DIY Lighting Challenge


I have a love affair with lighting. Lights are akin to your home’s jewelry. But, that “jewelry” can be expensive unless you DIY your own light fixtures. How about you? Do you like to make your own light fixtures or lamps?

If you do too, I’m thrilled to be hosting a DIY Lighting Challenge in February. A few other blogger friends and I have been challenging each other once a month to create according to a theme. This was my month, so I’m throwing down the glowing gauntlet and challenging you to make your own light fixture or lamp.

If you want to join in the fun, take the rest of the month to create your own DIY Light. You have until Monday, February 29th. On that day, I’ll share my DIY Light project with you and you can share your’s with me in a InLinkz link up.

Ready? Set! Go!

Need some inspiration? I created an entire Pinterest board of DIY Lighting Ideas. Use the hashtag #DIYLightingChallenge if you want to post some teasers.

Or you can check out some of my tutorials: [Read more…]

How to Add a Switch to a Light Fixture

How to Add a Switch to a Light Fixture | Pretty Handy Girl

Have you ever wanted to replace a pull chain light with a standard light fixture and a switch? If so, I have a tutorial for you on How to Add a Switch for a Light Fixture!

A while ago my sons and I watched the movie, A Series of Unfortunate Events. When the movie was over my oldest son said he loved the library scene in the movie.

I’m not surprised. Both our boys are voracious readers and have amassed quite the collection of books. Handy Boy #1 lamented the fact that we didn’t have a library and asked if I could build one in our home. I escaped with a non-committal answer.

A few weeks passed and that library seed in my head had begun to plant itself firmly in my mind. I began to form a plan about where I could add a library in our home. It became clear when I opened the toy closet in the bonus room and found myself getting angry that it was (once again) a mess. As I began clearing a path on the floor of the closet, it occurred to me that 90% of the toys in the closet were for young children and my boys had grown beyond them. I spent the afternoon clearing out the closet…

How to Add a Switch to a Light Fixture | Pretty Handy Girl

…and soon it looked like this:

How to Add a Switch to a Light Fixture | Pretty Handy Girl

When, I clean, I really clean! Ha. I should explain that the room used to have paneling and scraps of carpeting. But, this closet was always freezing in the winter and hot in the summer. I was determined to get to the source of the lack of climate control. After adding more insulation and filling all the cracks and voids with Great Stuff, I framed out a second wall. Let me just say that some jack ass didn’t bury 12 wires in the wall, but instead wrapped them around the studs. Can you say, “NOT TO CODE!” Instead of hiring an electrician to re-run all those wires, I came up with the ingenious idea to add a second wall to encase the wiring mess. Then I moved on to the lighting situation.

The light in the closet was a pull chain. If you have children, you know that nothing is more irresistible than a dangling rope that turns a light on and off and on and off and on…until the chain breaks. I decided to add a switch to the light fixture. While I was at it, I also added a new LED light fixture that wouldn’t create heat or add to our energy bill if it was left on.

(contains affiliate links)

Before we begin, I want to show you the wiring configuration we have to start:

How to Add a Switch to a Light Fixture | Pretty Handy Girl

The green line represents the wiring coming from the home circuit panel. The blue line shows the power continuing from the outlet to the light with a pull chain. (If you have an eagle eye you’ll notice a third wire in the outlet box below. The other wire goes to another outlet.)

How to Add a Switch to a Light Fixture | Pretty Handy Girl

This next diagram shows the configuration we need to add a switch: [Read more…]

How to Install a Chandelier

How to Install a Chandelier | Pretty Handy Girl

Do you love all the light fixtures in your home? If not, do you wish you knew How to Install a Chandelier, so you don’t have to hire an electrician to do it? Today your wishes will be answered!

You know that moment when you see the perfect light fixture and you know you HAVE to have it in your home or you won’t be able to live another day? Okay, well maybe not the “live another day” part. But, you do know how it feels to fall head over heels in love with a light fixture.  For me that light fixture was Magnolia Market’s chandelier. I wanted it, but the price tag was more than I wanted to pay. One day I got an email from Joanna (yes, THE Joanna Gaines from HGTVs Fixer Upper) letting me know that her store was having a lighting sale. I could not click on the link fast enough. Within a few days my lovely new chandelier arrived.

It was time to say goodbye to our old chandelier…

How to Install a New Chandelier | Pretty Handy Girl

…and install my new chandelier.

How to Install a New Chandelier | Pretty Handy Girl

Ready to learn how to install a new ceiling light or chandelier? Grab these few items:

(contains affiliate links)



Turn on your light fixture and shut off the power to the fixture. Check to see that the light is off.


Remove the light bulbs from the old fixture and set them aside.

How to Install a New Chandelier | Pretty Handy Girl

Support the chandelier on a ladder or have a helper nearby to hold the fixture. Remove the canopy from the ceiling to expose the wiring. [Read more…]

Wall Mounted TV with Hidden Wires Tutorial

Installing a Wall Mount Flat Screen TV + Hiding Cords | PrettyHandyGirl

Do you have a flat screen TV? Do you have children? Wish you could mount your TV on the wall for space and safety? Or have you already mounted your TV, but the wires are visible and hang below your screen? GASP—not the dreaded visible wires syndrome!

Installing a Wall Mount Flat Screen TV + Hiding Cords | PrettyHandyGirl

Today I have a tutorial to show you How to Install a Wall Mount for your TV AND How to Hide those Unsightly Wires in a cable management system. SANUS sent me their Full-Motion TV Wall Mount and In-Wall Cable Management to use for this tutorial. Before you start thinking that you can’t do this, or that you have to hire an electrician to run power behind the TV, you don’t! And this is a very easy DIY project! The SANUS In-Wall Cable Management System is the coolest product. It allows you to hook up to an existing outlet elsewhere (within 60″ horizontally from your TV)! (Per FTC regulations, you should know that this is a sponsored post for SANUS, but I approached them after researching TV mounts and cable management systems. )

Genevieve Gorder has some good information about why you want to use a SANUS mount in this short video:

Why did I want to use the SANUS mount? Here’s just a few reasons:

Installing a Wall Mount Flat Screen TV + Hiding Cords | PrettyHandyGirl

You can pull your screen out from the wall or press it back to just a few inches away. (The arms extend a full 20″. Further than shown, because our cables are too short to fully extend.)

The power cord plugs into an ultra low profile in wall cable system. All wires are hidden behind the TV.

Installing a Wall Mount Flat Screen TV + Hiding Cords | PrettyHandyGirl

The TV can also extend and swivel from left to right. This allows us to be able to watch TV from the adjacent room! Which means the kids can eat pizza AND watch a movie because they can safely sit at the kitchen table and view the movie in the living room. Score one for Mom!  No more pizza stains on the rug or sofa.

And because I love y’all,  I asked SANUS to let me giveaway a Full-Motion TV Wall Mount and In-Wall Cable Management to one of you lucky ducks ;-). (Read to the end to enter the giveaway.)

Installing a Wall Mount Flat Screen TV + Hiding Cords | PrettyHandyGirl

Ready to learn how you can easily mount your flat-screen TV on the wall AND hide the wires? Let’s get to it! [Read more…]

Make Your Own Light Fixture

Make Your Own Light Fixture

Hello, it’s Jessica here from Decor Adventures. This month I have what came out to be one of my favorite projects to date. It’s how to make your own light fixture using just wood trim and wax paper, and I promise it will look great in any room in your house.

Everyone loves Pinterest for inspiration and ideas, and I’m no exception. I was looking through my pins the other day and saw this one of a stunning (and I’m sure expensive) light fixture. I instantly thought how easy it would be to DIY that light and set out getting my supplies ready.

(contains affiliate links)

For Wood Frame

  • 3/4″ x 1/2″ pine wood
  • Hand saw or Miter saw (or have it cut at the home improvement store)
  • Nail gun and air compressor and nails
  • Spray paint
  • Old lamp shade or washer top of wire lamp shade frame
  • Hot glue gun and glue sticks
  • Gorilla tape
  • Lampshade Pendant Kit

For Capiz Shells

  • Wax paper
  • Iron
  • Circle Punch
  • Sewing machine and thread
  • Scissors


For this tutorial, you’ll learn how to make and attach the black wood frame to a light pendant kit after you make and put on the faux (wax paper) capiz shells. For a step-by-step of how to make the shells, see my post on how to make a wax paper capiz shell chandelier and follow the instructions on how to iron together the wax paper and sew them together.

How to make the wood “frame” for your light fixture:

Cut your 3/4″ pine trim into 12 pieces. Eight of them will be the same (shorter) length and 4 of them will be the same (longer) length. My pieces are 9 1/2″ and 14 1/2″. Make sure your 8 smaller pieces are the exact same length and same goes for your longer ones. If they aren’t, your 3-D frame will not fit together perfectly.

Make Your Own Light Fixture

To assemble your boxes perfect for easier nailing, use a miter corner clamp. These are available at the home improvement store for about $25 and can be used for a lot of different projects.  Insert two of your smaller pieces into each side of the clamp, making sure the ends line up.

Using a Miter Corner Clamp

Using your nail gun, nail into the wood to secure a corner.

Make Your Own Light Fixture [Read more…]

How to Install a Wall Sconce Light Fixture

How to Install a Wall Sconce | Pretty Handy Girl

Do your wall sconces annoy you? Are they stuck in the 90’s, 80’s, or worse yet the 70’s? When I picked out these sconces several years ago, they were the only ones I could find that I thought were okay. But, with a living room makeover in the works, I decided to upgrade them for a more modern pair.

How to Install a Wall Sconce | Pretty Handy Girl

It’s time to learn how to install a wall sconce. Of if you are like Pretty Handsome Guy, I’m going to teach you how to install new “light fixtures that hang on the walls” (lest you think I was talking about a breakfast treat.)


Whatever you call it, you can definitely do this. Ready?


  • Screwdrivers (flat head and phillips head)
  • Light fixture

Optional: wire cutters/wire strippers


Turn on the lights you will be working on. Shut off the power to your light(s) at your circuit breaker. Check the lights to verify that the power has been turned off.

How to Install a Wall Sconce | Pretty Handy Girl

Removing the Current Light Fixture:

Remove the light bulb and glass shade. Unscrew the mounting nuts from the face of your light fixture.

How to Install a Wall Sconce | Pretty Handy Girl

Lift the light fixture off the mounting bracket and let it hang (or get a friend to help hold the fixture if it’s heavy.) [Read more…]

How to Install an Exterior Motion Sensor Light

How to Install an Exterior Security Light | Pretty Handy Girl

Nothing deters a thief like a well lit area. But truth be told, I needed this light to illuminate the path when taking out the trash. There is nothing like walking out the door with the trash in your hands after dark and realizing that you forgot to turn on the exterior light. I should mention that our neighborhood is popular with the copperheads. Need I say more?

Installing any light fixture is a relatively easy DIY project, and installing an exterior light is no exception if you have a junction box or light already installed.


Optional: Drill

Required Safety Instruction: 
Turn off the power to the light fixture you are working on. I highly recommend turning on the light you will be working on, then shut off the circuit at your circuit breaker and check to see that the light has gone out. Also note that just because the light fixture power is turned off, it doesn’t necessarily mean that other outlets or lights in the same area are on the same circuit. Always check for the presence of power before you work on it.


If you have an existing light fixture remove it before installing the new fixture.  For this tutorial, we’re starting with a bare junction box:

How to Install an Exterior Security Light | Pretty Handy Girl

Test the black or hot wire with the voltage tester to be certain the power is turned off.

How to Install an Exterior Security Light | Pretty Handy Girl

Remove the existing mounting bracket if there is one installed.

How to Install an Exterior Security Light | Pretty Handy Girl [Read more…]

How to Make a Mosaic Tile Lamp Shade #Lowes Creator

Make Your Own Mosaic Tile Lampshade | Pretty Handy Girl

Want to make a lamp shade that will bring some style and bling to your home? All you need are a few mosaic tile sheets, a lamp shade top piece, and some thread. In no time you’ll have a beautiful Mosaic Tile Lamp Shade!



Cut up the lamp shade to expose the top ring.

Make Your Own Mosaic Tile Lampshade | Pretty Handy Girl

This is what you should be left with:

Make Your Own Mosaic Tile Lampshade | Pretty Handy Girl

Lay out your mosaic tile sheets. Cut the mesh to the height you desire for your lamp shade. The lamp shade I created was small, therefore I only needed a 6 inch height to cover the lamp bulb.

Make Your Own Mosaic Tile Lampshade | Pretty Handy Girl

Lay two sheets of the tiles side by side and stitch the two sheets together at the seam from the mesh side.

Make Your Own Mosaic Tile Lampshade | Pretty Handy Girl

Wrap the tile sheet around the lamp shade top ring and trim the excess tiles off.

Make Your Own Mosaic Tile Lampshade | Pretty Handy Girl

Stitch the open ends together. I found it easiest to slip a paper towel roll into the center to support all the tiles while stitching it.

Make Your Own Mosaic Tile Lampshade | Pretty Handy Girl

Stitch the lamp shade ring to the top of the mosaic tile tube. Loop the thread through the tile mesh and the lamp shade ring around the entire circumference.

Make Your Own Mosaic Tile Lampshade | Pretty Handy Girl

Your lamp shade should look something like this:

Make Your Own Mosaic Tile Lampshade | Pretty Handy Girl

Attach your lamp shade to the lamp and admire!

Make Your Own Mosaic Tile Lampshade | Pretty Handy Girl

Lights out…

Make Your Own Mosaic Tile Lampshade | Pretty Handy Girl

…and lights on. I love the shadows cast by the tile lampshade.

Make Your Own Mosaic Tile Lampshade | Pretty Handy Girl

Enjoy a unique and beautiful lamp shade in your home. The mosaic tile lamp shade adds a touch of class and bling to our mudroom.

Make Your Own Mosaic Tile Lampshade | Pretty Handy Girl


Want more creative lighting ideas?  Subscribe to the Lowe’s Creative Ideas magazine:


Or view more creative ideas from the Lowe’s Creative Idea bloggers !

There’s also a magazine app so you can have inspiration on the go! And, don’t forget to follow Lowe’s on Pinterest or on Instagram!

PHGFancySignDisclosure: As a #LowesCreator, I was provided with a Lowe’s gift card to purchase supplies for this post. I was not told what to write. All ideas and words are my own.

How to Install a Ceiling Fan

How to Install a Ceiling Fan | Pretty Handy Girl

I’ve installed probably a dozen ceiling fans in my life. Pretty Handsome Guy was remarking to me last night, “Wait, you mean you’ve never written a tutorial on how to install a ceiling fan on the blog?” It’s true, most of the installs were pre-blogging days. For this reason, I was truly excited when Casablanca contacted me and asked if I wanted one of their new ceiling fans. I knew it was a great opportunity to put together a tutorial for you so you could see that installing a ceiling fan is not a difficult DIY project! Plus, we had Casablanca fans in our previous house and they are well made and will last a long time. Therefore, I have no hesitation recommending Casablanca to you!

Okay, and I also wanted to change your mind about ceiling fans and design aesthetics. I know that some designers break out in hives when a client wants a ceiling fan. And who can blame them when the stereotypical ceiling fan looks like this:

How to Install a Ceiling Fan | Pretty Handy Girl

Oh yes, she’s a beauty. And she’s all mine, complete with moldy canopy and boobilicious globe. In all seriousness, that fan was U-G-L-Y. Plus, it was a bit too small for our porch. (You can figure out what size ceiling fan you need for your space in the FAQ section on the Casablanca site.) You can now understand why I was actually delighted to hang out on top of an 8 foot ladder in 95 degree heat to install a new ceiling fan. Yes, I was excited, especially because Casablanca has so many beautiful options for stylish fans. And I know, they have ceiling fans that will surely have the designers changing their tune.

Casablanca Fan Collection | Pretty Handy Girl

Safety, Prep, and Hints Before You Install a Ceiling Fan:

Before I give you the full tutorial for installing a ceiling fan, we need to talk about prep work and safety. First, do not attempt any electrical projects until you have turned off the power to the fixture you are working on. I like to turn on the fan and light (they are often on two different power lines) and then shut off the power. This gives me the visual assurance that the power is indeed off.

Next, if you are replacing a light fixture with a ceiling fan, you MUST make sure that the junction box is attached to a support. This means the box is screwed into a ceiling joist, brace, or the junction box is attached to a Ceiling Fan BraceDo not attach a ceiling fan to a box that is not able to hold the weight of the fan (and all the vibration it will produce over the years.) If you don’t have proper bracing for your fan—have no fear—look into purchasing a Ceiling Fan Brace that can be installed from inside the room (no need to crawl into the attic.)

Finally, you need to have a Sturdy A-Frame Step Ladder tall enough to reach 1-2 feet below the fan during installation. And having an assistant who can hand you the motor when it’s time to hang the fan is definitely a bonus.

How to Install a Ceiling Fan | Pretty Handy Girl

One handy tip: You will most likely drop a screw during the installation. If you are working on a porch with slats, lay down a blanket under the ladder to catch them. This also helps aid in a quick clean up from dust and dropped dry wall debris.

Ready to get your cool on by installing a beautiful new ceiling fan? Let’s take a spin shall we: [Read more…]

DIY Industrial USB Charging Station

DIY Industrial Charging Station

Have you ever been in need of an electrical outlet only to find that they’re hidden by furniture or in a hard to reach place?  How about that elusive time of day when you’re cell phone’s down to 1% and you have a handful of charging cables, but nothing to plug it into?  This seems to be a regular occurrence at The DIY Village, so we’ve finally solved these problems!  We created a DIY industrial USB charging station that has an accessible outlet; 2 usb ports capable of charging all of your devices; and even has a built-in accent light!  We think it would be the perfect addition to an office, your teenagers room, or even a college dorm room!  

Materials List:
(Contains some affiliate links)

Tool List


In order to make room for connectors and fittings that you’ll be using to build your Industrial Charging Station, you’ll need to remove (2) 1/2-inch and (1) 3/4-inch knockouts from the handy box.  (Set the handy box aside)


The hardwired emergency light has screw-out plugs that give you installation options.


Remove one of the side plugs from the light base and re-route the wiring through the opening. [Read more…]

DIY Button Pendant Light {#LowesCreator Idea}

DIY Button Pendant Light |Pretty Handy Girl

While I was house touring on Tybee Island and having  fun antique and salvage shopping in Savannah, I spied some bare lamp shade frame hanging lights. They immediately inspired me to design a DIY Button Pendant Light for over my bedside table in our master bedroom. Part of the desire was born out of the necessity to have more space on my bedside because the table actually doubles as my makeup vanity.

DIY Button Pendant Light | Pretty Handy Girl

Making a Button Pendant Light is an easy DIY project, but you’ll need some patience while threading the buttons. I’ll also show you how to wire a lamp socket and lamp plug! Ready to get started?


DIY Button Pendant Light |Pretty Handy Girl


Instructions: [Read more…]

The Kitchen Renovation of 2013 – 1 Leak. 1 Year. 1 Woman.

How I Re-Built My Own Kitchen (after a leak) | Pretty Handy Girl

2013 Could be called the year of the kitchen renovation in our house. Or the year that nearly killed me. Or the luckiest year of our lives. I’m still debating the title. What I do know is that, I decided to take on my biggest DIY project to date. I re-built my own kitchen from bare studs and subfloor.

It started one morning as I was confronted with a foul odor. It’s only describable as that odor that usually lives in the high school gym locker room. I thought my 9 year old son’s feet were starting to stink. Unfortunately a stinky pair of shoes wasn’t the culprit, it turned out to be a very minor leak that turned into a very big kitchen renovation. We persevered through 45 days without a washer and dryer and many months without a kitchen. But, it was like being a contestant in Survivor. I lasted the year of construction; the set backs and sore muscles; and in the end I was rewarded with a brand new kitchen!

Today, I walk into our beautiful kitchen and I know it was all worth it! It was worth all the sweat equity, the daily Advil doses, and the tree falling on the house. If you want to reminisce with me as I recap my kitchen renovation of 2013, here’s your ticket to all the tutorials and posts: [Read more…]

DIY Cable Installation

It would seem that every time I’ve considered moving my TV to a new spot in the house, that there’s never a cable outlet where I need one. I recently remedied this issue and wanted to share with  you how to tackle your own DIY Cable Installation!

DIY Cable Outlet Installation

This tutorial is specific to installing “through the wall” cable lines in houses with a crawl space.  Since many cable customers have HD receivers, I think it’s important to install a home run aka an uninterrupted run of cable.  Doing so will result in a higher signal and better quality picture.  With that being said, let’s take a look at what you’ll need.

Materials List

  • Low Voltage Electrical Box
  • Keyhole Saw
  • RG6 Cable
  • 3/8″ x 54″ Auger Drill Bit
  • 3/8″ x 12″ Drill Bit
  • Drill
  • Cable Clips
  • Hammer
  • Coax Cable Receptacle Wall Plate
  • Coax Cable Stripper
  • Compression Tool w/ F-Connectors
  • Pencil
  • String
  • Fish Pole or Straightened Coat Hanger

Instructions for Installing Your Own Cable Outlet:

When you’ve decided where to install the new cable outlet, measure up 15″ and mark an area 1-1/2″ x 3-3/4″ .

Marking for Cable Installation

Using a keyhole saw, cut through the drywall to create the opening for the installation of a low voltage electrical box.

Cutting Drywall With a Keyhole Saw

Before you complete the next step, make sure that the area you plan on drilling into, doesn’t contain any hazards (i.e. electrical cable, duct work, gas lines, etc.) With open access into the wall, place the tip of the auger bit into the cutout and drill into the bottom of the stud wall to gain access into the crawlspace below. [Read more…]

How to Install a Lutron Maestro Occupancy Sensor on a 3-way Switch


Teaching kids to turn off the lights in a room they are no longer in is a tough job. No matter how many times I try to explain that leaving the lights on wastes electricity, it just doesn’t seem to sink in. In their defense, they are like little wind up tops flitting from room to room playing with trains in one; reading in another and barely stopping to use the toilet in the bathroom (putting the lid down is a whole other issue! Ugh.)

When Lutron approached me about giving my kids a helping hand with the lights, I was immediately intrigued. It turns out that Lutron has just introduced the Maestro occupancy sensor dimmer that can be easily installed in place of an existing light switch. (Single pole switches are easiest. Dual or Multi-location switches may require a little more wiring and programming to work properly.) After some thought, I decided to try the Maestro in our art & craft studio. This is the room that we least notice when the bulbs are burning (it is over the garage and is separated by our guest room from the rest of the house.)

Follow along to see how to install your own. Your attentive nature may be rewarded at the end. 😉 [Read more…]

How to Install a Hard-Wired Pendant Light {and $200 Giveaway}


You may have noticed that pretty little seedy glass pendant light over our sink from my video the other day. It was a breeze to install, so I want to share with you the tutorial. BUT…before we get down to the step-by-step, I have some awesome news for you. has offered to give one of you lucky ducks a $200 Shopping Spree on their website! GoldenageUSA gave me the seedy glass pendant light in exchange for mentioning them on the blog. If you haven’t heard of them, they have an online store FULL of the most amazing light fixtures. They work with a lot of high end stores and even custom design light fixtures for clients upon request.


I put together the graphic above with just a small sampling of some of their products. They sell every type of light imaginable. Plus, they have ceiling fans, rugs, mirrors and much more. If I won the $200 I’d have a very hard time deciding what I’d like to buy with the winnings. If you think you can chose, be sure to enter the giveaway at the end of this post. [Read more…]

Drywall Installation Tips and Kitchen Progress Update


I’d rather not say that I’m seeing the light at the end of this long renovation tunnel (for fear of jinxing myself.) But, I definitely have caught a glimpse of the finish line. Last week my kitchen designer emailed me to let me know that my cabinets will be arriving soon and could she schedule us for installation on March 25th? I seriously might have let a four letter word escape my lips as I read her email. I mean, yes I’m happy, but there is no way I feel ready! There’s still so much to get done before the cabinet installation.

[Read more…]

How to Install Recessed Lights


Kitchen progress is definitely moving along (hooray!!!) We now have recessed lighting in our ceiling and it really helps even out the lighting in the kitchen. Plus getting rid of the semi-flush light fixtures makes the ceiling feel taller.

We debated about installing new construction recessed lighting:

or remodel type recessed lights:


We could have installed either because our ceiling was already full of holes. Ultimately, we decided to install the old work (or remodeling type) lights because they clamp tightly to the sheet rock for less vibration. They also have a built in junction box with easy to wire connectors. (Did I mention that my son’s bedroom is right over the kitchen and there is a lot of jumping and bouncing that goes on up there!)


My electrician let me pal around and help him install the recessed cans after he ran the wiring. You know I took careful notes so I could share with you how to install your own recessed lighting fixtures. [Read more…]

When and Why You Should Get a Permit – Interview with a Chief Code Official for Wake County


Have you heard the horror stories about filing for a permit and the subsequent inspections? Did you hear the tale about the inspector that made the electrician pull everything out and start over? Have you been warned not to file a permit because you might “open a can of worms”? What exactly is a rough-in? And why do people say “pull a permit” instead of file for a permit? Don’t let misinformation put you and your family at risk. I have the answers to these questions and why you would want to file for a permit before starting your next home improvement project.

Last week I drove downtown to file for a building and electrical permit with Wake County, NC, but found out we are in the Raleigh City Jurisdiction for building permits (but that’s another story for another day.) Before I went to the permit office, I asked Barry Mooneyham, Chief Code Official of Wake County if I could have a little of his time to ask him some questions. It was a very informative 3o minutes, which completely changed my perspective on permits. I left his office with a new found appreciation and understanding of permits and inspectors.

Before I get to Mr. Mooneyham’s answers, I want to answer a recent question that some of my readers posted on Facebook:


Laura, Alyssa & Holly, thanks for asking. I was unsure of the origin on the term “pulling a permit” myself, so I did a little research.

Why do people call it “pulling a permit” instead of filing for a permit?

  • The joke answer: Ever try getting a building permit? It is like trying to pull a tooth!
  • The possible real answer:  It’s called “pulling” a permit because the people in the office have to “pull” the paper work out of a filing cabinet.

Having “pulled a permit” last week I can tell you that it really wasn’t hard. I did print out the paperwork online before heading downtown. This was invaluable because I was able to answer all the questions ahead of time. Some of the information that was required for the permit is: [Read more…]

How to Install Radiant Floor Heat using WarmlyYours

Are you ready to get toasty today? Today is the day that I’ll be showing you how to install the WarmlyYours TempZone radiant floor heat. Can I tell you a little secret? I was terrified! I was so fearful of breaking the heating wire, that I handled this roll with kid gloves. And I yelled at ANYONE who dared step on the mats in shoes. I realize now that I may have been paranoid and overreacted a little. I was just so anxious to have warm floors that I protected our radiant floor elements like a Mama bear of her cubs.

Remember on Wednesday how I told you how I had chosen WarmlyYours radiant heating systems because of their awesome warranty? Well, I also read feedback about their customer service and it ROCKS as well! That service starts with the ordering process.  I was in contact with a representative from WarmlyYours who helped answer ALL of my questions (of which I had many.) She reviewed my room layout and suggested the TempZone Cut & Turn Rolls which is one long mesh roll with the heating element woven and evenly spaced throughout the roll. I was doubtful and wasn’t sure how the roll would fit through the doorway and “roll” around our laundry room. But, she reassured me that they would send me detailed plans for installation. And that a DIYer like myself should have no problem with the installation.

Within a week, I received my custom TempZone roll with a layout just for MY space.

Not just a standard layout, but a custom plan for my exact room dimensions and usage. I was extremely impressed to say the least, because the plan was very detailed showing the exact location of the cuts I needed to make in the mesh mat (not the wire.) Having this map saved me hours of brain-twisting planning at the least.

Before installation, I read the instruction manual in its entirety (highly recommended.) Remember, I was a little nervous and didn’t want to do anything to damage the heating mat. I even made sure I was hopped up on caffeine so I could absorb every nugget of the lesson.

I also prepared the floors by installing cork underlayment (as detailed in this tutorial.) Are you ready for the tutorial to install radiant mats? It wasn’t as difficult as I anticipated and this part went fairly quickly. Let’s roll! [Read more…]

Habitat ReStore Talk on Saturday, November 17th in Cary, NC

Things have been hoppin’ around Pretty Handyville, so forgive this late notice:

It’s been a while, but I’m excited to be giving another talk at one of our local Habitat ReStores.

I’ll be sharing some amazing lighting transformations that you can create for less than $10. I hope you can make it to the Cary ReStore, 181 High House Road, Cary, NC 27511. The talk will start at 1pm. Get there early because there will be some great lighting deals and steals ;-).