The Pee Light


Day 20. And it’s starting to look more like a room.

A different view this time with a shot of the ‘other’ bathroom wall. In it there is a little door. It’s a feature of which I’m particularly fond. As you can see from the diminutive size and the old oak beams around it, the doorway is most likely original.



There is chamfering on the edge of both vertical door beams. The design of the chamfer stop (the finishing at the end of the run, as seen above) could well help determine the date it was crafted, the typical style used having evolved over time. This one is rather vague and could fit into more than one era but I will persevere with the research. The important thing is that these beams will stay exposed. The bathroom walls need to be lined to accommodate the tiles but we have kept the new boarding as thin as possible in the door reveal and here the wall will just be plaster skimmed and then painted.

As we’ve taken up carpets, just ahead of the plumbers’ myriad excavations, it’s been fascinating to discover more about the historic layout of the house. The oldest part of it would have had just two large rooms upstairs, the main bedroom as it currently stands and one other. We can see this because the floorboards in that second room were at some point painted a cream colour all the way around the edge with a bare patch left in the middle where presumably a large rug would have been. This room was then subsequently divided to create bedroom 2, now Mike’s study, and the bathroom, with a corridor to allow separate access to the main bedroom beyond.



The bathroom portion of the old cream paint, before the floorboards were lifted.



The oak framed door entry from the main bedroom side.

This doorway would have been the connection between the original two rooms. The door itself is not original, having been constructed from modern day tongue and groove, giving me no qualms whatsoever about replacing it. In its place will go a minimal frameless opaque glass door hung by two simple hinges from the oak frame, to match a similar one we’ll source for the bathroom main entry. The new door will be further inset than the current one, and smaller, thus allowing us to see more of the lovely old wood.

Having gone to so much trouble it would be a shame if the little doorway couldn’t now be used. And of course it can be, as the perfect short cut between the bedroom and the bathroom in the middle of the night.. a need which (so I’m told!) becomes more frequent with one’s advancing years. But with the door now being made entirely of glass what we don’t want to do is flood the bathroom with light, somewhat annoying for the person still trying to sleep in the bedroom. The solution is a night light or, in the words of the designer we’d consulted in a none too shabby lighting establishment, a ‘pee light’.



These lights are really designed as ‘step washers’, placed every other tread on a flight of stairs to discreetly light the way. One of them placed low down the wall just inside the bathroom should direct a concentrated beam on a small area of floor, with just enough ambient glow to find one’s way without disturbing the sleeper in the adjacent room.

Well that’s the theory. This being new territory for us it maybe wouldn’t be such a bad idea to test the light before irreversibly cutting holes in the new bathroom wall. Would we need it on a dimmer, for example, to achieve the right intensity of light? Mike set up a test rig on the dining room floor, wiring up the light and the LED driver which came with it. In my own mind it was more of a concern that the low level of light wouldn’t be bright enough. It’s only 1 watt after all. So I wasn’t in the least prepared for what happened when Mike flicked on the switch: the wretched thing strobes! And not subtly either. The light bounced cheerfully around the room even in broad daylight. Oh can you imagine. Caught short in the middle of the night and announcing it to the world in big flashing lights. And a disco hustle across the bathroom from now on then.. anyone still have a mirror ball?

Apparently it was the wrong LED driver. They’re sending a replacement. Sigh. Why me (AGAIN)?



2018-08-25T07:37:13+00:00August 13th, 2018|Tags: |


  1. karen August 13, 2018 at 4:33 pm - Reply

    Made me laugh. I could picture the scene. Hope you get it sorted. Karen

    • Jessica August 13, 2018 at 9:24 pm - Reply

      Hopefully the new driver will arrive tomorrow and we can test the light again. Modern technology is wonderful isn’t it.. when it works!

  2. Penny Post August 13, 2018 at 5:28 pm - Reply

    That could have been interesting , of you hadn’t of tried it first.

    • Jessica August 13, 2018 at 9:27 pm - Reply

      It was wondering about whether it would work with the light switch that made me think about trying it. But that’s another can of worms and no doubt another story!

  3. Denise August 13, 2018 at 5:29 pm - Reply

    I’ll tell you ‘why you?’ Because you, dear heart, have the good humour to tell us, your devoted readers, and thereby raise many a smile to brighten a dull day. Now then, if you’re going all glitter-ball you’ll need a smoke machine, too. And flared trousers, platform shoes and a halterneck top preferably sequinned. I’m expecting photos…

    • Jessica August 13, 2018 at 9:31 pm - Reply

      They’re back you know. Flared trousers, platform shoes and halterneck tops. Hope you kept yours.. x

  4. Charles August 13, 2018 at 6:36 pm - Reply

    What fun, everything seems to happen in a pleasingly random fashion, surely there must be occasions when serendipity strikes and things come up smelling of roses? Maybe you could volunteer to trial the reintroduction of the Lynx on Dartmoor. It would certainly keep the deer and rabbits busy. I have just bought a bottle each of scotch, ouzo, Pernod , four bottles of red and a bottle of white. We are staying at my mother in law’s, fortunately leaving on Wednesday before the supplies run out or murder is done.

    • Jessica August 13, 2018 at 9:38 pm - Reply

      I wish serendipity would strike. I could have done with it today when everything piled up and none of it was good. Thank god for wine.
      Your list of somewhat eclectic, albeit essential, purchases raises all sorts of questions about where you might be. Scotland, Greece, France? The wine of course opens up an even larger field.

  5. Kris P August 13, 2018 at 6:54 pm - Reply

    Strobe lights for the bathroom – that’s a new one! Your bathroom is indeed looking like a real room now and the doorway is impressive. Renovating must be much like reading a mystery novel at your house – one twist and turn after another!

    • Jessica August 13, 2018 at 9:44 pm - Reply

      The mystery is the fun bit, I must admit. It really is amazing just what you can discover. How I managed before the internet I really do not know. For sourcing stuff as well. And yet somehow I did.

  6. Linda B. August 13, 2018 at 7:08 pm - Reply

    I have a small flashlight on my bedside table because we keep the wood bathroom door almost closed so the nightlight doesn’t shine into the bedroom. Thus the flashlight to get from bed across the hall to the bath. I hope you plan to write a book on all the H/G history and projects.

    • Jessica August 13, 2018 at 9:52 pm - Reply

      Mike, sensibly, has a flashlight. I’ve always tended to navigate by touch and intuition. It doesn’t always work. And the trouble with renovating is that one has to remember, whilst still half asleep, about all the hazards that might not have been on the route only the night before! There is possibly a lesson to be learned there..
      The book is getting closer.

  7. Jacqueline Mumford August 13, 2018 at 7:28 pm - Reply

    Nothing ever goes smoothly does it ? I actually rather like the shabby cream paint on the floorboards but then, I like a bit of distressing !!! It’s going to look wonderful Jessica and, I am just a smidgen envious !! XXXX

    • Jessica August 13, 2018 at 9:55 pm - Reply

      No, it doesn’t go smoothly! There are plenty of other places where I can keep the distressed look because I like it too.

  8. Christina August 13, 2018 at 7:43 pm - Reply

    You are so wise testing everything first, I would be too trusting and fit the thing before finding it was the wrong one.

    • Jessica August 13, 2018 at 9:56 pm - Reply

      I have learned the hard way far too often!

  9. justjilluk August 13, 2018 at 8:07 pm - Reply

    We have lights that plug in to a 3 pin socket and light up with movement. We have them on the stairs top and bottom for people moving about in the dark. Not sure about sockets in a bathroom tho. But they do the soft light not strobe!

    • Jessica August 13, 2018 at 10:01 pm - Reply

      That sounds like a really clever idea but, as you say, difficult in the bathroom. Having a motion sensor to work the pee light was our first idea. There are pros and cons. But that is probably another story too.

  10. Susan Garrett August 13, 2018 at 9:17 pm - Reply

    I wake up the instant my husband gets out of bed and he is the same with me so we would be disturbed light or not. Disco lights though would mean no getting back to sleep.

    • Jessica August 13, 2018 at 10:04 pm - Reply

      Our problem at the moment is very creaky floorboards because until we get the final lighting circuit sorted out we can’t properly nail them down. There’s always something!

  11. janesmudgeegarden August 13, 2018 at 11:08 pm - Reply

    Well, it could give you something to jump up and down to if your mission is urgent.

    • Jessica August 14, 2018 at 8:28 pm - Reply

      Thank goodness they strengthened the floor.. 🙂

  12. Snoskred August 14, 2018 at 12:43 am - Reply

    We have a couple of versions of a solution to this which are add ons as we were not redoing our bathroom. How nice to have it built in though! It will be fantastic once it is all done, and you don’t have a disco in your bathroom.

    One was a cheap LED battery operated sensor light which we got from Aldi. That has been working in our ensuite for some years now. When I walk in the room it senses me and turns on. It is just the right amount of light. The LED light was under $10 and we’ve had it for over 6 years now. I think we have only replaced the batteries once.

    We recently found STÖTTA at IKEA which we placed above the door of our smaller second toilet, and when one opens the door as if by magic the light comes on and stays on for 3 minutes but if one closes the door the light goes off. It has batteries so no cords needed but more importantly no reliance on electricity and we do sometimes get power outages here. At least we can still go to both bathrooms and have light.

    I’m tempted to STÖTTA the whole house, to be honest, just in case. They weren’t very expensive, the STÖTTA was just under $15 here. I think they would be great in the kitchen pantry too. 🙂

    • Jessica August 14, 2018 at 8:34 pm - Reply

      I do like the idea of these sensor controlled lights. And having a battery powered light is a good idea too, especially if you have power outages.

  13. germac4 August 14, 2018 at 2:37 am - Reply

    The history of your cottage is unfolding as you renovate…so interesting to see how the house was constructed centuries ago….I wonder who was the first owner?
    Loved your misplaced strobe light, however…for us, the strobe light might have the potential to stop possums leaping on our roof and eating all the plums?

    • Jessica August 14, 2018 at 8:39 pm - Reply

      The first owner would have been a labourer who probably built the cottage himself. It would be lovely to know. If we can’t get the light working then perhaps it might end up as a rabbit deterrent. Thanks for the idea!

  14. casa mariposa August 14, 2018 at 2:43 am - Reply

    I have two lights in my bathroom so I only need to turn one on at night but there’s no one to wake up besides me, anyway. :o)

    • Jessica August 14, 2018 at 8:42 pm - Reply

      We’ve put in two circuits too. One, bright overhead light, purely functional. And a second set of hidden lights (LED strip) which will provide more of a background glow. Great for relaxing baths after a hard day in the garden. I hope.

  15. Anne August 14, 2018 at 7:38 am - Reply

    I do envy your cottage in the country, even with all the hair raising adventures involved to renovate it. Living in a town street I have enough light shining in from the street lamp outside to light me to the bathroom at night. It doesn’t do strobe though.

    • Jessica August 14, 2018 at 8:47 pm - Reply

      It’s swings and roundabouts. We may have dark nights but the nearest decent supermarket is a 30 minute drive away, and no shop is closer than a ten minute drive. So if we are snowed in or the car breaks down there’s no chance of just popping out for a pint of milk or some other essential.

  16. Linda P August 14, 2018 at 8:12 am - Reply

    I’m another of your readers smiling at the story of the pee light and I’m enjoying your renovation news. The history of the cottage as it comes to light during the work in different rooms is fascinating. I like the way you’re keeping some old features as you make it comfortable for your modern-day needs. Looking forward to reading more and seeing how things develop. There’s always some little thing that needs a lot of thought before you solve a problem and you’re doing good.

    • Jessica August 14, 2018 at 8:51 pm - Reply

      Thanks Linda. I hope the problems are coming to an end, as you say there is always something. The last few weeks have been full on but we must surely be running out of new decisions to make because everything is getting screwed down or walled in.. too late to make many changes now!

  17. ginaferrari August 14, 2018 at 8:16 am - Reply

    I can’t stop laughing at the thought of you disco dancing off to the loo in the middle of the night!

    • Jessica August 14, 2018 at 8:52 pm - Reply

      I did think my disco dancing days were over. Clearly fate has other ideas!

  18. Freda August 14, 2018 at 9:59 am - Reply

    Thank you for a wee laugh this morning Jessica!

    • Jessica August 14, 2018 at 8:52 pm - Reply


  19. derrickjknight August 14, 2018 at 11:34 am - Reply

    Our pee light just about covers my aim 🙂 Now my sister Elizabeth is with us for a while, I have two people reading out your posts before I get to them

    • Jessica August 14, 2018 at 8:58 pm - Reply

      Two women looking after you.. that should aid recovery!

  20. Mary August 14, 2018 at 1:10 pm - Reply

    “Ah, ha, ha, ha, stayin’ alive, stayin’ alive,” Could just imagine John Travolta making his moves across your bathroom! Having a harder time imagining you and Mike doing so, however. A great morning laugh you gave me.

    I must say, that as one of the elders, I can say that I never turn on a light when I get up in the night. Guess the path is somewhat burned into my head, so that I make my way from bed to bathroom with no lighting. Of course, that doesn’t mean the dog doesn’t occasionally and unerringly booby trap my walk by leaving a roughed-up dog bone in my path. In that case it isn’t any light waking up my husband, it is me swearing.

    Best of luck with the non-strobbing night light.

    • Jessica August 14, 2018 at 9:03 pm - Reply

      I am the same. Intuition guides the way. Mostly. Of course when you are renovating booby traps crop up on a regular basis. One also has to remember, while still half asleep, where the bathroom actually is when its location is swopped from one end of the house to the other. Which could have been tricky when the floor was up in the bathroom next to the bedroom.

  21. Rebecca R. August 14, 2018 at 5:00 pm - Reply

    How funny. Our current house came with an ugly ceiling fan, that someone had made even worse by adding alight kit that made it pulse on and off. It was TERRIBLE and hilarious. It took us a few weeks to replace it and we made sure to demonstrate it to everyone who stopped by. Good luck with your ongoing renovation.

    • Jessica August 14, 2018 at 9:09 pm - Reply

      Good grief! The extractor fan we replaced here was of industrial proportions. Today they took out its old exhaust pipe and it must be over six inches wide.. for one very small domestic bathroom. I dread to think why our predecessors felt they needed one quite so large. Lights though.. no, I don’t think I could cope with that!

  22. Peter Herpst August 14, 2018 at 7:13 pm - Reply

    Your posts always make me laugh and I so admire your determination and dedication to your house projects. If you aren’t able to get the correct LED driver, do let me know as I’ll send you my mirror ball.

    • Jessica August 14, 2018 at 9:16 pm - Reply

      Thanks Peter. I’ll be in touch.. 🙂

  23. Sarah August 14, 2018 at 8:53 pm - Reply

    What a great idea you do think of everything! It must have been fascinating uncovering the history of how your home had previously been used. Sarah x

    • Jessica August 14, 2018 at 9:22 pm - Reply

      Uncovering the history is the really fun bit. Stripping a room back reveals all sorts of secrets that just wouldn’t be possible otherwise. Some features are worth keeping, others less so, but we never know what we’ll find next.

  24. grammapenny August 15, 2018 at 1:48 am - Reply

    Oh my.. its always something isn’t it? We have pee lights – little plug ins that go in the wall sockets .. they work great. I love the old wood.. absolutely gorgeous

    • Jessica August 15, 2018 at 7:25 am - Reply

      As we’ve had to take down the old wall lining and ceiling we’ve used the opportunity to expose more of the old wood. It’s one of the things that adds real character to the house.
      In the UK we’re not able to have wall sockets in the bathroom unfortunately. No light switches either, but I think I may have found a waterproof one that will overcome that problem.

  25. Carrie Gault August 15, 2018 at 1:00 pm - Reply

    That door – squee! what a beautiful thing it is, so glad you can keep the gorgeous worked wood on display.. and as for the pee light – everybody pees, you could start a movement to break the taboo. I personally think a disco ball would be AWESOME! haaha

    • Jessica August 16, 2018 at 11:41 am - Reply

      The doorway is lovely and it will be great to actually be able to use it. Lucky I’m not very tall, it is a bit of a challenge getting through it!

  26. snowbird August 15, 2018 at 8:54 pm - Reply

    There’s always something isn’t there? It is coming along well though….not long now hopefully!xxx

    • Jessica August 16, 2018 at 12:06 pm - Reply

      I think (hope) things will speed up from now on. But then I keep saying the worst must be over..

  27. offtheedgegardening August 17, 2018 at 1:59 pm - Reply

    Oh dear, not quite what you want, unless you are prone to disco dancing in the middle of the might, or is that just me? Such beautiful original features in your home, lucky it has you both to restore it with love and good taste.

    • Jessica August 19, 2018 at 9:19 am - Reply

      Definitely just you. I’m getting too old for such things.

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