From a previous resident of my home, my late partner and I inherited an over-the-bed cupboard and two hideous built-in wardrobes, which weren’t even deep enough to hold a coat hanger. There were also little cubbyholes sunk into the wardrobes and they further lessened the space in the already narrow closets. The guy who built them was an electrician who clearly enjoyed plying his trade, for throughout the framework ran every form of lighting.
You switched on the bedroom light from the landing before entering the room. Then, when you climbed into bed, you could switch off the light by either of two switches above each cubbyhole. Before doing so, you could switch on the reading lights attached to the framework. There were lights in the wardrobes, operating when you opened and closed the doors. You get the picture.
Though this person may have been a skilled electrician, a carpenter he was not! The whole framework was built of 3”x2”s, using three and four inch nails in great abundance. The pine tongue and groove panelling was fixed with 1¼” panel pins and one of the wardrobes had a secret compartment at the bottom, so taking this contraption apart proved to be quite tedious. The louvre doors were easy to remove and then, with the aid of a claw hammer, I got down to the serious task, trying to work as carefully as possible and very cautious in the region of the hidden wiring.
Making things a bit more tricky were two faux beams. I had already ascertained they weren’t holding the ceiling up, but I had no way of knowing how heavy they were and I wondered if I removed the horizontal piece of wood holding the beams up, if I would be able to stop the beams falling on my head – or dropping to the floor when I freed the supports. I’m delighted to say the beams were as light as a feather – they felt like balsa wood!
I just moved a piece of MDF near the ceiling when the lights fused, so I pushed the MDF back up and fiddled with the wiring, then went and flicked the fuse on the consumer unit – and hurray – the lights came back on!
Continuing with the job in hand, the multitude of nails became more difficult to remove, so time for the trusty crowbar. I was able to pries some of the wood apart, but when it became too difficult there was nothing for it but a few good swings of the crowbar at the offending timber. I was just enjoying myself and fancying myself operating a wrecking ball, when out went the lights again! Another trip downstairs to the consumer unit, but alas, this time no joy. I’d done a proper job and imagined a weekend of darkness.
I phoned my trusty electrician and the dear fellow said he would come out the following morning, Saturday. It was too dark to continue my task, so I enjoyed a bath by candlelight and true to his word; the electrician was there in the morning. He found the fault, isolated it and then demolished the rest of the framework for me – and took away lots of the wood to burn on his stove. So good job all round!