Saturday, 9 September 2017

Recessed lights in library

I finally plucked up courage to do a new kind of lighting.  I wanted to put some recessed lights in the library. 

First you need the narrative for this library before you think it is set in 1750.  This house is a Georgian house but being seen in 2016.  This small library would have been a service room in the original house but is now being used as a climate controlled space to take care of some valuable old texts.

air conditioning/temperature/humidity control unit in the ceiling

The lighting needed to be low (ish) cool lighting, hence my desire for recessed lights (aka down-lighters or can lights).  

The LEDs came from Elf Miniatures

The idea was to make holes the size of the eyelets and tap them in place (or glue if needed).  Then insert the LED light and bend it at the neck in the position I wanted.  After deciding where to put the bend, I slid the heat shrink tubing up to the neck and heated it. .  

I should have then laid the wires in grooves to exit the house as I normally do.  Right now they are just lying on the floor above.  I am hoping for once to get away with not having to make six grooves to the back of the room - no easy way of doing this and I will always duck actual work if I can.  The room above will be the only one in the house with fitted carpet and I am hoping that might be kind enough to go down on some cardboard false floor on 'joists' and not mind the wires??????  More of that when I get to it.

First step was to make my usual template.  I do realise all the marking and measurements that I labour to put down on paper could simply be done directly on the floor above the library but (a)  I am now working with a stool to reach that floor which isn't great ......

.........and (b) I like to see where the lights will go in relationship to objects in the room.  I can then position furniture to check out the usefulness of the light(s) and basically just get a better feel of how they will look in relationship to the finished room.  So I make a template for the floor of the room the lights will go in (the library).  I then mark up where the lights will go.

deciding where I want the lights and making the template

The template is then taken to the floor above and fastened down with tacky wax or masking tape so it doesn't move around and I drill through the marks.  This time using a larger drill bit than usual as I was making holes for the eyelets not just the usual wires.

drilling the holes
 I actually managed to guess the right size drill bit which was a brilliant tight fit for the eyelets so no glue was needed

no glue needed

I simply tapped them in place with a small hammer using a scrap of wood to protect the eyelet and the ceiling paint.

I got these LEDs from the terrific  ELF along with some steel eyelets but, being awkward, I wanted white so I searched the web and got some that way.  These are 5/32" eyelets: you will need that size to get the LED inside the neck of it plus they are in scale for most real ones, although recessed lights can, of course, come in all sorts of sizes.  

If you extend the bulb slightly from the eyelet it will give a wide spread of light.  I wanted mine subdued and decidedly recessed so I fiddled around with them for a while using a bit of wood and making a mock up to help me decide just how far in (or out) I wanted the bulbs to be.  Eventually they ended up completely inside the eyelet.  I didn't like how the very bright LED light caught your eye when any of the bulb was visible.  I thought that with six of those glowing at me in the library I wouldn't have looked at anything else.  You can get warm lights rather than bright so that might tone them down and I do know folk who simply paint over them to calm them down.

Unlike the usual dolls house lighting these LEDs have polarity.  It doesn't make for a problem when I come to wire them into the power strip as it is clearly marked with a plus and minus.  All that will be revealed very, very much further down the line when the whole house is wired.

The idea here is that much of the very utilitarian shelving was already in the room as it would have been a service room for the 'public rooms' on this floor and would have housed dishes and silver and all kinds of things that needed to be set out for different functions.  My Dalton House resident, another Elizabeth, had it re-positioned and repainted in its original colour (the same colour as the original linen press in the basement) so that there was still a nod to the 'old house'.  No-one actually works in this room but there is a desk and couple of chairs in case any visitors would like to look at something in her collection.

not at all finished but on the way



  1. Can't wait to see the recessed lights illuminated! Also like the way the furniture is arranged AND the look of the books lining the shelves too! :)

  2. I liked the idea of having the window behind anyone seated at the desk for a change rather than the usual facing the dolls house viewer. In real life, this is the way I would want to sit in that room - facing the door (makes you feel more important!!). There will be lots of stuff for the shelves which will involve much fiddling about I would imagine. The 'spare' chairs have been borrowed from the dining room, so I do need the right two chairs for in here?????? M

  3. Wow that looks amazing, love your idea of recessed lights.

    1. Thanks Diane. Simple as a pimple once I started. I spend far too long mithering about things instead of just cracking on and doing it. M

  4. This is a wonderful job, Marilyn! They look perfectly symmetrical in the room with your brilliant planning. Very "updated" and clean, too! I am with Elizabeth and am looking forward to the Big Lighting!

    1. That is a very, very long way off I'm afraid. I pretty much finish the project before attaching the wires to the power supply; until then I just live in hopes that things will work as I wanted them to...... time will tell. M

  5. Well...just like real life a Georgian house has been updated to a modern use. The pot lights are a clean, simple look that doesn't interfere with the book lined shelving, the desk or chairs. Looks perfect for the effect you were going for and like the others will look forward to seeing the eventual lighting reveal! Cheers, Alayne

    1. Thank you. I like modern (ish) but also like Georgian so it seemed a reasonable narrative and meant I could fiddle the Georgian bits without too much worry about accuracy. It would be a strange dolls house to look at if you didn't know how it was being lived in. It has 18th century mid 20th and some 21st century all in the same place. Hope you are still with me when I eventually get to light it up. m

  6. Fantastic! It's small details like this that really push the realism. :D

    1. Totally agree, it is all about the small stuff! Marilyn