Saturday, June 30, 2012

Mike Holmes on ABC's "The Revolution" - Scheduled For July 4, 2012

Earlier this month on June 5, Mike was busy make the TV show rounds in New York, appearing on Fox and Friends, and then later on the ABC daytime show The Revolution. On his Facebook page, he assured his readers that he would let us all know when the episode was set to air. Well...guess Mike forgot, but WE didn't! (We'll cut Mike some slack, being that he is a busy guy.)


The Revolution
Season 1 Episode 104

Olympic skier Jeremy Bloom; author Mike Holmes talks about mold in the home; Revolution journey and reveal.

Wed July 4
Author Mike Holmes? I mean, yes, I guess he is technically an author. He has actually written books, best selling ones at that, but I wouldn't outright classify Mike as an author and leave it at that, as if Mike sits around on his butt all day writing books. That would be like calling Emeril Lagasse a singer because he was in the glee club in high school. Come on, ABC! Seriously.

Well folks, there you have it. Wednesday, July 4, 2012 on ABC's daytime TV talk show The Revolution, author Mike Holmes will be making a guest appearance. I can hear thousands of housewives' jaws dropping to the floor as we speak. Set your DVR's!

Refer to previous Holmes Spot blog Entries:
Mike Holmes Takes New York
Mike Holmes on Fox and Friends, The Revolution

Friday, June 29, 2012

Holmes on Homes: Buying Old vs. Buying New

Mike posted this on his Facebook page today:

Were older homes built better than homes today? Well, it depends.
Apparantly Mike's not quite ready to give a definaitive, one-size-fits-all answer to the frequently asked question of whether to buy new or old. Although, I have heard Mike say often on television and in other interviews that he prefers older homes because they were "built with heart" as opposed to new homes which are mass produced for maximum profit. However, as Mike points out in his column, reposted from, older homes come with their own set of problems. Before you buy a home that's as old or older than your grandma, you need to have some sort of idea about how the home was built -- was it built by a skilled or unskilled laborer? It makes a huge difference, for obvious reasons. Homebuyers need to remember that codes didn't exist 100 years ago. "I've seen some quality homes over a hundred years old. Their structure as solid as the day it was built. But some homes are just old," Mike states in the article. The best way to protect yourself? Know what you're getting into, do your homework, and hire a good home inspector. (And reading one or two of Mike's books might not be a bad idea either!)


Are older homes better?

Century homes have their own set of problems. Mike Holmes says to research before investing.

Century homes have their own set of problems. Mike Holmes says to research before investing.

Photograph by: Handout/Alex Schuldt , The Holmes Group

They say they don't build them like they used to. But were older homes built better than the homes going up today? Was there real craftsmanship going back 50 or 100 years ago that we don't see anymore? Well, it depends.

Older cities like Toronto, Montreal and St. John's have homes over 100 years old. Some of these homes are still standing - others barely. But if you're interested in old real estate, it's important you know what the neighbourhood was like when the house was built. Why? Because this can give you a rough idea of the state of the property.

Just like today, there were more affluent neighbourhoods than others. Not all of the original owners of century homes had money. Some of them couldn't afford skilled builders and labourers. Others couldn't afford to hire builders at all. So what did these people end up doing? What were their options? How did they build their home?

A lot of them had to build it themselves. And a lot of them didn't have the skills or money to do it right. Can you imagine if your neighbour had built his own house? What shape would it be in 100 years from now?

Remember, there were no building codes back then. There wasn't a minimum building standard homes had to meet. Essentially, anyone could build anything they wanted. But homes get inherited, passed down, bought and sold. And so do their problems.

That's not to say there wasn't real craftsmanship - I've seen some quality homes over a hundred years old. Their structure as solid as the day it was built. But some homes are just old.

What does this mean for homeowners today? You have to know what you're getting into and all the potential problems that come with older homes.

Was the house built in a wealthier part of town 100 years ago? Or was it the home of a worker or labourer? Or of someone who didn't have the money to build it right? And because there was no code, it didn't matter. How do you find out?

Most municipalities have archives and historical maps. These can tell you what different neighbourhoods and areas were like, 50 years ago, 100 years ago, or even 200 years ago. What buildings were torn down, which ones were restored, and who were the original owners.

They can also tell you the typical demographics of the people who lived there. For example, was the neighbourhood originally built and inhabited by miners or bankers? Mill workers or politicians? This can provide some insight into the quality of the home's original structure.

Let's say you're interested in a house. It's 60 years old. You find out it was built and owned by an engineer or architect. Are you in the clear? Is the home a good investment? Again, it depends.

What about renovations? It's important you know what changes were made, who made them and when. The house might have started out strong. But any modifications could have compromised that.

For example, older century homes didn't have many bathroom fixtures. Most bathrooms today are much heavier. If a century home's bathrooms have been updated make sure the floors have been reinforced. Has it been properly waterproofed?

What about insulation? Most homes built before 1960 don't have enough - especially in the attic.

Is there knob-and-tube wiring? If a house was built before 1940 it mostly likely did at some point. If it still has knob-and-tube wiring many insurance companies won't insure it. The electrical system might also need to be updated to handle today's electrical demands. What's the cost? It can run close to $20,000.

Older homes also have their health hazards. Things like lead paint and asbestos. If a home was built before 1940 there's an 87 per cent chance it has lead paint. Before the 1980's asbestos was used in all kinds building products. Asbestos is always a concern any time you're renovating older homes.

Other common problems in older homes include:

- Rusting pipes

- Rotting beams

- Mould and termites

- Water damage

- Hazardous framing

- Uninsulated walls and ductwork

- Undermined foundations

- Damaged exteriors, such as cracks in plaster.

Potential buyers need to do their homework. Always hire an inspector to check out any home you're thinking of buying.

But especially if you're thinking of buying an older house. You might also want to bring in a contractor with lots of experience renovating older homes. They'll be able to tell you what it can cost to bring the house up to code.

At the end of the day, old or new, any home will have some issues. There are older homes that are stronger and more structurally secure than new homes. But some new homes are healthier and more efficient than older homes.

Is either one better than the other? It comes down to materials, building methods used during construction and any renovations that followed.

All I'm saying is homeowners need to be aware of the potential risks. You don't want a can of worms you can't afford. Because if you think older means better, think again.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

The Build Begins For the Jamie Bell Adventure Playground

From Mike's Facebook page yesterday:
On site at the Jamie Bell Adventure Playground in High Park. The plans are in - and we're getting ready for the week long build next week. It's going to be a lot of work - but we're working with a great team from the city and looking forward to the community getting involved on Saturday July 7th! Stay Tuned.
Photo: On site at the Jamie Bell Adventure Playground in High Park. The plans are in - and we're getting ready for the week long build next week. It's going to be a lot of work - but we're working with a great team from the city and looking forward to the community getting involved on Saturday July 7th! Stay Tuned.

Mike and crew are getting geared up to revamp the Jamie Bell Adventure Playground, which was attacked by an arsonist in March of this year. From what I read earlier, the build should be featured on Mike's new show Mike Holmes Makes It Right set to hit the airwaves across Canada (and hopefully the US too) this fall.

For more information on the Jamie Bell Park project, refer to related Holmes Spot blog entries:
Jamie Bell Playground to Rise From Ashes
Mike Holmes Pitches In To Rebuild Torched Playground
Mike Holmes To Help Rebuild High Park Playground - Video and Article
Mike Holmes Helps to Rebuild Jamie Bell Adventure Playground in Toronto

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Mike Holmes Has It Made In The Shade: Arbors and Pergolas

In this article, one of Mike's monthly columns reposted from the National Post (Canada), Mike talks arbors (or arbours in Canadianese). What is an arbor? "An arbour is an outdoor structure made from a wooden frame. It’s usually four feet wide, two feet deep and eight feet tall. Some people put them in gardens or at the entrance of their homes," writes Mike. Arbors are not the same as pergolas, as Mike explains in the article. Pergolas are large, freestanding structures with vertical posts that, much like arbors, provide shade and beauty to an outdoor space. As always, before you build an arbor or a pergola, you must ask yourself several questions, such as "Do I really, really know what the hell I'm doing?" or maybe "Do I have the skill level to build a large wooden structure that won't blow over and  kill me and my family?" If the answer to any of the above questions is no, then it's probably better to hire a professional. DIY kits are available in the big box stores, but as Mike always says, you get what you pay for.


Mike Holmes: Harbour arbour love — it offers shade

  Jun 25, 2012 – 8:00 AM ET | Last Updated: Jun 22, 2012 11:01 AM ET
Peter Redman/National Post
Peter Redman/National Post
A good contractor will make sure the structure is solid, looks good and lasts.

A few days ago, I had to reveal a huge job for my new series. While I was outside waiting for the homeowners to return — so I could reveal their house — something caught my eye.
At the entrance of one of the neighbour’s homes was an arbour. And it made me think. Arbours seem just decorative, but they’re also practical — if you design and build them right and place them properly.
An arbour is an outdoor structure made from a wooden frame. It’s usually four feet wide, two feet deep and eight feet tall. Some people put them in gardens or at the entrance of their homes. But a custom one can be built to fit any space.
A large one with vines growing over it provides shade and privacy. If it’s built on the sunny side of the house, it can prevent heat from entering the home. This can help cut cooling costs — very practical.
Building an arbour seems simple. But you can mess up even a simple job without proper planning. First, you might want to hire a contractor to build it. A good contractor will make sure the structure is solid, looks good and lasts. This is especially important if you want to build something bigger, such as a pergola.
Unlike an arbour, pergolas have vertical posts that support large crossbeams and joists. The structure is ideal for vines, creating shade underneath. If the pergola is freestanding, it usually has four support posts. If it’s built off the side of a house, it will have two.
Building a pergola is a big job. You need a pro with the right skills and craftsmanship.
He or she will use proper construction techniques. Are the support poles deep enough? Do you need a permit? Was the yard surveyed? Are there utility lines to worry about? A good contractor takes care of these details for you.
Ready-made arbours and pergolas might look good in the big-box store flyer. But remember, you get what you pay for. If you don’t care how long it lasts, ready-made might not be bad. But in general, they’re not built well.
Like most mass-produced items, manufacturers try to cut costs to increase profit margins.
This usually compromises the quality of the product, which we know compromises its longevity and durability.
For example, most store-bought arbours use staples instead of screws — or even nails. So they’ll only last a couple of years before high winds and storms wear them down or break them apart.
You especially don’t want to to go cheap if you’re building a pergola and attaching it to your home. Why not? First, you might need a permit — it depends on the municipality where you live. If that’s the case, you’ll need plans that need to be approved. And two, if it’s windy and the pergola gets torn away, it could also rip off your home’s siding.
You want a solid structure that can withstand a storm, or you risk damaging your home.
Some manufacturers also cut costs by using inferior wood. But if you hire a contractor, you can choose the wood yourself. I suggest quality, long-lasting lumber such as cedar, Douglas fir, hard spruce or redwood. There’s also pressure-treated or PT lumber, which is cheaper but corrosive to metal fasteners.
Someone who is experienced building arbours and pergolas will know how to assemble it right — and that depends on the materials. For example, they’ll know spruce and fir need to be sealed or stained. They’ll know cedar, PT and redwood don’t.
Quality lumber costs more. But arbours and pergolas don’t require as much lumber as fences do. It might be something you can budget for. Not to mention it will last for years. It’s worth the investment.
A pro will also know to seal or stain the pieces before they’re put together, so all the sides and edges are completely covered. And they’ll use stainless steel, galvanized or zinc hardware connectors, depending on your budget. This stops the screws from rusting.
Arbours and pergolas are exposed to the same harsh elements as fences. A pro will build them just as sturdy.
The stability of these structures depends on the depth of the wooden framework’s support poles. The main thing to keep in mind is to get the poles below the frost line. That changes depending on where you live. Every region has different minimum depth restrictions. For a fence it’s usually three feet.
To me building an arbour or pergola is a simple job. Make sure it’s levelled, make sure it’s strong and make sure it looks good. And for years to come it will still be standing.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Mike Holmes In Support of the CCFA and CCFC

Mike Holmes is always one to put his money where his mouth is and support causes close to his heart. In the case of his eldest daughter Amanda, Mike has lent his name and time to support the CCFA and CCFC. When Amanda was 18, she was diagnosed with Crohn's Disease, and since then, Mike and Amanda have worked in tandum to raise awareness and funds for the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America and Canada (CCFA and CCFC).

Check out this 2010 blog post from a Canadian PR agency about a charity event that Mike and Amanda participated in to benefit the CCFC.


22nd Annual M&M Meat Shops Charity BBQ Day! Posted: 6th May 2010 by SO_pr in SOstuff!

Mike Holmes and his daughter Amanda are kicking-off M&M Meat Shops Charity BBQ Day at Yonge-Dundas Square this Friday, May 7 between 11:30 am and 2:00 pm.

On Saturday, May 8, 2010, M&M Meat Shops’ franchisees, staff and thousands of volunteers from coast-to-coast will grill hamburgers and hot dogs for the 22nd Annual M&M Meat Shops Charity BBQ Day to benefit the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of Canada (CCFC).

Amanda was originally diagnosed with Crohn’s as a teenager. This year she is helping M&M Meat Shops reach their fundraising goal of $2 million. The money raised through events such as Charity BBQ Day have allowed CCFC to fund more than $61 million in medical research projects.


With the help and support of team Holmes, the M&M Meat Shops around Canada were able to raise an astounding $1,610,000 in 2010 for the CCFC.


In a 2011 news release regarding 23rd Annual M&M Meat Shops Charity BBQ Day, Amanda Belanger-Holmes and Mike spoke of their support for the CCFC:

This year, M&M Meat Shops Charity BBQ Day is being supported by Amanda Holmes, daughter of Canada's Most Trusted Contractor Mike Holmes. Amanda was diagnosed with Crohn's as a teenager. "My dad is an expert at home renovation and construction." says Amanda. "But when I was diagnosed with Crohn's disease even he didn't have the tools to fix me. At this point, nobody does and that's why both of us are proud to support the CCFC. M&M Meat Shops Charity BBQ is an important way to raise funds and awareness for Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis."

"There are few things harder than seeing your child in pain," says Mike Holmes. "I appreciate every dollar donated to the CCFC."

That same year, Mike and Amanda appeared in a video for the CCFC to raise awareness for the disease.


In 2012, Amanda Belanger-Holmes, along with her famous dad and Jennifer Dodd created a video to raise awareness for Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Mike Holmes Reveals His "Secrets"

...Sounds more scandalous than it really is, trust me! Since I have a slight vacation hangover, I thought I'd do one more "easy" blog entry before I get into the real meat and potatoes (I'm compiling a really good bio for Mike Holmes, and all this researching is taking more time than I ever thought. Hopefully it will be done and posted in the next day or so.)

It's not much of a secret... Mike Holmes knows a lot about what it takes to get a picture perfect reno... and what it takes to botch one too. In this article by PARADE, Mike answers all the typical questions that people usually ask him. He talks about his book, his tools, his celebrity status, and more. Not too terrible of a interview... Now, if Mike wants to sit down with me, I could give him an interview that would singe the eyebrows right off his face, but until then, here's a nice little puff piece to tide us all over.


Mike Holmes Reveals His Homeowner Secrets

Erin Hill | June 04, 2012
Mike Holmes Reveals His Homeowner Secrets
Mike Holmes, star of the popular HGTV television programs Holmes on Homes and Holmes Inspection, has released his essential guide for anyone who owns a home, or has ever considered homeownership: Holmes Inspection: The Essential Guide for Every Homeowner, Buyer and Seller.

Holmes, 48, talked to PARADE about his biggest renovation pet peeves, the one tool every homeowner should have, and more.

What’s your new book about?

“It’s all about learning how to buy and sell your next home. So many people put the horse before the trailer. When you look for a house, it’s usually out of excitement and impulse and the first thing you say is, ‘That looks beautiful,’ but you need to ask, ‘Is it built right or are there problems with the home?’ I’m holding your hand on buying and selling your home.”

What’s the most important thing people should ask their contractors?
“How long they’ve been in the business, and what they did do before they became a home inspector. You want someone who has been a part of the industry and doing renovations for many years. As long as they’ve been in the industry, they understand how a house is built. If the home inspector had a job at McDonald’s and then became a home inspector, I’d be a little leery of hiring somebody like that.”

What’s the No. 1 tool every homeowner should have?
“A cordless drill. It’s one of the best things you can have: a drill with multi-bits so you can do whatever you need.”

Did you always know you wanted to be a contractor?

“I grew up watching my dad, and he was a jack of all trades. I was fascinated in his ability to do electrical, plumbing, dry wall, structure, and I was tugging on his pants asking him questions and he started teaching me. I started doing electrical at six, I finished my first basement at 12, and I made a complete basement. I didn’t know it was going to be my passion, but it was something I absolutely loved.”

What do you think about the fame that comes from being a TV star?
“I never really cared about the fame, and it still means nothing to me. I’m a contractor and I believed I could get enough education out there and teach homeowners what they need to know when they do a renovation or sell or buy a house.”

What is your favorite part of the house to renovate?
“I love doing additions, guest bathrooms, and kitchens. But my favorite is the basement. It allows me to really play. That’s what I love about my job is I never really do the same thing twice.”

What is your biggest renovation pet peeve?

“People being in a hurry. We live in a fast paced world and we want everything right away, but the one thing people need to know is that it takes time and energy to do it all right.”

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Your Daily Dose of Mike Holmes

(I’m back from my wonderful vacation. This weekend, my husband and I went to New Mexico to see an independent film, circled through Navajo country, visited Four Corners, drove over the Hoover Dam, got our kicks on Route 66, and pretty much explored everything the Southwestern United States has to offer – or at least explored everything we could in two short days. But now I’m home and sitting in front of my computer and ready to get back to “business.”)

As we were driving, my husband and I were joking about this blog, and what I’d decided to call it: The Holmes Spot: Your Daily Dose of Mike Holmes. Just for fun, we decided to come up with some alternative sub-titles that could describe the blog well. Very alternative. Here’s what we came up with. Feel free to add your own.

The Holmes Spot:  We Stalk Mike Holmes So You Don’t Have To

The Holmes Spot: This Blog Has Nothing To Do With American Football

The Holmes Spot: The Contractor, Not The Detective

The Holmes Spot: A Place For Women Who Think Mike Holmes Is More Attractive Than Brad Pitt

The Holmes Spot: No Restraining Orders As Of Yet (Cross Your Fingers)

The Holmes Spot: Mike, Not Katie, Sherlock, or John

The Holmes Spot: Watch For Falling Hammers… Ouch!!!

The Holmes Spot: Blog It Right

The Holmes Spot: We Brake For Contractors

The Holmes Spot: Overalls Optional (But Preferred)

The Holmes Spot: Bringing the Internet Up To Code

The Holmes Spot: Homes on Holmes… Splat!

And last, but not least…

The Holmes Spot:  Rock Out With Your Caulk Out

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Another Indigenous Housing Related Article (2010)

On June 12, of this year, Mike Holmes participated in the World Indigenous Housing Conference. However, Mike Holmes has been a long-time supporter of improving the conditions on the reserves in Canada. This short, slightly inflammatory but very passionate editorial blog was posted in 2010. In it, the author praises Mike for trying to make a difference for the lives of the indigenous people living in Canada. He criticizes "do-gooders" in Canada for supporting charities around the globe, but doing nothing for the people living in poor conditions right in their own backyard. At the very least, "Mike Holmes is attempting to do a wonderful thing," the author recognizes.

(This is just a short little puff piece to fill this space whilst I'm away on vacation!!! Enjoy, and I'll be back on Monday. My luck, something amazing will happen in the life of Mike Holmes in between now and the time I get back and I won't be here to blog about it. Oh, bother.) 


An idea worth getting behind

Published On Wed Sep 15 2010

Mike Holmes and Assemble of First Nations National Chief, Shawn A-in-chut.
Mike Holmes and Assemble of First Nations National Chief, Shawn A-in-chut.
Re: Mike Holmes sets sights on native reserves, Sept. 12
Kudos to Mike Holmes. The conditions under which children and others live on reserves in Canada is a national disgrace. It has always amazed me that the cabal of Canadian do-gooders who travel the globe while drawing good salaries and dispensing money they have collected in Canada don’t appear at all interested in working on our reserves.
It seems many are more interested in foreign travel, perks and income, and accolades they desire to acquire as long as they are addressing problems outside Canada. It seems nobody wants to help improve the equally as terrible squalor that exists right here at home. I say shame on the whole bunch of you.
Mike Holmes is attempting to do a wonderful thing. He needs the support of our governments, plus the generosity of Canadians. To all those self-promoting Canadians traveling the globe in the name of this or that questionable (in some cases) charity, do something for your own country for a change. I don’t have to identify you, you know who you are and so do we. You could make a wonderful difference.
Clyde Kitteringham, Milton

Friday, June 22, 2012

At The Heart Of Holmes

I absolutely love this little article/blog post from In it, Mike talks candidly about the currently-stalled Wind Walk Project, which would be a sustainable community built to last that would produce more electricity than it used. Mike is relentless about changing the minimum code and building homes that don't mold, burn, or blow over. “It’s about doing the right thing, in the right place, at the right time," he states in the article. Doing it right is truly the heart of Holmes. But Mike talks more than just business in this article. He also talks about growing up as a wimpy kid who got beat up a lot, the up and coming "Mighty Mike" cartoon, and the sixth book he plans to write, entitled "Men are Easy."  (Are they really, Mike?)  "...I have always been drawn to write a book about love, life and sex," he says. Mike, I am eagerly awaiting this book. It should be a good one. And I really hope he's joking about buying an island and disappearing one day... unless he plans to take me with him. Wink ;)  PS- Dig the Knight in Shining Armor pictures. Super cute!


At the Heart of Holmes

Photo by Neville Palmer at the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel

Contrary to public opinion, Mike Holmes never believed he was destined to become a contractor, let alone a Canadian icon in the construction industry, but from the age of six, and by virtue of his father’s influence, he was constantly fixing or building something. Never at a loss for words or ideas, this natural born leader has always aspired to make the world a better place – beyond building homes that won’t burn, mould or rot. Now at 48, his drive to educate millions of people – all at once – is stronger than ever, and he has new goals on the horizon. But when his work is finished, don’t be surprised if Holmes disappears from the public eye – seeking seclusion on an island in hopes of regaining some well-deserved privacy.

By Mary Savage
Photos by Neville Palmer
Read more here about the photoshoot by Neville.
After spending an afternoon with Canada’s most trusted contractor it became apparent that Mike Holmes is even more personable than his “non-scripted” television demeanor depicts. Behind the piercing blue eyes and diamond-studded ears, the self-proclaimed workaholic is starting to realize the importance of enjoying life by stealing pockets of time amidst his breakneck schedule, his vision for change never sleeps.
“For whatever reason, we don’t think outside the box: we know it’s wrong, but we don’t change our approach to building better homes. It’s not about changing the minimum building codes, it’s about changing how we look at things,” says Holmes. “Things won’t change until we know better – by learning from our mistakes.”
He appears to be a knight in shining armour to the thousands of families he personally helps to ‘make it right’ when renovations go wrong, it’s no wonder he has a global following. “We’ve got to stop doing things because that’s the way we’ve always done them. We haven’t changed the minimum building codes for 30-odd years and they’re not working,” remarks Holmes. “Two of the fastest growing businesses are home inspections and mould abatement.” Because according to Holmes, every single house has mould – the question is how much.
“Imagine living in a house that won’t mould or burn, it won’t fall down or blow down. Imagine building a community that operates as ‘net-zero’, meaning it actually produces more electricity than it uses,” Holmes adds.
When Holmes forayed into the Wind Walk project, a sustainable community slated for development south of Okotoks, his vision of the Holmes Community was to build houses that would last for centuries (costing about 15 per cent more than the going rate). Three years later, the project sits before the provincial government awaiting its decision, and Holmes has no intention of giving up.
“Eventually, it will move forward because I’m not giving up, it’s the right thing do to. I picked Alberta because it’s progressive with respect to the environment,” explains Holmes. “It’s about doing the right thing, in the right place, at the right time.”
Holmes explains that the project’s greatest challenge has to do with water. “We want the water and sewer to be 100 per cent contained within the community. The water source comes from the aquifer: we’ll use it and clean it and return it to the aquifer. Everything in life is about that cycle: how can we move, how can we grow, how can we continue – for our kids and their future.”
As for other communities like Wind Walk, there’s one slated for Haiti. It’s being built near Port au Prince to house children who were left orphaned by the earthquake. His team has been down there several times and he will go down in November to begin the project.
And when it comes the next generation, Holmes has met with the prime minister on several occasions to talk about ‘green’ initiatives. “We’re all thinking green, we’re all talking green, but who’s teaching it? How do we move from the level we’re at now, building minimum code that’s literally not working, to designing differently?” he asks. Holmes Communities will hire local apprentices and teach them how to build these houses. It creates a brand new certification and will change the industry overnight.”
When it comes to building a better house, Holmes combines history with technology and a bit of common sense. “When you think about how we built years ago, we had canopies over our windows and they were positioned at perfect degrees. In the summer, it shaded us from the solar passive and kept the house cool, but in the winter, it still allowed the sunshine to heat the environment,” he says. “Why did we stop using canopies? Was it cheaper or did we just become stupid?”
His forward thinking, backed by his drive for action, has landed him in a league of his own where he is both respected and disliked. Regardless, Holmes has already made a tremendous difference and he attributes many of his traits – like them or not – to his father.
“My Dad was a real unique person and, among other things, he taught me respect and to think for myself,” Holmes says. “I grew up in a tough neighborhood and maybe that’s what made me strong. I was a wimpy kid and got beat up a lot. I was about 14 when I finally stood up for myself and realized I was strong enough to fight back.”
For the past five years, Holmes has been working on Mighty Mike a cartoon character to be launched in 2012. “It’s a version of me as a kid. It follows Mighty Mike’s activity with a crew of kids around him. It’s going to help teach kids integrity, kindness, respect, having a passion for what they do and, of course, how to become a contractor,” Holmes explains. “He’s going to be an icon for the next generation.”
Looking at Holmes’s bucket list, there appears to be a lot of checkmarks. “In the last 10 years, everything was planned, with one exception: the accident was going from Holmes Homes to Holmes Communities!” With four companies, a bi-monthly magazine and four books under the Holmes Group, he’s on a roll.
“I planned every book ahead of time and I’ve still got two more to go. The fifth one is about the environment and how we need to understand the changes that are necessary. The sixth book is called, Men are Easy, because I have always been drawn to write a book about love, life and sex,” he says with a grin.
“When I read the book, Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus, I was 30 and newly divorced. Afterwards, I said to myself, ‘It’s that easy?’ Then I called my ex-wife and apologized – for everything.”
Holmes looks at life as one continuous learning curve, turning mistakes into lessons and moving forward. “To me, there’s never a mistake in life. Everything is a lesson and that’s how we learn. I’ve never regretted anything that has helped me understand life better and helped me get to where I am today.”
Holmes admits he thought Wind Walk would have been better received, but like most things in life, he sees it as a learning opportunity. “There’s nothing negative about this project – we spent over a million dollars planning and testing it,” he says. “No matter what happens, after the first community has been built, I’ll have changed the industry.”
In a rare moment, when Holmes is not working, you’ll find him on his boat or travelling across the country on his new three-wheel motorcycle. “I calculate my time by what’s important to me. It’s important to finish what I’ve started and I speculate I’ve got about five years to go, but I doubt it will ever stop,” he adds. The next bucket list will take him to 60 and according to Holmes, it’s anybody’s guess what happens after that.
“I always said I’m going to buy an island and disappear and I’m probably going to do that, but then again, maybe I’ll build an underground house.”
Wind Walk at a Glance
  • For the 1,000 – 1,200 Wind Walk residents, their community would be a compact, walkable neighborhood featuring Green™ and sustainable building solutions that include Holmes Homes, Holmes Approved Homes and high performance infrastructure. The concept, introduced in spring 2008, proposes development of a 145-acre parcel of land, located south of Highway 7 and the Cornerstone area, just outside the Okotoks city limits. The current plan promotes a mixed-used land plan:
  • 457 single and multi-family homes
  • 33 per cent of the land is comprised of open green spaces, allocating ten acres to public park use
  • a full-sized soccer pitch
  • over 80 plots designated for a community garden and farmers’ markets
  • 7.5 acres for a school
  • approximately 80,000 sq.ft. of retail space
The plan also includes technological integration to offer:
  • district wide heating and electrical generation plan to be the first net-exporting energy subdivision in North America
  • improved automation and home energy management
  • renewable energy systems such as solar on every rooftop
  • an integrated water management system retaining storm water on-site to pre-development rates and conservation standards
  • improved broadband speed and capacity through fibre optic infrastructure
  • full compost, recycle and waste management plan during and after construction
  • district wide battery back-up storage to eliminate risk of power outages, surges and interruptions

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Mike Holmes is "Radically Canadian"

On Mike's Facebook page today, he shared a post from David Suzuki's page.

I have a radical idea. Let’s make Canada a leader in energy efficiency, responsible use of resources, green jobs for young people, and innovation!
- Mike Holmes, Radical Canadian

"Are You Radically Canadian?" is apparently the battle cry for David Suzuki, famed Canadian environmentalist, and his foundation, the David Suzuki Foundation. Underneath the photo and quote from Mike, he posts a link, where you can make a monthly pledge to be "Radically Canadian," the qualifications of which include:

If it's radical to:
  1. Protect nature
  2. Defend informed debate and policies based on science
  3. Work tirelessly to leave Canada a better place
then we are radically Canadian!

I am neither radical, nor Canadian, but I do find it admirable to care about your country and making it a better place.

This is the banner, currently posted on David Suzuki's Facebook, by the way. It sports the "Are You Radically Canadian?" slogan, and as you can see, Mike's mug is in the bottom right hand corner, right above the David Suzuki Foundation logo.
Cover Photo

2012 World Indigenous Housing Conference - UPDATE

On June 12, Mike Holmes gave the opening keynote address at the World Indigenous Housing Conference. In the last couple of days/weeks, there have been several articles written and many photos posted. Here are some updates on Mike Holmes' participation in the 2012 WIHC.


A blog post from

Mike Holmes stops by our booth at the WIHC last week for a ‘Meet and Greet!’

Mike Holmes, TV star, housing expert and philanthropist gave the opening keynote address as well as led informative workshops at the 2012 World Indigenous Housing Conference (WIHC). Graciously offering his expertise and sharing his extensive involvement with several First Nations initiatives, projects and programs.
First Nations Communities across Canada already include several Pacific Homes and with us being a PinkWood supplier we offer fire, mold & moisture protection; helping to create healthier and safer homes.
As announced in March of this year Mike Holmes endorses PinkWood supporting their family of products; so we, at PinkWood and Pacific Homes, invited him to spend some time in our booth at the WIHC to meet and greet with the people visiting our booth. We all certainly appreciate that he took time out of busy schedule for us and what he’s doing for the First Nations Communities in Canada.


From a news release posted on

Mike Holmes Of Holmes On Homes To Give Keynote Address At The World Indigenous Housing Conference June11-15, 2012 In Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

This International Conference will bring together Indigenous housing leaders, senior government officials, researchers and corporate heads from around the world to learn and share from best practices, contribute to building a global Indigenous network and showcase Indigenous cultures.

Quote startIndigenous housing in Canada and around the world is facing a crisis: mold, poor structure, over-crowding, insufficient inspections. This is how people are living. You know, enough is enough. We need to do something about this.Quote end

Vancouver, Canada (PRWEB) March 22, 2012

The Aboriginal Housing Management Association (AHMA), the recognized leader in Canadian Indigenous housing is hosting the first World Indigenous Housing Conference, June 11-15, 2012, in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Well known TV host, housing expert, and philanthropist, Mike Holmes will give the keynote Conference address. Mr. Holmes is the creator and star of Holmes on Homes ®, the #1 show on HGTV Canada, which is syndicated in the United States, Australia, New Zealand, United Kingdom, Germany and South Africa. As a professional contractor, Mike Holmes uncovers and fixes sloppy, dangerous renovations in his award-winning television series. The AHMA mission is to set the benchmark for devolving government responsibilities to Indigenous management. This International Conference will bring together Indigenous housing leaders, senior government officials, researchers and corporate heads from around the world to learn and share from best practices, contribute to building a global Indigenous network, and showcase Indigenous cultures.
According to Mike Holmes "Indigenous housing in Canada and around the World is facing a crisis: mold, poor structure, over-crowding, insufficient inspections. This is how people are living. You know, enough is enough. We need to do something about this.” We are meeting the Indigenous housing providers, government leaders, and First Nations Chiefs from around the World. Everyone is bringing to the table which each of us know, so we can make it right together. We will be talking about developing housing that is more appropriate for climate and culture, housing that is more energy-efficient, housing that is more durable, and implementing projects that bring affordable housing to a higher standard. Mr. Holmes, will also lead a workshop at the Conference covering such topics as rebuilding devastated communities strategies, and building the social, financial and technical capacity to respond to natural disasters like earthquakes, hurricanes, forest fires and flooding. The session will also cover how to bring forces together to achieve effective local capabilities.
Mr. Holmes is a partner with the National Chief, Shawn Atleo of the Assembly of the First Nations in Canada. They are working on the Building Homes and Building Skills Project, one of the most important First Nations community projects in Canada. Together they are redefining inspections and building standards for the First Nations communities, and they are doing these using sustainable, green practices while teaching the community how to properly build and maintain their homes and better improve family health benefits. The project will build better infrastructure and create opportunities for First Nations to work with industry leaders. Mr. Holmes will be talking about this project and other initiatives in a workshop at the Conference
As a Conference attendee, you will have the opportunity to meet senior government leaders and exchange ideas on how to advance Indigenous housing. You will be enabled to interact with Housing managers who will share a spectrum of achievements in governance and capacity building. Indigenous leaders will reveal best practices. Policymakers will explain ways to ensure sustainable solutions and infrastructure. You can build powerful connections with this influential arena of leaders from Canada, the United States, Australia and New Zealand, and other developed countries that share common Indigenous housing experiences. Stimulating speakers, workshops and presentations will explore five key themes: Sharing Our Stories, Governance and Capacity Building, Government Partnerships, Housing as a Determinant of Health, and Disaster Preparedness. You will have the opportunity to share expertise and build powerful connections with this influential executive group.
A rich cultural exchange, with vibrant traditional and contemporary Indigenous entertainment, is part of the Conference Experience. The 2012 WIHC Conference Headline performer is Global star Gurrumul, called Australia’s Most Important Voice on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine. Born blind, Gurrumul grew up as a member of the Gumatj clan on Elcho Island, Northern Territory, Australia. Gurrumul is changing the way national and international audiences experience his Yolngu culture, through an accessible Western music style. He sings about identity, spirit and connection with the land and ancestral beings he is related to.
Gurrumul’s debut album Gurrumul received international acclaim. Listeners connected with his angelic, high tenor voice, including Elton John, and Sting, who are big fans. The debut sold half a million copies worldwide, reaching Triple Platinum in Australia, and won Best World Music Album at the 2008 ARIA Artisan Awards (Australian Recording Industry Association). His second solo album, Rralaka, won the 2011 ARIA Best World Music Album. Also in 2011, Gurrumul was chosen to perform for HRH the Queen of England, United States President Barack Obama, and Crown Prince Frederik and Princess Mary of Denmark, confirming this talented musician’s place as an international sensation, capable of transcending cultural boundaries.
Jana Mashonee is Lumbee/Tuscarora, a singer, songwriter, actress and author, who has been nominated for two GRAMMY awards and won eight Native American Music Awards. She has released four albums; all are commercial and critical successes. Jana Mashonee stars in the soon to be released motion picture, Raptor Ranch, and her first book, American Indian Story – The Adventures of Sha'kona, is a cornerstone of her Jana's Kids Foundation Reading for Life program.
Pamyua brings Inuit music and culture to the world, showcasing drum-songs from Greenland and Alaska. Pamyua vocalists Phillip Blanchett, Stephen Blanchett, Ossie Kairaiuak and Karina Moeller bring “a blizzard of interlocking harmonies,” together, according to Native People Magazine. Pamyua reminds listeners to embrace relationships with honor, humility and tolerance. Their performances—a fusion of traditional Inuit music and Yup’ik dance—encourage audiences to appreciate Indigenous traditions, while infusing traditional wisdom into modern culture.


Various photos from around the internet (Google):

Refer to previous Holmes Spot blog entries:
Mike Holmes to Speak at the 2012 World Indigenous Housing Conference
Stop Building Junk On Reserves, Says Mike Holmes
Mike Holmes: "We Need More Aboriginal People In Construction"

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Mike Holmes Receives The Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal

From Mike's Facebook page yesterday:
Honoured to have received the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal last night from GG David Johnston - But I'm just a contractor!
The photo is available for download by clicking on it, then right-clicking on the enlarged photo to download it to your computer (138 Kb).

Oh Mike Holmes, you are so much more than a contractor, silly! You're just a contractor like the Grand Canyon is just a hole in the ground. You are a phenomenal human being, and that's putting it lightly. Congratulations on this prestigious award. It's much deserved.

Once again... Canadian I am NOT, so I had to do a little bit of research on what exactly the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal is, who receives it, and what it signifies. I think this video explains it quite concisely:

Here are the eligibility requirements for receiving the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal: (source: The Governor General of Canada website)

  • Be a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident of Canada, but need not necessarily reside in Canada;
  • Have made a significant contribution to a particular province, territory, region or community within Canada, or an achievement abroad that brings credit to Canada; and
  • Be alive on February 6th, 2012, the 60th anniversary of Her Majesty’s accession to the Throne. The medal can be awarded posthumously, as long as the recipient was alive on that date.

I do believe Mike fulfills all three of these requirements with flying colors. Once again, congrats to Mike Holmes, and of course all of the other winners of this very prestigious award.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Mike Holmes on Landscaping: It's More Than Just Looks

My decision to post this recent article, one of Mike's monthly columns from the month of June reposted from, is a little bit self serving... it's landscaping time for me in my own home! Unlike Mike, I have the added challenge of living in a desert, and therefore I have to consider a lot when weighing my landscaping options, including my unique regional climate and the type of plants it can (and cannot) support, the slope of my tiny 20'x30' backyard and proper drainage so that when we get our yearly desert storm every August, my living room doesn't flood, etc., etc. etc... Mike is right, landscaping is much more than looks. I'm finding that out first hand. I won't be hiring any pros, being that my backyard living space is so tiny and my options are so limited, but I will be consulting a great number of books and hopefully some helpful articles by Mike via the internet. I'm confident the advice I garner from these sources will be enough to ensure my project gets done right!

Home landscaping about much more than looks

Proper landscaping helps maintain the integrity of the property and home.
Proper landscaping helps maintain the integrity of the property and home. Photograph by: Alex Schuldt , The Holmes Group
This past weekend I was in an ATV ride, raising money for the Holmes Foundation. I got to be outside, do something fun, be with friends and support skilled trades training - some of my favourite things all in one. It was awesome.

It also reminded me of how terrain can maintain and manage the environment. On the ATV ride we had a trail. The way the rainwater flowed made some parts dry and others a mess. Depending on how the trees and plant life grew, we got shade in some spots and sunlight in others. This got me thinking about the terrain around our homes.

I'm not a landscaper but I care about landscaping. Why? Because landscaping affects a home.

Most people think landscaping is a way to feature the house - increase its curb appeal. But more than just eye candy, landscaping around a house serves a purpose. It has a function. And it's up to you to decide what that function is.

Do you want it to keep the kids safe? Keep them in view? Direct traffic? Protect pets? Protect the exterior of your house from bad weather? Protect your home from sun and heat? Manage the rainwater around your house? Increase privacy? What do you want it to do for you?

Good landscaping works with your home. Not against it. It's a no-brainer. What you do on the exterior of a house will affect its interior. You have to be smart.

For example, planting a garden against your home's walls might seem nice. But the soil around foundation walls has been disturbed. It's not as firmly packed as undisturbed soil. It has more airspace. So when you water the plants, where do you think the water is going? Straight to the foundation. Not good. If you want to avoid a leaky basement, keep gardens and plants away from your home's walls.

Let's say you want to build a raised bed for a garden next to a fence. Great. What's the first thing you need to think about? What type of wood you'll need to enclose it? Type of soil? Type of plants? The most important thing you'll need to address - before anything - is how is this going to affect the grading around your house. How will this affect your neighbours?

I've heard so many stories where one neighbour will be doing some landscaping on their property, and the next thing you know, there's water pooling next-door. Why? Because landscaping changed the grade. And that affected the drainage.

Knowing exactly how landscaping is going to affect your house can be difficult. That's why it's smart to bring in someone who knows. Someone who can tell you what needs to be done to keep your home safe and healthy. And what landscaping options you have that increase your home's functionality.

Are there ways you can take advantage of sunlight during the winter? Heat during the summer? Block tough winds that can damage your home's exterior? Plants and shrubs that can help with drainage? Prevent leaks?

A good landscaper will know all the right questions to ask before a shovel even hits the ground. Like locating all the utility lines on your property. The last thing you want is to cut your cable - or worse.

They'll also tell you the best way to maintain everything. Remember, watering the lawn is one of the biggest water wasters. The average suburban garden in Canada needs about 100,000 litres of water during the growing season. That's a lot of water. But when you consider that the water being used for most gardens has been treated for consumption, that's a huge waste.

The grass is always greener when we're green. If you're smart, you'll collect the rainwater and use it for watering your garden and lawn. A professional landscaper will help you do this. They'll develop a system and work the landscaping around it.

How do you find the right landscaper? The same way you find the right contractor. You ask a lot of questions, get a lot of references, and speak to a lot of past clients. You do your homework and check out their work.

And notice what kinds of questions they ask you. Do they care more about your budget? Or are they asking if you have kids? If you plan on having kids soon? How long you're going to be living in the house? Any problems you need the proper landscaping to solve? This will tell you if they're interested in doing a good job or getting the next job.

I don't expect homeowners to know everything about homes and landscaping. But I do expect pros to know. And if you're going to spend the time and money, do it right the first time. Spend your money once and you'll be doing you and your house a huge favour.

Work for us - and we save money in the process. Everyone wins when we care.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Happy Father's Day - Part Two!

Since yesterday was Fathers' Day, I've decided to continue on with the theme of Mike and his kids and post another really good article about the family dynamic that runs through the heart of Mike Holmes' shows.This Canadian Press article reposted from is about a year old, and talks about Mike Jr. and Sherry joining the crew of Holmes Inspection.

I think it's totally cute that Mike use to build handmade Barbie houses for his daughters when they were little. They were probably more like Barbie Dream Mansions, with a detached garage for the Barbie Hot Pink Dream Convertible, and of course, a man cave for Ken. No Barbie Dream Mansion would be complete without the Barbie Dream Hot Tub. (Can you tell I use to play with Barbie Dolls a lot as a kid?)

I think all parents want their kids to be mini versions of themselves. I can only imagine how proud Mike must be of all three of his children, to have them not only following in his footsteps, but running after his enormous strides. Mike has some pretty big shoes to fill, but with a dad like Mike on your side, failure just isn't an option.

Hope you had a great Father's Day yesterday, Mike! One day of celebration is just not enough!

Two of Mike Holmes’ children join show
The cast of HGTV's Holmes Inspection, are from left: Adam Belanger, Rob Brown, Mike Holmes Jr., Damon Bennett, Mike Holmes, Carl Pavlovic, Sherry Holmes, Nicole Faucher, Evan Jatou and Uncle Billy Bell.
In the family The cast of HGTV's Holmes Inspection, are from left: Adam Belanger, Rob Brown, Mike Holmes Jr., Damon Bennett, Mike Holmes, Carl Pavlovic, Sherry Holmes, Nicole Faucher, Evan Jatou and Uncle Billy Bell.
The Canadian Press
TORONTO — Following dad into the family business isn’t always easy. When your dad is Make It Right contractor Mike Holmes, you better be prepared to roll up your sleeves.
Two of his three kids, Mike Holmes Jr. and Sherry Holmes, are part of his regular work crew this season on Holmes Inspection. The series returned for a second season Thursday on HGTV.
All three were on hand at a work site in the northwest corner of Toronto a few weeks ago, gutting a 50-year-old suburban bungalow that had been contaminated with asbestos and lead products, a too familiar find in properties of a certain vintage.
“Anytime before the ’80s they used asbestos in the plaster,” says Damon Bennett, the crew supervisor Holmes refers to as “my general.”
Holmes is on a mission to save the environment one house at a time, limiting grey water drainage and channelling new sources of energy and power.
“Do you really want to bring arsenic into a house?” says Bennett. “Mike’s leading the way in trying to change the industry.”
Holmes, 47, couldn’t be prouder that his children have followed in his footsteps. (Another daughter, Amanda, works in the office).
Sherry Holmes says her dad took her to work sites at an early age and was always building stuff for her, including a handmade Barbie house. “It had hinges and opened up and everything,” she recalls.
Working for her dad isn’t always easy, she admits. He’s a demanding task master and treats her like the rest of the crew.
“I wouldn’t have it any other way,” she says. “I’ve worked hard to be accepted into this man’s world.”
Her brother, 21, says he was more into school and not so much into construction as a young teen. Holmes Sr. says his son had a “black belt in Nintendo.” Holmes, who did his first plumbing job at 12 and had his own construction crew at 19, couldn’t understand his son’s initial reluctance to get his hands dirty. He says shop classes turned him on to building projects at an early age and laments that there are few of those programs available to high school students today.
His son is now motivated by all the exercise on the job. Hauling gravel, wood and drywall has him in shape, although he also works out at the gym. After all, people expect him to have his dad’s Popeye forearms.
“I have to live up to the image,” he says.
Both kids say being involved in efforts to build homes in New Orleans were life changing experiences.
“When we went to New Orleans, I somehow fell in with the construction crew,” says Sherry Holmes, who had previously joined her big sister in the office. “I worked harder there than I have ever worked before.”
Holmes says both kids wanted to quit half way through the New Orleans experience, which was hot and gruelling.
“I knew it was going to be hard on everyone,” he says. “They were all starting to drop in that heat.”
A month or so later, however, Holmes says most of the crew wanted to go back.
“They love an opportunity of making a difference someplace else. That’s why we’re going to Haiti. That’s why we’re probably going to Kansas City and piss off the tornados — because I can.”
Holmes hopes to inspire other kids to get into the construction business with his next TV venture: “Mighty Mike,” a cartoon series based on his childhood adventures.
“I was always building tree houses and stuff,” he says. He hopes to have it up and running within a year.
He’s surprised by all the children who watch Holmes Inspection and his other shows.
His children are now at an age when they’re buying their own houses. His son recently picked up a bungalow that is quite the fixer upper.
“It’s a lot of work coming home after a full day’s work,” he says.
Even Holmes himself admits there’s some truth to the old adage that a contractor’s home is never finished. That’s where Bennett got smart.
“I just bought a condo,” he says. “The last thing you want to do at the end of the day is work on your own place.”
The Canadian Press

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Happy Father's Day Mike!

Watching Mike with his kids makes me realize what I missed out on not growing up with my father. He sure does seem like a great Dad! It's always fun to watch older episodes of Holmes on Homes when little pipsqueak Mike Jr. comes trotting out on the job site with his dad, skinny as a rail. Then you see an episode from a couple years later, "little" Mikey is now 6'4" and towers over everyone, including his dear old dad. Just amazing. I think one of my favorite episode of all time is when Mike Sr. buys Mike Jr. a truck for his birthday. The look on his face was classic. Although, that "world's best hammer" would have made a great gift too, I guess.
On Father's Day, we recognize the good men in and around our lives who have taught us well throughout the years. Being that Mike is the same age as my dad, I do tend to look up to him in certain areas. Most of all, I really admire the way he treats his children... if only all men were as good to their kids, this world would be a much different place! Great fathers like Mike truly deserve their own special day of honor. Happy Father's Day, Mike!

In honor of Father's Day, I've decided to post a recent article ( that Mike wrote for his monthly column. In the article, he talks not only about the importance of people becoming skilled tradesmen and women, but also of how proud is that his children have decided to follow in his footsteps and join the family business. It is very clear that the Holmes family is leading the charge in changing the way people view the trades, both in terms of the prestige and respectability of being a tradesperson, but also how people view the trades as being a lucrative opportunity that both men and women should take advantage of. Mike points out that women make up half the population, there's no reason why women shouldn't step up to the plate and choose a career as a plumber, welder, electrician, or carpenter. Thumbs up, Mike.

Respecting the trades builds a better future
By Mike Holmes, For Postmedia News April 25, 2012

 Mike Holmes says itís crucial to the Canadian economy to get more people working in the skilled trades.Photograph by: Alex Schuldt , The Holmes Group

It was a really proud moment for me when my son MJ (Mike Jr.) first told me he wanted to work in the skilled trades. And when he said he wanted to join my crew, I couldn't have been happier.

Unfortunately, this isn't always the reaction kids get from their parents when they tell them they want to work in the trades. Sometimes, their parents are disappointed. They think having a career in the trades is some kind of a failure. It's not usually encouraged in schools, or at home — but, thank goodness, this is starting to change.

When I first started down this road more than 30 years ago, one of my goals was to change the way people thought about the skilled trades. I wanted people to feel proud when they said they worked as welders, framers, plumbers, carpenters or electricians. I wanted them to be proud of the work they did and the skill they brought to their craft. And I'm beginning to see this more and more.

Why is having pride so important in the skilled trades? Because it pushes people to do better — and these are definitely industries that you want people to do their best in.

People who are proud of the work they do will put in the extra hours to learn a new technique. They'll talk to other colleagues about what works and what doesn't. They'll do whatever they need to do to make sure every job they do is the best they've done yet.

But when people downplay tradespeople's work, they're really just shooting themselves in the foot. Because all that does is make these people feel like the work they do isn't all that important. And if that's the case, what's pushing them to do a good job?

Remember, these are the people working on our homes and on our roads, manufacturing our cars, and building our schools, hospitals and office buildings. Making them feel like their work is second-class isn't smart. Would you want people who aren't proud of what they do working on your home? I know I wouldn't. I've seen what that does, and it's not good. If more contractors were proud of what they did, I wouldn't see at least half the problems I deal with.

Thank goodness, we're starting to give skilled workers their due respect, and our country is making huge strides toward this. We had better, because, if things keep going the way they're going, Canada will be short 1 million tradespeople by 2020. If you think things were bad now — and they are — you don't want to know what they'll be like if half our skilled tradespeople are missing.

When my daughter Sherry started working on my crew, it was especially important. Why? Because I knew she was helping change the face of skilled trades. We forget that women make up more than half of our population. They represent a huge resource to our country. In fact, if we don't encourage our women to enter the skilled trades, we're setting ourselves up for a huge disadvantage. By empowering Canadian women, we make our country stronger. Some of the hardest-working people I've worked with have been women.

How much is it worth to the economy to invest in women? In 2006, a study revealed it was worth between 15 and 23 billion pounds ($24-38 billion) to the U.K. economy to get more women in the workforce and reduce gender segregation. Now the U.K. is one of the Top 10 economies that isn't facing a shortage in skilled tradespeople.

Today, a job in the skilled trades means earning a salary above the national average. And in the next two decades, it's estimated that 40 per cent of new jobs will be in the skilled trades and technologies.

If you're thinking ahead, getting into the trades could really pay off. The work might be hard, but one thing it's not is boring. Look at me. I've been doing this for a really long time, and there hasn't been a boring day yet. Talk to anyone on my team, and he or she will tell you the same thing.

And it's satisfying. Being able to stand back and see what you've built, watch people enjoy what you've done, and see what a difference it makes to their lives, is really something. It truly is one of the main reasons I got into this in the first place.

Skilled tradespeople are the unsung heroes of our time. But their work supports most of our lives, and their skill can sometimes make the difference between life and death. Think about it: The work of a certified electrician, an accomplished carpenter, or a master plumber, will have a huge impact on your life and your family's. Get a bad one, and you'll quickly learn how important their work really is.
Mike and Sherry

Saturday, June 16, 2012

The Sex Appeal Of Mike Holmes - A Holmes Spot Exclusive

Just a friendly little warning to any male, dude, or guy that might have stumbled across this blog post... for the most part, The Holmes Spot blog is pretty gender neutral. We try really hard not to post articles that are too slanted in the direction of drooling slobbering fangirl, but today, we've failed miserably. This article, written exclusively for The Holmes Spot blog, is for the ladies. Sorry men, unless you want to read incessant lady ramblings about how sexy Mike Holmes is, I suggest you move along now, ya hear? Don't say I didn't warn you...



The ladies know it. We might not always say it in front of our guys, but we think it every time we watch his show. Mike Holmes is...! He's damn sexy. He's got big muscles, and big arms with big tattoos, and who the hell knows what else! It's not a secret to anyone, ladies dig Mike, and we'd all love our men to be a little more like him. In this article, a Holmes Spot EXCLUSIVE (the first of hopefully many exclusives!) we'll explore just what it is about Mike Holmes that is so appealing. After all, he is a pretty unlikely sex symbol, and yet, somehow he manages to get us all hot and bothered... On second thought, maybe the guys should read this article, and take some notes!




A Holmes Spot Exclusive


There’s just something about him. It’s a little hard to pinpoint exactly what that “something” is, but if you’ve ever seen Mike Holmes hard at work, it’s absolutely unmistakable.

Admittedly, Mike Holmes is not your average, run of the mill sex symbol. At first sight, it’s tempting to overlook this 40-something, ruddy complected, stocky built Canadian contractor. In fact, on the surface, he’s quite ordinary. With thinning blond hair and two squinty little blue eyes, he hardly rises to the rank of hunky heartthrob, right? Whoa there, not so fast. Just below the leathery and often sun burnt exterior of Mike Holmes lies a highly motivated man on a mission to build a safer, greener world, one house at a time. Bubbling over with charisma and machismo, his unrelenting passion for doing things right and bettering his community keeps the ladies adorning his cheeks with kisses. Let’s not forget his bulging steely biceps, forged by hours of back breaking manual labor. Without a doubt, Mike Holmes is a very sexy man. There, I said it, and I’m not taking it back.

From his simple yet memorable catchphrases, to his utilitarian sense of style, Mike has a certain je ne sais quoi that’s hard to resist and damn near impossible to ignore.

For me, meeting the mighty Mike Holmes was an unforgettable experience. I was immediately struck by the sweetness and the kindness seemed to encapsulate this man with the tough guy stance and large intimidating folded arms. It was an alluring juxtaposition, like a grizzly bear hugging a kitten. He glided effortlessly from person to person with the ease of a politician, shaking hands and gladly yet humbly accepting adoration from his adoring fans.

Yes, Mike Holmes seems quite comfortable in his own overalls-clad skin, which has become his trademark uniform on and off the job. His popularity stretches far beyond the borders of Canada, spanning several continents thanks to his several hit television shows, including Holmes on Homes, which made him a household name in many countries around the world. His status as handyman superstar makes him just famous enough to make a real difference in the lives of others, but just specialized enough to walk down a crowded sidewalk in many places, a god amongst men, with anonymity relatively intact. Remaining approachable is just another part of Mike’s appeal. He manages to maintain a charming accessibility that both men and women respond to. It’s a trait that puts his male fans at perfect ease, even as their girlfriends and wives fall under the hypnotic spell of this fix-it-up dynamo. The ladies enjoy flirting with Mike, and Mike more than happy to return the sentiment in kind. He relishes the affection they dote upon him, while simultaneously remaining a perfect gentleman – a tightrope Mike has seemingly become quite adept at walking.

It seems as though Mike Holmes has never met a non-blood relative he couldn’t bat his eyes at. That might be a slight exaggeration, but the truth is, even a cursory viewing of any one of Mike’s TV shows reveals his naturally flirtatious personality. Watch a few more episodes, and it becomes patently obvious that there’s not a woman in the world who is too fat, thin, ugly, elderly, or disabled, for Mike not to turn on the charm. Before the end credits roll, the ladies have their arms wrapped around him, pulling him in close and pelting his cheeks and lips and anywhere else Mike may have an inch of exposed skin with grateful kisses. In some cases, Mike gives the ladies a grand tour of their newly improved homes arm in arm and hand in hand. “Oh Mike Holmes!” they cry, “How can I ever repay you?” With a look of smug satisfaction plastered firmly across his tanned face, he replies, flashing a toothy smile, “I think you just did.”

For any woman who’s ever fantasized about having an amorous encounter with the plumber, or even just a competent man around the house who can fix stuff that breaks, Mike Holmes is completely irresistible. Women love men who know how to use their tools, and Mike fits that bill to a T. Even the popular TV talk show host Ellen DeGeneres offered Mike a mock marriage proposal on live TV after having him as a guest on her daytime talk show back in 2006.


There really is something special about Mike Holmes, something indescribably sexy and thoroughly delicious. His coarse yet oddly handsome appearance is only augmented by a pair of thoroughly calloused hands, and a large heart to match. It’s not an overstatement to say, Mike’s back has borne the heavy burdens of many; he has quite literally lightening the load for those incapable of lifting it themselves. If trust could be used as currency, Mike Holmes would be amongst the richest men in Canada, perhaps even the world.

It’s no surprise; powerful, competent men are often viewed by women as attractive, regardless of what they look like on the outside. Physical attraction and sexiness is often a sticky subject, one in which personal preferences for certain features over others abound. Although a lot of people wouldn’t peg him as eye candy in the strictest sense of the word, Mike Holmes is a tantalizing diamond in the rough. Putting his accolades and achievements as a TV star and handyman extraordinaire aside, Mike is a very striking man. Standing at just over six feet tall, with a thick muscular build, his rough-around-the-edges good looks and no-nonsense posture beg for more than just a passing glance. His face is reminiscent of a 19th century ale-swilling Anglo, straight out of a Dickens novel, with a chiseled jaw, and full round cheeks, and a pair of working man’s arms, adorned with some rather distinctive tattoos. His beautiful baby blue eyes sparkle in the sunlight when and if they occasionally decide to make an appearance out from under his hooded eyelids. Lastly, his honey blond hair, whether spiky or buzzed short, stands out in subtle contrast against a backdrop of tawny skin, bronzed under the hot sun.


As positively yummy as a blow-by-blow description makes him sound, trying to dissect Mike Holmes apart from the personality that makes him so magnetic is totally missing the point. Mike is the full and complete package. He’s big and strong, and at the same time, he’s gentle and cares about people. He likes kids, rides horses, and barbecues regularly. He’s masculinity personified. And he’s gorgeous to boot. What he lacks in the hair department, he definitely makes up for by being able to fix damn near anything. Plus, he’s got a perfect little butt and nice smile. What more could a girl want?
Like a fine glass of wine, Mike Holmes is enchanting and perplexing, and leaves you feeling a little giggly and stupid if you have too much, but you drink more anyhow because it’s oh-so-good.