The front gets a little brighter

In line with all of the other lighting at the firehouse, the front lights flanking the garage door were in need of a serious upgrade.


You can barely see them in the image above, so let’s take a closer look.

The one on the left was dull, faded and not working.



Oh and just for good measure, it’s held together by tape.


The right side featured the same faded housing and a red (??) CFL. Basically, it’s super classy. But at least it worked.


A key part of Operation Make the Front of the Firehouse Look Presentable called for replacing these sad, sad fixtures with something shiny, new and functional. We took to the internet and and now have an unhealthy obsession with Barn Light Electric. “Where Vintage and Modern Collide” – Umm, hello! Can we be best friends FOREVER?

There were a handful of options that would have looked great, but we feel in love with the Comanche Commercial Gooseneck Warehouse Shade. The light peeking through the top sold us.

When the lights arrived we were very impressed by the quality. Installation was easy*: cut the power, remove old lights, hang new lights.

Hello beautiful!


We opted for LEDs so we could see how they perform in an exterior application. And because duh.



This would have been the end of our mini update, but we had to add an item to the list. Womp, womp.

  • Give the garage door a new coat of red paint so the new panels blend in with the old
  • Replace the flags
  • Replace the light fixtures on either side of the garage door
  • Upgrade the bulbs in all the fixtures to LEDs
  • Touch up the garage door


*Ok, so there was one major hiccup with the light installation. Back when Aaron built the new floors for the pole closets (was that really just in May??), he had a bit of a scare on the last hole. It’s buried a bit in this post, so let me give you a quick refresher.

Whilst using the hammer drill to create holes for concrete anchors, he inadvertently drilled through a piece of conduit holding live electrical wires. Sparks flew (literally) and we thanked a higher being for insulated tools and circuit breakers. One of the strips of lights in the studio also died. Thankfully Aaron is well on his way to a Master Electrician Badge (does an Eagle Scout ever really stop earning badges?). What could have been a disastrous day became an annoying bump in the road when he rerouted the circuit before the accidental puncture. Lights (and order) were restored.

So, why this electrifying (har, har) flashback? Well, once Aaron got the new exterior light installed on the left side we couldn’t figure out how to turn it on. We assumed the broken circuit was to blame. Aaron fixed the rest of the broken circuits, but with the light still refusing to work he decided a pro was needed.

When I got home from work that day, we veered from marveling at the paint job on the viewing room (OMG you guys it looks so good! Post forthcoming) to standing near the front of the studio discussing the bit of raw luck that electrical was doling out. At which point Aaron noticed a switch near the garage door that he had never traced. He flipped it and BINGO! The front light turned on, the electrician service call was canceled and our small family celebrated! (ok, really just us. Mojo seemed unimpressed)

Moral of the story: When buying a firehouse, don’t call an electrician until you try every switch (or something like that).

  1. The light was red because its a fire house! By tradition, if you are facing the front of a fire house, the right light is red and the left light is green. It’s also the same on the front of many fire trucks. But your new lights are pretty awesome, so it’s an appropriate break with tradition!

    1. Interesting fact. Thanks for sharing! Maybe the lack of the red/green lights will have fewer people wondering if it’s still a working firehouse… probably not though 🙂

  2. Lovely! Are those additional lights under each window on the front? Any chance of a night-time picture?

    It looks like there is a very utilitarian light on the left side near the front – is there a “people door” there for clients & guests parking in the front to enter? I assume you usually enter through the kitchen from the parking in the back.

    Congrats – it is all looking wonderful – thanks for letting us all watch it happen!

    1. Yes, there are 3 lights under the front windows. They were in better shape so we just swapped out the bulbs for LED versions.

      Right again! There is a light on the side that needs replaced. That was another one that we thought might be broke, but it just needed a new bulb. We’re holding off on choosing a new light for out there until we replace the door. It’s pretty sad looking. Future posts for sure! 🙂

  3. LOVE it! Good moral of the story too. 🙂

    1. Haha! I know, right 😉

  4. We just removed that exact fixture from our south city brick bungalow. It was really faded and jammed up into the soffit above our front door, and I can’t believe I was okay with seeing it every day for the last 7+ years! We also replaced it with a barn light, from lowes, which we spray painted teal. I looked at the actual Barn Light Electric ones but they were out of our budget – as we were also doing some concrete repair work to our stoop and needed this project to be quick and cheap.

    I’m really enjoying reading about your firehouse transformation. Although I myself do not live in a firehouse, I do live in a St. Louis brick bungalow, and there are more similarities than you think. I really wish my basement looked like yours and less like the flaky-paint stone dungeon it is right now! Can’t wait to see what you tackle next.

    1. Ooh! Fun! The front of the firehouse has a lot of color already (mostly red) so we opted for black.

      Yeah, the Barn Light Electric fixtures aren’t cheap. It was a swipe the card and remember this is our forever house kind of moment.

      Thanks for stopping by! There are definitely a lot of similarities between the firehouse and St Louis brick bungalow 🙂

      Ha! Sealing the basement was one of the first labors of love. I wish we would have taken more process pics.

  5. Lights look very cool. I would like a night picture too. Love you guys

    1. Thanks! “After” pictures during the day and at night are coming as soon as we can touch up the garage door.

  6. Looking absolutely FAB! Vintage meets modern is perfect description and your story telling makes me feel like I’m right there with you! Phenomenal. Anxiously awaiting a night photo of these lights :-). Keep up the good work, errrr….lessons!

    1. Ha! Thanks! I about fell out of my chair when I read their slogan.

      Night photos coming soon!

  7. Another vote for a night photo here!

    You know, we’ve been in our house seven years and I still don’t know what all the switches do. The Hub does. He won’t tell me.

    1. Lol! Man, I didn’t realize the lack of night photos would cause such a stir. We’d really like to get some true “afters” (night and day) when the garage door is painted (again).

  8. I’m so jealous that you found the switch! We have 2 outdoor lights in the back, and while we found one switch in the middle of the Playroom (no where near an exterior door), the other still seems to be switchless- 2.5 years later. Every once in a while I go on a tear determined to finally turn the light on, but it bests me. Every. Time.

    Think of me and my dark back yard any time you flip that switch. 🙂

    1. Haha! Aren’t electrical mysteries fun? We have a new one today! None of the outlets in the 4th bedroom work. Good times 😉

  9. Love the lights. We did LED for our exterior lights, too (at the old house). We worried if they’d diminish during the winter/cold weather days, but they were great. Nice, clean, bright light, without the worry that an errant rock/branch/bird would accidentally shatter a CFL and leave poisonous mercury everywhere. Nice choice, Team Firehouse-that-isn’t-a-firehouse-anymore! xoxo

    1. Awesome! Good to know you had success with the LEDs outside.

  10. Yes, we can be best friends forever! I just stumbled across your blog and we (the Barn Light Electric marketing team) are smitten with this project… Your photography is amazing and your renovation has captured our attention. I hope you definitely come back to us again and again!

    1. Ummmm – awesome!!!!!!!!!!!!! Thanks for stopping by. We’ll have even better pictures up (hopefully) soon 🙂

  11. […] 40% done % change: +10% for cleaning up the front (we still owe you a good update, but here’s a peek.) Plan changes: The mulberry tree is here […]

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