Friday, March 5, 2010

Bad Idea # 673.2-n1

A Wall Sconce revisited.

I formulate a lot of bad ideas.  It's true.  And I try my darndest to flesh them out into prosperous  results because I believe in persistence.  But, sometimes, a bad idea is simply a bad idea and I have to cut myself off at the pass.  If I'm finding that I have to think too hard and head back to the drawing board over and over then I'm taking the wrong approach.

However, often times I merely lack knowlege on the availability of tools that can help me solve the problem.  That's when I head over to Home Depot.  I stroll the aisles, looking, processing and absorbing all of the nuts, bolts, fasteners, clamps, adhesives, adapters and extractors.  I poke and pick, sifting through pulleys, sash balances, hose fittings and electrical boxes.

But sometimes, it's still just a bad idea.

A good idea travels from problem to solution in the simplest way possible and with the least amount of resistance.  Electricity is very good at doing that.  So is water.

Sometimes, I have to stumble my way through all of the bad ideas before arriving at the good idea.  I need to visualize the problem by starting with the first potential solution.  And that's when I break it down, "No, that's too flimsy. No, that won't allow me to make changes if I ever want to.  No, that's too ugly and I will never stand to be in the same room with it.  No, that won't fit."

I think about my favorite good ideas.

What would we do without scissors?

The threading along the top of a glass jar.  Finally, a resealable container!  It revolutionized food storage....

My Bad Idea

I had it all wrong.  For those who didn't see my last post, I'm trying to design a compact workable wall sconce.  The problem with the can idea is that the face plate and housing are all one unit.  All cosmetic applications in your standard home construction should be independent of the structural elements.  What if I want to change it out?  And, fighting to make a perfect hole and backing that seats the can flush with the edge of the lid all the way around, once the lid is closed, is asking for trouble.  And seriously, it would look like folk art crap.  Bad idea.

Okay, so here's the new deal.  I start with a box that I seat in the wall just like a junction box for any electrical application. 

 It's great because it's a non-conductor of electricity. I attach it flush with the verticle studs of wood before finishing the wall.  I cut a hole in the top to run the electrical cable through and line the inside with tight rows of LED strips. 

Four posts will stick out from the corners for me to screw in a piece of decorative plastic, art glass, or anything that's translucent, such as the plastic featured in this IKEA wall sconce.

Except mine will hang in the horizontal formation.  Here is my drawing.

The art glass/plastic will be raised from the wall, allowing a glow of light to halo the piece against the surface of the wall.  With this design I will be able to remove the decorative plate and replace it, or drop a cover over the wooden box and choose a different fixture entirely, should I want to.  An aluminum face plate will drop directly against the opening of the box with four holes cut for the screws to poke through.  It will be cut with a large hole in the middle, so that light will be able to pass through, yet it will act as a stabilizer for the bolts, so they're not supported solely by the back of the box.  This whole situation will be placed right on the wall above the kitchen dinette.  I'm not a huge fan of garish overhead lighting, and I want a little romance for when my girl and I sit down for a nice meal.  She's a rad cook!   

A few words about the metal plate. 

Normally, I wouldn't try and grab anyone's attention at the mere mention of a metal plate, but I happened to aquire the plate at one of my favorite stores -- Industrial Metal Supply, located right here in Los
Angeles.  It is one of the grooviest places on earth.  Here are a few snaps of what they have in store for the average bear.  And, they're online, should anyone want to acquire metal in just about any shape and form.

My stainless steel plate.


Solid aluminum!


Steel tile in triangle shapes, no less!  They've got them in squares of all sizes and thickness, too.

How 'bout a copper countertop?  Whew!

With a bottle of their acidic solution, you can create a "patina" on any metal.

Powder coated aluminum sheeting

Spheres of all diameter!

Diamond Plate!

And, last but not least, aluminum mesh.  Craziest place, ever!

I love this!  I may incorporate this over my sconce glass, giving it a modern look.  We'll see.


  1. Wow, Industrial Metal Supply does indeed look like quite a place. I'll have to cruise by there sometime soon. Not that I have any metal projects in mind, but maybe I'll come up with something while there...

  2. I'd highly recommend it, if you have the means. Truthfully, the stuff's not cheap. I pick and choose wisely. Fun for the whole family.