Apartment bonus room. Where I play piano. Seating for the occasional audience is on a bamboo daybed under a north window that looks into upper branches of a courtyard–two rows of sweeping, weeping birch. Who could ask for anything more? Well, more overnight guests to use it for one thing . . .
the room is narrow so extra floor space would be nice, and for these long winter evenings, the glow of incandescent light. Two wishes granted of the three (and, perhaps, attracting what I wished for first) playing with UNDER LIGHTS!
Rope lights have their price (as do LED strips, which I’ve never bought). With that in mind, I spotted rope lights for $1/length at a thrift store, I snatched them up. I shared the first length with my friend–installing it in his house with the only power plug (I realized when I bought them that the rope lights had previously been used strung together; the other plugs that usually accompany each length had been discarded). Not to worry. For a dollar I figured I could jerry-rig some wiring. I broke away the coupling collar and used needle nose pliers to bend the exposed prongs into opposite-facing “J” shapes. I was able to get a secure twist around the bent prongs with the bare wires of a power cord. While I was at it, I added a funky inline remote switch (that resurfaced from my stash just in time). The splices are reinforced with insulating cloth, covered with plastic–two types of electrician’s tape.
I set aside the cushions (the black webbing that supports them is shown in the photo) and started by making sure we had power. Keeping the lights on while working warms the protective sleeve slightly making it more flexible.
My first strategy was to use nylon cord to tie the lights around the perimeter of the frame and it was a good way to see how far the set would extend. There was enough length to go along the back as well.
But I stepped back to take the picture below and realized there was a lot of work still ahead. This was a good point in the project to repeat my mantra: “If it’s not working out, you’re not done yet” learned from the many times I have experienced frustration only to then be inspired with a better idea for realizing the initial concept.
In-process assessment: Sometimes rope lights look good exposed–like tracer lights. But, with the rhythm of the bamboo already established, visible rope lights detracted. I decided to sleep on it.
First thoughts in the morning: I remembered these one-legged staples I had picked up at ReStore, a thrift store for building materials. I pre-drilled into the frame 3/4″ and then used a hammer to secure them. Ties of nylon cord held it tight at cross pieces and secured the rope behind the back cushions. The staples provided the stability to keep the rope level and out of sight. Plastic clips designed for the job would have also worked but they weren’t handy and the distance that the staples add from the frame allows more air to cool the lights during operation (wouldn’t ya think?).
Architecture should provide more than spaces for the body. In this case, an extravagance is created for the mind. The light at the back inspires the illusion of room behind this piece of furniture. Illumination beneath signals that we don’t necessarily need to walk on that part of the floor to contemplate it. Under lights change perspective, invite wonder. And, all at the flick of a switch located conveniently on the floor at right!
Find what’s yours . . . truly, danscir52
copyright 2013 Dan Christensen all rights reserved