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Hidden behind the walls: A note from '85 warns Kamloops couple about shoddy construction

Bob and his soon-to-be wife Tokla have faced every injury, and insult, from their new home. But they continue their renovations despite the hardships.
September 11, 2015 - 8:00 PM


KAMLOOPS - A Kamloops couple is living the ‘home is where the heart is’ adage after buying a house full of problems this year.

Bob Moreau told his soon-to-be wife Tokla to pick a house she loved. His only request was a garage. She scanned the city for the best place to start her new life with Moreau and when Tokla viewed the house in Westsyde, she did what Moreau asked. She fell in love with it and decided it was the right place for them.

After getting the green light from a home inspector, they bought the house and moved in. They soon realized they bought a few more home renovations than they were prepared to do though. 

It’s been pouring money in and bucketing water, garbage and broken pieces of drywall out. Name a household issue and the pair have faced it — from sewage leaks and a crack in the foundation to faulty electrical wiring. There’s been mudslides behind the house and wacky discoveries each time a wall comes down.

The mudslide behind Tokla and Bob's home after a flash flood earlier this summer.
The mudslide behind Tokla and Bob's home after a flash flood earlier this summer.
Image Credit: contributed

“(But) the house is still there,” Moreau says. “This has been extremely stressful and gone beyond any budget."

Their love remains strong and surprisingly they remain committed to keeping the passion they first had for the house alive.

Tokla says it's deciding between where the money goes, either the house or their October wedding. She's just happy to have a place with Moreau, who comments how supportive his wife-to-be is.

Tokla jokes she gave Moreau what he wanted. He did get his garage, after all, but it was full of someone else’s stuff. All the scrap metal within it might have seemed like a treasure trove at the time, but after a $2,000 bill to haul the metal out without much return on the scrap, Moreau only shakes his head.

Once cleared, Moreau found what was part fire hazard part electrical project in the space — live wires hanging out of a fuse box with nothing connected to them. Probably his favourite mystery from the home is a light bulb hanging outside the shop. It has been on since day one and will continue that way; he can’t find the switch connected to it.

“We wondered if they used a pellet gun to turn off their lights,” Bob says with a laugh. “We take all of this with a grain of salt."

Each time it rains, the windows leak. This summer’s flash flood had the couple run for the hills — literally — as they tried to prevent their home and vehicles from being buried beneath the earth coming down the hill. 

The tube sock found on the copper pipe.
The tube sock found on the copper pipe.
Image Credit: contributed

As for their own water control, the couple rejoices at finally finding their emergency water shut off, but it is buried between the shower and the foundation.

“We can’t reach it and don't know what we're supposed to do,” Moreau says as he extends his cell phone between the space to take a picture.

There’s an outside water turnoff as well, but part of its pipe is buried too. In this case, it's a large slab of concrete preventing their access.

“I just hope these pipes don’t leak or break under the concrete. I don’t know what we’d do,” Moreau says.

Behind other walls are pipes taped with duct tape, including another favourite discovery, a copper pipe with a tube sock on the end of it. 

But the most blatant insult to injury was just that — an insult written on an inner wall from a previous homeowner in 1985.

“This house was built by a wop who didn’t know shit about building. But we hid his fucking mess and you bought his fucking problems! Good luck!” the note says.

The note Bob found from a previous home owner last week.
The note Bob found from a previous home owner last week.
Image Credit: contributed

While the average home-owner would call it quits, Moreau sees it differently.

"I am going to add to the note, ‘2015: I have spent all my time and all my money to fix this house but it was worth the love that we share in this house in spite of the negative people and bad workmanship that built this house, may those that purchase this house from us share the same love we did,” he wrote on Facebook where the couple continues to document their building drama.

He notes he hasn't been doing all the work on his own.

"I would like to say a special thanks to the contractors that have gone out of their way to help us," he says. "Paul Sivik, our excavator operator came and dug us out of the mess during the flash flood. Kevin Thompson did an amazing job fixing the plumbing nightmares and was amazing."

Moreau says he will continue working to perfect his home, but advises future homebuyers to do a little more investigating of their own beyond a basic home inspection.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Glynn Brothen at, or call 250-319-7494. To contact the editor, email or call 250-718-2724.

News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2015
InfoTel News Ltd

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