The front half of the ceiling is almost finished, and the lights are installed! It’s definitely a unique concept, but I think it’s coming together nicely.
You might recall that several months ago I installed some spiffy LED lights from IKEA. Eh, maybe “installed” isn’t the right word—more like “hooked up to the battery and taped up to the ceiling”.
And they were awesome! I was really excited to have lights inside my van, except for one thing: the light switch was too far away from the bed. It was … 12 inches away.
Now, mind you, the switch was 12 inches away from the foot of the bed. And that’s just unacceptable. I mean, imagine that you’re all comfy in bed, snug as a bug in a rug, your dog is curled up in your crotch, and you’re just about to fall asleep. Then you realize, “Oh wait, I have to turn the light off.” Then you have to disturb your dog, get out from under the covers, turn off the light, and then fumble around in the dark to get back under the sheets while trying not to squish your 7 lb. fuzzy biting alarm system. And lord help you if you’re parked on an incline.
How to remedy this?
More switches! I decided to install one switch by the head of the bed, and another switch by the side door. They’re only 10 feet away, but I think it’ll make a world of difference in usability. And let’s be honest, having two switches only 10 feet away each other that control the same light isn’t the silliest thing I’ve ever done.
If you’re curious how I did it, here’s the diagram that I drew to help me figure out where everything goes. You should probably note that isn’t the proper way to draw an electrical diagram, but it gets the point across.
The switches I used in this application are single pole double throw (SPDT) switches, also known as three-way switches. You’ve probably seen the standard residential style versions of them in traditional houses, usually in stairwells and long hallways.
The ceiling turned out nicer than I thought it would. When I first started working on it, I had a few “OMG what have I done, this is going to look awful” moments, but now I really dig how it looks. The panels are ½” thick pink rigid foam insulation covered in burlap. I used Glidden Gripper to glue the burlap to the front face, and duct taped and stapled the edges to the back. I cut holes out for the lights, and simply pushed them into place. I’m slightly worried that they’ll pop out at some point, but I’ll deal with that if and when it happens. Here are some photos:
Up next: Wrestling with Curtain Track, Third Try is a Charm