Then the light came on…

wall light with picture

Sometimes it becomes obvious why you should use a professional.

When we were having our living room refurbished, we wanted to put a couple of picture lights in the wall. The electrician came to price up the job and when it came to the wall lights he asked us from which direction we wanted the wiring – from the ceiling or from the floor? We asked which direction would cause least disruption. He said, as we were having extra sockets put in, we might as well have the wiring for the lights coming from the floor as well. Then he told us to mark on the plaster where we wanted to position the lights and he would come in a few days time to cut the channels and lay the wiring.

As I was trying to save labour costs with the refurbishment and had done most of the preparation work, I considered cutting the channels myself for the wiring. It was within my skill set and didn’t need any specialist tools. I thought the job through.. draw a vertical line from the point of the light straight down to the floor, then cut a channel in the plaster about three centimetres wide using a cold chisel.. dust everywhere..

On reflection, I decided that it was going to save very little in terms of cost as it would take the electrician only minutes to cut the channel because he would be practised at it. I passed on doing the job myself.

The day arrived when the electrician was going to complete the job. I left him to it as he gazed upon the plaster wall with a practised eye. I too gazed at the wall and imagined the new gleaming picture lights before going into my office to do some work.

An hour or two later I came downstairs again to check on progress. The room was littered with wire, tools and lifted floor boards. Then I looked at the wall and had a moment of puzzlement. The electrician had cut the channels for the wiring but they were fifteen centimetres to the left of where I would have cut them. Also at about thirty centimetres from where the wall light was supposed to emerge from the wall, the channel took a deviation from the vertical and bent to meet that point.

In a flash, I realised why he had cut the channels like that.

I envisioned the moment when I would eventually want to hang a picture. Chances are, I will only use one nail to hang it and, more than likely, I will want the picture to be placed centrally underneath the wall light. If the wiring had been laid exactly vertically as I had imagined it, then the nail would have interfered with the wiring. By shifting the wiring to one side then bending it in, the electrician had avoided this problem.

Had I cut the channels without thinking the whole thing through, I would have been achieving the exact opposite of what I intended – incurring costs instead of saving them.
This is the  reason we hire professionals; they know more than us (usually) and they are good at what they do (usually).

So if you ever need to refurbish your creativity space, don’t try and do it yourself with any ‘obvious’ short cuts but hire me to advise you with some ‘off the wall’ hints and tips that give you solutions that come at you from a different angle (see what I did there? You could do the same with a little help).

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