PROJECT: Nightlight

Since moving into our house, we’ve noticed what I would consider a design flaw in our basement. We have a hallway that runs the length of the house with the stairway in the center. Now, there is one ceiling light in the hallway which is good because it runs on all interior walls and receives no natural light, but, and here is the flaw in my mind, the only light switch for this light is in the stairwell in the center of the hallway. So in the middle of the night you have to fumble your way to the center of the hallway in order to light your way? It just seemed all wrong to me.

But it’s not like it was a huge issue, nothing I was going to open up the drywall all along the run and install new light switches for. So instead I came up with another plan, I wanted to add an outlet to the center of the hallway so we could plug in a night light and solve the fumbling for the switch problem.

From inside and under the stairwell I removed one 16″ x 4′ section of unfinished drywall, which gave me access to the light switch for the light in the center of the hallway. I then turned off the breaker before removing the switch plate and pulling out the switch.

What I found in the switch box was very interesting. The switch was a 3-way switch and the incoming line was also 3-way. At this point I was a bit confused, so I called my construction goto man. Grandpa.

Grandpa also found this odd and recommended that I trace the wires back to the junction box of the light for further investigation. Turns out there was indeed an additional wire that ran down the hallway to the end, so at some point there had been a switch where I suggested there should have been one. But I also wasn’t going to go digging for that wire in a finished wall.

So instead, with further instruction from Grandpa and a couple minutes of careful razor blade work, I was able to successfully tap into the power in the light switch box and add this neat-o outlet/night light combo kit (pictured above).