Floor, Stairs, and Powder Room Remodel A La Kempler Design Style

After ten years of simmering on the idea of a remodel we finally pulled the trigger on the project. Truth be told, it all started with a toilet. I have a friend who works at a bath and kitchen showroom. She alerted me via Facebook that the store was changing its displays. Sinks and toilets were going cheap. Our half bath toilet needed to be deep-sixed, so I convinced my husband to meet me at the showroom to pick out our new toilet and sink. We found the perfect model and the sink was exceptionally beautiful, both Kohler products.

So, if we were going to change the toilet and sink, then it only made sense that we should change the floor in the bathroom too. And if we were going to change the floor in the bathroom, well there was some carpeting that need to be updated and refreshed as well. The old one was shot, especially on the stairs and landing. It had gone through a big master bath remodel ten years prior and it was time to pull it out and toss it. We were in for a penny, in for a pound on this one.

The big motivating factor behind it all was that my parents were coming for a visit in about three weeks. I really wanted to surprise them with the remodel. They might be so surprised they would think they were in the wrong house! We pulled up our sleeves and began the hunt for the right flooring. There were so many wonderful choices and options it became increasingly difficult. We are in the design business and immediately realized how challenging it is when making big, long-lasting decisions for our own home.  We vacillated between pre-fabricated wood flooring and laminate. The scales tipped both ways for so long, but price was a big factor, we were on a budget, and the scales tipped in favor of the laminate. We brought home many different wood grains and stains. We have a lot of wood in the home and we wanted it to blend in with what we had. We settled on a gorgeous wood grain, with beveled edges and just a touch of red to match all the cherry wood in the house.

Here is the story in pictures of our remodel, plus before and afters of the flooring and bath:

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Tear-out begins. Good-bye nasty old laminate floors.

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We encounter a rather large problem. One that makes us lose sleep. Not only are the floors not evenly matched because some of it was laminate while the other parts were carpet, but it seems our floor slants unevenly! Tear-out the sub-floor is suggested. What choice do we have? Let the remodel continue and let whatever happens happen, but first fix the floor!

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Here is a nasty hole in the middle of our house! But, on the bright side, it looks pretty clean under there! We even found a cat-lair. Yes, we have feral cats that seem to have adopted the under-side of our house, but the upshot is no mice!

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Before and…                                                                                              After.

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Another after of the dining room.

Next the stairs:

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Upstairs hallway before.



Next the Powder Room:

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We initially thought we would do a granite or tile counter top with subway tiles as back-splash, or even the entire wall, but ultimately we settled on a gorgeous cherry-wood butcher block counter. It was the perfect choice. But, how do we finish it? I researched a few blogs and found some really helpful ones. One woman had re-sanded and stained her butcher block three times before the fourth and final time when she realized all she had to do was mineral oil, lightly sand, and feed and wax. That’s it! So simple. I thought we could definitely do it too. Our contractor cut the required length for our cabinet (we decided to keep the original cabinet) and we did the rest. These are the steps we took in photos:

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What the butcher block looked like unfinished.

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Mineral oil.

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Installed with feed and wax. We applied that daily for a week.

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The gorgeous sink is installed, the faucet and our faux finish on the walls has just begun!

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The finished product once again, this time with the faux on the walls finished. We decided not to use a back-splash at all, but caulk and paint to match the walls.

We are thrilled with the results. We even managed to get our new living room furniture delivered within a few days. Everything was picture perfect for my parents arrival. They were indeed as excited as we were with the results. We have been thoroughly enjoying the new look in our home.

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Goodreads Giveaway for The Altered I: Memoir of Joseph Kempler, Holocaust Survivor

This is very exciting news: LeRue Press, publisher of THE ALTERED I, is hosting a Goodreads Giveaway. Ten copies will be given away.

Enter to win starting today, September 16-October 7, 2014. U.S. residents only, sorry Canada!

Click here to enter.


Joseph Kempler is eleven years old in 1939, when World War II begins. German soldiers have invaded his hometown of Krakow, Poland. Forced with his family to leave their home, business, and belongings, Joseph embarks on an adventure that changes his life forever. The family seeks shelter with a Polish peasant family in a small village, but the threat of discovery by the Nazis becomes imminent. Ultimately, Joseph determines that the best course of action is to join his brother, Dolek, in a forced labor camp. Thus begins a tortuous existence surviving six different concentration camps from the ages of fourteen to seventeen. Along the way he abandons family and faith. He curses God for allowing the Holocaust to happen and becomes an atheist. After a brief encounter with Christians imprisoned in the same camp, Joseph is stunned by their demonstration of faith, a faith he a had long-since left behind. This group of Bible students, known as Bibelforscher, leaves an indelible impression on his mind. Years later, after emigrating to the United States, he converts to a Christian faith. The Altered I chronicles Joseph’s journey from his zealous beginnings in Judaism to his conversion, while shining new light on an untold story of the Holocaust.


Front Cover-Altered I 3rd revision


Author Bio:

Born in Southern California, April Kempler currently resides in her “adopted” city of Reno, Nevada. She lives with her husband, who doubles as her editor-in-chief. April Kempler’s first book titled The Altered I, a Holocaust Memoir, is a first-person narrative about the Holocaust. April loves reading, a habit she picked up as a child. Instead of playing with the other kids, she could be found with her nose in a book. She reads a variety of genres, but is especially drawn to historical fiction.

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