But it does bring up the point that the need for electric outlets and light switches in a colonial period home can grate on purist sensibilites. I know it did on mine so it took some thinking to overcome the problem.
The first thing to remember is that codes and what electricians are used to doing are not necessarily the same. Most electricians, for instance, wish to put the outlets 16 inches above the floor. In our neck of the woods, that is not code, just common practice, a practice that puts them right smack in the plaster wall in eyesight. Our solution was to place them in the baseboards. This means more work for your electrician who has to crouch a little more and for your carpenter who is going to have to cut the baseboard for the electric box. We were very careful in asking for our original estimates to let the electrician know about these requirements so he could adjust the estimate accordingly. In the finishing, we tried to match original baseboard colors on the plates covering the electric outlets.
For instance, if you wish the box to be centered on a wall, remember that at the time of roughing in the electric, neighboring door and window moldings are rarely in so one has to account for these widths in centering. Also, another good thing to do is to leave some slack in the wires in case boxes need slight adjustments. For the pipe boxes, the backs of the boxes are cut out enough to allow for the switch plates and the bottoms are removed as much as possible to allow hands to reach up and under for the switches. We were careful to make sure switches at the top of stairs were evident, however, for safety. Of course there was the added advantage that the Hall Christy house was dismantled and reconstructed instead of having to retrofit the electric as well as the other systems.
Below are pictures of several of our solutions. I hope that it is helpful to others living in these incredible 18th Century houses.