'Divine Design' TV renovation caused mould in family room, homeowner says

A Thornhill mother believed she had "won the lottery" when TV home designer Candice Olson agreed to renovate her family room, but years later, she discovered mould and water damage she believes was caused by the renovation team.

Thornhill woman believes TV show reno caused extensive mould in 2009

Jyoti Parmar points to the area where she found a hole in the drywall exposing a drain pipe. She believes a TV home renovation team mistakenly drilled holes in that pipe, causing it to leak. (Michelle Cheung/CBC News)

It was the room Jyoti Parmar was most proud of — her family room featured on the now defunct home renovation show Divine Design, hosted by renowned interior designer Candice Olson.

But now Parmar is frustrated, because she recently discovered extensive mould damage in the room. damage she believes was caused by the TV show team.

Parmar found black mould behind the banquette. The hole in the drywall that exposed the drain is between the two two-by-fours in the corner. (Jyoti Parmar)

"It's not something I would really show off anymore ... It's really tarnished the whole experience."

After Parmar and her husband bought their Thornhill home in 2005, she applied to appear on Divine Design.

In 2009, the show agreed to renovate Parmar's family room.

"We thought we had won the lottery. It was so exciting," said the mother of three. "They took out everything, so it was a total gut of the room. They took out the carpeting, the mirror. They replaced the flooring, they redid the bar area to modernize it."

Parmar's family room before Candice Olson's TV reno show renovated it. (Divine Design)
 
Parmar's family room after Candice Olson's re-design and renovation. (Divine Design )
 

Her kids' favourite area was the banquette for six Olson designed with a padded charcoal grey tufted backrest.

"We loved what she did. We never would have dreamt of a design like this for our family room," said the stay-at-home mother.

But this past December, Parmar and her husband discovered water damage in the basement under the family room.

The hole in the drywall exposing the second-floor drain pipe. (Jyoti Parmar)

They say a plumber traced the leak to the stack behind the banquette. He and Parmar removed the padding for the first time since the 2009 renovation.

"Clear as day, there's a hole in the drywall. You could see the second floor pipe coming down from the bathroom," said Parmar. "It was exposed and he looked at it, and right away, he said, 'Those are drill holes in your pipe.' And I was shocked. I thought, 'Why would there be drill holes in the pipe?"'

You can see drill holes in the pipe where sewage and water from the second-floor bathroom is believed to have drained and leaked for years. (Jyoti Parmar)

The punctured drain pipe flushes all the waste water from the second floor bathroom, which Parmar believes has been slowly leaking since Olson's renovation.

"I was just horrified. I was shocked because I've seen little bits of black mould around bathtubs and things like that but I've never seen so much of this black stain," she said.

"I have three kids, and just thinking that they were sitting on that banquette, on the seating with that right behind them, and when someone used the washroom upstairs that water could have been seeping behind the banquette, it's very troubling." 

A screen grab from the episode featuring Parmar's family room with Candice Olson standing in the banquette area. There's no hole in the drywall before the team painted the wall. (Divine Design)
Later in the episode, as the team prepares to put up the shelving over the banquette, you can see there's a hole the size of a grapefruit in the drywall. (Divine Design )

Parmar said she reviewed the episode to find any clues about what might have happened:

Before the drywall was primed, the video shows there's no hole in the drywall. After the team installed the framing for the banquet, there's a grapefruit size hole in the drywall at the same level as the supports for a shelf above the banquette.

Parmar believes someone from the show mistakenly drilled into the pipe and water has been slowly leaking behind the banquette all that time.

"They didn't reveal it to us. Had they even told us during the show, 'We made this hole in the pipe,' we would have definitely tried to work together to have it repaired."

She estimates it will cost about $15,000 to clean up the mould, replace the drywall, banquette and flooring.

Olson continues to feature Parmar's family room on her twitter feed and in a coffee table book.

CBC Toronto has made repeated requests for comment from Olson through her publicist, and through social media, but she has not responded.

CBC Toronto also contacted Fusion Television, the production company behind the show, for comment.

"I have responded to Jyoti in multiple emails and nothing further to add," wrote Angela Jennings, the company's executive producer.

Jennings said a contractor called Matz Renovations was responsible for the work, but when contacted by CBC Toronto, the firm said its work was already completed before the banquette wall work was done,

"I just find that even now, following up with the people involved, there's a lack of integrity. There's not that, 'Oh my gosh, I can't believe this happened. I'm going to look into it,'" said Parmar.