Beams o’ Light Prep

Running across the non-cabinet wall of the pantry is a massive LVL that is basically holding up the center of our house. It’s just a bit important, but it’s not exactly the nicest design feature I’ve ever seen. Here it is in all of it’s glue-lam glory.

Lolly column side of beam

And an HVAC supply on the other side

Each side of the beam has a special surprise, on the right is a lolly column supporting it and on the left is a HVAC supply for the bathroom heat register. My plan to cover all of these things up includes:

  • putting a smaller fake beam that runs all the way to the wall around the LVL
  • making a fake wood post over the lolly column
  • hanging a shiplap faux ceiling that can still be pushed up to hide the joists / pipes / hvac stuf

So my plan for the smaller fake beam was pretty straight forward. I wanted to wrap the lower part of the beam with a 1×10 on the bottom and a 1×6 on the face. The bottom would go all the way to the wall, the face would come up and form the support for the faux ceiling to rest on, on one side of the room.

I of course can not do simple, so I decided to add some lights to the faux beam, like we have in the kitchen over the sink. Eventually I will post about the kitchen and link a nice photo here. I hope. In the kitchen we bought lights, but I wanted to go a different route in the pantry, particularly since I have design making decision power there.

So I bought:

  • some exterior utility lights that screw into sockets

Exterior Lights (one dismantled)

  • some plumbing supplies

Plumbing supplies

  • some spray primer (okay, I actually had that on hand, but still)

Priming up the lights

  • and some bright yellow glossy spray paint

Bright glossy yellow

Now that I had the lights well under way I borrowed my dad’s truck and ran out to the local lumber store to buy the 12′ 1×10 and 1×6. While out with the truck we also grabbed a Christmas tree, but that’s neither here nor there. The plan for the beam was simple, just cut the twelve footers to length, stain them, install the wiring and that’s it.

Cut to length

First I cut them to length and notched out for the lolly column. I also had learned my lesson from doing the kitchen beams and I made sure to scribe out for the difference in length at the corner due to joint compound and tape. In this case it was about a 1/4″ difference in length, which makes a huge difference when trying to fit the beams up later.

Small gloves

I’m pretty sure that Shannon must have bought the gloves because they didn’t even come close to fitting on my hands. You can also see in this shot that I had already drilled the holes for the lights. The last thing I wanted to do was screw up a nice finish later on when drilling the holes.

I stained the beams with the same English Chestnut stain I used on the countertops. I also used the pre-conditioner again, but I don’t know how much of a difference it made here. Once the beams were mostly dry (I waited maybe 2 hours? not the required 4-6) I brought them inside and started attaching the wiring to the back of the face beam. I made sure to buy very shallow boxes (1 1/4″) that could fit between the LVL and the fake beam face. Thankfully I had a bunch of wire left over from wiring the house to use so that was a nice bonus not to have to buy that.

Running the wire

And that was about it for the prep work. I will get into the “never again” saga of wiring the lights and my misfortunes on the install later, but I will leave you with a preview of what I intended the beam and lights to look like. Spoiler, it doesn’t.

Beam mock-up


10 thoughts on “Beams o’ Light Prep

  1. I love the lights! Nice project! Can you tell me what the source for the lights was? I would love to find the same lights to customize for a project in my office…

      1. Hi Ben! Thank you for the prompt reply! Soo I have officially been to both HD & Lowes and no one at either store was able to determine what these were. I have also spent a few hours scouring the internet to no avail… If there is anyway you could post a link that would be greatly appreciated! My desire to execute this project has sadly sent me down a rabbit hole of dead ends :-(

      2. Not a problem. I couldn’t find it on but finally did on Home Depot’s site:

        They are right with the outdoor outlet covers and weatherproof electrical boxes.

        Good luck and send me a shot of the finished product if you get a chance, I’d love to see it.

      1. So I wondered if you had any issues with the lamps running hot? Mine seem to be extremly hot to the point that the spraypaint seems to be warming up and smells pretty intense. Mmmm baked spray paint fumes.

        I think im going to install a dimmer for them.

      2. Samantha, these look great! As far as them running hot, you can probably replace the halogen bulbs (which are the hottest) with LED bulbs that produce almost no heat. They are likely going to be expensive but you can get LED bulbs that size with the correct connectors to replace out the halogen ones. Mine are fine, but they are in the basement and not usually left on too long.

      3. Thank you! A sincere thanks is owed for all of your help and inspiration! I had thought of the LEDs but did not find any with a gy8.6 base. Guess I will keep looking! Again, thank you! Love your kitchen!

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