July 18, 2012

Making the Swtich

I'm not going to lie to you, we're still knees deep in this step project, and although we're making great progress, it's taking a lot of time.  (As all good woodworking projects do.)  So in the mean time while we cut, nail, putty and sand, I thought I'd fill you in on a quick project that I did a couple weeks ago that I forgot to share.

Back when we moved into the house there was one (ok, hundreds, but one particular thing) that really bugged me.  The previous owners had switched out all the switch plates for clean new white ones, but left in the old almond colored switches and outlets.

And they were every where.  Seriously.  Since this house has so many half levels, at the top and bottom of every set of steps is switch plate full of 3way switches.  And those almond colored pieces of poo have been tormenting me for over a year now.  In fact, back when we first moved in I did an inventory of all the switches and outlets to buy new ones, as I wanted to replace them immediately.  At the time though both my mother and the Hubs *gently* told me that this project probably wasn't our biggest priority, and to hold off on something so trival until there was more time.  I reluctantly agreed, but silently cursed the little buggers every time I flipped a switch. 

Until now.

I used a nice long nap one Saturday afternoon to systematically go through the house (or at least the first main levels) and remove and the replace the ugly switches.  The best part is that the typical switch is only $1 or so, and I had a few extra in the house left over from various projects, so even though I replaced a couple dozen switches and outlets, it only cost me about $20.  $20 and my sanity.

 I know its probably not all that noticeable, but that's sort of the point.  Before these switches were just one more thing that made this house old, dirty and dated.  Now they look shiny white and new.  Sometimes its big projects like full bathroom renos and furniture building, and other times its the little things that make my bacon sizzle.  How about you guys?  Any quirks about your house that drive you batty?  Old, strange light fixtures or sockets that throw you over the edge?  We had 3 different dimmer switches that had long since lost the dial to turn, leaving just a little stub to turn.  That's just not right people.


  1. Ha! We had the same issue when we moved into our house last year. I don't know how someone could live with the switches like that! It irked me since the moment we first looked at the house! Needless to say, my husband had them all switched out within the first week. :)

  2. I feel your pain! All of ours were almond, but when we did the kitchen last year, we changed the ones on the main level to white. I had Brandon change the ones in the hallway upstairs and in the basement to white too. But the other ones are still out there...

    He's had the house 4.5 yrs (I've been there with him for 2 at this point) so you're still light-years ahead of us!

  3. Amanda B.July 18, 2012

    Tan switches with white covers?? Yuck! I know that change felt good. We have been switching out our tan switches and outlets one room at a time. When a room gets painted, it gets new switches and outlets. It's become kind of a ritual. I head for the paint aisle, he goes to the electrical aisle. :)

  4. AnonymousJuly 18, 2012

    Erin and Jason,

    The two of you have done amazing work on your house, I can't begin to imagine how long and hard you have worked on both the outside and the inside. Hope to see it soon. Take Care.

  5. I did the same thing at the house we recently sold. The gross part is that the switches WERE white at one point, but became yellowed from the previous owner's smoking habit. The change from yellowed switches and plugs to fresh, white ones, was amazing. Good decision and I understand how important the little things like this can be.

  6. I love you guys. There is nothing better in this world than people telling you "You're not crazy, I feel the same way." And this is why we blog folks. A community of like minded crazies. :) I'm so lucky to have you!

  7. AnonymousJuly 20, 2012

    We had a collection of: almond toggle switches, almond rocker switches (small and raised, not the flat ones), and dimmer switches galore.
    Dimmers that turn, turn if you're careful, push and turn, and just push.
    Dimmers for the front foyer, the back entry, over the sink in the kitchen, bedrooms (ok, useful), the main bathroom, and of course, the basement stairs for that unique mood lighting decent to the rec room and laundry area.
    All that to complement the mostly shiny gold switchplates, as well as the almond, white (!) and metal 'filigree' ones.

    I say 'had', because I've since replaced the bathroom set with white on white. One *thing* at a time, let alone a whole project.

  8. AnonymousJuly 20, 2012

    That was by memory. Forgot there were two kinds of small rockers, and the turn-on dimmer in the dining room that also works the outlet in the living room where we had the TV and VCR.

  9. Sometimes its big projects like full bathroom renos and furniture building, and other times its the little things that make my bacon sizzle.click here