Captain’s bedroom ceiling: Two wins and a fail

Adding the lighting and HVAC to the list for the captain’s suite renovation was an easy decision. The ceiling in this space was just messed up. True to form, the previous owner decided to “accent” the HVAC with orange paint. That was bad enough, but the vents were also the wrong style, limiting their effectiveness to keep this room hot or cold.


The lighting was actually a bigger problem. We inherited two fans that held MR16 bulbs… only three of which worked. You can imagine that three bulbs that produced maybe 50 watts of light each weren’t enough for a nearly enough for a 338-square-feet room. Well, hopefully you can imagine it because I was remiss in taking pictures that demonstrated that. The corner by the pole closet was basically a black hole.

Let’s dive right into some before/after shots.



SOOOO much better!

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We needed a lot of light in this space, especially with the dark walls, and we had a lot of space to cover. We decided to create another DIY light fixture. This one is reminiscent of the fixture Aaron built for me in the kitchen when we moved in: black cord twisted around pipe and free hanging bulbs. It also ties in nicely with the living room lights. Our dimmer of choice, Lutron’s Maestro IR (which really deserves it’s own post) would allow for 10  40-watt bulbs.

Aaron created this diagram to figure out the the best layout. We were aiming for even light throughout the space and we didn’t want to change the placement of the HVAC (denoted by the thick black lines.) The bed is the rectangle this is just off center. The pole closet is in the upper left. We’re hoping to find a chair to put next to it, so we ran a piece of pipe out there to add some extra light to that corner.


For the installation, first he painted all of the pipe components and the electrical boxes black. He removed the fans and installed electrical boxes in their place.


Then he screwed floor flanges into the ceiling and started assembling the grid by screwing the pipe pieces together.

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He used the same process as in the living room to wire the sockets.


For the HVAC, we painted about 12 inches of the existing tube in the green wall color, which gave Aaron some space to cut it off. He removed the offending orange pipes and installed plain silver ones with new (and proper) vents.



The only thing that didn’t go to plan in this space is this random metal panel. Eventually we want to remove one to see what the heck is up there. We assume it’s some sort of old roof vent. If would be awesome if it could be turned into a skylight. But for now we just wanted it to disappear. For some reason, they chose not to cover it with the texture that was applied to the rest of the ceiling. Except they didn’t mask it off, so it had some obvious over spray.


Aaron grabbed a can of “ceiling texture” that looked like it would match at Home Depot. Before applying, we spread out some kraft paper, which was good because this stuff made a HUGE mess. It claims to clean up with water, but this seemed easier.


Apparently he should have grabbed two or three cans because the nozzle was clogged and basically unusable with minutes. He tried to clear it several times and it worked with less success each time. We gave up when the can was spraying more texture onto Aaron than the ceiling. We decided it didn’t look any worse… even though it doesn’t actually look better. Two out of three successful projects isn’t bad.


The panel tends to fade anyways thanks to the other upgrades.


At this point we were both ready to get all the furniture back into this room (and out of our living room.) But we let the project spiral a bit further with the purchase of a new rug and new duvet cover. More details on that search in the next post.

  1. I love this solution. So smart. And, p.s., your guest room is approximately 1/2 the size of our entire apartment. Let that sink in for a minute. (Can you tell this very cold winter has left me a bit stir crazy?)

    I’m excited to see the space all dolled up and ready for guests! Looking good!

    1. Thanks!
      If it makes you feel any better I would love to design a smaller space. Part of the challenge here is that everything is supersized!

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