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Going Up?

File this one under a little weird. (But also we sort of love it.)

This story begins at California Nights, a monthly vintage-shopping-hop close to home with a $5 entry fee that’ll get you a never-ending cup of beer. (It’s pretty much the greatest hop there ever was, really!) During one of our stops, we picked up an old brass elevator plaque in a junk box, and for $4, we thought, we’ll do something with this, right?


That was in July, and it had been sitting in our coat closet for months until we finally decided to just do something with it! With winter in full swing, we’ve been noodling on a few ideas for the entryway to keep things tidy (more on that once we finish up some pretty simple solutions!), and this guy would be sweet hanging somewhere in that space – above the door?, we thought. And wait a minute! What if we can make it light up?

I finally dug the plaque out of the closet and put it on the dining room table as a daily reminder. We came up with a few ideas to elevate (ha!) the plaque to a new level of cuteness, and so? The story continues…

After removing the screws that held in the back support, we cut out two squares of white acrylic to fill the arrows (the acrylic hadn’t been used in years, but we had it on hand as an old photo backdrop to my paintings). Above, you’ll see that only one of the plastic inserts survived, so this was our solution to fill that negative space. To keep the acrylic in place, I used double-stick foam:


Using scrap walnut leftover from our staircase caps, we constructed a tiny frame. Held together with tack nails and wood glue, it would fit snug around the brass, and the center support would allow us to screw the plaque into place.


And because the walnut is such gorgeous wood to begin with, I rubbed nothing but a natural Danish Oil into the grain:


Now, this is where the story gets fun! We picked up a 4-piece Dioder LED light kit from Ikea to give our sign a pretty glow. We snipped three of them down to size and secured the ends with electrical tape (only to realize that Ikea actually supplies plastic caps for that very purpose – oops), attached them to the center support with teeny, tiny brackets (also supplied in the kit), all the while being careful to leave dead space where the screws would go:


Finally, we were able to attach the plaque to our frame using 2 brass screws! Here’s a front and back view, before we attached the wires to connect the lights to an electrical source:


We’ve almost reached the end of our story, so let’s see how it looks hung above our coat closet door!


The wires for the LEDs are so thin that we simply drilled a small hole through the wall and plugged it into our closet light socket. You might remember that we had this adorable light, but the simplest solution to make this work was to replace the fixture with one that could accommodate  an outlet. We tucked the cords along the inside wall where they could never be seen:


The outlet for the LED strips are controlled by the light in the closet, so they turn on and off as we turn the closet light on and off, which is such a fun unexpected addition! (My only regret is that the minty green interior looks downright neon when flicked on, but Scott thinks it’s awesome. It’s a give and take; agree to disagree!) It’s hard to tell in photos, but you can actually see the individual LED lights on the strips, which is reminiscent of an old billiard sign. Cute, cute:


And so concludes an odd little story of our $4 elevator plaque-slash-sign. Going… down? (I had to.)

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  • Laura @ Rather Square12.3.14 - 6:40 AM

    I can’t believe you figured out a way to make it light up! Just displayed as-is it would have been pretty cool, but the lit version is really amazing. Hanging it above the closet door reminds me of those 1980s spy movies where people hid secret elevators in closets (Spies Like Us, anyone?).ReplyCancel

  • Alichia12.3.14 - 7:38 AM

    I absolutely love this! It’s these tiny little touches that make your home so YOU and cozy. I’m jealous of that find and creative thinking. Well done!ReplyCancel

  • Holly O12.3.14 - 8:20 AM

    I love this!! Very cute idea, and another great touch to your home.ReplyCancel

  • Amanda12.3.14 - 9:35 AM

    This is so fun and creative! Love it!ReplyCancel

  • Michelle12.3.14 - 10:31 AM

    Oh. My. God. This is the cutest detail I’ve seen in ages! Love it!ReplyCancel

  • Erin12.3.14 - 10:37 AM

    I love this post—really, I love all of your posts! I love how whimsical your house is, but I love how your use of finishes or textiles keeps your whole house looking so sophisticated! Thanks for making such an inspiring place to visit on the old interwebs!ReplyCancel

  • That is too cute!ReplyCancel

  • Trilby12.3.14 - 11:03 AM

    SUPER awesome!! In a home/DIY blogging world that gets a little monotonous at times, you guys are SUCH a breath of fresh air. I love, love, love this quirky little light, and I’m so happy that other people infuse their homes with personality. Refreshing!ReplyCancel

  • AnnMarie12.3.14 - 12:46 PM

    This is great!ReplyCancel

  • Jessica@CapeofDreams12.3.14 - 1:53 PM

    Such a quirky little piece, but I would smile every time I saw it. Good idea to light it up. Now I am waiting to see what you are going to do with the plastic arrow insert.ReplyCancel

  • Chanel12.3.14 - 2:22 PM

    You guys are too cute – and so is your home and this elevator idea. I swear, glad I don’t know what neighborhood you guys live in Chicago, I may stalk you guys…just kidding (I hope). Always love seeing new posts from you guys!ReplyCancel

    • Kim12.3.14 - 2:31 PM

      Ha, thanks! You can find us by following the noise – seems that not a day goes by that we’re not using our sander or miter saw. (I’m sure our neighbors just love us!)ReplyCancel

  • Kalli12.3.14 - 11:38 PM

    Um, I love it. : )ReplyCancel

  • bianca12.4.14 - 6:44 PM

    I love this! Quirkiness in decor is underrated for sure.
    Floor 2 please…ReplyCancel

  • Amy12.10.14 - 12:14 PM

    I just stumbled upon your blog and I wanted to say this is the cutest and most creative DIY project I’ve seen in a long time. It’s awesome! Following you now…ReplyCancel

  • Britani12.11.14 - 12:52 PM

    For some reason, this entryway photo just triggered the need to comment for me– it’s really amazing to see how far your home has come! I can’t believe I remember reading your blog when then entry looked like this:

    I love this little light, and everything you’ve done with your place! :)ReplyCancel

    • Kim12.11.14 - 1:00 PM

      Can I please just tell you that you’ve made my day? (My week, I mean?!) Thank you a thousand times. Reminders like this are really nice when we’re feeling like there’s SO much more ahead!ReplyCancel

  • Haley5.14.15 - 11:15 AM

    This is still up right?! I noticed it wasn’t there in the updated house tour.ReplyCancel

    • Kim5.14.15 - 11:25 AM

      Ah, YES! It absolutely is! The photos from the tour are all from past posts, so there may be small differences from photo to photo :)ReplyCancel

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We’re Kim + Scott, Chicago based content creators behind the Home + Lifestyle brand Yellow Brick Home.

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