Thursday, July 6, 2017

The Lights Are On, But Nobody's Home

I've learned a few things about dollhouse lighting... It's a process, and it's better if you expect it to take however long it takes...


As some of you may remember, I decided to go with a round wire and plug system on this structure because of my past frustrations with tapewire systems and MDF. I am glad I did. Like tapewire, you have to plan ahead of time so you'll know where your lights will be. Unlike tapewire, you need to plan for how you'll conceal the wires and where you'll run them to the hub. At least you won't be ripping into your pretty wallpaper trying to isolate a bad connection. On the RGT barn, I'd test, move forward and then things would just stop working. Seems the MDF does not like brads or eyelets and pushes them right back out when you're not looking.


To avoid having to deal with hiding wires behind wallpaper, I decided early on to avoid wall lighting. Instead, I opted for "can" lights and lamps. One exception are the fireplace sconces. They are mounted on the chimney breast which is removable and also serves to conceal the hub for all the wiring in the entire house.


The other exception is the porch light. I drilled through the wall, then fed the wire inside right behind one of the wall frames. I did my best to conceal the wire running down the wall by painting it to match the wall color. There will be an entry table there, so that should help. The wire was then fed through a tiny access hole in the floor, along with the lamp wire, then runs through the joists and up through the floor to the hub.



I plan on adding one or two more living room lamps, and those wires will also be run through "outlets" in the floor and lead back up through the access hole to the hub. I have to decide on furniture placement before I can tackle those.


For the "can" lights, I decided on placement, drilled holes, then made channels in the plywood leading to the hub. Once the lights were installed, I secured the wires into place in the channels using really good masking tape.


Here is the kitchen. The drop fixture is over where the future sink will be. I'll also add another light under the stove hood, but that will be easy. It's just the other side of the wall from the hub, so a little hole drilled into the wall and it's right there.


This is looking through the living room into the dining room.


Looking through the kitchen into the dining room.


Buffet lamp currently taped securely to the floor. Wiring also runs under the house to meet up with the hub.


And a couple shots of the dining room ceiling. Sadly, hardly any of this can be seen unless you are a tiny person and can walk into the room, or you have a small camera. Oh well, I know it's there.



The warm white lighting gives the house a nice homey feel, like peering in through the windows at night. I like the mood they create, and can't wait to see them when all of the furniture is in. But first:

Finishing the stairs


Keep the column bookshelf?



Oh yeah, and an Entire Kitchen which has to be built! Then there's the little matter of a Christmas project that I'd like to have finished by Christmas. Oh goodie! Looks like I'll have two projects going at once!

Hope you all have a wonderful and productive mini weekend!

Jodi

30 comments:

  1. Wow Jodi, stunning! Looks absolutely fabulous!!! Did you use LED or normal 12v? And - no - it does not need the bookshelf, the room is perfectly balanced without it....

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    1. Thank you, Marion! All of the can lights are LEDs. The rest are 12v. I think I am going to have to leave the shelf sit there for a while, because I just can't decide on it. Maybe time will tell me what to do!

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  2. !Fantástico¡ has logrado un ambiente muy cálido , todos los elementos los engrandece, verdaderamente un trabajo impresionante; parece totalmente real sino supiéramos que es en miniatura.Felicidades y disfruta de un buen fin de semana:-)

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    1. ¡Muchas gracias por sus amables comentarios! Estoy tan contento de que te guste

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  3. So beautiful! I love that you decided to have so many lights. It really has that wow factor and like you mentioned and a cozier feel. The best part is that it still allows you see all the details and finishings you worked so hard on :)

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    1. Thanks Kristine! I just love the warm glow, too! Except for the shelf above the fireplace. That might just need a little frosting on the bulb. It is a little intense right now.

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  4. Oh it looks gorgeous! So elegant and warm! The lights really change the atmosphere of the house. I love how they look.

    And I so sympathize with you on the tape wire and mdf. My beachfront bungalow suffers from this issue and I still haven't gotten the lights working. Round wire and batteries all the way!

    I vote to keep the column bookshelf. It's gorgeous and structurally its logical. Old houses would have an entry hall and removing the wall entirely would compromise the integrity of the second floor. The bookshelf and columns make sense to me. (If that makes any sort of sense at all.)

    And what is that tantalizing glimpse of design I can see at the top of the steps. Reminds me of peacock feathers. Admit it. You like teasing us.

    Have fun with your dual projects!

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    1. Thank you, Sheila. It is always a tense moment when you finally get the lights going. It can either add or detract or show all of the mistakes. I am breathing a sigh of relief tonight.

      I am going to have to let that column/shelf thing marinate for a while. I love how it adds interest and gives me more display space, but the the furniture is going to be so tight. Maybe time will make clear a better alternative? Hope so.

      The peacock tail is a peek of what is really hanging on my dining room wall. I have a set of two of them, one on either side of the doorway. I inherited them after my grandparents passed - they were in their house my entire life. I like having them where I can be reminded of good family times each day.

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  5. The rooms are just amazing and the lights are very beautiful! I know the lighting needs so much work. You made a great job!

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    1. Thanks so much for the positive feedback, Ingi! I've got you added to my Great Reads now, so I can see more of your wonderful work!

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  6. Me encanta la iluminación!!!! Hay que llevar muchos cables y imaginar escondites, pero a mi también me gusta mas que la cinta.

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    1. Gracias, Isabel! Es un desastre allá, pero espero que nadie lo vea!

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  7. I like the columns and bookshelf and I kinda hope you keep them. The lights look wonderful too and really make the house look lived in and warm :0)

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    1. Thanks, Pepper! I hope I can find a way, too!

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  8. Hello Jodi,
    How fabulous and realistic does the house look all light up. You did a phenomenal job on lighting layout and a great job installing it. I am a huge fan of the wire method and like the way you put it all together. Having the wires in one spot like that is a great idea. I for one love the column bookcase. I think it is a terrific architectural detail and I like the storage it adds and the way it defines the space. Keep up the amazing work,
    Big hug
    Giac

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    1. Thanks, Giac! I don't want to lose it, either! Maybe a stairwell addition to gain 3-1/2" of space?

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  9. Bravo! The lighting is wonderful and brings out all the wonderful details you've been adding. I love it! :D

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  10. ARCHITECTURAL DIGEST- meet Jodi Hippler! :D
    I saw you new post just before I went off line last night and so I went to bed with images of your FABULOUS New Orleans house scrolling through my head- I AM BLOWN AWAY by the look of the interior with the Lights On AND also with the long views through and into each room- Show Stopping images!
    As for the bookcase with columns I vote that you'll decide to keep them too, not only for the amount of additional display but also because of the definition and division between the walking area and the seating area. Even if you removed the shelf unit, you will still have to leave that space clear for walking into the room so would you really be gaining anything by removing the shelving?
    However I do remember how tight it was with your 2 chairs side by side so you DO have some figuring out left to work out, but Oh My Goodness Jodi, what you have achieved on this level in this house is TOP DRAWER, in every corner and everywhere you look!
    I'm giving You and this INCREDIBLE LIGHTING an Enthusiastic TEN out of TEN! ♥♥♥

    elizabeth

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    1. Oh my gosh! Thanks, Elizabeth! I really, really want to keep the columns, too! Maybe I just need to build a more petite version? Smaller staircase? Chaise instead of sofa? What I wouldn't give for only three more inches in that room!

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  11. Looks fantastic. I love your detailed explanation but I am still petrified by lighting.....I can't imagine organizing all those wires, and planning and.....oh my...I'll just admire yours for now!

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    1. Thanks, Jain! No need to fear! Start small and work your way up as you begin to get comfortable. The sense of satisfaction when you haven't electrified yourself is thrilling! ;O)

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  12. Jodi, all your efforts are paying off, this is really looking great. The lighting makes the space sing. My thoughts on the columns and shelf are that they are a little bulky for the space. A slimmed down version would be my suggestion, but as Elizabeth mentions, they provide a lot of display space. It's ypur house so do what feels right to you. Enjoy your weekend!

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    1. Thanks, Shannon! I am wondering if a combination of narrower shelf and stairs might not be the way to go. I am apprehensive about putting all of the additional work in, but ultimately I think it is the right decision. I just need to get my mind around it by stepping away for a couple weeks. Why do we fight ourselves? Just do it, right? Enjoy your weekend, too!

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  13. Hi Jodi! The lighting looks fantastic!!! You have thought of everything! :) I do love to see the parts that will not be visible when the project is finished.... it means I am not alone in making all those details nobody will ever see! I have only used round wire on my projects... aside from the Tree House which is 1:48 scale and uses LED's with battery packs. I am still learning/figuring out how and where to hide the power strips so there is still access to them. And I have recently begun to use strips that have switches on each outlet so you can choose which lights to have on or off just like in a RL house! (Which means you really want to have access to the power strip at all times!) Your rooms are starting to look very glamorous and inviting.... I can't wait to see more!

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    1. Thanks, Betsy! You would think by now (since we've been to the moon nearly fifty years now) that they would have an easy wireless and remotely controlled dollhouse lighting system which is completely affordable, right? Oh well, I guess when they do we will reminisce about the good old days of having to get extra creative with wire cloaking...

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  14. Your lighting is looking fabulous Jodi! It's so magical when a house comes to life with lights.. I chose round wire for the San Franciscan as well, not because I gave the MDF a thought.. it just looked easier to me. :) Looks like I made the right choice!

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    1. Thanks, Sam! You should pat yourself on the back now for going with the round! There is a special tool that costs about $12 just to create access holes for tapewire brads into the MDF - my MDF bent that tool... two of them! If you do manage to pound the sucker into the MDF, the holes are too big and sloppy and make for bad connections. Only after you have thoroughly tested the lights, given your self a high five and moved on do you discover that they are no longer working. It is crushing. :O(

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  15. Great job on the lighting! I am still worried about trying the "can" lights, you executed it well!!

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    1. Thank you! I had a lot of apprehension, too, but then I just made the decision to go for it. So my advice to you is stop worrying and just give it a try!

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