joist in the way of recessed lights...

pps7March 24, 2010

It seems everywhere I want to put a can of recessed light, there's a joist in the way! It's really, really, annoying.

Most recently, I noticed that we can't center recessed light in our mudroom hall. Should I put them off center, or choose a light fixture? BTW, I hate most flushmount light fixtures.

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Where are the original light locations and where are the joists?

I usually try to light a wall or a task surface rather than the middle of a space so centering is rarely an issue.

I doubt that anyone will notice a recessed ceiling fixture 8" off center in a hall or mudroom but put it somewhere that it serves a purpose by being offset.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2010 at 7:41PM
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We had the same problem in one hallway. It's only one light though. We had the option of puting a sconce in that hallway but I'm not a big fan of sconces. We chose to run a wire out so now I have to decide on a flush mount or a hanging fixture. Our ceilings are 10ft so I'm not sure what to do.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2010 at 9:09PM
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If it's only one joist it can sometimes be cut off and headers added with the approval of the design engineer. Also a joist can sometimes be notched 2" and the ceiling lowered 3" or so for a shallow fixture.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2010 at 9:58PM
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I had the same problem in my current house. I replaced every flush mount fixture I could with recessed lighting. There were a couple of places where it was impossible (like the second floor where the blower was right above the light). If it is only slightly off (a couple of inches), I don't think you would notice.

If you have taller ceilings, something like this might work. I love this picture and will do this in my upstairs hallway I think - or maybe in my back hall? A little more interesting than recessed or flush mount and I think it looks great :)

Here is a link that might be useful: Lori Tippens hallway

    Bookmark   March 25, 2010 at 7:59AM
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Also, Circa Lighting in Atlanta has lots of great looking flush mount lights - not inexpensive :) but they look great.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2010 at 8:03AM
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There are a lot of great light fixtures out there. Have you checked out Rejuvenation Lighting?

    Bookmark   March 25, 2010 at 10:55AM
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We had the same issue. I looked at it as an excuse to buy some interesting lights. There are some beautiful and really expensive options out there. I tried to contain myself though. I hear you though about being annoyed. After a series of little "issues" like these, you just don't want to deal with the house anymore. At least that's how I'm getting. Good luck!

    Bookmark   March 25, 2010 at 1:25PM
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athensmomof3- love that picture-and that bench!!! I wish I had a bench like that. But those prices wow!!!

gobruno-that's exactly it, these little issues are driving me nuts. we choose fixtures in the basement b/c there was a HVAC ductin the way. Then there was a joist in the way in one of our side halls-no big deal. Now this!!!

macv, the joise in smach in the middle, runs up and down of that hallway out side the it has to be about 4 inches off, will I notice. Hard to tell. I think it will be more noticable with the drywall up.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2010 at 8:33PM
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Pottery barn has some good looking lanterns that mimic the ones shown in the picture (which I think may be chart house/visual comfort and $$$$). Also, restoration hardware has some good looking flush mount lights that aren't quite so pricey.

Love the bench too. . . . We will have 4 foot hallways upstairs and I am going to put one in one of ours with the lanterns going down the hall. I have been haunting Scott Antiques (monthly antique market in Atlanta), on the lookout for something similar. I may not be original but I am a GREAT copier :)

    Bookmark   March 25, 2010 at 9:42PM
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Instead of one can (assume you are using 5" or 6" cans) use 2 on either side of the joist. Use smaller halogen recessed fixtures. It will look balanced and will be out of the way if you cannot use a flush or ceiling mount fixture.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2010 at 10:45AM
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You always run in to this problem. I made the decision to center a 5" can above my back door, and put in a soffit 6" deep to make it happen. Happily, the soffit was also useful in hiding some plumbing lines. Working in my favor was the 10' ceilings, which still left a good amount of height after the 6" drop.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2010 at 2:44PM
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Is there no lighting fixture plan or a reflected ceiling plan? What is the electrician using for locations? It's difficult to offer any advice other than vague generalities without seeing the drawings.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2010 at 3:04PM
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macv, I don't have the electrical plan in pdf format. Here's a picture from my cell phone, I hope it came out.

The joists run up and down. There's a joist right where those 2 cans are drawn. That door at the top of the picture leads to the covered patio and the backyard. I was thinking of putting in a fixture right by that door and then moving the can down below to the right so it's centered on the larger space. Then the question becomes do we need a separate switch? There is very limited amount of wall spaces for switches by the back door.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2010 at 3:39PM
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Wherever the joists are I would not locate the recessed fixtures where they are shown and they too far apart for them to need to align with each other. I mean no offense to anyone but you are thinking too much like an electrician and providing general lighting on the floor of open spaces (they seem to love to do that for some reason).

I would move the light nearest to the door closer to the task area behind the door (a bench?) and maybe it should be a wall-washer.

I would move the light at the other end of that hall closer to the task area that looks like a small counter and maybe it should be a wall-washer as well.

I would put the third light centered on the cubbies (if that's what they are) and make it a wall-washer for sure (perhaps two).

Only after the task areas and walls are illuminated would I think about general illumination since light bounces off of walls rather effectively. In this case, I don't think additional light is necessary. However, I don't have any idea what the fixtures and lamps are.

In the office I would definitely not put a light in the center of the room since it would be shining on the back of your head when you were working at the desk. I would put several smaller recessed lights on the walls over the desk or on the desk itself and add a dimmer.

I've never had much success with double pocket doors and it messes up the switching.

I don't see any lights over the kitchen counters; I hope they aren't shining on the floor behind the cooks. There is no more important place for task lighting than a kitchen work counter especially the sink which deserves two fixtures to avoid shadows.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2010 at 4:58PM
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