Sunday, October 24, 2010

Mood lighting in the kitchen

Well hello! I hope you had a wonderful weekend! My stepdaughter came home for fall break and we had a blast! The Bub was so thrilled…the two of them are 16 years apart, but you would never know it -- they play (and fight) like they are only a year apart.  ;)

I finally finished up a project last week that was about five months past due. I installed under cabinet lighting in our kitchen years ago – it was just the kind you mount under the cabs and plug in. It worked great for us because of the old black backsplash:

See the cord plugged in? I know…if you’ve read this blog for two hot seconds, you know I loathe cords. BLECH. Hate them.

But the black cords blended right in…even I didn’t notice them. ;)

But when I installed the new, white, beadboard backsplash, those black cords could be no more. I mean…are you kidding me? I would quite literally just pass out from it. Black cords on white?

No way Joe-say!

So the lighting sat in the basement for months while I tried to figure out what I was going to do. My first though was to have an electrician run connections from the outlets in the backsplash into the cabinets…but that just sounded like a mess (and not cheap).

Then I decided to try the battery-operated LED lights, similar to this one:

I liked that they were dimmable. But I wasn’t thrilled with their bright white light. (I know, I know…I’m supposed to love the energy-efficient lights but I am a warm white kind of girl – the LED is so harsh!)

I was living with them for a while, and then one night they were left on all night long, and by morning every. single. one. needed three new batteries. I knew it wouldn’t be the first time that would happen, so they went back to Home Depot. :)

So I kept thinkin’…and finally figured out what I was going to do. Last week I decided to just make a (HUGE) mess and finally git er done!! (Or is that “dun?”)

I figured I had three hidden outlets throughout the kitchen I could use – one behind the fridge, one in the appliance garage and one in the cabinet above the microwave. I only needed to plug in five under cabinet lights and knew I could get to all the outlets needed by going through the cabinets.

I used my 1 1/2 drill bit and started drilling holes under the cabinets for the cords to go through:

I drilled through the sides of the cabinets too, till I got to where the outlet was. To make the cords stay put, I covered them with my handy dandy cord covers:

Then I installed the lights under the cabinets, which is done by simply using a screw:

This part pretty much stinks. You have to contort your body under the cabs just so. I used a small drill bit to make a hole first, then drilled them in – otherwise the screws go flying and you may or may not say a cuss word.

:)

Because I positioned the lights so the cords would barely be showing underneath, I could have just left them alone. But I HATE CORDS (remember?), so I used my cord covers again:

In the past, I used these little jobbies to wind the cord around under the cabinet:

The cord fits in there and you nail it up into the cabinet so they are secured safely.

On that side of the room, I put two of the lights into the appliance garage, and I was going to put the third into the outlet behind the fridge. To operate it, I planned on using a remote to turn it on and off – but the box you plug in wouldn’t fit into the outlet because of the honkin’ cord from the fridge. So I just took it through to the appliance garage too.

The lights around the stove went to the outlet above the microwave, and while I was up above the microwave drilling, I had quite the mishap. :)

I (knock on wood) rarely have accidents…but this one had the potential to be a doozy. I was standing on a chair (first bad idea), and while I was drilling, I leaned against the front of the stove (second bad idea).

It started getting SO HOT all the sudden…and I’m such a fruit loop my first throught was DANG, two drills in one week are burning up on me! (The first one happened when we installed the new pantry door.)

I was so mad! But it just kept getting hotter…and hotter. Then I looked down and saw flames coming from the stovetop. (Within inches of my legs.)

Yeah…I had turned on the gas with my knee.

Awesome!!

In the process I melted the cord of one of my lights – so this free project turned into a $15 one (for a replacement) pretty fast.

But at least I realized it was ME that was almost burning, and not the drill.

Good Lord. Fruit loop, I tell you.

Oh yeah…and I have to warn you. This is easily the messiest project I’ve ever done:

An insane amount of sawdust. Crazy. Use eye protection.

I’ve had lighting above our cabinets for years now too, and I just drilled a hole through the top of the cabinet and used the plug:

On the other side, it’s simply snaked down behind the corner cabinet into the appliance garage.

I use rope lights for soft light:

Everything is plugged into a surge protector with a switch, so all of the lighting in the room is turned on with two switches. Which is WAY better than going around and switching on each and every light as I had it before. ;)

I missed our soft kitchen mood lighting so!:

under cabinet lighting

I have them on every. single. night. Most nights, they are the only lights on in the kitchen.

rope lights in kitchen

Like I mentioned, this project was almost free – I’ve had the lights for some time. But if you’re interested in doing this in your kitchen, the small, (about ten inches?) lights are about $10. The medium size (20 inches) is about $15. I know they have a larger size and I think it’s $20.

I use the incandscent version because I like the warm light:

But they have a ton of options! I’ve purchased them at both Lowe’s and Home Depot.

Ideally I’d love to have them all wired and flip one switch…but for now, they take approximately four seconds to turn on and it was just a couple hours covered in sawdust to make it happen. 

I have noticed lately that I can see the reflection of the rope lights in some of my accesories above the cabs, so I think I’m going to try moving them behind everything to see how that works:

(Ignore the placement and accessories…most of it is changing.)

Oh, and I’ve mentioned my luscious dimmers (yes. I called them luscious.) before – I have them on almost every light fixture in our house:

They save money and the low light just plain lovely in any room!

Have you installed mood lighting in your kitchen? Did you do it the real way or the pretend way like me? ;) (If you’ve blogged about it, please link to it!)

DIY disclaimer: Again…I am no electrician – putting cords through cabinets is probably not the way an expert would accomplish this project. Be sure to watch rough edges so the cords to do not rub against them. (I have put duct tape around the edges of the holes I drilled just to make sure everything is smooth.)

OK…I promise to blog about something other than the kitchen this week! (But I’m on a ROLL!!)

76 comments:

  1. Oh, honey, you can blog about your kitchen as much as you want to. You know we love to hear about your kitchen!

    I have under-cabinet lights that I ADORE. The builder installed them, so I can't take any credit for them. But I'm so glad I have them. As far as above-cabinet lights are concerned, I have only one cupboard with space above it, but I did the very same as you--rope lighting rigged up by my own little non-electrician self. And it works!

    So glad your stepdaughter got to come home! Funny how they grow up so much when they're away, isn't it?

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  2. Nice! My father in law did a similar project at our house. It was actually exactly the same. Except that he turned our 2 of our backsplash outlets into a switch and outlet together thingy. He just drilled into the wall and fished the cord down through the wall so the 2 switches controlled them. They weren't plugged into an outlet. Well, maybe that's what you did, too, and I'm just reading it all wrong. Hehe. Anyway, your lighting looks great!

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  3. I do love good light in the kitchen! The saw dust in the kitchen would kill me!!

    The finished project is beautiful though!

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  4. Looks SO warm and inviting!!! We just bought our house in July and I am reaalllyyy wanting lighting under the cabinets. That project has been pushed waaayyyy down the list of things to do for the house, but with this post, maybe we will tackle it sooner than later! Thanks!

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  5. I love it! My husband installed the rope lighting above my cabinets. Your so right. I use it all the time. We now need under cabinet lighting. Thanks for the inspiration.

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  6. It's not get er dun. It's git er did. ;)

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  7. Love it!! I have always wanted to do under cabinet lighting in my kitchen! Just love it!

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  8. Oh my goodness...I love your passion for mood lighting - it's beautiful. But I bet when you were done, you ordered in...what an ordeal! Glad you didn't burn up!

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  9. Wow! This is stunning!! It adds so much to your kitchen! What a fabulous way to create a cozy space for the holidays (:

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  10. Yes we did! We installed the under cab lighting and there is a touch pad that turns them off and on, and there are 3 different levels of brightness. It's AWESOME! I just said today I need to put the rope lighting on top! I better get on that.

    http://www.decorchick.com/diy/another-easy-update-under-cabinet-lighting/

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  11. And all of your lighting is gorgeous!

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  12. Love the finished look! The lighting looks so homey - it reminds me of a kitchen in a bed and breakfast I stayed in once. Great job - you really are a miracle worker!

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  13. I have lights under and above our cabinets and I LOVE them!!!
    Great job!
    Bonnie :)

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  14. Looks fabulous! I'm glad you didn't catch yourself on fire... yikes!! :)

    I tried rope-lighting up on top of my cabinets once and they looked SO yellow but yours don't... maybe I need to try a different one.

    We also are hoping to do under cabinet lighting soon, what kind of lights are yours?? We would like to do the non-blue looking LEDs but those suckers are expensive and we need several!

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  15. I am going to buy rope lights TOMORROW!! I love it so much and I know that I have an outlet on the top of my cabinets! So no cords! Thanks for the inspiration!

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  16. It looks fantastic. I have to say I especially love the beadboard for a backsplash!

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  17. gorgeous! it's amazing what this little project did. huge impact.

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  18. Love it!!! I am fortunate enough that my house already had under- counter light installed. Unfortunately, I am afraid to make use of it, because those counters are generally where my junk collects, and I hate to highlight my piles of clutter. :-/

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  19. Oh man i am sooo jealous, we live in base housing so cant really do anything like that, actually most of the stuff u do lol. But i love it!

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  20. Love it! Your kitchen is so beautiful at night with those lights. We have installed the under cabinet lights in two of our previous homes and we loved them. We are currently renting now, so not sure if we will be doing any lighting again in the near future.

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  21. I'm so glad you didn't burn up!!!! You have got me thinking mood lighting. I have a couple cabinets I could get lighting under...but we have almost ZERO outlets cuz the house is so old. I wonder if I can just fish the wire down thru the wall and attach it to the outlets? Looks so cool.

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  22. * Hi! Just "discovered" your blog~~~ what an enjoyable, fun & interesting read!!! (LOVVVVE your terriffic sense of humor & even did some backreading, much to my delight!!!)...

    Many thanks!
    Linda in AZ *
    bellesmom1234@comcast.net

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  23. I love under cabinet lighting! I tried those Dot lights in one area just to see if I liked them and I don't. Next house I will have something like yours.

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  24. it looks so inviting....so when should I come over for cheesecake and coffee? :) I'll bring the cheesecake!
    Hugs
    Missy

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  25. Wow great job! I know I would not have wanted to take on something like this, so I am totally impressed!

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  26. I have under the cabinet lights too, which I love, but they are professionally installed low voltage lights. I also have rope lighting in the display cabinet in my kitchen, which you might be interested to learn is dimmable with a little thing that you tap with your finger - I'm not sure what it's called but it makes for nice mood lighting! Finally, the best part of all is that I have lighting under the toe kick of my cabinets. This is my favorite lighting in the kitchen. I have dark hardwood floors and when just those lights are on, it is GORGEOUS!

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  27. I did mine this same way. I love them and they are cheap! Looks great with the lights on top. I never thougt of that.

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  28. Fantastic job! Your kitchen looks gorgeous!

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  29. This is so timely for us! We are in the middle of a kitchen remodel and are trying to figure out under cabinet lighting. My husband has installed all the wiring. We have been looking at all of the options. But, some of them are so expensive! I too am a warm light girl so I love your option. Your fixtures also look extremely small (I like that!). I love your blog, it's an inspiration to me!

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  30. We did the same drilling method for out lighting : ) Yes it is super messy!! All of ours plug into the outlet about the microwave. I plugged everything into a surge protector, then plugged the surge protector into an automatic timer. In the winter, I set them to come on at 4. During the summer, they come on at 7.

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  31. Wow. I love this look and can't wait to get this done in my own kitchen! My only question, where do you flip them on at? The top or underneath of the cabinets? Just wondering...thanks! Gorgeous.

    sbandermann14@hotmail.com

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  32. Love the lights in your kitchen! I can't believe you actually use a drill and do this stuff yourself, I'm SO impressed. I've been wanting to use rope lights for under my bottom cabinets for a long time now, have you ever done that? It looks amazing if you like your flooring - which I do. Any thoughts??

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  33. OOOH! It looks so good. I don't think we can ever have enough kitchen posts! LOL The projects never end here and even after we think* they have ended we keep tweeking them. Just this weekend I finally got a new light over the sink in my kitchen (redone a few weeks ago)and now I am thinking the bigger version of that new light would look just right over my breakfast table. Fortunately my sweet husband just goes along with me! LOL

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  34. WOWZERS! What a huge job! The sawdust was definitely worth it though! I too have over-cabinet rope lighting and just love it! The glow is amazing!!! I haven't installed the undermounts yet, so I just have accent lights on the countertops for the time being. If you'd like to check it out, here's the link on Rate My Space.

    http://www.roomzaar.com/rate-my-space/Kitchens/My-Kitchens-now-SOOOOOOOO-much-smaller/detail.esi?oid=482876

    Just a quick tip to eliminate some of the sawdust when the drill is pointing upward, attach a dixie cup to the base of the drill bit so it catches everything that falls. You ruled out painting the cords white to match the backsplash? You are the QUEEN OF PAINT!!! The white cords probably would have bugged me too, looks so polished and professional now. So glad you gave me the inspiration to finally do mine!!!
    Thanks Sarah!
    Jules

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  35. the lighting looks beautiful! I sadly have no mood lighting. :( I would love to have cabinet lights whenever I revamp my kitchen though!

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  36. Beautiful job, this is just going to add tomy list of things to accomplish in our own home once we get it :-)

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  37. I'm soooo happy to see this post. I've been wanting to do undercabinet lighting for a while, but I've been overwhelmed by all of the options. I love this!

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  38. Am with you on the color of LEDs...want so much to be able to get behind them but when will they come out with a WARM tone!? I used the rope on my top cabinets as well and it's the best! So easy...

    Looks great!

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  39. OOOH, Sarah! LOVE LOVE LOVE your kitchen lighting! It adds so much to have the tops of the cabinets illuminated -- looks gorgeous! :)

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  40. I love this look and would love to do it in my own kitchen. The under the cabinet lights, how do you place them? Are they under every cabinet?

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  41. Looks great! I love the look and feel to your kitchen. I've starred many of your posts for inspiration =)

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  42. looks beautiful, such a great job! I love your kitchen!

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  43. First of all: I LOVE YOUR KITCHEN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It is beautiful! Now, I do have rope type lights over my cabinets and under cabinet lights that are the old flourescent type. I also have litle lamps on my counters so I LOVE mood lighting in my kitchen!

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  44. I have under cabinet lighting in my kitchen and love it! My ceilings are low and the cabinets go to the ceiling so I couldn't do lights above but I did put rope lights behind my homemade moulding (which sits just out from the wall) so they (almost)completely outline the kitchen! I love the glow it gives! My kitchen looks so cozy at night when just the rope lights are on. I love your kitchen and wish I had space above my cabinets, but you work with what you have and I "steal" all your other ideas so it's all good! ;)

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  45. Undercabinet lighting makes such a huge difference! We added it in our kitchen when we redid the backsplash and countertops, ours are hardwired since we had the access inbetween the tearout and installation. Great job!!

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  46. Oh my word!! LOVE this!! I have to say, I am much like you in ways. My home is VERY warm. My colors are a dark burnt red, chocolate brown, golden yellow, olive green... and our cabinets are about the same color too! I am loving this lighting. I may have to get my hubby to help me work on this!

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  47. The rope lights on top of the cabinets are brilliant!!! I have like 4 sets of those I am never use, so I know where they are going!! :) Love your kitchen!! I love everything you do though! :) God bless!

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  48. OMG your kitchend is amazing!! i have been dying to get a backsplash up and some under cabinet lighting. and i think that you might have been the the one to help push me over to lowes! thanks!! i love love love this!!!

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  49. Love the top mood lighting, we have the bottom, but now I want it on top of my cabinets!!! :) Gorgeous!
    Jennifer - (greendoordesigns.blogspot.com)

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  50. I love the idea of Robe lights on the top! Hello? Why didn't I think of that! I've been using Christmas lights, but now half of my strands are burnt out. I might have to look into using the rope lights to replace them... but I do love that I can tuck the Christmas lights in here and there to get the light exactly where I want it. I have mine plugged into my microwave outlet too, but I have mine on a timer and I LOVE it. I no longer have to worry about turning them on and off, and they make a nice glow so I never come home to a dark house! You do have me thinking about under lights now though!

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  51. Sarah, you blog all you want about things you are doing around the house - it's never boring! Thanks for posting this, because I am getting ready to pull out Christmas decorations and I love to put lights up on my cabinets, but I hate the wires hanging down. Awesome idea.

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  52. I have terrible lighting in my kitchen - one overhead ceiling fan. Yep, that's it. Thanks for the post, your kitchen looks so warm and inviting, I so want to do this!

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  53. lurvee it! I have horrible lighting in our kitchen and weve been discussing changing out light fixtures recently. Our friends just finished building their house and have left over rope lighting and yay they offered it to us! So excited to get started!

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  54. LOVE!!!!!! I'm with you, girl, not a fan of the LED lighting. I need to stock up on my good old fashioned light bulbs before they are all gone!

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  55. I was just wondering, did you have the fiber container out so you could replenish it with all that sawdust laying around it? JK, it looks great and you are awesome!

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  56. Great post. This came at a time when I am obsessed with above the cabinet decor. As in, I have none and am immobilized by indecision :)

    I will definitely be incorporating lighting, thanks to you. I posted about this and linked to you...Saved By Love Creations

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  57. I LOVE LOVE LOVE your kitchen decor. I also love the double shelves. (May have to steal that idea). :)

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  58. You just might have inspired me to add under cabinet lighting to my kitchen remodel "to do" list. It is also nice to know that goofy things like your stove mishap don't just happen to me. My poor hubby just shakes his head and avoids the room I am working on... especially if he hears a cuss word or two! ;)

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  59. You are some serious degree of cool.
    I'm just sayin'.

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  60. Love it! I have a couple questions not regarding lighting. :) Are your herbs in the herb crate above your cabinets real? And where did you get the herb container? Thanks! Awesome job, as always!

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  61. Good golly gracious! Be careful!

    I love, love love the softness the lights bring to your kitchen and suddenly think I need some too! :o)

    Many Blessings,
    Melissa

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  62. I love it: "you may or may not say a cuss word."
    lol!! :)

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  63. I had these in my other home. The Electrician "forgot" to put them in my new home. So I think I am going to get busy. Beautiful kitchen!

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  64. I love this look and would love to do it in my own kitchen. The under the cabinet lights, how do you place them? Are they under every cabinet? one thing is not looking good, which is big drilling holes in the sheets, over all this is a beautiful kitchen designing, i love to make my kitchen just like this. thanks

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  65. thank you SO much for this post! We have horrendous lighting in our kitchen and I have been trying to figure out how to tackle the issue. The battery LEDs might be great for us because we don't have any outlets to space and we did a tile backsplash, so putting in more isn't really an option!

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  66. It looks amazing, fantastic job! I am now eye-balling my kitchen to see if I could accomplish something similar...

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  67. Just found your site!!
    You are awesome! Can you come home with me!! lol

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  68. You inspired me to finally tackle this project with some under-cabinet lights from Ikea that we have had for years. The big plug dangling down was so ugly. We also put ours on one of the remote outlets you can get at Christmas for lights to be able to turn them on/off with the rest of our lamps in the downstairs. Thanks for the inspiration to get it done!

    http://www.leslieadavis.com/2010/12/under-cabinet-lighting/

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  69. Great ideas! I'm your newest follower and I'll also post your blog on my sidebar blog list.
    Cheers!
    Rita @MAY DAYS

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  70. I've saved this and keep coming back to it just hoping it will make some hidden outlets appear in MY stinkin' kitchen but alas, it hasn't happened yet. So now I have to pay an electrician to do that for me so that I can isntall some under cabinet lights. What a pain but I'm with you... kitchens just need them. I have a HUGE kitchen with GOBS of cabinets and very high ceilings. I need more light.

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  71. Your kitchen is gorgeous! The lights are divine!

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  72. Pinterest brought me here! :)

    Great blog!! Love your DIY lighting in the kitchen, and your humour along the way is appreciated too! ;o)

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  73. your kitchen is absolutely gorgeous!!!

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  74. Love your kitchen...and I know what you meant about outlets, especially when not convenient! When we refinished our kitchen, I had the electrician add a box above upper cabs so I could just use a switch to turn on fairy light I strung all over the top...works perfect! No more extention cords. Did the same thing in the dining rm above flat to wall..flick switch, lights! Plugged another set of light to a timer on another kitchen cabinet. Your kitchen looks so nice & cozy, and I'm sure it was worth all the saw dust!!

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