Since last time we were in the kitchen together, we have crossed a couple big ticket items off the to-do list:

  1. Demoing the kitchen and the dividing walls between kitchen and living room. All existing tile, drywall, and floor will be removed including soffit.
  2. Demoing the hall closet space for housing the fridge.
  3. Running utilities – installing new gas line for the new gas stove, adding new plumbing and waterline for the fridge and dishwasher, modifying plumbing and waterline for the new sink and garbage disposal, rerouting the hood vent in the attic.
  4. Slav wiring for outlets and switches.
  5. Tiling the floor.
  6. Adding exterior insulation and installing drywall; repairing ceiling drywall and skim-coat the existing walls.
  7. Installing stair railing.
  8. Priming and painting all the new drywall in the kitchen and stairwell.
  9. Installing recessed lighting for the kitchen and the living room.
  10. Cabinets installation (90% done!).
  11. Countertop template and installation.
  12. Tiling the backsplash and finish window trims.
  13. Appliances installation.
  14. Installing under the cabinet lighting.
  15. Finishing the room with door trims and baseboards.

Yes, you read that right. We are almost done with the cabinet installation! Our contractor still needs to put on some trims and decorative moulding. And I will come back next week to show you the complete installation. What I want to talk about today, is the work Slav has been working on during the past three weeks: installing recessed lighting for the kitchen and living room.

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Installing kitchen recessed lighting

We have been wanting recessed lighting for the main floor ever since we installed them in our basement suite. They are so nice to have when you want to brighten up the space for activities and gatherings, while the dimmer function makes moody lighting possible. The question has always been how many to install and what the layout should be. Now we have set on the new kitchen design, we could finally pinpoint where these recessed lights should be.

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After discussing the lighting location, we marked them on the ceiling, then Slav drilled from below and used utility flags to mark the locations in the attic. We decided to install six of 6″ cans over the 10′ x 11′ floor space (without the cabinets), plus two 4″ cans directly above the two windows as task lighting.

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With the flags poking out of the insulation in the attic, Slav were able to locate them quickly and cut the openings from above.

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He then attached the cans to the bottom chord of the roof trusses, and wired all six of the 6″ cans in a daisy-chain fashion.

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It took a whole afternoon to complete all the wiring and installation. And this is the final results!

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When Slav wired for the kitchen electrical a couple weeks ago, he prepared switches for the recessed lighting with wires going into the attic. After all the can lights were linked, he connected the circuit to the switch, and everything worked immediately:

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The two tasking lighting above the windows were put on a separate circuit. These lights are turned on by a switch next to the sink, while the six bigger can lights are controlled by two 3-way switches installed at each end of the kitchen.

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Living room recessed lighting installation

The following weekend, Slav repeated the same procedure in the living room:

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The above picture showed 12 markings, but we ended up installing only eight recessed lights. These 65W-equivalent recessed lights provide pretty good coverage. If we ever want to make the room brighter, we could upgrade the lights to 75W- or even 90W-equivalent down the road.

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Typical Slav, repurposing my wine (plastic) cup for less drywall dust. 🙂

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Here is the final results! It took only a few hours to install all eight lights in the living room, but probably equal amount of effort to patch these 12 holes. Ha!

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The living room did not have overhead lighting before. Per fire code, there needs to be some form of light that can be switched on at the front door. So the previous owner wired a wall outlet to a switch next to the front door, and connected a floor lamp to it. It is a rather creative approach to satisfy the code, but not very practical in my mind. Since we had to open some drywall to add switches for the new recessed lights, Slav took the opportunity to rewire the outlet so it stays constantly “hot”.

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As you can see, now we have three switches at the front entry: the leftmost switch controls the outdoor porch light, and the rest two are for the two new circuits for recessed lighting.

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The two cans closest to the front door are on their own circuit. The recessed lighting we installed in the living room has a night light function, so we can keep the front door area lit for the night if needed.

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We have been living with all sixteen recessed lighting in our living space for a week. They are pretty nice! The living room felt a lot bigger at night now it is well-lit. For darker lighting we could simply dim all the lights, use the night light function in the living room, or just to leave the task lighting on. There are so many combination already, and we still have the under-the-cabinet lighting to add into the mix!

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Finally, a mirror in the main floor bathroom!

Speaking of lighting, Slav also added a backlit LED mirror in the guest bathroom. The new mirror offers several light colors with different brightness, and an anti-fog function, all of which are controlled by the three touch buttons on the mirror.

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The clivia miniata started blooming a couple days ago. I think the mirror and pretty blooms completed the bathroom quite elegantly. Don’t you think?

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What’s in store next

As I speak, our contractor is finishing the cabinets installation, and we will have the countertop templated tomorrow! For the countertop installation we went with a local mom-and-pop stone shop, which operates a lot quicker than big box stores. Our quartz countertop will get installed in just a week after template appointment, then we can start tiling the backsplash and installing appliances. 🙂 We feel so relieved now we can see the end of the finish line, and personally, watching the to-do list getting shorter is so satisfying.

Here is what is left to do in the kitchen:

  1. Countertop template (tomorrow!) and installation (in a week!).
  2. Tiling the backsplash and finish window trims (targeted to finish by mid-May).
  3. Appliances installation.
  4. Unpacking the kitchen (the part I am most looking forward to!).
  5. Slav installing the under-the-cabinet lighting.
  6. Trimming doorways and completing baseboards.

I can totally see us cooking in the new kitchen on the Memorial Day. Maybe not everything on the current to-do list will be complete, but I think the kitchen will be functional enough by the end of May. What do you think? I cannot wait!