February 18, 2016

IT’S THE LITTLE THINGS THAT MAKE THE BIGGEST DIFFERENCE

boxing in9d

When Nick came back to France one week ahead of me it was so that he could varnish the new staircase without the risk of getting little paw prints in the varnish.  It’s a hard enough job without the added stress of keeping cat and dog away from the stairs while the varnish dries.

Before he started the varnishing he decided to put right one of the little things about the house that drove us mad, almost daily.

At the bottom of the stairs there used to be a light switch.  It was actually on the wall behind the old spiral staircase.  This would switch on the light on the landing in order to see to get upstairs in the dark.

boxing in 9d

At the top of the stairs was another light switch.  Unfortunately this did not turn off the landing light, but operated a light in the kitchen.  To turn off the landing light, if we had turned it on, we had to go back downstairs then come back up again in the dark.

It’s almost as if someone had intended to have a two-way light system for the landing but didn’t quite finish the detail.

We managed for over a year by switching on the landing light from downstairs, going upstairs and switching on the bathroom light which would light up the landing a bit, going back downstairs to switch off the landing light, then coming back up again.

Another option was to switch on the kitchen light downstairs, which would light up the staircase in the sense that it cast shadows on the stairs so that we could just about make our way up, then switching off the kitchen light from the switch on the landing. 

Bonkers or what?!

So with a lot of head scratching and rooting about behind the plasterboard, Nick managed to fix the lighting system.  We can now turn the landing light on or off from the top or bottom of the stairs, and do the same with the kitchen light.  All it took was a couple of hours’ work and an extra bit of wire.

Goodness knows how the other people put up with it for so many years.  We only stood it for a year, or until it got higher up our list of priorities.  Fixing it has made a great improvement to our quality of life.  It’s such a little thing compared to other big jobs but it’s made a disproportionately large difference.

Oh, and Nick got the stairs varnished in a couple of days and they look beautiful, too.

11 comments:

  1. Seems to me that it is also now much safer so add longevity to quality!! :o)

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    1. Gaynor, you're right, and I remember our former neighbour Mme André telling me a story about the house when we told her where we were moving to. She said the last French owner died when he fell down the stairs.

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  2. Glad you got the lighting sorted out. Both of my stairways have the 3-way lighting and I couldn't imagine having not. And look at that marvelous stairway that your lighting highlights. Job well done all around. Enjoy. :-D

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    1. Kris, even the house I lived in as a child had two way lighting for the stairs, put in when the house was converted from gas lamps to electricity in the 1940's.
      It's a pity the job here wasn't done right when it was easiest to do, before they boarded over the walls!

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  3. You will appreciate not having to fiddle about with that light switch....and wow, but your stairs look lovely. Ours are also finished, and now we need to get the enthusiasm up for getting all the wood varnished!

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    1. Vera, Nick had to clean the wood with a special cleaning product before he could varnish it too. They were quite dirty due to all the building dust and mud being trompled up and down. (Rather like the rest of the house!)
      He says it took two whole days, using quick drying varnish and time off for cooking, eating and sleeping between coats!
      It would have been harder to do that if we had all been at home I think.

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  4. What a treasure!!! I mean Nick ...
    but also the staircase
    and three way lighting!

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  5. I wish I knew how to do that kind of wiring. Maybe Nick can explain it to me. You're right that little things like having multiple switches to control certain lights is both convenient and a safety feature.

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  6. Lovely stair case. And well done Nick for sorting the lighting. Much as I love Mr FD I wouldn't say he was a handyman!!

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  7. I know well about the switch problem. We had the same nonsense in our dining room/kitchen. You could turn the light on walking in from the inside but you could not turn it off when walking to the outside of the house. There was a double switch there, but one turned the outside light on but not off and the other switch turned the outside light off but not on!!!! French wiring. We now have it all sorted but as you say how did the previous owners put up with it. have a good day Diane

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  8. I know just what you mean about such irritating quirks. Well done to Nick for sorting it all out and also for making such a superb job of varnishing the staircase. It looks wonderful.

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