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)?