family cave, baby in crib, painting, diy
Decorating, Humor

Family Cave Makeover


When Ella was born, my mom came from central Illinois to spend two weeks helping me adjust to baby-hood again.

At the time, it was a survival technique. It was January, really cold in these here parts. It was dreary, and dark at four in the afternoon in these here parts. Mike was working long-ass hours and I had a little postpartum depression with Anna, so I knew with Mike being gone, I was going to need my mommy more than ever before.

In those two weeks, she saved my soul by bringing along Facts of Life on DVD to watch at any hour of the day or night; she made amazing dinners of which I can still smell today; she helped me clean house, helped me grocery shop, she held my baby and got my oldest ready for school; she made my comfort chocolate pudding with a marshmallow on top. She saved my fucking life, people.

But the joke for those two weeks was “the family cave”.

When bringing home a newborn baby, the key to surviving is to throw in the trash every baby book you’ve ever purchased and do whatever makes the baby stop crying. For us, that meant putting baby Ella into her little ivory bassinet and let her sleep in there with the teddy bear mobile moving at a rapid pace all the while playing nursery songs that when I hear them today make me almost want to take a shot of Night Train.



Laugh all you want, but those bears saved us in our bunker of postpartum survival.

We laughed about being stuck in “the cave” those two dark (literally dark because again, January) weeks after Ella was born.

The farther and farther I get away from those two weeks, they don’t seem quite so terrible. Oh don’t get me wrong, I am glad to be on the better side of those two weeks but the memories……

……my mom making spaghetti (which smelled better than ever beforeย because of hormones), baby Ella and I on the couch together, watching Beauty Shop, listening to my mom making kitchen sounds in my kitchen, long talks during the middle of the night feedings, watching The View when it was actually good…..

……it was in the midst of hormonal hell, magical.



But over the years, that cave had taken a beating.


Family Cave Makeover


In defense of the above wall, it is in the hallway to the garage so that every single hand, foot, and doggy paw that comes through here has touched it. And as much as we know I love nostalgia and memories, filthy hands are not something I want to memorialize no matter how small and whimsical they are.


Family Cave Makeover
As much as we loved this color (“Campfire” by Behr) for over 12 plus years, it was indeed a cave.

One would think that yellow/gold would be a bright color and one would be completely wrong. The thing you don’t know is that when we moved into this home, the walls in this room were mauve.

Like purple and pink had one hideous baby and it puked all over our soon-to-be family room wall.

And it was SO mauve.

SO mauve, that the fireplace blended into the wall.

SO blended, that when we first looked at our home, we had no idea it had a fireplace.

Until the second walkthrough, when we said to the realtor, “when did the fireplace get here?”.

“Campfire” was a definite upgrade.


Family Cave Makeover


This bathroom has a story as they always do.

When we moved into our home in the summer of 2005, all the walls (with the exception of the mauve family cave) were builder white.

I wanted to paint this bathroom navy blue because, at the time, dark colors in small spaces were all the rage.

So my husband started painting the bathroom dark blue without telling me as he was wanted to surprise me.

I came in from the grocery store and there was this really dark bathroom staring back at me.

Like, it was night-time all the time in that bathroom.

Like when you went in to pee, you felt like you might be in the backyard at midnight.

In the process of the bathroom “incident”, nighttime was all over the floors and baseboard’s because bathrooms aren’t easy to paint when you’re in a hurry and want to surprise your fiancรฉe before she gets home from the grocery store, bless his heart.

I may have cried. Or yelled. Probably both.


You need Bears, Mommy. Lots and lots of bearsssss.


So instead of fixing the problem, we went to see a movie.

Anna was at a sleepover and we decided that instead of dealing with the task at hand, let’s deal with the fact that we have a parenting night out.

We went to see Wedding Crashers.

I mentioned a few months ago that Netflix sent me an email insinuating that I might like Wedding Crashers and that it was like they didn’t know me at all.

Little did they (or you) know that I saw it in the theater while my little bathroom sat murdered with paint.

Little did they (or you know) that when that email reached my inbox, we were planning on re-painting that same bathroom.



The color had faded over the years from its vibrant “Campfire” to its current “Vomit”.

We needed a change and because of the aforementioned Navy bathroom murder incident, we needed someone else to make the change for us.

In the almost thirteen years we have lived here, we have always done the painting ourselves alone or with the help of friends or family.


Family Cave Makeover


We have a friend who does side jobs and we asked if he would be interested.

Let me tell you, it was the best decision we’ve ever made.

He took his time, there wasn’t paint all over the floors, there wasn’t tape stuck to us.

I wasn’t yelling and crying.

It was glorious.


Family Cave Makeover



The only negative was that he couldn’t do the painting in consecutive days, so our home was in chaos for two weeks.

If you know me, that was hard.

But I powered through and realized that I am much stronger than I thought I was.

We chose the color Silver Strand by Sherwin Williams but used Home Depot paint to cut costs.

We used that same color for our living room paint makeover that you can read about here.


Silver strand by Sherwin Williams
We loved this color so much in the living and dining room that we decided to use it in our family cave as well.


We saved money by doing most of the prep work ourselves like patching up holes and taping the baseboards.

We also moved all the furniture out/to the middle of the room and then put it back after.

Our friend wasn’t expecting that, so he was happily surprised to find all of that done ahead of time.


Our brand new bathroom thanks to Silver Strand paint!


Isn’t that the prettiest bathroom in my house you’ve ever seen? I almost cried when I first saw it.


Our laundry hall painted in Silver Strand


That hallway used to be dark. DARRRRK. I had to add that lamp to the dryer just to be able to see my dirty laundry.


Our new family cave painted in Silver Strand


As you can see, I’ve given up “staging” photos for my blog but doesn’t it look amazing? A cave no longer.


Family Cave Makeover in Silver Strand


I was so excited about the color, I didn’t even fluff the pillows.


Family cave makeover in Silver Strand


I bought that ladder on the wall over the holidays and had it propped against the wall in the living room. It’s supposed to hold blankets but I don’t have pretty to look at blankets and the rungs were completely covered by blankets so you couldn’t see the wood.

I decided to hang it up over the TV and I love it so much more this way!




My desk space is so cute, that I could sit and stare at it all day. But then I wouldn’t get anything done.

A few months ago, I had the idea of creating a quote wall above my desk. I needed inspiration and I felt like having quotes I love would help. Putting words above the desk where I write all the words seemed almost too clever.



And yes, we still saved that measurement wall.





24 thoughts on “Family Cave Makeover”

  1. First of all, I love your mom. And I’ve never even met her. But from your stories about her, especially this one where she came for two weeks and was up in the middle of the night with you, helped with the baby, cooked for you…WOW. I’m actually kind of envious. Don’t get me wrong – I love my mom and she is wonderful in many ways – but I never got any help with my babies. She was always too busy working. When Tim was born, Phil wasn’t even 2-1/2 years old. Brian worked two jobs and long hours, so I was home alone a lot of the time. It was pure hell at times. We also moved into this house when Phil was 2 and I was 5 months pregnant with Tim. We had a couple of friends help us move our stuff from a townhouse into here, then the next day, Brian went to work. I unpacked and set up the entire house all by myself – pregnant and with a 2-year old. I got very sick and started puking my guts out. But, I digress! This is not about me! Sorry about that…

    So, secondly, I love, love, love your newly painted bathroom and family room! OMG, what a difference in your family room! It looks absolutely amazing. I need to come and see it in person. Can we get together soon! ๐Ÿ™‚


    1. Oh man, I don’t know how you did it. My mom was there for me with Anna too but didn’t have to stay as she lived 15 minutes up the road then lol.
      It looks SO much better, so you need to come over soon.
      Message me and let’s get together in the next week or two!


      1. Yes! I also didn’t mean to put an exclamation point at the end of my last question. It was supposed to be a question mark. lol I will PM you re. a date. ๐Ÿ™‚


  2. I am really screwing up today! “Exclamation point at the end of my last SENTENCE!” And I also didn’t mean to send my previous comment through twice! I’m going back to bed now. (Just kidding. I wish.)


  3. Kari, it sounds like your mom knew just what to do! She’d probably been there! Bless your heart. I don’t think I’d want a navy blue bathroom either, but it was sweet of your hubby to want to please you. Going to a movie was probably a very good idea, LOL. Congrats on hiring a painter too. Sometimes it’s best to let the professionals go to it & do it. Saves lots of headaches.


  4. What a good mama you’ve got there and what great memories!

    I had to laugh at Campfire evolving to Vomit because it sounded like those “Beanboozled” Jelly Belly’s if they made paint. “Spoiled Milk White” or “Booger Green.” Then I laughed because I remember the hubby painting the living room a color I thought I wanted and I changed my mind twice (I cried applying the second color and he knew it was over). The third choice he was like “on your own sistah!”
    It looks gorgeous and I’m so glad there was no crying involved this go round! ๐Ÿ˜‰


  5. As always, so much here to connect with. When I’m dying (if I’m aware that I’m dying) and thinking about times in my life that mean the most to me, the week my mom came and stayed with me when my babies came home from the hospital will be high on the list. I was so shaky and tired and spent and I just needed her that week. I get teary just thinking about it now, 20 years later! And paint and home and living in a house…I’m full of so many feelings about that right now, as we get ready to sell our house, which is really about leaving behind so many beloved things. And I can’t say anything more about that because I’m at work and it might scare the kids if the library lady starts crying at her keyboard.


    1. If you start crying at work, I want a picture of the horrified kids.

      I love that you connected with this post! Mom’s don’t realize how much power they have and how healing their presence is. Honestly, even if she didn’t make those meals, bring the DVD, etc. I would have been just as saved having her sitting next to me during one of the hardest times in my life.

      The beginning of February I had THE flu and during it, I ended up having the biggest panic attacks and worst anxiety I have ever felt. I ended up talking to my mom on the phone every single day and she would talk me down. It was so damn healing; I know the Tamiflu helped but my mom saved me.


  6. Kari, that wall art, those walls and every other piece you’ve put in that room makes me want to look over and over again. This is a brand new room! I would also add a little touch of ligthing; possibly some dim lights around the walls?


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