To say that this has not been a very productive week would be an understatement. This has been a week filled with one frustration after another. I had high hopes that I’d get lots of work done on the studio, and while I’ve certainly tried, things have just not gone well at all.
I started off thinking that I would tackle an easy project and install the pendant lights and wall sconce that I purchased for the front wall of the studio where the long desk and built-ins will go.
Installing lights is a fairly simple task. Install the mounting plate, connect the wires, and connect the light to the mounting plate. Simple, quick and done!
Except when you order your lights from a company you’re not familiar with (because you found them online and they’re super cheap), only to find out that it takes six to eight weeks to actually get the lights because they’re coming from China and evidently being transported via paddle boat (very frustrating in this Amazon Prime world we live in), and then try to install them only to realize that there are no instructions, there are no screws provided, and the mounting bracket is too small to fit the junction boxes in the ceiling.
On top of that, the wires are red and blue. Red and blue? Where are the black and white? The ribbed and smooth? The solid and striped? Nope, there are none of those wires I’m used to. These are red and blue. And there are just two wires. There’s no ground wire.
After doing some research, I think I’ve finally decided that the red is hot, and the blue is neutral. But I have no idea how I’ll actually install these since the specialized brackets designed to fit the specific lighting designs don’t fit. Argh!!
So after putting the lights aside for now, I decided to focus on something easy and fun — installing the trim around the doors in the back entry. I’ve done this a thousand times, and I actually love installing trim. (Doing all of the wood filling, sanding, caulking, priming and painting is a completely different story, but I enjoy the installation.)
I started with the trim around the back French doors. That went smoothly and quickly. Then I stood back to admire the new trim…
…but rather than being able to admire the trim, my eyes immediately noticed how much taller the bathroom and closet doors looked. Why did the back doors look so much shorter?!
I thought it might just be a matter of perspective. I’m seeing the side doors at an angle, and they’re closer to me. That can make them look taller. I remember having the same reaction when I was trimming out the hallway doors. Even though I knew that those doors were the exact same height, at certain angles, the door closest to the built-in cabinet in the hallway looked much taller.
Hoping that was the case here, I got my tape measure and measured the heights of the doors. And sure enough, the framing on the bathroom and closet doors is two inches higher than the back French doors. Two inches. TWO INCHES!!
That was frustrating, to say the least. There was nothing I could do to raise the framing on the back doors, so the only thing I could do was find a way to lower the top trim on the side doors. I did this by adding a double layer of top jamb trim, which lowered the top header a bit. But I couldn’t lower it enough to make it even with the back doors, because that would have covered up too much of the top of the door.
So it is what it is. These are the types of things that drive perfectionists like myself a bit crazy, but you just eventually have to learn to deal with it and move on. And I’m hoping that once the other door (the closet door) is trimmed out to the same height as the bathroom door, the shorter French doors won’t be that noticeable.
That is, if I can ever get the closet door trimmed out. The bathroom door was a challenge because the pocket door frame wasn’t installed level or plumb. So all of the jambs are shimmed. That wasn’t a big deal.
But the closet pocket door frame is beyond unlevel. I mean, in an old house, I have to deal with a lot of things that aren’t level, square or plumb. But this? This beats anything I’ve seen before.
First, I hung the door and got it level. Then I tried installing the side jamb, but there was no way to get it plumb. The side jamb is shoved all the way against the 2 x 4 framing at the bottom…
That jamb is shoved as far to the right as possible. And when the door is closed, it fits snug against the jamb at the bottom.
But the top? Well, the top of the jamb is inside the slot in the pocket door framing where the side jamb is supposed to go, and I have it shimmed so that it’s as far to the left as it can go, and yet it is still so off that there’s a 7/16-inch gap between the jamb and the door.
And if 7/16 of an inch isn’t quite clear, let me clarify that that’s just 1/16-inch shy of half of an inch. HALF AN INCH. And that’s with the jamb already shimmed out from the 2 x 4 over a quarter of an inch.
Anyway, it looks like I’ll have to actually cut away part of the pocket door frame in order to get the side jamb shimmed out enough to actually be plumb. And of course, the top is just as bad. You can see just by looking at it that there’s about a 1/2-inch difference between the left and the right. No need to even pick up a bubble level to check if that framing is level…
So that’s about how my whole week has gone this week. What should have been easy (and generally pretty enjoyable for me) has had me wanting to pull my hair out.
I do hope to get this trim all finished this weekend, though. I’m not quite ready to throw in the towel just yet. And then I’ll head to Home Depot and rummage around in the lighting parts and see if I can find something to help me install my lights. There has to be a way!
In the meantime, have any of you ever installed a light with blue and red wires? Any idea which one of those is hot, and which one is neutral? I tried googling, and didn’t come away feeling 100% confident, but I’m about 75% sure that the red is hot. Right? No? Hopefully one of you will know for sure.