2012 Winner

2012 WINNER: Roberta Whipple of Minnetonka

Roberta Whipple’s first reaction to winning the inaugural Operation Rescue Room contest was embarrassment. But the embarrassment of winning “worst room in the west metro” soon gave way to the excitement of getting a $1,000 check and a chance to finally do something about that less-than-stellar downstairs bathroom. Turns out, Whipple says, “the more embarrassing the room was, the better it was for me.”

More than 15 homeowners submitted their rooms for the 2012 contest, which is part of the West Metro Home Remodeling Fair. A showcase of pictures and descriptions of why the rooms needed remodeling was displayed in the Idea Center, where fairgoers could vote on the room that needed the most work.

“We won by a landside,” Whipple says.

The old basement bathroom in her Minnetonka home was shoddily put together by previous homeowners, she theorizes, who really didn’t know what they were doing. They hand-molded a cement barrier around the shower drain to keep the water from flowing out, and you could see the hand prints in the cement, Whipple recalls. They lined the walls with a rainbow patchwork of tiles. A pipe jutted up through the shower floor and connected to the toilet. And the plumbing stopped working years ago.

Since she applied her $1,000 prize to a complete bathroom makeover, the room looks fabulous, Whipple says. It’s bigger. The tile was replaced with something much more tasteful. There’s a new vanity. The plumbing works. And there’s even a new wood ceiling.

Whipple recommends entering the contest despite the embarrassment. “It’s one of those things where, when the remodeling is over, you’re going to say, ‘why didn’t I do this sooner?’”

Anyone who lives in Golden Valley, Hopkins, Minnetonka, or St. Louis Park or within the Hopkins, Minnetonka, or St. Louis Park School Districts is eligible to enter.