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Saturday, March 6, 2010

Add Some Recessed Lights Over the Bar

As I started rebuilding the wall between the kitchen and dining room that would transform into a half-wall topped with a wood counter, I had to consider the lighting that would illuminate the custom maple counter. This is especially important at this stage because the homeowner wanted me to install small recessed lighting.

This wall is completely non-load bearing and consists of studs placed 24" apart. Since it's not load bearing I won't need to install a large header across the opening. Instead, I'm thinking of it like a large soffit that will mainly hold drywall and contain the recessed lighting.

By the way, the kitchen side of this wall is covered in wallpaper. This means that I'll do all my work to the wall from the other side in the dining room and try to preserve the wallpaper as much as possible. I'd prefer to not hang wallpaper, and my client's would agree I'm sure.. :)
The fixtures that I'm installing are 3" recessed cans that are widely available. They can be used in new construction and hung with joist hangers or installed as part of a remodel where you only need to make a hole and then mount the fixture with the drywall clips.

To start, I measured my opening and marked the location for the lights so they would be spread evenly across the opening. I cut these holes out of the 2x4 bottom plate before I even installed it. Then, I went ahead and ripped a long piece of poplar 1x6 to the width of the wall (4.5") and cut openings out of that for the lights. This would go along the bottom of the opening and finish it off well.

The electrical connections are fairly basic if you know how to wire any light fixture. Thankfully, I had easy access to the attic to run a wire across the room to the switch, which was to be a dimmer switch, giving the homeowners more control of how bright the lights are.

By the way, recessed lighting is also much less expensive the most fixtures. For example, these 3" fixtures are around $10-15 each, while pendant lights would likely run $40-50 or more.

At 50 watts each, these lights will really help to show off the new Maple countertop that's coming soon.


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