Surprise return to childhood home

Kathy and Leo Patenaude now live in the home Kathy grew up in

Kathy and Leo Patenaude now live in the home Kathy grew up in



Kathy Patenaude had been thinking of returning to her Salmon Arm roots for a while, but did not expect to end up living in the home she grew up in.

But the little, two-storey bungalow-style home has undergone some significant changes since Kathy and husband Leo moved in a year ago.

“I never ever thought of coming back here and living in Mom’s house, so it was a surprise to me when the idea of it came up,” says Kathy Patenaude, née Bennett. “Once the renovation was done and we moved in, it just seemed natural.”

The Patenaude home was built in 1950, and Kathy says her parents bought the house in 1954, when she was three. She lived there until she was age 19. Dorothy Bennett, Kathy’s mother, lived in the home until she died in 2004. The Patenaudes, who at the time lived in Prince George, inherited the house. For a year Kathy’s step-father resided in the house, and after that the home was rented out to help cover expenses. It wasn’t until 2010, when Leo retired, that the two decided to move to Salmon Arm and into Kathy’s family home. Before they could move in, however, much work had to be done.

“The house was in very bad shape after the rental,” says Kathy. “The house was not in bad shape after my mom passed away, but it needed renovating… At that point, we knew, if we moved down and lived in the house, we would completely renovate the kitchen and probably the bathroom, and redo floors. But, when we actually came to that point, there was a lot of work to do.”

The Patenaudes were glad to have found contractor John Stalker who, with guidance from Kathy’s brother undertook the task of bringing the house back into shape.

They did so while holding to Kathy and Leo’s vision of preserving as much of the original look and feel of the home as possible.

And while the cost of the renovation was a bit of a shock, Kathy says they wound up doing more than originally planned. Roof lines were changed, the rear entrance was enlarged and double doors added, new windows were installed, a patio was added, accessed by a new doorway off the dining area.

Regardless of the expense and effort, neither Leo nor Kathy hesitate in saying they are pleased with the result.

“I don’t think we had anything done that we’ve regretted doing,” says Kathy.

The interior is a bright, clean combination of vintage and modern. The original oak flooring has been restored to look good as new. The bathroom and kitchen are tastefully redone with a mix of white walls, with warm and earthy brown tiling. There are two bedrooms as well as the “middle bedroom” which serves as the Pattenaude’s entertainment room and office.

The basement is largely unfinished with the exception of a laundry area. Leo and Kathy hope to one day tackle the basement, adding a storage area and another bedroom, but it’s all a work in progress.

The house is estimated to be 1,200 square feet, excluding the basement. For Kathy, it’s the perfect size, as she and Leo greatly value the yard and gardens that  keep them busy as summer arrives.11:28:56