Kitchen Lighting

11 Sep

What did you all do Labor Day weekend?  We worked on this:

My mom had been waiting to change out her under-cabinet lighting because it was fluorescent and had that weird buzzing sound.  My parents use their under-cabinet lighting a good bit (just as we do! Under-cabinet lighting ftw!), so we finally replaced them.

We chose Utilitech’s LED lights from Lowe’s: (1) 24″ and (3) 18″ hardwired light boxes.  LED lights aren’t the cheapest option, but they’re supposed to last you 20,000 hours before needing replacement and they don’t get as hot as xenon lights (which is what we have because they’re cheaper). Since they’re only used in the evening for a couple of hours at a time, my parents should never have to worry about replacing the light bulbs.  We also purchases a hardwired box/set which means that the light source is not plugged in, but comes from wiring behind the wall and turns on with the flip of a switch.

Since we were replacing previously existing lights, this is what I was looking at (while the boys were out golfing by the way):

You can already tell in the photo above that the job was a dirty one (I HATE that black electrical tape), but it’s really not as confusing as it might appear.  The general goal is: match the white wire to the white wire, black wire to the black, and grounded-copper wire coming from the wall to the green wire (green was this manufacturer’s choice of color – must read the instructions to see what color to match it to).

Basically, I had a little towel to catch my mess and keep track of screws and wire caps as I moved from station to station.  I also had to drill new holes on the underside of the cabinets, so the towel also helped me catch wood filings.

Working at my parent’s house was definitely not easy.  There were a lot of hold ups because we had to find tools and whatnot.  For example, the drill they have, I swear, that is from the 70s – and it had to be charged before use. Then, we couldn’t find the drill bits.  I also had to scour the house for a pencil.  The pencil you see above is from one of our old protractors.  Like, the ones we had in middle school.  Yikes.

Basically, what turned into what should have been quick and easy, got prolonged (surprise, surprise).  Luckily, Chris got home from playing golf with my dad and Allan in time to help me before I pulled hair out of my head.  Oh, and got me a beer to help ease the process (see photo below):

Note: In all reality, the manufacturer does not recommend installing these lights over a stove.  However, (1) my mom really really needed a light over the stove, (2) we were replacing an already existing light so someone broke that rule a while ago, and (3) she has a down-draft vent so the steam of her cooking doesn’t usually make it all the way up to the hood. 

About 6 hours later, including a dinner break, the end result was pretty awesome.  My mom was happy, which makes me happy.  Double awesome.


I think one of the best parts about these lights are the reflections you can see.  The LED strips are just so pretty! My mom told me on the phone that they make her happy, so I got her to send me these pictures:



I’m excited to see what other changes we’ll make to their home – it needs quite a bit of updating.  My mom’s next wish: for me to repaint the bathroom cabinets and change out the sink fixtures.

My family and I just returned from Chicago to attend my cousin’s wedding and I can’t wait to show off the pictures I took!  The entire weekend was beautiful – it was just so great to hang out with that side of the family…. Will upload soon!


3 Responses to “Kitchen Lighting”

  1. wen September 11, 2012 at 10:38 am #

    I love the little red screwdriver!

    • NinaE at NinaSquared September 11, 2012 at 9:15 pm #

      Haha of course you’d see the tiny stuff! Hope you’re having fun in Europe!!! See you very soon!

  2. Barbara Putnam September 13, 2012 at 7:30 am #

    so nice of you to do that for your parent’s house! i went home one wkd and next thing you know, i’m painting their entire kitchen (by myself!!) but it was worth it. 🙂 glad you said to actually “read the instructions” bc most ppl (including girls now) usually don’t and in something like this, it’s definitely a must. but you (& i guess chris lol) did a great job!

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