Whose House? Joseph’s House

Mike Sudoma

Not everyone goes into university knowing what they want to do. Joseph Kornelsen sure didn’t. 

“I just ended up taking a lot of courses,” Kornelsen says. He was mostly taking economics and classical language classes at the University of Winnipeg.

“I ended up going to school for five years at the university and really accomplished next to nothing. That had a lot to do with me thinking that I had to get the degree done,” Kornelsen says.

So he dropped out and got a job managing construction projects. After three years of that, Kornelsen decided it was time to go back and finish a degree.

“I started university in 2004, but I only graduated in 2014,” Kornelsen says.

Those years away from the University of Winnipeg were not a waste. Now that he and his girlfriend are renovating their home, he has enough knowledge to do the work himself.  

1 (Mike Sudoma)

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These massive renovations are just a side project he works on when he comes home from his job as promotions and development coordinator for the West End Biz.

“I develop the things that we do that people see,” Kornelsen says. This includes managing their social media and website, and arranging tours.

He also has his positions on the boards of Friends of Sherbrook Pool and the Spence Neighbourhood Association, and membership to a transit advocacy organization, slowing down the renovation project.

Still, he loves his home of nine years and was thrilled to get to show it off.


1) Painting 

Kornelsen got this painting from Goodwill when he was 17 to liven up his room in his parents’ basement.

“It was $15. I hummed and hawed. I was like, ‘Ah, I could go to McDonald’s three times for this much money.’ Finally I went to the counter and looked at the tag and it was a blue tag. And blue tags were 75 per cent off that day.”


2) Lamp 

The last home owners left many things behind for Kornelsen, including this lamp which used to be in the living room.

“I love it. It totally works with all these colours downstairs.”


3) Living Room 

Kornelsen and his girlfriend lost their living room when he began renovations, so he decided to build these chairs in what was his indoor living room space but is temporarily his workshop.

“The weather has been so amazing this year, this has kind of served as our living room.”


4) Renovations 

Starting renovations, Kornelsen wasn’t sure exactly what shape the house was in. It turned out to be better than he expected.

“The house is totally plum.The floor does wacky things.The floor is all over the place. But the stuff that’s holding the weight – the exterior walls and now the wall that I’ve built – are all plum and straight. For a 110 year old house, that’s pretty good.”

Published in Volume 70, Number 2 of The Uniter (September 17, 2015)

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