How Many People Does It Take To Hang A Light?

How many people does it take to hang a light?   Well, in our case 6. It took SIX people and four months to hang our new pendant lights.

So, I do realize that hanging pendant lights in a kitchen is a very normal and very easy project. Normal and easy that is, when the lights are normal…and easy. But not normal and easy when you are me, and this me picks out not normal and not easy pendant lights.

I, instead, picked out beautifully cast brass lights, which were handcrafted at Futagami, a brass foundry in Japan. When my lights arrived last summer, I could hardly hold back my glee. We hadn’t even started demo on our kitchen, but I would regularly take them out of their little resting box and picture them hanging over the island, offering a very kind and welcoming light.

What I did not know in all of my glee, was how difficult installing these lights would prove to be. There were a series of problems that we had to work through.  And it took a small army of people to find solutions. While I loved the idea that these gorgeous art pieces came all the way across the world from a distant land via an ancient practice…that, in fact, was also the source of most of our install issues.

1. To start, the lights were delivered without any electrical housing or wiring – as you can see from the pic above of the lights straight out of their delivery box. So I valiantly sat myself down in front of the computer and searched until I found the pieces that we needed from Vintage Wire and Supply. *Note: Person Number 1 (Me!). I chose a twisted wire with bronze antique housing and cord grips. Here’s a pic of the new wiring:

And, then we discovered a series of problems, all of which were beyond my excellent internet searching skills: 

To resolve the next few issues, Bobby and our contractor Craig, both searched high and low for non-standard mounting pipe sizes, metric threaded pipes, and just in case that didn’t work, alternate cross bar and junction box sizes. I’m pretty sure they went to every electrical store in Los Angeles. And they returned with lot’s of options. None of which worked. *sigh*
*For the record, that is Persons 2 and 3. And Person 4 was an electrician, who, in the meantime, cut the drywall holes for the junction boxes and pulled the wiring to the holes. 

And then, we were stuck.

And, as has happened many times in my life, it was Dad to the rescue. I was complaining about all of the barriers I was facing, and he asked me to bring all of the pieces up to his shop in Ventura. We did so. And then ran the other way…

A few week’s later, Bobby and I went to visit him and get an update. To our surprise, we didn’t just get an update, we got solutions!

To start, he fabricated these circular white plates from a metal sign he found by the side of the road. The plates would go in between the canopy and the drywall and would cover the junction box hole. Problem #2 solved!

Then, he showed us how he cut down a special crossbar that he found, which matched the thread on these special brass pipes that he also found. All that was left to do, was to re-thread the canopy so it would fit the pipe and the crossbar. Problems 3 and 4 – check! 

It was at this point that my Dad passed the baton to my oldest brother Dave, another problem solver and ultimate optimist. He tackled the last problem regarding the junction box hole and finished out the install.

Dave has this handy tool…a saw that shaves out a specific depth of wood. So he set the saw to a depth that would be sufficient to house the box and began shaving.  And me. I helped. I can hold a flashlight like nobody’s business.  Problem 5 – solved, check, done!

All that was left to do was to wire the lights, set the junction boxes and plates over the holes and set the lights to the right matching height. 

Here you can see how the plates blend right in to the ceiling. A little caulking will easily hide the shadow at the edge of the plate:

Moment of truth…go to closet, get some light bulbs…and yes…we have light!

I woke up the next morning, and found a return to the glee I had when I first set my eyes on these beauts.
4 months and 6 people later. It took a team of creative thinkers. People who didn’t require me to take the easy way out (as in – return these crazy lights and buy standard lights from Lamps Plus). That is how many people it takes. 6 creative and handy people. And I love them all so much (well, maybe not the electrician…).

Thanks for stopping by. Read more about this remodel here!



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