In Part 1 of this story, I discuss how we ran the wires for a new circuit serving these ceiling fans and some unexpected trouble that forced us to cut a random hole in our bedroom wall. Once the wires were all run, Matt had to add 2x6 supports between the joists in the attic and attach the new electrical boxes to them. From underneath, it looked like this:
Then it was my turn to hit the attic and make up the remaining connections in a junction box. Like so: (and then nail the junction box to the side of the joist, tuck all wires into the box, and put a cover on it)
I also had to install the switches, both of which presented issues. In one bedroom, the space in the wall was shallower than normal due to a stud in the way, so I had to use a different electrical box and play around with shims to get it flush with the drywall.
In the other bedroom, the wall was deep enough but not wide enough to accommodate a double gang box (due to another stud!), so I had to use a double-rocker switch. I actually like that better than the two separate switches. Here’s what the switches look like in the two rooms:
The extra time it took us to decommission the old wiring, run the new wires and figure out what we were doing forced us to spread out the project over the course of more than one weekend. And during that time, I started questioning whether those fans we had bought spontaneously were well suited for our space. I thought that the 52” fan diameter was kind of big for our small bedrooms, but Matt was still liking them. We inevitably needed to make a trip to Home Depot or Lowes for something or other. I can’t remember which store it was, but at the front near the checkout lanes we spied a display of ceiling fan/light combos. The model was not going to be carried anymore and they were on sale for $13 each. Here is the exact model on Amazon for $80. Score! And most importantly, these fans met our criteria: a less huge fan blade diameter, option to install flush to the ceiling without the downrod (our ceilings are not that high), and it had reversible fan blades so we could choose light wood or dark wood color. We scooped up two of these and later returned the $116/each “5 minute” Hunter fans which we had yet to even attempt installing aside from reading the instructions.
We ran into a few more issues along the way. One was that we messed up the drywall when we pulled out the old electrical boxes, so we at first had to use some shims to make an even surface for the fan’s mounting brackets to push against.
We have been using the fans with these ugly shims sticking out the top for the past year and a half.
Fast forward to now, we removed the entire fixture in one bedroom so we could paint the ceiling. Now that the room is painted, we decided to use the opportunity to make some improvements to the fan. One thing we did was upgrade the mounting situation. The fan came with short screws that connected the mounting bracket to the metal electrical box, but we never really thought that was a great way to support it. We had originally mounted it instead with longer screws that went all the way up into the 2x6 in the attic, but I still never felt 100% satisfied with that solution. This time we replaced the screws with bolts that go all the way through the 2x6 so there is no way it can come loose over time.
We also purchased a ceiling medallion ($9 at Home Depot) to cover up the broken drywall and provide a flat surface for the mounting bracket and fan canopy to rest against. The medallion was white, and we decide to try spray painting it to match the fan.
Installation of the canopy involves pushing it up against the ceiling and twisting it to catch on the screws sticking out of the mounting bracket. We had a little trouble with that part, which we later fixed by adding a large washer and a small washer to the bolts above the mounting bracket. It’s hard to explain, but it worked. Unfortunately, we had completely destroyed the paint job on the medallion by then.
Matt was pretty sad. Not about the medallion so much as just the installation not going well at this stage. We had really hoped to be finished by this time. We also realized there were two other problems with the medallion: the silver paint did not match as well as we’d hoped, and the small diameter (10”) was making things more difficult by not allowing enough room to get a screwdriver to the screws sticking out the sides of the mounting bracket.
So we stopped by HD and picked up this 16” medallion instead. We did not attempt to paint it. We just slapped it up on the ceiling, and with the help of those extra washers on the bolt, the rest of the installation went smoothly.
We had also recently purchased some new glass shades to replace the ones that came with the fans. One of the original shades was broken right out of the box, and we’d been living with one exposed bulb on that fan. Instead of replacing it with the same generic shade, we’ve been casually looking for a set of fancier ones for a long time. A few weeks ago, we finally found one we love, and that there were actually 6 of them in stock! Aren’t they gorgeous?
Finally, a happy end to the saga. We are very happy with the way it turned out, despite all the trouble along the way.