New Home Project: Remodel Recessed Lights

Welcome to this fifth blog post of my New Home Project series. This series of posts reviews the lighting projects that I have undertaken in my new home since moving in to it in September 2009. To be honest, most of these projects have been completed some time ago. It was my goal to write a post after each project, but time just gets away from you sometimes. I cannot believe that it has been over 2 years since moving into my home.

This project involved adding seven 4-inch recessed cans throughout the first floor of my house.

Line Voltage PAR Halogen Recessed Lights

The family room in my house includes a first-floor “hallway” as part of the room. I put quotes around hallway because since my house is a very open, transitional floor plan it is by no means a traditional hallway. Rather, this “hallway” is visually a part of my family room. But, since it is in fact a hallway as defined in the floor plan, the light fixtures installed during construction were traditional flush-mount ceiling lights. My family room includes four 6-inch recessed downlights. The “hallway” included three ceiling lights. While the ceiling lights are nice, I did not like them as a visual part of my family room.

Flush-Mount Ceiling Lights
Flush-mount ceiling lights installed in my first-floor “hallway.”

So, what to do? What I did was to replace each ceiling light with a line voltage PAR20 halogen recessed can with a remodel housing and a white baffle trim. I chose a 4-inch recessed ceiling light because that would fit within the hole diameter already in my ceiling from the electrical junction box installed at each light current fixture location. No more holes, I said. Best laid plans. Holes indeed were created, but more on that “funny story” later. Plus, I felt like the 4in size would fit better within this “hallway” space instead of the larger 6in cans installed in the family room.

Since I was choosing a 4-inch downlight, I had the choice of using low voltage or line voltage fixtures. Since I had a line voltage option I went with that choice. Personally, I would rather not use a low voltage transformer if it isn’t necessary. Moreover, with a line voltage housing I can use a regular line voltage dimmer to control the lights (if you have read any of my previous posts you should know I really like dimmers). This is purely a personal choice. A 4-inch low voltage MR16 halogen trim would have probably looked very nice in this location as well.

Oh yea…my “funny story.” Well, my genius idea of using a 4-inch light was a good one. The remodel housing was going to fit just perfectly within the existing hole in my ceiling. However, each junction box for my previously installed ceiling lights was attached to my ceiling joists. I could not have my recessed housing sit right against wood – a combustible material. So, we had to drill new 4in cutouts for each downlight anyways to get the housings away from the wooden joists. Funny now…it was NOT funny at the time. Lots of drywall dust…lots of drywall repairs.

4in Recessed Baffle TrimBut, at the end the day (and the repairs) the new 4in downlights looked much, much better than the previous flush-mount ceiling lights, in my opinion. This particular lighting installation included:

Low Voltage MR16 Halogen Adjustable Recessed Trims

During construction I knew that I would want to add adjustable recessed lights in the ceiling of two of our first-floor rooms in order to add pleasant accent lighting and to light future artwork. Two years later the lighting is in place…still waiting on the artwork. Oh well, this post is not about art but rather about lighting. Back on topic.

So, while the house was being built I had our builder install four additional junction boxes with wiring and switches for my future adjustable recessed lighting fixtures. Do you remember my funny story from before? Well, you guessed it, the builder-installed junction boxes for these future light locations were attached to ceiling joists. Once again, we had to create new 4in holes in the ceiling to ensure that the remodel housing was not directly touching wood. Four new holes. Excellent.

4in Recessed Adjustable TrimIn our two rooms we installed:

In each room these adjustable downlights are controlled by a Lutron Maestro Dimmer for Electronic Low Voltage Transformers. In this case since I wanted to use an adjustable trim, I was required to use a low voltage recessed light with a transformer. There is not a line voltage option for this type of recessed fixture. I had a choice of using a housing with an included magnetic transformer or one with an included electronic transformer. I chose electronic. Again, I feel that this is more of a personal choice rather than anything else. Either housing would have worked well for my situation.

4in Recessed Adjustable Trims Lighting Artwork on WallSince I have yet to put up appropriate artwork in either of the two locations, I will not show you my lights turned on lighting up a blank wall. I still think they look nice, and add nice lighting to a room, but they are not yet doing what they were supposed to be doing. Instead, I will share with you a picture from our company President’s home where he has also installed these same fixtures and they are illuminating a piece of art very nicely.

Are you currently working on any lighting projects?  Let us know and/or share your pictures with us.  You can post your lighting project information and pics to our Facebook page.  When possible we also try to post pics of our customer’s lighting projects to our Design Center page.  Make sure to check it out and take a look at some of our customer’s projects.

If you have any questions about recessed lighting, comment below.  We would really enjoy hearing from you and helping however we can.

Chris Johnson

I am the President & CEO of Pegasus Lighting. Beyond my day job, my professional interests include small business, technology, web design and development, operations, marketing, and social media. My personal interests include spending time with my two children and wonderful wife, reading presidential history and business books, and striving for my work | life balance.

One thought to “New Home Project: Remodel Recessed Lights”

  1. Hi Chris. We are purchasing a new Del Webb home in SW Florida. It is to be built for us with the options we select. We are not selecting their ceiling light package because it includes only those ugly incandescent can lights. They will not permit us to do any work doing the construction process.

    Our idea is to install the low voltage lights we want once the house is delivered. Is that likely to work out well? It seems to me that the problems described in the article above with stuff mounted to joists and the potential need to patch existing 4 inch holes outweigh the potential advantage of having wiring and switches already in place. Suggestions? The builder’s entire house lighting package is about $1000+ additional to what we have purchased.


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