When you DIY your ENTIRE house, there’s a whole lot of “good enough” for loooooong periods of time. Meaning, you get a room to a certain point, and, while it may not be exactly how you want it down to the last little detail, it’s close enough for the time being because—hey—the breakfast nook doesn’t have a floor, and your children are still sleeping on a mattress on the ground, so finding the perfect schoolhouse pendants for the kitchen seems a wee bit unimportant.

Truth: having your dream lighting in your kitchen isn’t important. Not when there is injustice and poverty in the world, not to mention ugliness in your (my) own heart.


There is nothing wrong with taking care of your home, especially when, at a certain point, all the basics have been covered, and the only reason you haven’t replaced those bare bulbs is because you feel overwhelmed and unfocused.

Enter: Project Elephant.

Project Elephant is my solution for that there’s-so-much-to-do-and-I-don’t-even-know- where-to-start feeling that all (or at least most) of us have experienced at one point or another.

It’s been a while since I’ve talked about the original purpose of this series (which was supposed to be weekly but is more realistically every-few-months-ly) , so if you’re new here or just need a refresher, you can read this post to better understand what in the world projects and elephants have to do with each other.

A lot of you have commented and emailed me saying that Project Elephant has helped you check things of your list that had been nagging at you for months, and that just thrills me down to my toes, y’all. So, if you want to join in with a list of your own this month and tell me about it in the comments, I would love that!

And now, let’s take a gander at today’s list, which is all about this room:


That would be the kitchen, which currently looks like this. (You can see the original reveal here if you like).

Good enough, like I said, right?

But honestly, one of the good things about its taking me so long (we’re talking 5 years) to finally get around to things like pendant lights over the island (they didn’t used to be bare bulbs, at least) is that both my tastes and my confidence in what I truly love have changed and grown. So, something I would have chosen when we first moved in might not still be my favorite. I feel like I lean towards more classic choices now than before, and I’m willing to spend at least a little more on something I truly love rather than going with the cheapest thing I can find at the time that will work well enough (read: that $5 garage sale pot rack, which is fun but makes the lighting situation a sticky one).

It’s not just the lighting that I’m interested in updating, though, so let’s take a gander at the whole Project Elephant list that I’m hoping to take some chomps out of soon.


And then there’s…


Y’all gave me really great advice when I asked you about kitchen stools a little while back. It seems we were all in agreement that the way to go might be these, so now I just need to find the best possible version/price and get them ordered.

tabouret stool silver

Oh, and then…


I keep talking about lighting, which really is my nemesis in here. I have brought home multiple different pendant lights to try out on either side of the pot rack, but nothing looks right. So, I’m thinking a pot rack/light combo might be the way to go. Maybe something like this?

pot rack light combo

(This exact model isn’t made anymore…naturally)

Last and quite possibly least, we have this little  nook.


I like it. And maybe I should just leave well enough alone. But I have this big (cute!) chalkboard (you can see it here) that would fit in the space the large art is occupying over the table there, and I’m seriously contemplating switching the two out so that I can write out chore lists on the chalkboard to give the boys easy access to it. I could also do something with the side of the large cabinet there to help keep us all more organized and together—sort of turn this space into a mini family command center. Of course, then I’d have to find a spot for the art…


I’ll ask you for feedback in a minute, but just for quick reference (and so I’ll have some handy to draw “finished” lines through in a while), here’s a list of all of the projects for this space at the moment.

project elephant checkl ist 4

So, my questions for you at the moment are:

1. What do you think of the family command center idea for that nook? Do you have one of these in your house? Does it actually get used? Mine will mostly be for reference instead of interaction (no magnets, stickers, or anything like that) because of the console table right there, which would make it hard for little people to reach anything you could manipulate.

2. What color should I repaint the island? I have some ideas in mind, and I’ll probably do a dedicated post/poll on that soon, but I’d love to hear what you think to see if it opens up any possibilities I haven’t considered.

3. Any brilliant suggestions for the island lighting? I don’t just love the pot rack/pendant combos that I’ve seen so far, but I do love the easy access to my pots (which I use all the time), and the space really does need the extra lighting since it only has one dedicated window, and I’m about to halfway cover that up with a shade (which I definitely want to do).

Thanks ahead of time for all your help. Your input is always so good for helping me see realistic solutions and consider options I might have missed otherwise.

OH, and what about you guys? Any Project Elephant things you’d like to share?


  1. I just saw this as I was reading through some of your posts I have missed. I think that a dandelion yellow on the island would be gorgeous! Of course, I LOVE yellow and blue together so that’s just me. Score on the stools! Also, the pot/light idea is a great one and one that I am considering for our new house plans! 😉

  2. Hi — I’m new to your blog, and really enjoy it. First, I LOVE your “Truth” comment. So right on! Second, I’d vote for yellow paint on the island. Bright, but not crazy. Or maybe a green. Lastly, we recently switched from a big, paper calendar like yours in our kitchen to using a family Google calendar. I can’t say I love it as much, but it’s free and convenient for knowing which days are clear when I’m out of the house (like scheduling something at the doctor’s office). My husband and I both have access to it online. It’s also nice not to have snoopy people (like my MIL) reading it when she’s over and asking “what’s this appointment for?” 😉

  3. I don’t really have any useful advice other than the pot rack/light combo you show in your post doesn’t really give great light. So, if you want actual useful, functional task lighting over your island, keep looking! 🙂 For just basic illumination, it’s probably OK (?). I know this from firsthand experience!
    I have personally never been able to make a family command center work, but I get the very solid idea that you are fare more organized than I, so it may work for you.

    If you repaint the island, will you also repaint the door that seems to be in the same color? I think black or dark grey with your cabinet color would be cool.

  4. Well the family command center could help with the fridge project (2 fer 1!) and it’d be kinda tucked away. No idea on the lighting because I love fun pendant lights but not so crazy about pan racks… (just a thing of mine… i like everything tucked away). The island I’m not sure about but I feel like it needs to be not as BOOM against your cabinets… it looks like you have very blue and very red… i was thinking (if you want color instead of maybe charcoal grey) maybe golden yellow would look nice. It’d still be bright and cheery but not compete with the cabinets so much. OR like a darker blue but I kinda like the idea of a different color. And there you have it, my two cents worth. 🙂

  5. There were some stools similiar to those at Sams the last time I was there… You might want to check it out! I think they were on clearance for like $19.

  6. Can’t wait to see updates! I would paint the island a mustard yellow or maybe a burnt orange to go with your cabinet color.

  7. Love the stool choice. I just put a chalkboard the size of me in my kitchen and love it! It can be used as part of the command center or as I do, for inspirting quotes 😉 An idea for your pot rack…. Following the industrial theme of your shelving, maybe you could hang two pendants or one large one (metal or enameled since they come in fun colors from barnlight electric) and then have your hubby do a plumbing pipe rectangle around the whole thing suspended from the ceiling. Then you wouldn’t have to do the light/rack combo, just get the light you like and build around it. Look forward to your solutions!

I love hearing from you guys!