DIY: Ceiling Fan Edition

I’ve done a bit of work on my place since moving in, and if you’ve read my earlier posts you know some of it worked out great and some was a bit more difficult. With a kitchen remodel and new hardwood floors the place is really looking great.

The most recent upgrade was to finally finish the hardwood flooring project this summer. My boyfriend installed the floors, but we decided to hire a contractor to do the trim, door threshold and transition pieces into the bathroom and kitchen. My building manager recommended Silva Construction and they were extremely professional, did a phenomenal job on the project in one day and were very reasonably priced.

This weekend I tackled a smaller DIY project on my own. My ceiling fan broke some time ago, and I’ve had a new one from Home Depot sitting on the floor of my apartment taunting me for weeks now. Apparently running a fan for four years straight without ever turning it off can burn out a motor. Lesson learned: occasionally turn fan off, especially when not at home or on vacation!

After returning from a great Thanksgiving weekend, I decided why not give it a shot. I watched a couple videos on Home Depot on how to do it, read the instructions that came with my new fan and set out all the pieces and tools I would need. My place is pretty old so it runs on fuses instead of circuit breakers and all of the electricity in my apartment is powered by a single fuse, so I was working by flashlight in the bedroom and hoping to finish before I lost all of the daylight coming in from the main room. Of course I forgot about how much earlier it’s getting dark these days and ended up finishing the project in a very dark room.

I undid the wiring and removed the current fan and light fixture in place. I was moving a bit slow since I was very paranoid about messing up a fan that hangs over my bed while I sleep, but I finally got to the wiring stage. There was no ground wire in my apartment so things just weren’t matching up with the instructions I had on how to hook up the wires. I decided it best not to guess and sent a picture of the wiring situation with a please help text message to my brother. He called and talked me through what color to hook up where and I was back in action.

After completing the wiring, I covered it up with the canopy, attached the fan blades and then affixed the light fixture. Now was time for the moment of truth. I’ll be honest, I didn’t have a whole lot of confidence that this would actually work out. I plugged the fuse back in and flipped the switch and to my amazement I had a working fan and light! It really was an easy project, so I’m probably more proud of this than I should be, but it’s the toughest DIY project I’ve done on my own and succeeded at, so I’m going to go ahead and brag about it!

DIY Done Right

I’ve always wanted hardwood floors in my place, and after the kitchen disaster ruined my carpet as detailed in my last post I decided the time was right. While I’m sure there are plenty of good contractors out there, after my horrible experience with the Ransom Company remodeling my kitchen, I really didn’t want to go that route again. Lucky for me, my boyfriend is pretty handy and offered to help me put the new floors in. We planned to do the work while he was visiting at Christmas.

I chose natural bamboo wide plank flooring and read up on all the other materials we would need. I picked up all the supplies so we’d be ready to go as soon as Ian got into town. It took two Home Depot trips – one to pick up all the tools I’d need and the next to pick up 18 boxes of flooring. Thanks to a very helpful Home Depot employee at the Alexandria store, I managed to fit all of them in my little blue car with enough room for me to squeeze in the driver’s seat and drive home very, very slowly. Lesson learned here – even with an elevator, getting 18 boxes of flooring up to the 8th. floor is no picnic. My brother and his girlfriend happened to be in town that weekend though, so they helped tear the carpet up making my life a lot easier.

Ian and I got to work the following Sunday starting in the main room of my apartment. We put down the underlayment in strips over the old floor and started with the first planks of the click-and-lock flooring. He’d done one other similar type of floor so he had a good idea of how this would work. While I did my best to be helpful, I have to admit he did most of the hard work while I did a lot of the measuring. Progress was a little slow at first, but eventually we got the hang of it. After the weekend Ian continued working away during the days I had to go into the office and a few days later I had nice new, shiny bamboo floors. They make such an amazing difference it almost looks like a whole new place!

The work wasn’t quite done yet. After spending Christmas up in Syracuse, we came back and assembled a whole bunch of Ikea and Container Store furniture – a desk and shelf set, a pub table and chairs, a side storage table, a coffee table and an end table. When I bought the place it came furnished which was great at the time, but it was nice to finally add some of my own choices to the place. My parents helped complete the remodel with new area rugs.

While it was a lot of hard work, I’m extremely glad we did the project on our own. I did, however, have to promise Ian there would be no new projects anytime soon! Now that my new kitchen, new floors and new furniture are in place though, I won’t be needing anything else!