Last month my in-laws came to visit us for the first time since our move. It seems like most visits involve house projects, and this time was no different.
When we first saw the house, I knew it was perfect for us at this time in our lives. One of my favorite features was seeing the breakfast area was large enough to fit our huge dining room table comfortably.
However, once we moved in, the previous light fixture no longer worked for the space. The old fixture was rusty, and it sat at one end of the table. It made for awkward lighting to have one side of the table glowing and the other dim.
Over dinner, my in-laws asked what projects we could work on together, and the topic of changing the light fixture came up. We went to several different lighting stores in Houston one day, but nothing felt right for the space, or the prices were way, way more than what we wanted to spend. (Yep, those are four digits for the hologram lightbulb light fixture!)
Brian built our dining table four years ago when I was pregnant with Bunny, and because it was custom, I wanted something that was modern, but vintage with a touch of quirk. (That seems to be the overarching theme of my decorating taste!)
We decided to try visiting The Home Depot and Lowe’s for our next outing. My next idea was to do a mixture of industrial and other lights together, though it still didn’t feel like it was the best option.
The night before, I logged into Pinterest and searched “farmhouse table light fixture.” There were quite a few ideas I was drawn to, but the one that I really liked was this one, using our own mason jars.
While my mother-in-law entertained the kids at The Home Depot, I showed Brian and my father-in-law the idea of making our own light fixture. My father-in-law is an electrical engineer, so he could do all the wiring and such, and he understood my vision.
We spent a couple of hours in the store, collecting supplies, and at one point, we took the kids next door to Target because they were getting restless. When all was said and done, it was over $350 in parts and supplies.
Over lunch we brainstormed a bit, and then decided to check Lowe’s to see what other options there were. We left the kids with my mother-in-law and headed out. As I walked down the aisle, there was a set of mason jar lights! It was the only box, and there wasn’t even a display. It looked like it had been opened, most likely a returned purchase.
There weren’t any other sets though, and after an employee called around, there was a display at another Lowe’s that they would consider selling. We bought the set they had, stopped at Home Depot to return the other supplies, and headed out to the next Lowes.
Okay, so this part gets a little tricky. Apparently you can buy display items from Lowe’s, but it’s going to depend on the manager, and how helpful s/he wants to be and what their polices are, which, after asking three different employees, I’m still not clear what their rules are!
When we arrived at the other Lowes, an assistant manager would not let us buy the display. While the guys were either on the phone with corporate, or looking for other lighting alternatives, I was trying to find a manager to talk to and find out what their policy was. The employee at the previous store told us this Lowes would sell us the display, but the assistant manager the current store wouldn’t.
A store associate approached and asked if I needed help. I told him that I needed to talk to the manager, and he offered to help me first. I explained our situation, and he left to speak with his store manager. Well, when he came back, he said his manager would sell it to us, because if we were told at another Lowes they would sell it to us, they were going to honor it. Yay! We also got it for half off, costing a little less than $300 total for both light fixtures.
Brian and his dad did the wiring. His dad added a dimmer switch and put in a hole to add the wiring for second light fixture at the other side of the table.
Here it is, all finished, with a few jars in the dishwasher, also check out the clock! Way, way past our bedtime:
Instead of using all the plain glass jars that came with the sets, I added in the taller and more slender Ball jars (a happy accident), and Kerr jars that I already had in the pantry to mix it up a bit. The nice thing about using the jars is that I can change them up. They just have to also be wide mouth jars.
These photos were taken before the wires had time to settle and straighten out, but you can see the cool effect it has over the table.
Brian and his dad also shortened the height of our dining table. It always sat a little taller than was comfortable, but after lots of hours of work, they got it to around 31 inches, which is the standard table height. (They could have sawed off the legs, but instead they shortened it at the base, which added so much more time, but the result is so much better.)
We would like to eventually change out the chairs and are planning on DIY-ing it. But we’ll save that story for another day!