How to Install an Exterior Security Light | Pretty Handy Girl

Nothing deters a thief like a well lit area. But truth be told, I needed this light to illuminate the path when taking out the trash. There is nothing like walking out the door with the trash in your hands after dark and realizing that you forgot to turn on the exterior light. I should mention that our neighborhood is popular with the copperheads. Need I say more?

Installing any light fixture is a relatively easy DIY project, and installing an exterior light is no exception if you have a junction box or light already installed.

Materials:

Optional: Drill

Required Safety Instruction: 
Turn off the power to the light fixture you are working on. I highly recommend turning on the light you will be working on, then shut off the circuit at your circuit breaker and check to see that the light has gone out. Also note that just because the light fixture power is turned off, it doesn’t necessarily mean that other outlets or lights in the same area are on the same circuit. Always check for the presence of power before you work on it.

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If you have an existing light fixture remove it before installing the new fixture.  For this tutorial, we’re starting with a bare junction box:

How to Install an Exterior Security Light | Pretty Handy Girl

Test the black or hot wire with the voltage tester to be certain the power is turned off.

How to Install an Exterior Security Light | Pretty Handy Girl

Remove the existing mounting bracket if there is one installed.

How to Install an Exterior Security Light | Pretty Handy Girl Read more

Make Your Own Mosaic Tile Lampshade | Pretty Handy Girl

Want to make a lamp shade that will bring some style and bling to your home? All you need are a few mosaic tile sheets, a lamp shade top piece, and some thread. In no time you’ll have a beautiful Mosaic Tile Lamp Shade!

Materials:

(I’ve included affiliate links for your convenience. I earn a small percentage from a purchase using these links. There is no additional cost to you. You can read more about affiliate links here.)

Instructions:

Cut up the lamp shade to expose the top ring.

Make Your Own Mosaic Tile Lampshade | Pretty Handy Girl

This is what you should be left with:

Make Your Own Mosaic Tile Lampshade | Pretty Handy Girl

Lay out your mosaic tile sheets. Cut the mesh to the height you desire for your lamp shade. The lamp shade I created was small, therefore I only needed a 6 inch height to cover the lamp bulb.

Make Your Own Mosaic Tile Lampshade | Pretty Handy Girl

Lay two sheets of the tiles side by side and stitch the two sheets together at the seam from the mesh side.

Make Your Own Mosaic Tile Lampshade | Pretty Handy Girl

Wrap the tile sheet around the lamp shade top ring and trim the excess tiles off.

Make Your Own Mosaic Tile Lampshade | Pretty Handy Girl

Stitch the open ends together. I found it easiest to slip a paper towel roll into the center to support all the tiles while stitching it.

Make Your Own Mosaic Tile Lampshade | Pretty Handy Girl

Stitch the lamp shade ring to the top of the mosaic tile tube. Loop the thread through the tile mesh and the lamp shade ring around the entire circumference.

Make Your Own Mosaic Tile Lampshade | Pretty Handy Girl

Your lamp shade should look something like this:

Make Your Own Mosaic Tile Lampshade | Pretty Handy Girl

Attach your lamp shade to the lamp and admire!

Make Your Own Mosaic Tile Lampshade | Pretty Handy Girl

Lights out…

Make Your Own Mosaic Tile Lampshade | Pretty Handy Girl

…and lights on. I love the shadows cast by the tile lampshade.

Make Your Own Mosaic Tile Lampshade | Pretty Handy Girl

Enjoy a unique and beautiful lamp shade in your home. The mosaic tile lamp shade adds a touch of class and bling to our mudroom.

Make Your Own Mosaic Tile Lampshade | Pretty Handy Girl

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Want more creative lighting ideas?  Subscribe to the Lowe’s Creative Ideas magazine:

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Or view more creative ideas from the Lowe’s Creative Idea bloggers !

There’s also a magazine app so you can have inspiration on the go! And, don’t forget to follow Lowe’s on Pinterest or on Instagram!

PHGFancySignDisclosure: As a #LowesCreator, I was provided with a Lowe’s gift card to purchase supplies for this post. I was not told what to write. All ideas and words are my own.

How to Install a Ceiling Fan | Pretty Handy Girl

I’ve installed probably a dozen ceiling fans in my life. Pretty Handsome Guy was remarking to me last night, “Wait, you mean you’ve never written a tutorial on how to install a ceiling fan on the blog?” It’s true, most of the installs were pre-blogging days. For this reason, I was truly excited when Casablanca contacted me and asked if I wanted one of their new ceiling fans. I knew it was a great opportunity to put together a tutorial for you so you could see that installing a ceiling fan is not a difficult DIY project! Plus, we had Casablanca fans in our previous house and they are well made and will last a long time. Therefore, I have no hesitation recommending Casablanca to you!

Okay, and I also wanted to change your mind about ceiling fans and design aesthetics. I know that some designers break out in hives when a client wants a ceiling fan. And who can blame them when the stereotypical ceiling fan looks like this:

How to Install a Ceiling Fan | Pretty Handy Girl

Oh yes, she’s a beauty. And she’s all mine, complete with moldy canopy and boobilicious globe. In all seriousness, that fan was U-G-L-Y. Plus, it was a bit too small for our porch. (You can figure out what size ceiling fan you need for your space in the FAQ section on the Casablanca site.) You can now understand why I was actually delighted to hang out on top of an 8 foot ladder in 95 degree heat to install a new ceiling fan. Yes, I was excited, especially because Casablanca has so many beautiful options for stylish fans. And I know, they have ceiling fans that will surely have the designers changing their tune.

Casablanca Fan Collection | Pretty Handy Girl

Safety, Prep, and Hints Before You Install a Ceiling Fan:

Before I give you the full tutorial for installing a ceiling fan, we need to talk about prep work and safety. First, do not attempt any electrical projects until you have turned off the power to the fixture you are working on. I like to turn on the fan and light (they are often on two different power lines) and then shut off the power. This gives me the visual assurance that the power is indeed off.

Next, if you are replacing a light fixture with a ceiling fan, you MUST make sure that the junction box is attached to a support. This means the box is screwed into a ceiling joist, brace, or the junction box is attached to a Ceiling Fan BraceDo not attach a ceiling fan to a box that is not able to hold the weight of the fan (and all the vibration it will produce over the years.) If you don’t have proper bracing for your fan—have no fear—look into purchasing a Ceiling Fan Brace that can be installed from inside the room (no need to crawl into the attic.)

Finally, you need to have a Sturdy A-Frame Step Ladder tall enough to reach 1-2 feet below the fan during installation. And having an assistant who can hand you the motor when it’s time to hang the fan is definitely a bonus.

How to Install a Ceiling Fan | Pretty Handy Girl

One handy tip: You will most likely drop a screw during the installation. If you are working on a porch with slats, lay down a blanket under the ladder to catch them. This also helps aid in a quick clean up from dust and dropped dry wall debris.

Ready to get your cool on by installing a beautiful new ceiling fan? Let’s take a spin shall we: Read more

DIY Button Pendant Light |Pretty Handy Girl

While I was house touring on Tybee Island and having  fun antique and salvage shopping in Savannah, I spied some bare lamp shade frame hanging lights. They immediately inspired me to design a DIY Button Pendant Light for over my bedside table in our master bedroom. Part of the desire was born out of the necessity to have more space on my bedside because the table actually doubles as my makeup vanity.

DIY Button Pendant Light | Pretty Handy Girl

Making a Button Pendant Light is an easy DIY project, but you’ll need some patience while threading the buttons. I’ll also show you how to wire a lamp socket and lamp plug! Ready to get started?

(I’ve included affiliate links for your convenience. I earn a small percentage from a purchase using these links. There is no additional cost to you. You can read more about affiliate links here.)

Materials:

DIY Button Pendant Light |Pretty Handy Girl

Optional:

Instructions: Read more

How_to_Install_Lutron_Maestro_Sensor

Teaching kids to turn off the lights in a room they are no longer in is a tough job. No matter how many times I try to explain that leaving the lights on wastes electricity, it just doesn’t seem to sink in. In their defense, they are like little wind up tops flitting from room to room playing with trains in one; reading in another and barely stopping to use the toilet in the bathroom (putting the lid down is a whole other issue! Ugh.)

When Lutron approached me about giving my kids a helping hand with the lights, I was immediately intrigued. It turns out that Lutron has just introduced the Maestro occupancy sensor dimmer that can be easily installed in place of an existing light switch. (Single pole switches are easiest. Dual or Multi-location switches may require a little more wiring and programming to work properly.) After some thought, I decided to try the Maestro in our art & craft studio. This is the room that we least notice when the bulbs are burning (it is over the garage and is separated by our guest room from the rest of the house.)

Follow along to see how to install your own. Your attentive nature may be rewarded at the end. 😉 Read more

how_to_install_hard-wired_pendant_light

You may have noticed that pretty little seedy glass pendant light over our sink from my video the other day. It was a breeze to install, so I want to share with you the tutorial.

(I’ve included affiliate links for your convenience. I earn a small percentage from a purchase using these links. There is no additional cost to you. You can read more about affiliate links here.)

And now it’s tutorial time!

Materials:

Instructions:

Safety First! Turn off the power to the light fixture circuit. If there is no light fixture installed, check the power with a voltage tester. (I had to flip 6 circuits before I found the one that fed power to that junction box! And you know, I updated the labeling in our circuit breaker once I found it. This is required by code.)

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Modifying the Height of a Light Fixture:

Use a ruler to measure how low you want your pendant light to hang. If you need to, put a piece of painter’s tape at that mark to give yourself a visual reference spot to see if you like that height. (Or corral a partner into holding the light fixture for you while you make up your mind.)

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Lay your tape measure on the counter and stretch the light fixture out next to the ruler (be sure to set the glass shade on to gauge the full height.)

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Assess where to separate the chain to reach the desired height.

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You can separate chain links by using two screwdrivers and rotating them in opposite directions as shown below:

Read more

drywall_up

I’d rather not say that I’m seeing the light at the end of this long renovation tunnel (for fear of jinxing myself.) But, I definitely have caught a glimpse of the finish line. Last week my kitchen designer emailed me to let me know that my cabinets will be arriving soon and could she schedule us for installation on March 25th? I seriously might have let a four letter word escape my lips as I read her email. I mean, yes I’m happy, but there is no way I feel ready! There’s still so much to get done before the cabinet installation.

Read more

how_to_install_recessed_can_lights

Kitchen progress is definitely moving along (hooray!!!) We now have recessed lighting in our ceiling and it really helps even out the lighting in the kitchen. Plus getting rid of the semi-flush light fixtures makes the ceiling feel taller.

We debated about installing new construction recessed lighting:

Install Recessed Lightsor remodel type recessed lights:

remodel_recessed_light

We could have installed either because our ceiling was already full of holes. Ultimately, we decided to install the old work (or remodeling type) lights because they clamp tightly to the sheet rock for less vibration. They also have a built in junction box with easy to wire connectors. (Did I mention that my son’s bedroom is right over the kitchen and there is a lot of jumping and bouncing that goes on up there!)

My electrician let me pal around and help him install the recessed cans after he ran the wiring. You know I took careful notes so I could share with you how to install your own recessed lighting fixtures. Read more

building_permit_office

When and Why You Should Get a Permit

Have you heard the horror stories about filing for a permit and the subsequent inspections? Did you hear the tale about the inspector that made the electrician pull everything out and start over? Have you been warned not to file a permit because you might “open a can of worms”? What exactly is a rough-in? And why do people say “pull a permit” instead of file for a permit? Don’t let misinformation put you and your family at risk. I have the answers to these questions and why you would want to file for a permit before starting your next home improvement project.

Last week I drove downtown to file for a building and electrical permit with Wake County, NC, but found out we are in the Raleigh City Jurisdiction for building permits (but that’s another story for another day.) Before I went to the permit office, I asked Barry Mooneyham, Chief Code Official of Wake County if I could have a little of his time to ask him some questions. It was a very informative 3o minutes, which completely changed my perspective on permits. I left his office with a new found appreciation and understanding of permits and inspectors.

Before I get to Mr. Mooneyham’s answers, I want to answer a recent question that some of my readers posted on Facebook:

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Laura, Alyssa & Holly, thanks for asking. I was unsure of the origin on the term “pulling a permit” myself, so I did a little research.

Why do people call it “pulling a permit” instead of filing for a permit?

  • The joke answer: Ever try getting a building permit? It is like trying to pull a tooth!
  • The possible real answer:  It’s called “pulling” a permit because the people in the office have to “pull” the paper work out of a filing cabinet.

Having “pulled a permit” last week I can tell you that it really wasn’t hard. I did print out the paperwork online before heading downtown. This was invaluable because I was able to answer all the questions ahead of time. Some of the information that was required for the permit is: Read more

Are you ready to get toasty today? Today is the day that I’ll be showing you how to install the WarmlyYours TempZone radiant floor heat. Can I tell you a little secret? I was terrified! I was so fearful of breaking the heating wire, that I handled this roll with kid gloves. And I yelled at ANYONE who dared step on the mats in shoes. I realize now that I may have been paranoid and overreacted a little. I was just so anxious to have warm floors that I protected our radiant floor elements like a Mama bear of her cubs.

Remember on Wednesday how I told you how I had chosen WarmlyYours radiant heating systems because of their awesome warranty? Well, I also read feedback about their customer service and it ROCKS as well! That service starts with the ordering process.  I was in contact with a representative from WarmlyYours who helped answer ALL of my questions (of which I had many.) She reviewed my room layout and suggested the TempZone Cut & Turn Rolls which is one long mesh roll with the heating element woven and evenly spaced throughout the roll. I was doubtful and wasn’t sure how the roll would fit through the doorway and “roll” around our laundry room. But, she reassured me that they would send me detailed plans for installation. And that a DIYer like myself should have no problem with the installation.

Within a week, I received my custom TempZone roll with a layout just for MY space.

Not just a standard layout, but a custom plan for my exact room dimensions and usage. I was extremely impressed to say the least, because the plan was very detailed showing the exact location of the cuts I needed to make in the mesh mat (not the wire.) Having this map saved me hours of brain-twisting planning at the least.

Before installation, I read the instruction manual in its entirety (highly recommended.) Remember, I was a little nervous and didn’t want to do anything to damage the heating mat. I even made sure I was hopped up on caffeine so I could absorb every nugget of the lesson.

I also prepared the floors by installing cork underlayment (as detailed in this tutorial.) Are you ready for the tutorial to install radiant mats? It wasn’t as difficult as I anticipated and this part went fairly quickly. Let’s roll! Read more