And we have a WINNAH!

Category: Restore & Repair

Kristen from the American Bungalow Magazine Forum, COME ON DOWN! Our panel of judges has voted you the winner of the SQUARE PEG ROUND HOLE Bathroom Design Contest!

(This is NOT Kristen. It's actually Karan Sprengle winning the 12th Annual Pillsbury Bake-Off with her main dish called "Polynesian Island Bake...a main dish with an Islands touch."** But I'm sure that she LOOKS as excited as Kristen FEELS right now. :) And we have most of the PBO Cookbooks that began in 1949 so...

While this ISN'T an actual picture of Kristen this IS a picture of her winning entry:

We have to say, the amount of creativity in the 15+ entries submitted blew us away. From Luka's "So, use the whole floor. Problem about space is solved" to Eric A's "why have a bathroom when it can be rental income" idea to all of the other Powerpoint, CAD, Quark, collage (I still think that was pretty darn creative) to Wordperfect entries. They were ALL excellent. It was so hard to choose.

In the end, it was Kristen's creativity and resourcefulness that won the day. She figured out a solution that would fit everything in with minimal moving of pipes or runs. She had an interesting mix of period and more modern amenities. So it was a creative solution with feasibility, resourcefulness and keeping costs down that won it for her. But our judges had a knock-down drag -out debate over the entries...they were all REALLY that good. This was a TOUGH contest to decide.

So, while Kristen is mulling over her choice of prize, let me submit the results of our email interview with her so you know more about the designer and her methods. We know her from the AB Forum, but our judges wanted to know MORE! Here is more of her reaction and her answers to our nosy questions:


That's fantastic! I'm so honored. :) I've been out on the porch stripping a buffet for my dining room all day (giddy that I'm uncovering more of the mahogany under all those layers ... or maybe the giddyness is from the stripper ...) so this is indeed happy news. And a nice day-after-my-30th-birthday present, too!

I'm so glad your judges liked my idea. Let me tackle the questions one at a time so I don't leave anything out:

1) Your hometown

Providence, Rhode Island. Originally from central Connecticut. Came in 1991 to attend The University of Rhode Island, had great internship, got offered job just before graduation in 1994, never left (much to parents' dismay).

2) The type of dwelling you currently live in...bungalow, condo, etc.

Two years ago I bought a 1926 bungalow owned by three other women over the years. The first owner was a seamstress and had two shops; one in the basement and one in half of the garage. Her work table in the basement (since covered with asbestos tiles) has fruit crates from the '20s for drawers. My neighbors knew the original owner, who owned the house for 60 years, and she used to tell stories about when the road was dirt and cows grazed at the park down the street. My neighborhood borders the city's largest park, which houses a zoo, natural history museum, carousel, paddle boats, greenhouses, a Japanese rose garden, a beautiful former casino that now is used for functions, etc. It's truly a jewel in an already-great city.

3) What you do for a living?

I am editor of a start-up weekly, independent newspaper (in direct competition with, and launched to buck the mediocrity of, the chain-owned papers a bunch of us used to work for before and during the time they became corporate-owned). The paper covers two waterfront towns in southern Rhode Island and we have a sister paper that covers three others.

4) How did you stumble across

Loyal reader since your first AB post about buying the house "and all of its, um, stuff" on the AB board.

5) Have you ever done any renovation yourself?

I didn't realize it at the time I bought my house, since I didn't really know there was this whole bungalow subculture out there, but my house is in fantastic shape for its age. Original woodwork remains unpainted. The floors are in decent shape. There is not much remuddling to unmuddle. So the only "renovation" work I've done is pitching in the very occasional hand with my limited skills (more often it's moral support or thoughts on design) to help my friends (three women) who bought a 1846 Federal-style house a few miles away that should have been razed. They are amazing and have brought that house back from the dead.

6) How did you decide on your final design?

My first rendering on the back of a receipt ended up being the final design. (I did make it prettier with Quark.) It sounds a bit silly but it was what I "saw" when I looked at your photos and considered the layout. It was kind of hard not having a real sense physically of the space (although your photo tour helped greatly). I read what you were looking for and thought about what I would like if it was my space and also how you could best use the plumbing that already was in place to save aggravation and cost. Relocating the door seemed to be a good way to utilize that lost space at the back and free up what could be a crowded entry/sink area as you are trying to get ready in the morning. The half wall to create a toilet surround gives a bit of privacy and the clawfoot in front of the windows uses space that otherwise might be wasted. Plus it seems like it would give you plenty of room to bathe little ones instead of being stuffed in the corner bumping into the sink. I love a puzzle! I'm glad it is something that might work for you someday.

7) What's your favorite room in your house and why?

My house is so small (700 square feet plus 126 square feet of enclosed porch) it's like one big room! But seriously, each room has qualities I like and things I'd like to fix but am waiting for time/money. I guess I'd pick my kitchen, because I love the glass-front cabinets that stretch to the ceiling, the great sink and the wainscoting. True, the countertops are '50s red laminate, the counters are narrow and difficult to work on at times and the floor is covered by ugly off-white vinyl that never looks clean even after I've just scrubbed the heck out of it. But this room is so bright and sunny in the morning; I found myself smiling when I walked in there just today. The kitchen had never housed a refrigerator before I moved in. The apartment-sized fridge was located out in the back landing, but you could barely get around it and down the stairs that lead to the back door and the basement door, so I had a friend install an outlet in the pantry (next to the stove), found a skinny, stainless, bottom-freezer beauty and recessed it in the pantry, removing (and saving, of course) the door but leaving the door frame intact. I also replaced the apartment-sized gas stove with a stainless model. I got some great curtains off eBay that look fantastic. So, it has its shortcomings, which someday I will address, but I love it just the same.

Kristen, congratulations!! And KUDOS to everyone else for their amazing ideas and designs. You are ALL talented and fun-loving folk and we look forward to actually MEETING some of you someday if you're ever in Chicago.


**Recipe for Polynesian Tuna Bake from the 12th Annual Pillsbury Bake-Off
by 8th grader, Karen Sprengle from Ponoma, California

Saute (in 8 or 9-inch skillet)
---2/3 cup of chopped onion
---2/3 cup chopped green pepper (1 medium) in
---2 Tbsp cooking oil or shortening until tender. Reserve 2 Tbsp for topping

---1 can (10 1/2 oz) tomato soup
---2 Tbsp brown sugar
---1 tsp grated lemon rind
---3 Tbsp lemon juice and
---2 tsp soy sauce. Simmer for 5 minutes

Mix in
--2 cans (6 1/2 oz or one 9 1/4 oz can) tuna. Heat thoroughly.

Top with
--Sesame Strips, crisscrossing to form a lattice top, sesame seed up.

---at 425 degrees for 15-20 minutes until golden brown.

Sesame Strips

Sift together
---1 1/2 cups of Pillsbury's Best All Purpose Flour
---2 tsp double-acting baking powder
---1/2 Diamond Crystal salt into mixing bowl.

Cut in
---1/4 cup shortening until particles are fine

---1 unbeaten egg and enough milk to measure 1/2 cup. Stir in reserved onion and green pepper. Add all at once to dry ingredients, stirring until dough clings together. Knead of a floured surface 5 to 8 strokes.

Roll out
---on surface sprinkled with 1/4 cup French's Sesame Seeds to 1/2-inch thickness. Cut into 1/2 inch strips (use in recipe above).

Serves 4 to 6

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Well, now that the disappointment of not winning the hand drill has faded...somewhat...I wanted to say that Kristen's Quark! effort was brilliant. Elegantly simple, stylish, and period-ish.



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