Written by Arlene Shovald
For Shelby Cox and his wife, Katye McConaghy, renting a room in their Salida home has turned out to be rewarding, both helping with their mortgage and gaining a friend.
“We lived in Salida from 2000 to 2005 and always wanted to come back,” Shelby said. “Also, Katye’s family lived here. She had a great job in Washington State but we were unhappy there. One evening we were discussing what we would do if the other died and we both said we would move to Salida! We decided if we both wanted that, why not move now?”
Both have master’s degrees, Kayte in geology and Shelby in anthropology but after their daughter, Ahvi, now 13, was born they decided Katye would work and Shelby would be a stay-at-home dad along with taking construction and barista jobs and beginning work as an artist.
“When we moved to Salida in 2011 it was more expensive than other places but reasonable compared to today,” Shelby said. “We took menial jobs and cut back on expenses. Then Katye suggested renting a room in our home.” The first renter was a friend who worked at the ski area and stayed during the winter.
“Next we tried a few people we didn’t know – short term and now long term,” Shelby said. “Now we have a great renter, Wolf Perlman, who became a friend. He pet sits for us and others, there is someone in the house when we’re on vacation and it takes a chunk out of our mortgage.”
For Wolf it’s been a benefit as well “I’ve been in many rental situations but this is my first with a room in a home with landlords who live there,” he said. “I am happy to be here and Shelby and Katye, are the most wonderful people in the world.”
Katye recently retired and while they occasionally take part time jobs Shelby’s main interest is his robots. He began creating fun metal repurposed sculptures in 2010. “I have fun all day with junk – appliances, tools, vacuums…” he laughed, setting aside a grinder. “I take junk and make fun art.”
With Ahvi in school, he has more time to devote to art. Most days you’ll find him in his garage creating robots and other sculptures. His creations are available at Corvis Clothing and Curiosities in Salida. Every Saturday he sets them up on the sidewalk.
With a twinkle in his eye, Shelby says, “I make Salida a little funkier every Saturday.”