Sault Ste. Marie. Côte d’Azur. Kym Petrie has bunked down in plenty of extreme and exotic locations, but her permanent address is Greenville. After traipsing around the globe for 55 years, her home on Augusta Street provides the ultimate escape. “I’ve been very blessed to live a little bit all over the world,” she confides. “But we totally fell in love with Greenville. My home is my recharge station. It’s my nest. It’s really the springboard for everything we do in our lives.” FYI: Kym doesn’t sit still for long.
The business and marketing executive has run everything from super-yacht telecom startups to downtown economic development. In “retirement,” the Canadian native returned to a hobby she first started alongside her brother at age 18—renovating houses. “I’ve always loved rescuing homes,” she shares. “We operated under that old adage of buying the worst house on the best street. We did quite a few between the Sault and Ottawa. Technically, I’m a flipper, but our connection and commitment are to the community and neighborhood. We’re invested in doing the right thing for the house and the neighborhood, so our margins are tighter. So really, I’m a builder and this is a rescue.”
Kym has such a keen eye and unique approach, she’s under contract with a major network for a pilot. She and her business partner are currently taping the rescue of three local homes, as they juggle three new builds on the books, and chase four other properties. Most sit in the Augusta Road, Hampton-Pinckney, and North Main Street areas. “It’s our love letter to Greenville,” she explains. “I think a house tells you what it is. As a woman who is aging, I recognize there is such beauty in an older house. It’s like a Nancy Drew mystery. You walk in the front door and ask, ‘What’s hiding under here?’ As soon as you start peering underneath, you discover how beautiful it is.”
Of the many places she’s called home over the years, she admits her latest may be her last, as she gazes out the front door. “Even when we have invitations, we just don’t want to leave. We love it,” she reveals. “And you know, home isn’t just about the house, it’s also about neighbors and community. We feel happiest when we’re surrounded by good people and good energy. And we are. Carpe diem.”
Kym’s Tips for Feathering Your Nest
Re-evaluate how you use each space as you enter different life stages. Re-set kitchen cabinets, closets, and storage space. “The junk drawer doesn’t have to be a junk drawer forever. You’ll find what worked when you had kids and things were crazy, doesn’t work as well once you’re an empty nester.”
Simplify. Everything should have a place; use every inch of space. Dispose of things you’re not using. “Less is more is a popular belief right now. When your eye can rest in a home, then your body can rest.”
Don’t spend a fortune. Resist the urge to buy new. Look for vintage finds and antiques. “We have a lot of great places in Greenville to do that: Rock House Antiques, Greystone, Southern Housepitality Furniture. I find lots of workable solutions, at a fraction of the price, at all of these places.”
Surround yourself with what makes you happy. “I don’t like to follow any hard and fast rules anymore. I think when you’re at home, you’re happiest when you’re uniquely you. If you want color, use color. If you want austere, then go austere. There are no rules. And if there are rules, break them.”
Did you know?
Although Kym was raised in Canada, her parents taught her to shag. “We call it beach dancing. We would go to Wasaga Beach in Ontario. When we came here and I could shag, it made my heart so happy.”
Photo by Jack Robert Photography