Office Makeover: Bookcases Under $300

While the future guestroom/office still looks like this (as soon as Olivia arrived we halted construction for a bit):

We’ve made tentative plans to resume renovation for the last week of March! Oh how I’ve been counting down the days. I’m working full time again and my dining room table loathes me and my bazillion piles of work. It’s an organizational nightmare – especially when we need the dining room to feed family and friends.

Since Kevin is a full time architecture student, much of the physical construction work revolves around his school schedule. When he has a break between quarters projects are finished in the blink of an eye, and then I get a good several months to mull over decorating ideas until the next big undertaking begins.

But now that we’re in countdown mode to finishing the office/guest bedroom AND beginning our brand new guest bathroom, there’s much happy dancing going on over here! And shopping. Because suddenly we are very much in need of a desk, bookshelf storage and a bed.

First up, bookshelves.

I love the look of French Baker’s Rack-style bookshelves. The variation in materials (especially the natural wood and metal contrast) compliments so many design styles and although it can be dangerous, open shelving is my favorite (forces you to be organized!).

These sets from Restoration Hardware are out of my league, but here are several options that fit the price and look:

I found most of my favorites at Home Decorators and World Market, two stores that consistently deliver quality products (usually taking cue from the trendier designer stores) at an affordable price. In fact, each of them had their own variation of this design:

Copy cats. World Market coming in just $30 under.

I love the bare Parsons look (such as the white bookcase above or the grey below) or the X detail of the French-inspired bookshelves (flanking the sides of the shelves or back).

Bookcase Bookshelf

If you’re on the hunt as well, Ballard Designs had several fantastic bookcases, but they all broke my $300 a piece budget.

Most of the above bookshelves came in between $99-$250! Great, right? Add to that a Googled coupon code for free shipping or 10% off and two bookshelves for either side of the new desk might be affordable after all. And there’s always Craigslist – I’ve searched for the last two weeks without finding the perfect fit but it usually is a great tool.

After finishing my desk hunt, I’ll start pairing options up and hopefully have something ordered this week.

Going Green: The Cloth Diaper Conundrum

I knew cloth diapering would be my choice for Liv from the start – Kevin on the other hand, was a bit skeptical. Although we work to be extra green around the Spenla household (in what we eat, in our cleaning products and in the materials we choose for remodeling, for example) cloth diapering appears on the surface to be all sorts of messy, inconvenient and just, well, icky.

But my decision had been made early on. Back in college I had the opportunity to travel down to Managua, Nicaragua with Nica HOPE to work with kids that lived in and around the city dump. Coming face to face with landfills that stretched for acres and acres was a life changing experience, and a chance to witness the devastation that piles and piles of garbage are for us and our planet makes you rethink many of your own trash habits.

Our landfills in the States don’t look quite like the versions in third world countries, but they are multiplying at a scary rate nonetheless.

Surprisingly, diapers take up 4% of that space (it’s estimated that the average little baby bum uses roughly 4-6,000 diapers in their first two & half years, that’s somewhere around 40 billion in the US alone) and since it takes between 250-500 years for a diaper to decompose, we’re talking mounds and mounds of plastic & rotting waste for our kids, our kid’s kids, our kid’s kid’s kids and so on. Here’s another crazy fact – the weight of just one year of disposable diapers used in the US is 7.2 billion pounds, and laid end to end these diapers would circle the earth 90 times.

Then there’s the whole health side of the issue and the fact that diapers contain a high amount of chemicals… and the economical point of view that cloth diapering is quite friendly on the wallet (diapering a child in disposables runs between $1500-$3000, depending on the brands you choose and how many your little one needs).

But at the end of the day it all boils down to which one’s cuter, just kidding ;):

Cloth Diaper Disposable Diaper Comparison Cuter

All of that being said, I know the choice isn’t for everyone and there’s zero judgment on my part for mommies that prefer the flexibility and convenience of disposables (we agree – they are easier! and we’ll likely use them for travel and what not in the future). It’s a personal choice and every parent has the right to make it for their own family.

Right now we are slowly weaning ourselves off of newborn disposables. Liv was so teeny as a newborn that she really didn’t fit well into the small cloth diapers until now (although for babe #2 I’ll probably start using them sooner).

And so for the next week I’ll be checking out three versions that I’ve read rave reviews about: G Diapers, BumGenius and Thirsties – and I’ll be sharing all of the fun details here (sorry in advance to everyone out there that could care very little about what goes on Liv’s bottom – I promise there are many great remodeling and design posts to come as well!).

Clockwise from top: Thirsties, BumGenius, G Diapers

I chose these three options because they are three very different versions of cloth diapers (the concept in general has moved leaps and bounds in a more mom-friendly direction from years ago!).

G Diapers: hybrid diapers made of a soft cloth that you can fill with either a disposable, compostable insert or a cloth reusable insert.

BumGenius: a cloth diaper with no insert – or an All-In-One as the pro CD moms say (you wash the entire diaper when it gets dirty).

Thirsties: A cover that goes over a traditional three-part cloth diaper (you know, the type that used to be clipped with an extra large safety pin, the type of cloth diaper commonly used as a burp cloth today?).

Let the Baby Green project begin!

If you have any CD tips and tricks, feel free to share!

A Whimsical & Botanical Birthday Party

This vintage-esq first birthday is absolutely beautiful. There are too many great details… so I’ll just let the pictures do the talking:

French Botanical Vintage Antique Inspired Decor, Decoration, First Birthday, Party, Celebration, Inspiration, Pink, Green

I adore all of the little paper and craft details…

French Botanical Vintage Antique Inspired Decor, Decoration, First Birthday, Party, Celebration, Inspiration, Pink, Green

Anna, who owns Blissful Babes in the Philippines, designed this French-inspired celebration for her daughter’s first birthday. Wouldn’t it be beautiful for a shower or even as wedding inspiration as well?

French Botanical Vintage Antique Inspired Decor, Decoration, First Birthday, Party, Celebration, Inspiration, Pink, Green

My favorite detail might be the ‘year of firsts’ table that Anna put together to showcase Arie’s very first year (last picture in the below collage), though those fabric birds are amazingly adorable, too!

French Botanical Vintage Antique Inspired Decor, Decoration, First Birthday, Party, Celebration, Inspiration, Pink, Green

Photography by Karen Ilagan Photography and more delicious images and details over at TomKat Studio!

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