box.

Lamps Plus

A quick Google image search shows some examples.

I didn’t have time to wait for an online order to arrive, so I came up with a plan to make my own. It’s purpose would be functional, but I’d add a bit of design. It would be square to cover the holes in my ceiling and match the shape of my light fixture’s mount.

I cut two pieces of plywood. Then I made a bunch of layout marks for the stud, center of the light, section overlaps, etc. I also cut out areas for wiring. Next I drilled holes for lag screws to mount to the ceiling (and recesses in the back of the smaller piece for the heads of those lag screws and washers) and for screws to attach the two pieces together. I also determined where the mounting bracket would go.

After that I cut a bunch of strips of scrap wood for the outside trim with mitred corners and then glued and pin nailed the pieces to the plywood layers. I used wood filler on any holes and caulked the seams.

Then I did a rough sanding, applied a coat of primer, and attached to the ceiling. With four lag screws and washers holding it to the ceiling and 8 screws attaching the two layers, this thing won’t be coming down!

I caulked the seams at the ceiling and between the two layers. I also used wood filler on the four screw holes that would be seen. Some light sanding, another coat of primer, and then I painted when I did the ceiling. The final step was installing the new light.

We also replaced the dining table light and have a replacement of the same style for above the sink, but I need to fix the lower ceiling area there and paint first. The 60 watt bulbs that came with these lights were not bright enough and had too much of an amber tint (original bulbs in the picture above). I bought 100W equivalent LED bulbs, which are much better. Note that the walls will be getting painted.

For comparison here are the old lights.

DIY Wall Sconce/Light

I’ve started to remodel the kitchen and we’re getting all new lights. This one almost never gets used and is in a weird spot, but it had to go.

We determined something like this is generally called a sconce, so naturally went searching for a replacement on Amazon. We found this farmhouse steampunk light we really liked.

I knew I could very easily make something similar. I picked up 3/4″ pipe pieces and a lamp socket from Menards, along with some metallic hammered spray paint.

I used some sandpaper on the end of the light socket (bite for the bonding), wired it up, screwed the pipe pieces together, and attached the light socket to the pipe with epoxy. Then I did several coats of spray paint. I also did some matte clear coat, which I think was after this picture was taken; I wanted to knock down the shine.

We picked out a piece of pallet wood, of course.

After we picked out our new kitchen faucet, which has some bronzed edges, I ended up grabbing some bronze metal paint, which I used on some of the edges, though it’s subtle and hard to see here.

I reused the bolt from the previous light, and put it all in place to figure out where to cut the board.

Then I drilled holes for screws and the mounting bolt. I had to route out some of the back side to make room for the circuit box and brackets sticking out of the wall. I guess I forgot to take a picture. I painted the screw heads and bolt and touched the edges with bronze.

I love how it turned out and can’t wait to see what it looks like after the walls get painted though.

Hobby Room

This used to be my home office, before I created the new one.

I wanted to make it in to a hobby room, where I could organize all of my electronics stuff and any future projects. My woodworking shop is still obviously in the basement though.

Notice anything odd with the lighting? Yeah, one ceiling light and it was in the corner of the room. I’ll never understand that placement. Luckily the joists ran the correct direction (no attic above), so I was able to feed wire across the ceiling for a second light to the left of the window. It was time for the carpet to go as well and I liked the flooring I installed in my new office so much I went with the same stuff.

Look how much brighter it is when the lamp is off and it’s dark outside.

I still have to organize the closet and all of my electronics parts, but the room is already a lot more functional.

My New Office: Lighting & Furniture

One of the next steps in the new office project was lighting. The room didn’t have any, so I installed a ceiling light today.

I hadn’t posted about the furniture yet, which came in a couple of weeks ago. I’ve always wanted a brown leather chair in my office but didn’t have space for it. Now I do. White seemed more fitting.

I also have some top down bottom up blinds ordered, but I won’t get those for weeks because it took forever to get some samples. The air conditioning install starts tomorrow morning, so I’ll be able to move in my desk very soon!

Automated Closet Lighting

After building a rack for my workout shoes a couple of weeks ago, I wanted to tackle another thing about the broom closet that has been bugging me for years. It never had a light! I put together a rough video of the entire process.

I’m really happy with how it turned out, especially since I was able to use parts I had in my electronics collection. The whole thing uses a simple circuit, cost less than $10, and doesn’t require WiFi or any fancy connections. The Working of Transistor as a Switch page on Electronics Hub was a big help. I ended up using a PNP transistor in my circuit without resistors because the LEDs were dimming and I wanted maximum brightness.

3-Way Smart Wi-Fi Switch

Last year I installed a bunch of Lutron Caséta switches and remotes with dimming functionality. At the time I forgot to test the ceiling fan in my bedroom. So when I went to use it this summer, I got this nice surprise (turn up the sound)…

Ceiling fans don’t like dimmer switches. I’d done a little searching here and there for a smart 3-way switch alternative, but hadn’t been able to find anything. Then one day while walking through Home Depot I noticed some Leviton Decora Smart switches. I did some research when I got home and ordered a DW15S-1BZ and a DD0SR-DLZ. No dimmers on these. Installation was easy and I can use the ceiling fan again. Check out the difference.

I will mention a few negatives with this Leviton switches. The “remote” is wired in, unlike the Caséta remote which can be placed anywhere. It costs a bit more as well. The last thing probably won’t be a big deal for anyone, but it seems like the system is using a relay because I can hear it click back and forth from across the room when I trigger the switch. The clicking may not be the best for a baby’s room.

Other than those things, the Leviton switches work well so far. Check them out if you’re looking for a 3-way switch.

Shop Lighting

The lights in my basement were pretty bad. If you’ve watched any of the videos I’ve done in the workshop you’ve probably noticed. The area pictured below was lit by 2 light bulbs.

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Time to fix this so I ordered two sets of 4 LED lights off Amazon. At $20/light I didn’t expect much in terms of quality, but the reviews were solid. They are made with really cheap materials, but function fine. I put 3 of the new lights in this area. Incredible difference!

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Each light has a plug instead of wiring and the cord has a switch built-in, which is really nice. I won’t be stuck with my lighting placements if I change my mind and it’s easy to turn individual lights on and off as needed.

The other area of the shop was almost as bad, with some dark corners. It was lit with 3 of the typical tube lights you find in drop ceilings. Here are before pictures…

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I wanted to remove the drop ceiling while I was at it so I’d get back about 8 inches of vertical space. I made a time-lapse of this part of the project. Over 6 hours of video at 80x speed to get it down to 5 minutes.

I used the other 5 LED lights in this larger area. When I showed pictures to my buddy he said, “Looks like you painted but it’s only lights.” He’s right! I’m really happy with the results.

I’ve already ordered another batch of lights for the laundry room and bathroom, though I’ll be keeping the ceiling in those locations.

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