Sprucing Up Apartment Hardware

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Bathroom hardware replaced!
After fixing the slight imbalance in metal hues in the bathroom in the last post, I went on a kick of switching out a bunch of other stuff, like the switchplates and the towel rods. Now everything in there is in some sort of silver hue. If I wanted to be really on top of my game, the sconces & switchplates would be chrome instead of satin nickel, but whatever.

All this for ~$100.

2. Find wall studs, try to place template so that drill holes will land on studs 3. Ensure template is level
5. Drill the hole-marks 6. If no wall stud, drill hole large enough for wall anchors
7. Screw wall brackets into place
9. Use supplied hex key to secure towel rod to bracket
Can now hold towels.
12" Towel rod replaced, too (along with switchplates)

Bathroom Hook - Before Bathroom Hook - After
Bathroom Door - Before Bathroom Door - After
I also occupied myself by painting a majority of the apartment trim a brilliant white semi gloss (Glidden Diamond). Everything except the bathroom interior door, as I ran out of painter's tape. But all the fancy window trim and baseboards and interior doors (not in the entryway/kitchen)! And then promptly covered the fancy window trim up with some cheapo Beme International double curtain rods/brackets in antique brass. 'Topped off with some fancy curtain tie-backs from eBay. We're super fancy here.
Trim + doors painted white New double curtain rods installed

For about 30 days, I didn't have any furniture. So I bought some sweet faded patio furniture off craigslist and promptly installed it on my porch. Instant living room (without replicating furniture being shipped)!
Patio - After

How To: Replace Wall Sconces (in a Rental Apartment or wherever, it's reversible)

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Done!

So. Our belongings took 28 days after the road trip to arrive. So what's a lady to do? Fiddle with all the bathroom hardware, that's what!

For some unknown reason, all the bathroom hardware was in chrome, except for the chain lock on the door and the wall sconces, which were both in brass. This is what I started with, you'll note over time that the towel rod and switchplates change, along with the wall sconces which I'll be cursorily covering in this post.

Original wall sconce - brass in a chrome room
These brass wall sconces, they're the cheapest you can purchase at Home Depot. A whopping $12/each. For $25/each you can get the slightly statelier satin nickel sconces at the top of the post. I bought two, and promptly YouTube'd my butt off to determine the feasibility of this project.

Feasibility: super doable.

  1. Materials: I needed both a flathead and Philips screwdriver, because that's what the old hardware used. I also used the pliers for stripping one of the new wires a bit. Electrical tape is optional. Everything else (wire nuts, brackets, screws, etc) should come with your wall sconce or in the old wall sconce you're removing.
    0. Basic Supplies
  2. TURN OFF THE ELECTRIC FUSE FOR THE ROOM YOU'RE WORKING IN.
    Yes, you'll have to do this work during the daytime, or with a flashlight of some sort. It's worth it to not zap yourself. Plus, better photos in natural lighting . ;)

    Also, I'm no expert. Replace wall sconces at your own risk. I got all my info from YouTube, you could consult an electrician or handyman or somesuch.
  3. Unscrew exterior screws (usually need to twist a cap off first)
    1. Unscrew exterior screws (usually need to twist a cap off first)
  4. Unscrew old sconce bracket
    2. Unscrew old sconce bracket
  5. Remove wire nut from black wires
    3. Remove wire nut from black wires
  6. Remove wire nut from white and copper (ground) wires
    4. Remove wire nut from white and copper (ground) wires
  7. Check new sconce for white, black, copper wires.
    5. Check new sconce for white, black, copper wires.
  8. Wrap copper wires (ground) around green ground nut (both the wall-copper-wire and the new sconce-copper-wire)
    6.a. Wrap copper wire (ground) around green ground nut
  9. Twist white wire on new sconce to wall-white-wire
    7.a. Twist white wire on new sconce to wall-white-wire
  10. Twist black wire on new sconce with black-wall-wire
    8.a. Twist black wire on new sconce with black-wall-wire
  11. Screw on wire nut, tug on wires to make sure it doesn't come undone
    9.a. Screw on wire nut, tug on wires to make sure it doesn't come undone
  12. Screw new sconce bracket into holes. I couldn't get my screws for the bracket to go into the electric box wall holes, so i just used the screws & washers that were from the old wall sconce.
    10.a. Screw new sconce bracket into holes
  13. Place exterior screws through wall sconce (inward, poking outward)
    11. Place exterior screws through wall sconce (inward, poking outward)
  14. Twist endcaps on top of screws
    12. Twist endcaps on top of screws
  15. Place on lampshade
    13. Place on lampshade
  16. Turn fuse/electricity back on and test that new wall sconce works!
    14. Test that new wall sconce works!

For the second wall sconce, I basically just copied the reverse of how the old sconce was installed. There was some added wonkiness, too - an extra stabilizing screw into the wall, different ground wire securing, an extra white wall wire, etc. etc. So here's the alternate steps I followed for the second sconce:

  1. Second sconce had 3 white wires twisted together with wire nut. I removed the old sconce, and just wrapped the new sconce's white wire with the 2 white-wall-wires
    Second sconce had 3 white wires twisted together with wire nut
  2. Screw new wall sconce bracket into holes, and twist wall & sconce copper wires together Note also that this sconce did not have 2 good holes for attaching the bracket to, so I added an additional screw to secure the bracket to the wall - 3 instead of just 2.
    6.b. (alternate) Screw new wall sconce bracket into holes, and twist wall & sconce copper wires together
  3. Wrap one of the copper wires around the green ground pin.
    7.b. (alternate) Wrap one of the copper wires around the green ground pin
  4. Note that there were 2 white wall-wires, twist the new wall sconce's white-wire around them (needed to use a wire stripper to get more exposed wire)
    8.b. (alternate) Note that there were 2 white wall-wires, twist the new wall sconce's white-wire around them (needed to use a wire stripper to get more exposed wire)
  5. Wire nuts on the three wire sets twisted together - make sure wires don't easily come out of the wire nuts!
    9.b. (alternate) Wire nuts on the three wire sets twisted together - make sure wires don't easily come out of the wire nuts!

And look, both wall sconces worked anyways!
Replace wall sconce!

Alcatraz Island (California)

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Seagulls and San Francisco
Sure, you have to buy the tickets month in advance, but that didn't stop us from [finally] setting foot on Alcatraz Island just before we moved (literally, three days before the movers showed up). After much anticipation we finally got there. Yay!

The audio tour of the prison itself was alright, but the flowers and wildlife at sunset were really the absolute best. Snowy egrets, cormorants, and tons of baby seagulls. Definitely schedule in some time to walk around and enjoy the views.

Alcatraz Gardens Snowy Egrets
Alcatraz Scenery
Alcatraz Garden Wall
Feeding baby birds
Alcatraz
San Francisco Cityscape
Golden Gate Bridge from Alcatraz (sunset)
Hard Water
Alcatraz CellsInside Alcatraz Prison
Alcatraz Sunset Silhouette

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