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Massive Moves tv show features local home

A luxury home was transported to Sooke via barge from West Vancouver. - Pirjo Raits
A luxury home was transported to Sooke via barge from West Vancouver.
— image credit: Pirjo Raits

Some events are so amazing that they just have to be captured on film. This past February HGTV has been broadcasting the show Massive Moves, a show about moving companies moving massive objects. One of these objects is the home of Barb and “Red” Reuther, a luxurious home originally from West Vancouver. Their show segment, Pacific Palace, is currently running several times a month. It was filmed by Windfall Films from the United Kingdom.

When asked if they would be willing to have the move filmed, the film company said it would be, “for fame no fortune.”

The 34,000 sq. foot home was hauled by barge from the ocean front in West Vancouver across Georgia Strait to the Strait of Juan Fuca and then into Sooke Harbour.

The movers, Nickel Brothers, were also the sellers as they are in the home salvage and moving business.

“The guy who owned it wanted to recycle it,” said Barb Reuther. “We were the fourth bidder on it.” They looked over the house several times before making a bid on it. It wasn’t the “classic” house they thought they wanted, but Barb said, “the kids loved it.”

She said the house has had a lot of renovations done on it over the years including $300,000 in 1992 and $1-million in 2002. It was designed by architect Russell Hollingsworth and is a very well built house. The home is now being renovated by the Reuthers and they figure they will spend upwards of $250,000 in renovations on top of the $145,000 they paid for the house. The $145,000 included the cost of moving the house from West Vancouver to their water front site in Saseenos.

Red is doing as much of the work as he can and he has help from one of his sons, but he had to contract out the foundation work, which proved to be expensive as they had to raise the house three-and-a-half feet due to potential flooding along the water.

While all manner of things could have gone wrong in the move, nothing drastic happened although there were some tense moments when the chain cracked as the house was being pulled off the barge.

“It’s amazing they can move a house like this,” said Red. “It was an incredible feat, incredible engineering.”

Nickel Brothers used 20 hydraulic jacks to move the house.

The house, once all the renovations are done, will be 5,100 sq. feet on three floors. The house is 30.5 feet wide and 69 feet long.

Work is ongoing but touring the house revealed a home that is still incredibly up-to-date with marble floors and tiles throughout, tons of storage, expansive windows on two levels complete with automatic blinds, great appliances, granite countertops and a whole host of other high-end finishings. The house has three bedrooms, each with en-suite bathrooms, and a playroom any kid would love. The old garage is destined to be an all-purpose room. The house has good bones.

The Reuthers have become minor celebrities in Sooke and when they go to the store people recognize them from Massive Moves. They are pretty realistic about it all but they did send out notices to all their friends and family about the show.

“They thought it was awesome,” said Barb.

She said other people ask about doing the same thing — moving a house and her advise is, “it needs to be a good quality house — we went in kind of blind.”

All in all they are pleased with the move, the progress on the house and the beautiful home they will enjoy after all the work is complete.

So they have it — the fame and the film producers were correct — no fortune.

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