2015 Winner


When Susan Welles and her family moved into their Golden Valley home three years ago, they knew it was just a matter of time before the teenagers took over the basement.

“We only have one finished bathroom with a shower, which the oldest girl has already started to take over,” says Welles, winner of last year’s West Metro Home Remodeling Fair Operation Rescue Room contest (learn more on page 16).

The house’s second bathroom is tucked away under the stairs in the basement, with a toilet that leaks any time it’s flushed, cobbled-together wood paneling, 1950s pale blue tile, a shower with no ceiling (just a Styrofoam placeholder that’s not waterproof), “plenty of mold,” a detached wall sink, and a foot-wide hole in the floor exposing dirt.

“It’s just a scary little room,” Welles says. A room scary enough to be voted the ugliest in the West Metro, but its days are numbered. The room will be demolished and replaced with a new bathroom in a different location, complete with updated plumbing and a total lack of floor holes. It’s an expensive project, Welles says, so the $1,000 prize for winning Operation Rescue Room is definitely appreciated.

“It doesn’t cover the cost, but it certainly helps.”

Welles was encouraged to enter the contest in 2014 after she and the kids visited the Home Remodeling Fair and saw the photos of all the ugly entries.

“They were like, ‘we should enter our bathroom next year. We’ve got to do this.’” And when they won, Welles says, there was no embarrassment. “The kids were telling everyone at school, ‘we won the nasty room contest!’”

Now, she adds, with construction under way, the basement will soon have a usable bathroom, just in time for the boys to take it over.