Carport + Patio


Outdoor Light installation / 7th House on Left

Greg here for round three of project carport ceiling makeover. For round one and two, click here and here. This time, we’re talking about wiring, the new light fixture and all that jazz. Let’s jump right in…

Carport Ceiling Makeover /

Before the contractors came to work on the ceiling, I turned off the breaker, took down each of the old 1970’s light fixtures and capped each wire. Even though the breaker was turned off, I wanted to make sure that everything was safe if the breaker got accidentally switched back on.

Carport Ceiling Makeover /

In the midst of the ceiling process, we spontaneously decided to change up the lighting placement and have one larger light fixture in the middle of the carport, rather than two smaller ones. We thought this would give the ceiling a less cluttered look and let the planks be the main focal point. On top of that, the patio lights we plan on adding to the perimeter of the carport ceiling give off a ton of great ambient light.

Carport Ceiling Makeover /

While the contractors were cleaning up the drywall mess from removing the old ceiling, I quickly installed a pancake box for the new fixture and a single gang box for the outlet that would power the patio lights. The plan down the road is to switch out the main light fixture for an outdoor ceiling fan (we’ve heard they do wonders for keeping bugs away when you’re entertaining), so I used a pancake box. Pancake boxes attach to the bottom of the stud, so they can support heavier fixtures like fans.

Carport Ceiling Makeover /

As for the box for the patio lights, we wanted it to be out of eyesight as much as possible, so we tucked it into the corner, close to the left side of the fireplace.

Once the light boxes were installed, I got out of the way so the contractors could continue with the planking process. A few hours later, the ceiling was done, complete with a hole ready for the new light fixture…

Planked Patio Ceiling /

Now, for the light fixture. As I mentioned earlier, we’re planning on switching it out for an outdoor ceiling fan later down the road. That being the case, we didn’t want to spend a ton of cash on a light fixture that might be changed out by next summer. To find an affordable barn light, Ash and I did a lot – and I mean a lot – of Google searching. Here are the five that ultimately made their way to the top of our list:

Affordable Barn Lighting /

ONE // $79 // This one made it to the list because the price was right and it was readily available at our local Lowe’s. While the wave shade was “cute”, as Ash put it, the overall width was a tiny 11.25″ – much too small for the space.

TWO // $342 // This one was the most expensive of the bunch, but had the most going for it. It was 20″ wide (big enough to stand on its own) and we really liked the fact that it had a cage and a glass diffuser. One thing that kept us from pulling the trigger on this one was how close it would be to the ceiling. We really wanted something that would hang down from the ceiling a bit. That, coupled with the feeling we could get a similar (or better) look for less if we did some more Googling, made this a no-go.

THREE // $224 // Ash especially loved the color of this fixture. It came in 20″ width and it would have been a great way to add a little pop of unexpected color. However, ultimately we wanted to be able to easily change the color scheme outside by way of pillows and accessories. By having a robin’s egg blue light fixture, we’d always be tied to that color until we changed it out.

FOUR // $235 // This one was at the very top of our short list. It was galvanized (which goes with everything and would stand out against the medium/dark planks) and 16″ wide (an acceptable size, but definitely not too big), and we really liked the 6″ stem mount coming from the ceiling to the light. On top of that, the little pop of red in the light guard was pretty cool – but probably not noticeable enough once the light fixture was hung.

FIVE // $49 // While this light was definitely affordable, it was only 14″ wide – too small by at least 2 inches.

Even though those were our “top five”, we ended up not going with any of them. Just when we were about to throw in the towel and go with number two or four, Ash found this galvanized warehouse pendant for $127.

Cheap Outdoor Barn Light /

The price was right (at least half the price of similar designs we found during our search), the size good and Ash and I both really liked the shape and the industrial look of the wire guard.

Outdoor Light installation / 7th House on Left

The installation process was pretty simple, overall. Of course, the first thing you should always do before doing anything with electricity is make sure the breaker is off and everybody in the house knows not to turn it back on. I always turn things off at the breaker (and not just the switch), since I know she’s not going to just walk into the room and accidentally turn on a breaker like a light switch.

To start with, I installed a plate onto the pancake box (not pictured, but it came with the fixture) and ran the wires through it. At that point, I assembled the fixture (just a process of running the wires through the stem and canopy, then screwing it all together) and trimmed the wires back to a length that would allow Ashley to hold the light fixture from the floor while connected the wires at the ceiling. While Ash held the light fixture, I stripped the wires and connected them with wire nuts. Finally, I coiled the extra wire inside the canopy and attached it securely to the ceiling. The whole process took about 20 minutes. No big deal!

Outdoor Light installation / 7th House on Left

We’re really pleased with how it looks against the dark planks – the galvanized finish really stands out.

Outdoor Light installation / 7th House on Left

Now that the ceiling and 50% of the lighting is complete (we still need to hang the patio lights), we’re more than ready and anxious to move on to cleaning and painting the floor. Boy, does it need it. We’re one step closer!

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  • Reply
    July 24, 2013 at 10:30 am

    I love the lighting choice & what a great deal!!! The ceiling looks fabulous too!!!
    Such a great job!!! I totally love it!!! After you get done are you going to park your
    car in there anymore?? Love the landscaping from yesterday too…you guys are
    so ambitious in this heat!!! Make sure you drink plenty of fluids!!! 🙂

    • Reply
      July 24, 2013 at 10:42 am

      Thanks! Yeah, we’re drinking lots and lots of water, haha. We’re actually turning this area into a “covered patio” since we never park out car in there anyway. Just a few more steps and we’re done!

  • Reply
    christina @ homemade ocean
    July 24, 2013 at 10:44 am

    Oh la la…..I love it! Great choice 🙂

  • Reply
    July 24, 2013 at 11:00 am

    It’s lovely! But why not install the ceiling fan now?

    • Reply
      July 24, 2013 at 11:28 am

      Thanks! We’re just waiting to find the right one. Until then, we need some light, haha.

  • Reply
    July 24, 2013 at 11:49 am

    I would say forget the ceiling fan that is ADORABLE! I love it!

  • Reply
    July 24, 2013 at 2:47 pm

    You guys are definitely the next “young house love”. Hope you find the perfect fan.

    • Reply
      July 24, 2013 at 3:49 pm

      Haha, thank you but we’re sure there won’t be another YHL. They’re awesome and two cool cats. Well, 2 and a half. Plus a dog ; )

  • Reply
    July 24, 2013 at 6:37 pm

    The light fixture looks fantastic against the dark wood. I also love the rustic look of bricks. It is timeless and durable, too. What a terrific evolution!

  • Reply
    Shawna @DakotaCreekChic
    July 25, 2013 at 1:31 am

    Great find on the light fixture, love it. It’s always easier to love when you get a great deal too!

  • Reply
    July 25, 2013 at 11:37 am

    We were considering many of those for our outdoor lights! I love that rustic industrial look. Good choice!

  • Reply
    July 26, 2013 at 10:08 pm

    Very cute. I don’t blame you for wanting to trade up for a fan eventually. I love summer, but the heat is not so lovable.

  • Reply
    Darnetha @ ChippaSunshine
    July 27, 2013 at 10:57 am

    Love it! I really like what you have done so far. The ceiling is amazing and I love that you all stained it before you had it put up. I will use that little tip when we put a ceiling on our front porch.

  • Reply
    caroline [the diy nurse]
    July 28, 2013 at 9:34 am

    Love this!

  • Reply
    July 30, 2013 at 10:10 pm

    Oh, that’s so perfect!!!

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