Series: An 80's Kitchen DIY Reno- {Part 7- Wiring for Sconces thru a Header Beam & Adding Recessed Lights}

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

I actually want to talk about wiring for sconces and recessed lighting.  Wiring for three sconces was a MAJOR piece of the remodel for me.  Since our first walk-thru of the house, I had envisioned triple sconces over those windows.  In my mind, they were key to bringing a modern aesthetic to the space.  

However, it didn't go as planned.  With the wall open, I could see there was a pipe running 'perfectly' down the middle of the wall where I needed the middle sconce to go.  On top of that, when the electrician tried to add the other two sconces, he discovered double, solid wood header beams over both of the windows.  There was no dead space and no way to get a wire thru.  Ultimately the electrician said he couldn't wire for sconces and we settled on having a pendant over each window.  

I got it...I saw the problem, but I was BUMMED!  

(Side note, if you followed me on Instagram back then, you know I debated putting a cabinet
 between the windows for about a week.  Nobody liked the cabinet idea, lol!) 

So bummed that I was like, 'NOPE...not gonna accept that'.  I felt like I couldn't be the first or only person to run wiring thru a beam.  There HAD to be a way to do this. So to the 'internetz' I went.  I think I googled "How to run wiring thru a header beam".   And finally came across the graphic below showing that a stud could be notched out for wiring, and metal plates placed over the wires to protect them.  I felt like I had found a solution, so I sent my pics to my electrician to try to convince him to try it.

He said he would give it a try.  It was work, but he was able to make it happen.  Literally all my dreams are in this one picture!  Just kidding, but I was pretty happy!

Now that I am looking back at this picture, I see he literally bought the EXACT metal plates as what I sent him in the picture.  But hey, whatever it takes!

Wiring for Recessed Lighting

I mentioned before that even though were always planning to renovate the kitchen, we also had a water leak which caused the ceiling and wall to be opened up.  Since they were opened, we decided to go ahead and add recessed lighting.  

While shopping for the actual lights, I learned that there are two types: traditional can lighting and LED lighting.  Traditional can lights come in a retrofit style made for remodels, and it braces between or to a joist in the ceiling,I believe.  

There's also a newer LED type light that is pancake-ish thin, and has spring clips that secure it to the drywall inside the ceiling.  They come in 4", 5", and 6" widths. 

These are not the exact ones I used, but the same concept.  My electrician said it was easier to install because it doesn't have to be secured to the joists.  That also gives you more options on where to place it in the ceiling.  It can even go right below a joist.  It also has no bulbs to replace because it's LED.  If or when it goes out, you just clip in a new light. .  

What I liked about the LED recessed lights that I chose was that you have three options for the warmth of the light.  I think I picked the middle one.  They were also so easy to clip in, that I was able to put in the actual lights myself once the ceiling was repaired.  What I don't like about them is that I think they are a bit too modern for my 80's stippled ceiling.  I miss the actual 'recessing' of the light.  If I could do it over again, I would probably try to go with the traditional bulb recessed lights.  But after living with no overhead light in the space for quite some time, it's not a big deal.

Wiring for the new Microwave

One other major electrical item I had done was running power from the panel in the basement to the inside of my microwave cabinet. They had to drill up thru the floor and into the cabinet.  All the wiring is enclosed in galvanized metal pipe since it goes up thru the cabinet and not a wall.  You can see it in the far right corner of the cabinet in the pic below.  I sprayed it white when I painted the cabinet so that it would blend in.  Horrible pic, but you get the idea!

I'll be back tomorrow to share about the process of matching the existing door profile for a few doors I needed to replace. 

{An 80's Kitchen DIY Reno Series}



  1. How did he allow you to put a fixture on the header ? It's not just the wiring. You are not supposed to drill at ll into the header. What kind of fixture is that next to the metal guard. Please send me details I'm in the exact same dilema and have to settle on flush mount ceiling lights.

    1. Hi Alicia, he did as pictured in the google screenshot above. He channeled out enough space in the header to fit the wires down in there. Then protected them from being drilled into (accidently in the future) with the metal plates. And the fixture was a standard juntion box for a light, as far as I can remember, and just screwed into the header. My header was a double layer 2x10 or 2x12 beams. The drywall was replaced then tiled over before the fixtures were put in place. I hope that helps!

  2. Wiring for sconces and recessed lighting was crucial for my 80's kitchen remodel. I envisioned triple sconces over the windows, but unforeseen obstacles like pipes and solid header beams made it impossible. Instead, we opted for pendants over each window, adding a modern touch to the space despite the challenges.