The Kim Six Fix: November 2011

How to Replace a Fluorecent Box Light and Shave 30 Years Off Your Kitchen

This post was featured for a Flashback Friday. For an update on this project please go here

The one room in the house that can date it more than any other is the kitchen.  Walk into any house where the kitchen has not been updated and you can pretty much guess the year it was built.   So, based on  the lovely oak handleless cabinets, flurosecent light fixture and creamy white appliances in mine you can rest assured it was built in the late 80s, early 90s.

Here is the listing photo from the MLS when we purchased the house:
 Yep.. 1988.

What really screams out at you is the giant box fixture protruding out of the ceiling about 8 inches.  I am not sure why anyone thought that was a good look (although it does throw a TON of light since it houses three huge 2-bulb fluorescent lights).

One thing we do have going for us is that the original nasty white tile countertops have been replaced with granite.  Thank goodness.  Here is another house in our subdivision and this is the original countertop that was installed in 1988:
You will notice though that they at least attempted to update the kitchen with the painted cabinets, addition of door and drawer hardware and the updating of the appliances.  I am not a fan of the chicken wire cutouts, but at least they did SOMETHING.

Like the people in the other house, the first thing we did to the kitchen was replace our energy inefficient 22 year old appliances with all new stainless steel ones from Bosch.  And look what we found behind the microwave:
Ah yes! There it is! The 1988 3x3 tiles.  How quaint.

The next thing on the list: THE UGLY LIGHT.

First I pulled off the plastic and the oak trim:

Then I went after the wood and sheet rock box that was embedded in the ceiling:
 

It was actually the hardest part of the project and made the biggest mess:

Eventually I got the entire box down and cleaned up the demo debris:
To replace the large amount of light I was removing, I decided I wanted a hanging fixture above the island, as well as one above the sink and then I wanted to add can lights over all my work spaces.  I mapped out my wiring diagram on my grocery list:

Fortunately because removing the original fixture left a gaping hole in the ceiling, I was able to wire the new can lights myself.  I went with LED to save on electricity costs since the lights are pretty much on in the kitchen 100% of the time.

I fell in love with this barrel shade set of fixtures at home depot:

I then repaired the ceiling with a drywall patch:

Taped and mudded:

There also was the problem that the ceiling in the house has a knockdown/orange peel texture.
 

So even after retexuring the patch using an aerosol texture product it still didn't look perfect:

I tried to live with it, but I couldn't stand it.  I knew I had to hide the patch, so based on a photo I saw on pinterest, I decided to put in some molding.  I used a stock chair rail they had at home depot along with a thinner type of window trim:

I painted the trim the same color as ceiling. In fact I repainted the entire kitchen ceiling since it was previously a semi-gloss. Now that my lighting actually is focused down I no longer needed to bounce it off a the gloss finish of the ceiling and if you want to hide imperfections in a wall or ceiling paint with MATTE finish.

So there you have it.

BEFORE:
 

AFTER:

The day we moved in (BEFORE:)

 Today (AFTER):

BEFORE:
 

AFTER:
You can see I also decided to change out the fixture over the kitchen table, so it would match.  I also removed the lovely brass switch plate cover and you no longer can see the line on the ceiling where the semi-gloss kitchen paint met with the matte paint of the dining area.

There is still a LONG way to go. I am going to do something to the cabinets, either painting or staining them, plus I need to add hardware and a backsplash, but for now I would say the room looks at least 20 years younger!

Linking this post to Thrifty Decor Chick's Show Us Your Kitchens Party
And Remodelaholic's Kitchen Project Link up