Dining room re-wiring


Rewiring of the box beams and central fixture in the dining room. Two lessons were learned in this project:

1) Don’t take apart the box beams. When we did this for the living room, we came up with the much better method of drilling all the way up into the joist cavity and just feeding the wires through to the attic spaces upstairs.

2) Don’t permit work like this. This was the first time we ever got a building permit, and we came to regret it. The inspector was unhappy that the wires came through holes in the wood and did not terminate in a box. While I definitely believe that building codes are a good thing, there are times where the letter of the law conflicts with something that would still be safe. Obviously, very little in an old house would meet code, so any remodeling is an exercise in finding the right compromise between codes and aesthetics.

After a lot of effort, we were able to solve the problem by buying the smallest possible “pancake” boxes and painting them to match the beam stain. We were fortunate that the 3 1/2″ size was very close to the diameter of the fixtures bases, so they basically act as spacers between the fixture and the beam. If you didn’t know to look for them, you’d never notice them.



2 thoughts on “Dining room re-wiring

  1. Hi! I am LOVING your website! My husband and I have a California craftsman home that we have been working on since 2003. A never ending process, to which I am sure you can attest… but I am finding that it isn’t always out of necessity that it never ends, and rather, because we enjoy the satisfaction we get from the work (most of the time). That said… I’ll get to my point/question: I have been toying with the idea of installing box beams on our ceilings. How high are your ceilings? I fear ours may be too low for such a detail, but then, I saw some on a home nearby and they looked fabulous, as do yours! Thanks! Emily in CA


  2. Thanks, Emily. Glad you’re enjoying our documentation of our successes and aggravations. Our ceilings are not low, nor are they particularly high at 9′. I wouldn’t do them on an 8′ ceiling, but I think they’d look good on anything taller. Good luck!


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