The Beginning of a Techie House

The idea started back in 2014 when I attempted to install a programmable outlet switch for my front lights. I was unsuccessful with a couple different products.

Fast forward to just this past holiday season. I was in San Diego and was coming home. I sent a message to my cat sitter to leave the light on throughout the day but she had already left the house by the time I she noticed the message.

I began to look into the idea of automating the house. I figured that if I couldn’t control my outside lights, I could do the next best thing and control the indoor ones without a stand alone timer.

I did quite a bit of research and ended up installing a Wink Hub in the week between Christmas and New Years. One of the qualities I looked for was whether or not it would be compatible with my Nest thermostat and smoke detectors. This one was and the bonus was it wasn’t all that expensive.

 

IMG_5599IMG_5617

 

I started with a light control and an outlet before adding a light switch. On a whim, I decided to add the switch to control the front lights and figured if it didn’t work, I would use it for another part of the house, like the kitchen lights. To be honest, my expectations were pretty low that it would work but I just had to try.

IMG_5947

 

I was surprised when I flipped the circuit breaker on that I saw the blue light. Even more pleased when it actually connected to the Wink and I was able to control the lighting from my phone!

Since then, I added one more to the backyard. It wasn’t by choice. I replaced the existing light because I thought it had gone bad. Once the light was up, I still couldn’t switch it so it was back to getting a light switch that could accomodate LEDs. (I figured that was probably the reason for it not working.)

The only thing I saw that was not a dimmer type switch was a smart switch so I installed it and now it too, could be controlled remotely.

I don’t know what else I’ll end up doing… maybe adding some security features or something. For now, it is enough.

IMG_3824 IMG_5896

 

 

Playing Musical Lights

Light #1

One of the things I realized, after getting the new front door, entry area needed to be kicked up a couple notches. Painting was one of the ideas (but that will probably happen later in the year).

The other idea was to get a new fixture. The original idea was a Sputnik/atomic style light similar to the picture below but instead of it being a semi-flush or chandelier, it would have been a flush mounted fixture.

IMG_4531

While doing research, I realized that something completely vintage was pretty pricey and would require wiring to be updated. Then I looked for a new version and was going to have one ordered but then it occurred to me that because it was going to be an entryway/foyer light, I wouldn’t get much use out if it.

So I began to rethink the idea and decided to order a chandelier for the dining room instead.

The before picture (this was an old one – probably a few months after I had moved in):

And the after:

IMG_4789

Right before I got the fixture and the 16 light bulbs, I changed out the dimmer switch. I hadn’t realized when I installed the switch a few years ago, that there were different ones for LED/CFLs and Incandescent/halogens.

Unfortunately, I didn’t buy the CORRECT one for the bulbs I was using. I ordered 2W filament LED bulbs and right on the box, it showed which dimmer switch it was compatible with. (The first clue was also how the flights flashed on and off—much like an alert—when I tried to brighten them.) It was also about three times as expensive because it was for low voltage bulbs.

Once I got that in, I moved the previous dimmer into the office.

So now, it is in a more prominent space and I use it every day.

Light #2:

Once I got the Sputnik chandelier up, I debated whether or not to move that fixture over to the entryway. It would require that I shorten the chain considerably which I had the tools. I wasn’t sure if it would look right as a semi-flush but was willing to try.

The previous light that I had installed not too long ago:

IMG_3755IMG_4500

The after:

IMG_4827

One thing I might end up adding later on is some sort of decorative piece before I attach the canopy. The size barely covered the junction box up there. That was a pretty simple install except I had to look for the instruction manual on this one because the wiring isn’t a simple black wire and then a white wire. This one had a ridged wire coating while the other was smooth.

Light #3

The hallway to the bedrooms had a CFL fixture which I wasn’t crazy about. Plus, it was only one light so it didn’t always seem like it was enough.

The before (this was the same style as the entry light before I made the changes):

IMG_3751 IMG_3752

Continuing with my own brand of repurposing, I used the light previous entry way light. This was probably the quickest install of the three. It was done in less than an hour. The fixture as well as the LED lights really made a big difference.

IMG_4892IMG_4890

New Ceiling Light

I changed out my front hall light from one that used the funky CFL bulbs to standard ones.

The before:

IMG_3751IMG_3752

The after:

IMG_3754

Testing it out to make sure it works.

IMG_3753

 

With the diffuser installed:

IMG_3755

It’s not quite done because I have some plans to make it an even cooler fixture. It needed the standard type bulbs first and foremost.

Because I Rarely like things out of the Box

While I like my new ceiling fan in the master bedroom, I wasn’t too keen on the actual light part.

IMG_2188 IMG_2187

 

I wanted something a little more unique and I think I found it this morning.

IMG_2230

 

This WAS once a fruit bowl for $10. I took the top ring off so it would fit the ceiling fan without hitting the blades. I think it makes it more unique.

IMG_2229

Future Floor Lamp

For the past year or so I’ve been working on this light in the globe form.

Until a few months ago when I took it apart and tried a drum shape.

Fast forward to today. I took it apart again to make a cylindrical floor lamp. Right now, it stands about 14 inches. Ideally, I’d like it to be about 4 feet tall +/-.

I like the design and the fact it is made of tetrapaks. There is no glue – just strips of the tetrapak material folded.

It’s a good thing I drink a lot of coconut water (the majority of my material).

20130722-225556.jpg

Edited – here it is without light and it is sitting on a small wood stump for now.

20130723-212216.jpg