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If You Give a Couple a Ceiling FanSunday, August 19, 2007
For anyone familiar with Numeroff's "If You Give a Mouse a Cookie" children's book series, this remodeling episode might seem somewhat familiar...

It all started sometime last month when we bought an extra ceiling fan...

Without air conditioning, we've been using a box fan in our bedroom window to keep cool at night. While this has worked well, we decided that we'd replace the (not-so-attractive) light fixture in the bedroom with a built-in ceiling fan. With a relatively free weekend, we took the box out of the closet and set to work.

Everything looked to be in order, except that the existing light fixture wasn't centered between the windows...

So... we decided to move the fixture. Which meant that we'd need to make a new hole. Which meant that we'd need to figure out how to secure the fan in the new hole. Oh, and which meant that we'd need to patch the old hole...

To begin, we took down the old light fixture to discover that the lath was running left-to-right rather than front-to-back, which meant that the ceiling joists were running parallel to the main walls (later we discovered that the ceiling joists are simply 2x4s which are perpendicular to the rafters of the slightly-slanted roof which is about a foot and half above the ceiling).

Assuming that we wouldn't be so lucky as to have the center of the room be directly under a joist, we took a quick trip to Home Depot to buy an expandable ceiling fixture mount...

After a few minutes with the drill and the keyhole saw, we managed to get a new hole in the right place. Fortunately, the wire from the old fixture was long enough to reach the new hole!

Installing the brace and the box, we were ready to hang the fan. Except...

We still needed to patch the hole from the old fixture... and if we were going to do that, we'd need to paint that part of the ceiling. And if we were going to paint part of the ceiling, then we should paint the whole ceiling (especially seeing as how about 1/4 of it was actually the wrong shade of white). And if we were going to paint the ceiling, we should also touch up the walls (especially to cover up where they'd also used the wrong color on the walls!).

So, we started by removing the old light switch plate...

As the new cover plate was smaller than the old one, we needed to paint around the switch, so we dug through the old paint and found the closest brown (based on the drips on the can), which took a little stirring...

But unfortunately it didn't turn out to be the right color. Which meant that we would need to buy some new paint. Which meant that we could even change the color of the room! Which meant that we would need to buy quite a bit more paint...

To prepare for a full painting, we began by moving out most of the furniture, and draping the bed. Which meant that we'd be sleeping in the guest bedroom for a little while...

Then Katherine went to work scraping any damaged paint off the walls...

Along the way, we discovered that the far right corner near the closet must have experienced some significant water damage (and that the ensuing plaster repair had not been done very carefully). Here's a sequence of photos showing that we seem quite capable of making something look a lot worse :-)

Now we've got a big hole in the bottom of the wall. How exactly we got to that from the ceiling fan has been quite a journey. And we realize that it's far from over. Over the next few days we will be patching up the ceiling and walls, doing some painting, and hopefully installing that fan!

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