Saturday, October 3, 2015

DIY a Copper Pipe Chandelier

DIY a Copper Chandeiler
We have so much going on right now it's slightly crazy. We're actually making progress on the house, work is super busy, and Will has mastered climbing out of his crib which has thrown our sleep schedule into a bit of a tailspin.... oh and I just my third trimester 

 I finally took some time to organize some of my photos enough to actually show you guys some of what we've been up to. We're waiting on building permits to start work on the second floor, so right now we are working on projects on the first floor that do not require permits. If you want to see real-time progress on the house (and not wait around for me to find time to write) you can follow along on our Instagram or Facebook pages!

One of my favorite quick fixes is replacing cheap lighting with custom fixtures. Our dining room light was a pretty basic (and not that pretty) chandelier that we didn't even bother to center over the table when we moved in, so for the last few months, one of the seats at the table was the "hot seat". 

I knew for awhile I wanted to use copper piping to make a new chandelier for the dining room. I played around with a lot of different designs and finally landed on a simple octagon shape that mimics the shape of the dining room table. It's a pretty easy fixture to put together so if you want to make your own, you'll need:
  • 11 Copper Tees (1/2")
  • 8 Copper 45 degree elbows (1/2")
  • 2 10 ft long 1/2" Copper Pipe
  • 1/2-in x 1/4-in Copper Threaded Adapter Fitting (female)
  • Metal Swag Light Kit
  • 8 Porcelain Light Socket with a Die Cast Cap
  • Lamp Wire
  • Tape Measure
  • Pipe Cutter
  • Wire Cutters
  • Electrical Tape
  • Screwdriver
  • Marker
  • 2 Part Epoxy
I laid all the fittings out on the table to get an idea of how big I wanted the chandelier to be. Measuring between two fittings gave me the length of pipe I need to cut (which for us was 7"). Since I was making a polygon on the outside, all the pipe lengths between fittings had to be the same. So, I marked out one of the 10' long pipes in 7" increments.

If you have a pipe cutter, this next step is pretty easy. You place the pipe in the pipe fitter and screw it down until the metal blade makes contact with the pipe. Then you rotate the pipe cutter around the pipe multiple times. Each time you go around, you tighten the pipe cutter until the pipe finally separates.

Repeat as necessary. After I cut all my exterior pieces, I dry fitted the outside of chandelier. This allowed me to figure out the spacing I wanted for the central row. I ended up using 9" long rods on the outside and 8" rods on the inside so that the central two lights wouldn't be exactly in line with the ones on the periphery.

Before gluing, I also wanted to make sure I like the light sockets we chose and that the die cast cap would actually work the way we wanted it to.

These porcelain sockets are pretty awesome. The nipple on the base of the cap fits right inside the copper tee and then the socket itself screws onto the cap. It really has a nice look with the copper and it made wiring everything significantly easier.

 The last few pieces were the central rod and the loop at the top to hang the chandelier. Once I was happy that we had everything and that it all fit together correctly, everything came back apart for wiring.

Wiring something with lots of bends and turns can be pretty tricky so we decided to break it down into sections. The sections were basically going from one tee to the next. We wired the sections before we epoxied the connections so we had a little more flexibility and then carefully epoxied each section, making sure the wire stayed where we needed it to be.

We used a two part epoxy (which we also use on all of the rope pulls we make) instead of soldering the joints to give a cleaner look to the piece. Once each section was dry, we epoxied the remaining joints and epoxied in the die cast caps to the top of the tees.

The main wire came in through the central pipe. The top of the pipe got the threaded adapter so that we could use the light kit to attach the hanging loop. We had to cut down the threaded rod provided in order to get the loop to be flush with the adapter but no other modification was required.

Nate finished by wiring the porcelain sockets and attaching them to the caps and then hanging it up!

For now we have the inexpensive white globe lights in but I'm ordering some LED Edison bulbs for the fall/winter.  Overall, it cost just under $100 for all the parts (including the white bulbs) and we're really happy with final look!

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Monday, September 14, 2015


Every once in awhile my birthday lands on Labor Day. This not only means I get my birthday off from work, but I get a three day weekend to go along with it. It was nice that this hit on my 30th since I needed the extra day to adjust to the new number. There has been a lot of adjustment to "newness" the last few months and since I haven't really thought about 30 much it hit harder than a lot of other birthdays.

This year, Nate took charge of birthday stuff and planned a whole bunch of day trips around Arizona for us to explore! It's nice living near Phoenix, but it is also really refreshing to escape to the surrounding areas for a little quiet and a lot more greenery. We got to take a little breather away from craziness for a few days which I really needed so it was the perfect way to spend the weekend.

Warning... Prepare for picture overload... and enjoy!

Shopping/Splash pad/Lunch

Bartlett Lake


County Fair - near Flagstaff

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Thinking Outside the Box (store): Choosing Kitchen Cabinets

This is a sponsored post. All opinions are 100% mine. Thank you for supporting CKandNate

We are officially owners of our third house. Kind of crazy. We don't really like moving but we do what we have to for jobs and it does give us the opportunity to rework another house, which is fun. When we look for a new house we look for a home that is livable the way it is, but clearly can afford some changes/updates to improve the value. The biggest sticking point for us in house searches are space and kitchens. Usually, space trumps kitchens and so we end up renovating the kitchen to get  what we want. 

In our first house we were able to reuse some of the cabinets to keep costs down. This was both good and bad. We did end up saving some money, but in order to match designs, we were forced into buying our cabinets from one of the box stores. This wasn't the end of the world, but I didn't love them and wasn't thrilled about the construction or quality.

Fast forward to our second house. We decided to go with all new cabinets. Higher cost, but at the time we thought we were going to be in that house for a long time so worth it. We got quotes from Lowe's, Home Depot and a few local cabinet places as well as pricing out cabinets from Ikea. Based on quality and price, we ended up going with a local company. We were able to get the exact design we wanted, at a higher quality, plus have the cabinets be american made, all for significantly less money than the box stores. 

We really like supporting smaller business that can offer better quality at a lower price. Cabinet Cottage is very similar to the company we worked with and offer the same line of cabinets we ended up buying (and loving). If you are in the market, we purchased the Americana Capital series. We brought our floor plan to the store and had a design worked up there which Cabinet Cottage offers as well as Free in home estimates.

Even better, right now you can get 50% off wholesale cabinetry which include the Americana series. We went with an al-a-carte option and installed the cabinets ourselves, but with the 50% off you can put the savings towards installation and save your back! We loved how these cabinets held up over time and while we aren't sure what we are going to do with our new kitchen, the cabinets are our biggest complaint. So, if we decide to replace them, we will be looking at these again. 

Do you love your cabinets? Let us know where you got them in the comments.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Defining Wasted Space - Floating Shelves

Do you ever look at a space in your house and ask "Why"? As in, why did whoever design my house put that there or include a space or not include cabinet knobs? Well, our new house has quite a few things on that list and we're slowly trying to figure out what to do to make those things work for us. The easiest to figure out and fix was a weird space/alcove between our master bedroom door (left) and the downstairs half bath door (right).

This spot has quickly become the dogs spot for food, water and where they hang out when we're not at home so I wanted to create a functional spot for them as well as some storage to deal with the copious number of boxes that are still not unpacked. I initially was going to try to find unit that fit the spot but I wanted to keep the floor space open to the dogs so instead, I decided to put in some floating shelves.

This was a bit of a fly by the seat of my pants project. I took some quick measurements of the alcove and headed to Lowe's. I wanted to keep this project simple and keep scrap to a minimum so I stuck with one 4' x 8' sheet of 1/4" stainable plywood and four 1x2's (8 ft long each). I had the guy at Lowe's cut down the plywood into eight 45" x 1' pieces and the strip left over I kept to make a smaller shelf. Then I headed home to work with the 1x2's.

I started on the table saw. I didn't want to see any raw plywood edges so I used the table saw to notch out a 1/4" deep notch on either side of two of the 1x2's. This allows the plywood to lay flush with the top of the 1x2 and have some support (1/2") underneath so I didn't have to used more 1x2's than necessary. The other 1x2's were ripped so that they would be the same depth as the narrow side of the notched 1x2 to create support pieces for the wall.

I used our miter saw to cut everything down to length. The scraps were cut down to create this smaller shelf for the bathroom. This only left a small piece of plywood at the end.

All the visible pieces of wood got a coat of stain and then it was time to start putting everything together. 

Since 1x2's aren't very thick, I predrilled all the support pieces. This took a little extra time upfront but it saved a lot of frustration of splitting the wood so it was totally worth it.

Next was figuring out where to put the shelves. Our laser level has been my best friend in this house and it made this project so easy to put together. I set up the laser at the height I wanted the first shelf and started putting up support pieces right under it.

I would check with an actual level to verify that the individual support pieces were level and then I attached the front piece.

At this point I had support on all sides so I could lay in my top plywood piece and use my nail gun to attach the top to the supports. I repeated this process for the bottom piece of plywood and that finished the build of one shelf.

To keep going, I set up a tape measure with the spacing I wanted between the shelves and then lined the laser up to right above the top of the tape.

Lots of repeating work later, I had four awesome floating shelves! I was a little worried about the shelves sagging but these things are solid. I also shockingly did not have to repeat any cuts and things fit together just how they were supposed to (benefits of a newer house??? things are actually square??)

I wasn't quite done yet though. I touched up all the nail holes with stain and then put a coat of polyurethane on all visible sides.

I used a satin poly so you can barely tell a shine difference (above) between the poly'd and non poly'd side but after a quick sand down after the poly dried, The shelves were nice and smooth and no longer had the rough feel of plywood. I've learned over the years that if you ever want to wipe down these type of shelves, this is an absolutely necessary step.

Finally, I was able to do some unpacking and styling. All our DVD's and shows and CD's (yes we still use these things and we even use our LP's, I just couldn't find the box that they are hiding in to put them up yet) are now readily available and since this is the dogs area down below, I decided to use this space to display all our favorite pups in picture form.

I'm trying to embrace the desert life so we picked up a few dry loving plants this weekend and the little bit of greenery is definitely making me happy.

The only thing left to do is find an appropriate basket to store dog toys on the lowest shelf and then I'm going to be super duper happy with the combo of utility and eye candy that this little no-space has embraced.

How about you? Do you have a space in your house that needs defining?

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