Wednesday, October 31, 2012

All New Episode of Holmes Makes It Right: "Ventilation Blues"

Last night was the HGTV Canada premiere of the latest episode of Holmes Makes It Right, "Ventilation Blues." I'm certain it was fantastic, although I won't know for absolute certainty until 2013 when it airs in the States. As with the other episodes, Mike has made available all sorts of supplemental goodies to go along with the episode, posted on the Holmes Makes It Right website.

Goodies include an episode synopsis, photos, articles, and Mike's behind-the-scenes notes. Good stuff!

Here's a picture from last night's episode:

Let's have a Holmes Spot caption contest, shall we? I'll start.

Mike: "How did I get stuck carrying a dresser? Don't we have apprentices for this?"
Damon: "This probably would have been easier if we had taken the drawers out, buddy."
Mike: "I'm not your buddy, guy."
Damon: "I'm not your guy, friend."
Mike: "I'm not your friend, buddy."

Happy Halloween!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

"Spot a Super Holmes" Contest Winner Announced

From HGTV Canada's Facebook:

Thank you to everyone who took part in our "Spot a Super Holmes" contest on October 16th! We want to give a special shout-out to the winner of our grand prize of $5000, Liza Ricafort! Congrats Liza!! And tonight, don't miss a new episode of Holmes Makes It Right at 9pm ET|PT!

Congrats Liza!!!

Mike Holmes Official Fan Forum Closed?

It was pointed out to me today that the official Mike Holmes Fan Forum was now closed. I didn't post there much, but I had registered an account.

This made me think for half a second... forums are very easy to set up. If there's a void, maybe someone should step up and fill it and create an unofficial fan forum for discussions. I created and ran an unofficial fan forum for a band for 8 long years. The forum had in its peak 6 thousand very active members and received literally half a million guests a month. It was no piece of cake. In fact it burned me almost completely out. In the end I got absolutely no credit for it, I never got a thanks from anyone, and I never got as much as an eyebrow raise, that is, until I quit. Then people in and around that band took notice. Just the thought of doing that all over again makes me a little nauseous and dizzy. I enjoy blogging. It's like talking to the wall... there's no one there to give you instant feedback. You just put it out there, and hope someone likes what you have to say. I like it this way. It's still a shame that Mike closed his forum, but perhaps there's something better in store down the road. And if someone wants to create an unofficial one, I'll be more than happy to dispense some wisdom and advice.

UPDATE 11/1/12

Mike addresed this issue of his fan forum closing via his Facebook page:

Hi everyone. I wanted to comment on closing the Official Mike Holmes Forum. It was a difficult decision but we are going to use the knowledge we gained from the forum to develop more tips and articles to help you through your home renovations. Every home is different - and the best thing to do is call a pro in your local area. Thanks everyone for your support & understanding.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Bad Roof: The Proof Is In The Puddles

Mike Holmes has fixed a lot of bad roofs in his day. If your house has a bad roof, it can lead to many other things such as mold, pests, and structure damage. The roof is meant to keep the outside from coming inside, and when it leaks or is built incorrectly, it can cause untold problems. In this article, reposted from the Ottawa Citizen, Mike talks about roofs and how if they're built with incorrect materials, or slope in towards the house as opposed to away from the house, they're going to leak, guaranteed. Maintaining a good roof should be a homeowner's number one priority as winter approaches. Read on...

Bad roof: proof is in puddles


Holmes explains how a roof that is poorly designed creates valleys, and over time, will leak no matter what roof covering products are used.

Photograph by: The Holmes Group

The cold weather is starting to close in. That means there are a few things homeowners should be thinking about getting done before Old Man Winter stakes his claim. Your roof is No. 1. Why is it important? Anyone who has seen the first episode of Holmes Makes It Right will know the answer to this.
Think about it. We spend thousands and thousands of dollars on everything inside our homes. But what’s protecting it all? The roof. If you have a bad roof it’s only a matter of time before you have a bad house. It can lead to things like heat loss, mould, rotted-out structure and pests. These problems can travel to other parts of your home, too, leaving a path of destruction.
Most homeowners will call a roofing company to reshingle their roof. But roofs are much more than just shingles. And homeowners need to know what they should be paying attention to if they want to do what’s right for their home.
The most important thing when it comes to roofs is proper structure. If the roofline is wrong, everything else will be wrong, too. You can have the best products and the best application methods. But if you’re putting them over a roof with poor structure, I guarantee it’s going to leak.
I’ve dealt with roofs that seem like they’ve been designed to leak. It probably wasn’t the intention of the people who built them — at least I hope not. But that’s what happened. Why? Because the roof’s structure was poor. What’s poor structure when we talk about roofs? Those designed to slope or dip inward into the home. So instead of a pitch we get a valley.
Usually when a roof dips it’s because the sheathing is sagging, the roof joists are too far apart or OSB (oriented strand board) was used instead of plywood. But I have seen roofs where the structure was actually designed and built to have a slope right in the middle.
This doesn’t make sense for a structure that’s supposed to be directing water away from your home. These low areas create valleys that do not drain. And they’re bad because they collect snow, rain, ice dams and so on. Not to mention the heat loss. How do you get enough insulation if there’s a low point designed into the roof? There’s no space for insulation. So you’re going to get heat loss, which is another big problem when it comes to roofs. Some telltale signs that your roof is losing heat include higher energy bills or a leak in your home.
If there’s a low-lying area on your roof that collects snow and you also have major heat loss, what do you think is going to happen? You’re going to get water pooling when that snow melts. And if the roof design doesn’t allow for proper run off or if the wrong materials were used on a low-slope roof, water will seep into your attic. It’s inevitable.
During the winter, you want to see snow on your roof; you don’t want to see patches where the snow has melted. And you really don’t want to see icicles on your eavestroughs because that means the snow on the roof is melting when it’s still freezing outside. This can lead to ice dams that block your gutters and cause water to back up underneath the shingles. Once it’s there it’s really easy for it to get inside your home.
Typically there should be roofing paper underneath the shingles to act as an extra layer of protection in case any shingles blow off. It’s a preventive measure. But if a roof’s structure is wrong, what are the chances that everything else is right? I wouldn’t count on it.
Roofing underlayment — which is an ice and water membrane — should be installed along the perimeter of your roof and in any run-off valleys. It’s used in any areas on your roof where there’s going to be extra water flow or drainage. But it can’t protect an area that actively collects water. It’s a preventive measure — not a direct line of defence.
Many people spend all their money on cabinets, kitchen floors, tiles and entertainment systems. Yet, they forget to spend money on the roof — to protect the cabinets, floors, tiles and electronics. Before anything else is upgraded or renovated in your home, you have to make sure your roof is doing its job.
Catch Mike Holmes in his new series, Holmes Makes It Right, Tuesdays at 9 p.m. on HGTV. For more information, visit For more information on home renovations, visit

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Tuesday's Episode of Holmes Makes It Right: "Ventilation Blues"

Another new episode of Holmes Makes It Right premieres on HGTV Canada this Tuesday at 9PM EST. As many know, Mike's new show will not air in the States until early 2013. Why? There doesn't seem to be an answer, but I would venture to guess it's because of HGTV not wanting Mike's new show to be eclipsed by the election in the US, as it inevitably would.

If you are lucky enough to catch next week's show, it will be called "Ventilation Blues." From the HGTV Canada website:

 Ventilation Blues

Ventilation Blues
In this Episode
Mike tackles a recently renovated home where nothing is leveling out. The problems start with the HVAC, which doesn’t heat or cool and sounds like a jet engine every time it’s on. The floor joists are splitting and the brand new shower is disintegrating. Mike and his crew arrive to put things right

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Drive Magazine Interview With Mike Holmes

This interview conducted by Drive Magazine is an oldie but a goodie. They talk a lot about Holmes on Homes, it's end, and what was in store for the future! As we all know years later, Mike was nowhere near being done. In fact, the best was yet to come!

Issue 84

Issue 62 - Canada's DIY-gura Mike Holmes

The Right Stuff
TV star,multi-media icon and cutting edge developer, Mike Holmes - remains, at heart, what he’s always been: A damn good - and honest - contractor. Just Ask him.
The two-story building tucked into the corner of a somewhat hidden industrial crescent just off busy Kipling Avenue in Etobicoke hardly seems an appropriate home base for one of Canada's latest and greatest entertainment exports. Then again, its proprietor has never been one to put style ahead of substance.
This is the head office of The Holmes Group, the multi-media empire headed by renowned Canadian do-it-yourself wunderkind Mike Holmes. Thanks to the enormous success of the HGTV network`s award-winning Holmes on Homes television show, which Holmes developed, starred in and produced for seven seasons, the Toronto native has spawned a multi-million dollar enterprise encompassing television shows, books, DVDs, branded clothing, advertising endorsements, personal appearances and now, nearest and dearest to the heart of its owner, cutting-edge residential development projects. The building houses about a dozen staff and all the tools and materials used in the company's various endeavours, but space has grown considerably tighter over the past few years.
“Yeah, we kind of ran out (of space), oh probably three years ago,” says Holmes with his trademark hearty laugh, while gazing at shelves packed with building materials and other supplies. “But, what to do when you’re just so damn busy. I think we have to build another floor, expand backwards, or move. We’ll get around to it soon enough though.”
In other words, renovations at company headquarters can wait awhile, thank you very much. After all, to be Mike Holmes these days is to be one of the busiest men in show business. Or is that one of the busiest men in the building and renovation business? Holmes, of course, prefers the latter, since he’s the first to tell you – adamantly, in fact – that he’s not a “TV guy.”
“I know I have TV to thank for putting me in this position and for the success of our company,” says Holmes. “But I can honestly say I don’t care about TV. It (fame and celebrity) never was the reason I got into all of this and it’s still not the reason now. TV was the forum, the medium, that allowed me to get across a message I’ve always felt was important. I still chuckle at people referring to me as a reality TV star! I’m a building contractor, period.”
Regardless of how one classifies Mike Holmes these days, it’s near-impossible to argue the fact that, of the hordes of modern-day celebrities who owe their ascent to reality TV, few have achieved as lasting fame and fortune as the 45-year old Holmes. Then again, few have as legitimate a talent as the brawny, clean-cut, overallclad contractor; nor the seemingly universal audience ready and willing to tap that talent and knowledge.
Ten years ago the father of three was busy plying his trade as the owner/operator of Restovate, a small renovation company working the Greater Toronto Area. Fifteen years into the industry by then, Holmes had seen enough “bad renovations” to fill a “decade’s worth of (Holmes on Homes) shows.” It was those experiences, as well as lessons learned from his father - who first impressed upon Mike the importance of “doing something right” - that Holmes began plotting the basic parameters of Holmes on Homes. It was around this same time he landed a set-building gig on Just Ask Jon Eakes, HGTV’s home improvement show. Toward the end of that first season Holmes was given a few short on-air segments, and took to the camera so well the show’s producer immediately began thinking “spin-off.”
Holmes says his “big mouth” had a lot to do with sowing the seeds of what would become Holmes on Homes. The idea for the show had been with him for some time when he struck up a convervsation with HGTV producers, where he let loose on what he saw as the biggest ailments of the home building and renovation industry.
“I basically outlined the premise for a show that would feature a contracting team helping homeowners who’d been screwed over by unscrupulous or simply incompetent renovators and contractors,” he recalls. “I wasn’t even thinking of myself as the guy who would be that contractor.
I just told them that I had seen so much bad stuff over the course of my career that I felt this was the kind of show homeowners would want to see and learn from. I guess they liked the idea because they asked for a pilot about an hour after listening to be blab-on about it!”
The Mike Holmes phenomenon was ready for launch. Holmes on Homes first aired in 2001 and although there were few submissions from disenchanted homeowners initially, that number would balloon to the hundreds of thousands by year seven. Ten years removed from those humble beginnings, Mike Holmes is now a household name across Canada, and a growing presence in the US, UK, and Australian markets where Holmes on Homes has been syndicated.
Still, after seven seasons of fixing the “bad guys” mistakes, Holmes decided it was time to steer his television exploits – and, in a broader sense, his entire company – in a new direction. So he pulled the chute on Holmes on Homes, deciding to retire the show while it was still fresh and on top. But fear not all fans of Mike – an audience that now runs in the millions upon millions of dedicated viewers – there is still plenty of your favourite died-in-the-wool contractor to see on the tube. Indeed, Mike Holmes isn’t going anywhere. He’s just getting bigger.
Later this month, Holmes lands in Windsor for the 28th annual Windsor Home & Leisure Show, courtesy of LaSalle’s Meloche Windows and Doors. He’ll be making two appearances on the Sunday segment of the Show, preaching the same “common sense” principals and philosophies he first learned from his father, and which he’s promoted since launching his first renovation company at age 19. In advance of his visit to the city of roses, THE DRIVE caught up with Mike Holmes in his T.O. digs to talk about, amongst other things, the dizzying success of the Holmes Group, where the company heads from here, his celebrity status, green homes, and of course, the importance of “Making it Right.”

TDM: With Holmes on Homes having wrapped production after seven seasons, is it a little easier being Mike Holmes these days?
MH: Do you mean are we less busy now? Hardly! (laughing). Actually, it seems we’ve got more on the go than ever; even when we were doing the show. But you won’t hear me complain. I’ve been very fortunate that the success of the show has put me in position to pursue the kinds of projects I want and what I think is best for our company; things like the residential development projects we’ve in the works, our foundation for the trades and our charity work. Plus, we’ve got the new show we’re launching and our specials; like what we did in New Orleans.
TDM: That, of course, is the Holmes in New Orleans special airing this month; which, we might add, had you rubbing shoulders with the likes of Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie. What was that like?
MH: They’re great people. You know, so often you read or hear about all the crap in the tabloids about people like them, but they really are down-to-earth people. Yeah, they’re incredibly successful at what they do and they’ve got lots of money, but do you think they’d be doing what they’re doing in New Orleans – which is helping people in that city get their lives back – if they didn’t give a damn. They stepped up to the plate and that’s what makes a difference in our world; when people decide to do something about a problem.
TDM: How did the whole New Orleans thing with them come about?
MH: Well, we had heard that Brad Pitt had formed an organizationcalled Make It Right New Orleans so we were obviously intrigued by what they were doing because “Make It Right” is trademarked by our company and it’s what we’ve always been associated with; right from our very beginning. But we didn’t approach them because we were pissed off they were using our trademark slogan. Anyone who knows anything about me or my company knows that’s simply not what we’re about. What intrigued us was the work they were looking to do in an area still very much devastated three years later by Hurricane Katrina. So we started communicatingwith them to the point where I was so impressed with Brad Pitt himself, and this idea he had. Here was a guy putting his own time and money into this idea of helping these hurricane victims who three years later still didn’t have a home. We knew what they were doing was something we could help with and we wanted to get involved.
TDM: But you also saw it as an opportunity for great television too?
MH: We did, but not initially. When we decided it was time to call it quits for Holmes on Homes we knew we still wanted to do special shows that borrowed some of the same themes and aspects of the show. The opportunity to document this special project, and this very unique house we were building in New Orleans, while showing viewers the problems that are still ongoing down there, was right in line with the kinds of television specials we want to continue doing. So yeah, it was a natural fit with our plans moving forward.
TDM: Share with us what the New Orleans build experience was like?
MH: It was tough. We had three months of rainstorms and just brutal heat, but it was all worth it! It was ten times the project we ever did on Holmes on Homes because we basically did everything involved with building an entire house – from planning straight through to the finishing touches. Our build was right in the most devastated area of city, the Lower 9th Ward; and I have to tell you, nothing could have prepared me for what I saw the first time I visited the Lower 9th Ward. The devastation looked like it had just happened. There was little sign of rebuilding, no infrastructure, and no plans in place to get people back into their homes. It was a huge challenge for me and my crew, but it was also one of the most inspiring and rewarding experiences of my life."
TDM: What is different about the house you built in New Orleans?
MH: We’ve simply built a better house. It’s much like what we’re doing with our new sustained home development projects outside Toronto and Calgary. The whole process was to keep it affordable but to build a house that will stand the test of time. It’s unfortunate that it takes a catastrophe, and people dying, to affect change in how we do things; but that’s what happened in New Orleans. Unfortunately there are still so many contractors down there who only go half way. Well, we went all the way. These houses won’t mold and they won’t get blown down. Even if the levee breaks again, these houses will stand.
TDM: Let’s talk a bit more about the decision to end your flagship show. You took this little idea for a reality show and saw Holmes on Homes evolve to what can now be safely called an international hit. That said, why did you decide now was the time to pull the plug on the show?
MH: Well, I don’t think we necessarily pulled the plug on the show as much asour company, The Holmes Group, has evolved. We’re still heavily involved in television and will be launching our new Holmes Inspections series this fall, something we’re really excited about. And we still plan on doing specials – like the New Orleans shows - that will involve many or most of the kinds of things our audiences liked about Holmes on Homes.
Why did we decide to stop ongoing production though? You know, seven seasons is a long time in the television industry, especially for the kind of show we did. People don’t realize the work that goes on behind the scenes filming a show like Holmes on Homes. We did a lot of great things with the show and helped a lot of people, but we just felt it was time for some new challenges for our company.
TDM: When you were doing the show, how long would a shoot last?
MH: It was usually about a year for each season, with two or three shows being filmed at the same time. We’d do thirteen episodes so we were basically spending one month for each show. Don’t get me wrong, we had a blast doing the show. But it was a tough, grinding schedule for sure.
TDM: Through the seven seasons of Holmes on Homes you developed this reputation among some viewers as a sort of superhero coming into save the day of the distraught homeowner. This seemed to be something the media played up quite a bit, but did you consider yourself such?
MH: No, never. That’s all been mostly media hype about what we were doing. I’ve never considered myself, or thought of myself as a hero; nor have my crew. Like I’ve always said, my intent with the show was to inform and educate homeowners that these things are happening out there and that you have to be willing to learn about them in order to stay clear of the same thing happening to you. If by doing what we do gives me the opportunity to help change the building industry and helps make people more aware, then great. I’ll do anything I have to do to make that happen.
TDM: You did about a hundred renovations during the Holmes on Homes run. Was there ever a job you and your crew couldn’t handle; something that was way beyond repair that forced you to say thanks, but no thanks to the homeowner?
MH: You know, there were some close calls over the years, where we basically were asking ourselves “what the hell have we gotten into here?” But we always came through in the end. That’s a credit to the crew and the trades that have been a part of what we’ve done with these projects.
TDM: So, looking back, what would you say was the toughest job you had to complete on the show?
MH: Well, several come to mind, but I think the one most of our viewers would point to is the house we re-built from the ground up. That was our Christmas special show from the last season and it was just a mess. The family had been completely screwed-over by someone they thought was a friend, and their house was falling apart as a result of the work this socalled “friend” did. They were on the verge of bankruptcy, and this guy had a half-million dollar lien on their home! I remember my colleagues on the show and the network were telling me to “run away,” but we couldn’t let that family live with the mess this guy had left them. So we levelled the house and re-built it. Four thousand square feet and about four hundred grand later, they had their home, and more importantly, their lives back. We took a bit of a hit on that one though (laughing)!
TDM: A usual part of every episode was you going off – or as you’ve often referred to it, “getting excited,” about the shoddy work done by contractors. What would you say was the thing that bothered you most about all the bad work you saw?
MH: It was probably the complete lack of patience and caring I would see from some contractors, and even the homeowners. I mean, we would fix these houses and it’s not like we were doing rocket science. We just took the time to do it right. We cared about the work we were doing. We did the work like it was our friggin’ house. Through every episode it never ceased to amaze me how a contractor could live with work they knew was substandard. I mean, for the amount of time it would have taken to do the job right, these contractors would have saved their clients a lot of heartache, a lot of money, and they would have saved the irreparable damage to their company’s reputation. So I would get frustrated because these families were being affected big-time and there were no laws to protect them. I`m sure me “going-off” had some entertainment value but I can tell you I was never trying to entertain. I was just really pissed off!
TDM: You’ve certainly railed against a fair number of contractors over the years, both on the show and in the press. As a result, some have criticized that your comments have given even good contractors a bad rap. Is the industry that rife with poor contractors and renovators?
MH: Most of the industry consists of companies that are good companies, honest companies, companies that do things right the first time. But you’d be surprised at some of the others that are out there. Some of the stuff I’ve seen, even well before I ever did the show, would make your head spin. People think that it’s all really bad, unscrupulous contractors, but that’s not the case. The majority of these guys just don’t know enough and just don’t care enough to learn more. I’ve said this before: in this industry, there’s a difference between the bad and the ugly. The ugly are those trained professionals – they’ll take you every time. Some of these guys just don’t give a crap. Others, I think, just don’t have the talent to educate homeowners about what they really need. So, as a result you get some guys looking to take short cuts instead of just doing things right. I guess that’s what disappoints me most about some of the players in this industry.
TDM: But you always stopped short of naming the guilty parties on the show, right?
MH: Believe me, there were plenty of times I would have loved to drop names so that people wouldn’t even think of hiring that contractor again. The problem is that there remains zero accountability in the industry. Our governments protect contractors more than they do consumers. So, you get some contractors who just don’t give a damn and almost seem like trained professionals ready to screw people over. They can change the name of their company the very next day, so what are you left with: a long list of bad contracting companies. Yet the “bad guys” are still in business, screwing over another fresh victim. Until we find a way to change those laws to better protect homeowners, it’s going to always be “buyer beware.” That’s why we need to educate homeowners.
TDM: So it would be safe to say you’re not on the Christmas card list of too many contractors in the Toronto area?
MH: I never figured from the start that I’d be on too many (laughing). But most contractors liked the show and the kinds of things we’re doing because they’re the ones doing things the right way. So maybe they would send (Christmas) cards! Obviously, the bad ones wouldn't because I donĂ­t think they ever particularly cared for what we revealing about them!
TDM: How did Holmes on Homes change your life and your business?
MH: Well, I thought I was busy when I was just doing renovations, but things got a lot worse on that end! Of course, the success of the show and our business has allowed me the freedom to do more of the kinds of things I’ve wanted to do; most specifically our sustained housing developments that we feel can significantly change the industry. Of course, the popularity you get from having a hit TV show changes things whether you like it or not. I’ve said before it’s all very surreal to walk anywhere and be recognized by almost everyone. It’s surprising at first and does take some getting used to; knowing that you’re no longer just an average person that people won’t recognize. But it’s all been a very positive experience, and I like to think it hasn’t changed me. My family and friends tell me I’m still the same guy, and they’d be the first to say if I wasn’t staying grounded through all of this!
TDM: Your introduction to the construction trade has often been described in almost mythical tones, mostly along the lines of “legend has it you were swinging a hammer with your father on actual jobs when you were age six.” Stuff like that. Did you actually get your start that early?
MH: Actually, I did. As far back as I can remember I was a kid who loved seeing how things worked. So what my father did for a living was right up my alley. My father was a jack-of-all-trades but master-of-none type of construction guy. Above all else though, he had great integrity and pride in his work. He was the hugest proponent of doing things right the first time; of doing things with integrity and honesty. It’s such a simple concept you’d think more people would buy into it! I was just enthralled with his talents so he started teaching me some of the things he was doing and I just took it from there. He taught me a lot about construction, but more importantly, he taught me that if I was going to do something, I should do it right the first time. That is the most important lesson he taught me and I live by it to this day. My whole “Make It Right” slogan was born from the philosophy my father passed on to me.
TDM: You seem supremely confident in front of the camera. Have you always had that kind of confidence?
MH: No, not at all. I was actually a very shy and quiet guy in school. I got into plays in grade school, but I was still a very shy kid. But I guess as I got older that kind of changed, didn’t it!
TDM: You’ve always been a hands-on guy in all of your shows, which is somewhat the opposite of what one sees from a general contractor. Why are you different?
MH: I think it’s because I take total ownership of a project as if it was my own house I was fixing. I don’t see any other way you can look at any project if you’re in this business.
TDM: Three years ago you launched The Holmes Foundation to support the training of youth in the skilled trades. How has this grown since?
MH: It’s been awesome. The purpose of The Holmes Foundation is to encourage young people to enter the building trades as well as to assist those who have been impoverished by bad renovations. One of the most frustrating things for me is not being able to help everyone who has asked us for help. Even with Holmes on Homes no longer filming, we still get inundated with requests for help. Every month thousands of Canadians write me and tell me about renovation horror stories. I wish I could help everyone who writes me by doing the repairs they need but I can’t; there are just too many people who have been ripped off by incompetent or fraudulent contractors. So what I’m trying to do through the Foundation is help generate more interest in the trades in Canada. If we had enough good contractors committed to making it right we wouldn’t have all these renovation nightmares. Through the Holmes Foundation I try to encourage Canadian students to consider a career in the trades and encourage them to do it right.
TDM: The trades – like similar career choices – have been tagged as an undesirable option for young people over the years. Why is that and how do you go about changing that perception?
MH: We need to show young people that working in the trades can be creative, lucrative and rewarding. Unfortunately many people still think that being a tradesperson means that you will be doing hard labour your whole life, and that’s just not true anymore. Technology has revolutionized many trades, making them less labour intense. Also, an experienced tradesperson has many potential career paths: they can work for themselves, work for a larger company, teach, or work in managements.
TDM: It’s widely known that the Holmes Group is getting into the development game big time, particularly with environmentally-enhanced and sustained housing. Your new green home projects are getting a lot of buzz in the industry. Tell us about them.
MH: The development projects have been front and centre with us for several years now. We have the knowledge and technology to build these kinds of sustainable homes and it’s a project we are psyched about bringing to the market. Everyone’s talking about “green homes” these days but there are different shades of green out there! The homes we’re building are going to be “greener” than anyone’s ever seen. We’re building what we consider the world’s best homes for the public. There are two communities we’re building simultaneously in Calgary and just outside Toronto. No one has ever seen homes like these. These are homes that won’t burn down, fall down, or get blown down. They are more environmentally friendly and energy efficient than anything that has ever been built. And it’s only about 10 per cent more than the other pieces of crap out there. But you’re going to get your money back in the first five years.
TDM: You once said, just after Holmes on Homes launched, that you hoped to do the show and this kind of thing for five years, and then that would be it. It’s now going on nine years and you’ve got more on your plate than ever? Any revised prognostications?
MH: I did think five yeas and that would be it. But now I’m like the Hotel California: it looks like I can never leave! But that’s okay. Hey, I’m having a blast and I still feel there is so much more for our company to do. My focus has always been being a good contractor who does good work and helps change the perception of the profession. My goal has been to raise awareness about what’s happening, and that it’s not normal. It’s totally wrong. Now we want to show the world how better houses can be built; houses that are better for our environment and better for us as a human species. The way we see it, we’ve got lots left to accomplish.
TDM: And all the right way, right?
MH: Is there any other way?

Friday, October 26, 2012

Playground Safety Isn't Child's Play

When it comes to safety, Mike Holmes doesn't play around. In this article, reposted from the Ottawa Citizen, Mike speaks about the challenges of building a playground that's safe for kids to play on, as he did in the "Building Castles" episode of Holmes Makes It Right, which aired on HGTV Canada last Tuesday. Many playground related deaths are due to drawstrings from clothing getting caught on equipment as a child slides, jumps, or runs. This risk is even greater in a place like Canada, where children tend to wear more clothing due to a colder climate. To ensure the safety of the children who would eventually play on the High Park playground, Mike made sure that it met or exceeded the Canadian Standards Association's guidelines for playground safety. Read on...

Playground safety isn’t child’s play

Building things for little people demands thinking outside the box

Playground safety isn’t child’s play

More than 29,000 children end up in emergency rooms across Canada each year due to playground injuries, making safety a major concern.

Photograph by: Alex Schuldt , The Holmes Group

I’m always talking about different ways to make your home better, healthier and safer. You know the saying “think outside the box”? Well, it’s important to think outside the home — especially if we’re talking about children’s safety. Taking care of your kids goes beyond the walls of your house.
Playing outdoors is an important part of growing up and it helps children develop strong social skills and self-confidence. Part of our job as parents, grandparents, guardians or caregivers is to make sure we provide safe environments where kids can play.
When I was a kid, the playground was the epicentre of fun. You could run, jump, climb and swing until you were completely exhausted. But with all that activity, it’s no wonder playgrounds are also a popular place for kids to get hurt.
Bruises, bumps and scratches are all part of growing up. But the problem is when the injuries are more serious, such as broken bones or head trauma. That’s why safety measures need to be taken to prevent kids from being seriously hurt.
In Canada we have the Canadian Standards Association (CSA), which provides safety guidelines on everything from gas fireplaces to electrical safety. Since 1990, the CSA has been providing standards to help keep kids safe on public playgrounds. This includes information on materials, proper installation, equipment requirements, safety inspections and maintenance.
These guidelines get revised and updated, based on new research. But they’re voluntary. That means on a national level there’s no one going around inspecting playgrounds to make sure they meet CSA standards. Instead, we have regulations — and depending on where you live in Canada, these regulations will be different.
For example, in some parts of Canada daycare centre operators can’t get an operating licence if their playground doesn’t meet the CSA standard.
This past summer I was involved in a rebuild project that was definitely “out of the box” for me. We rebuilt a playground in Toronto’s High Park. It was the first time many of us had ever built a playground. We might be experts in construction, but we weren’t experts in playground safety. So I did what I always do: I brought in the pros.
Playground safety inspectors have the right skills and training to evaluate how safe a playground is. We had an inspector come out every couple of days during the build to look over everything. Usually they come at the end of the build, but we were on a tight schedule. It was easier for the inspector to be there to catch potential problems and correct them immediately instead of waiting until the end.
Luckily, playground deaths are rare in Canada. But when they happen they’re usually caused by scarves or strings on clothing getting caught as kids go down a slide, swing or jump off a platform. It’s also a greater risk in colder climates where kids tend to wear more clothing with drawstrings. That’s why buying playground equipment is specific to each region — what’s safe in the U.S. might not be safe here.
The most serious playground injury is related to drawstring entanglement. Another big one is entrapment, which is when kids get trapped in small spaces, like in between guardrails or ladder rungs. That’s why openings on playgrounds should be less than 3.5 inches (8.9 centimetres).
The most common cause of injury on Canadian playgrounds is falling. So we used the most impact-resilient wood fibre we could find that would be safe for children (they could even put it in their mouths, although I’m not recommending this). The wood fibre is also a fire retardant, so it won’t burn. According to the CSA, the required depth for the protective surface area is a minimum of 300 millimetres, but we put in 457 mm just to be sure.
Overhead clearance is also an issue for most playgrounds — but not the one we built. Instead of sticking to the five-foot-three-inch (160-cm) minimum, we built a six-foot-five-inch (196-cm) clearance.
It was important to me to build a playground that was easy for parents to navigate to get to their kids quickly, in case anything happened. I also wanted parents to be able to play and run through the structure with their kids without worrying about bumping their heads. That meant making the overhead clearance high enough for most adults.
The big difference between building code and playground safety regulations is you’re dealing with smaller users, so you have to be more aware of the issues they face. With the right pros, you can make almost any structure safe for children. And when it comes to their safety, there’s no playing around.
Catch Mike Holmes in his new series, Holmes Makes It Right, Tuesdays at 9 p.m. on HGTV. For more information, visit For more information on home renovations, visit
Postmedia News

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Mike Holmes on George Stroumboulopoulos Tonight

Recently, Mike appeared on the CBC News/Entertainment show George Stroumboulopoulos Tonight. George conducted a fantastic and very personal interview with Mike. Together, they talked about "bringing the dignity back to blue collar." As he often does, Mike spoke about his past and how his experiences shaped his present. He also briefly touched on Holmes on Homes In New Orleans with Brad Pitt. And of course, Mike answers the question everybody wants to know... would he leave a work site early to sneak a kiss from Angelina Jolie? To get the answer to this question and many more, watch the full video on the CBC website, or you can watch just the Mike segment right here. It's worth the watch!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Holmes Spot Highlight Reel - October 23, 2012 Live Chat

Another live chat with Mike Holmes has come and gone. This one was a little different that the previous ones, however. For a little over an hour, Mike chatted live with his fans during the premiere of the "Building Castles" episode of Holmes Makes It Right. Most of the questions he answered were related to the episode and the Jamie Bell Adventure Playground rebuild.

Mike's first post of the evening was a video:

People asked a lot of really good questions. Here are some of the standouts. And by the way, you can read the entire chat at Mike's website in the chat archive. Here we go...

Mike started off the chat with some brief guidelines, including this one:

I'm going to do my best to answer all your questions about the High Park build--that's what I want to talk about tonight because I'm so proud of what we did on that job.
It was an amazing and intense experience.

He then made the first of many side comments about the show, which he was watching from the job site as he answered fan submitted questions. Speaking about the show's new graphics, Mike stated:

We've used a new FX idea--all the handwriting you see on the shows, in the titles and any drawings is all mine.

When asked how he got involved with the rebuild project in High Park, Mike made the following statement:

It was pretty simple really--we got a call from Councillor Doucette and she talked to Brian our story producer. She is a force to be reckoned with--she made it happen, and brought all the people together--FAST!! I can't believe how quickly it was able to be organized and built.

One user asked if Mike and the crew played tag in the castle, and if Mike was planning on bring his grandchildren to the park (he has TWO now, a boy and a girl).

...I am looking forward to my grandkids playing in that castle.
The crew all had fun on the last day when the work was done--and I know some of us have been back a few times already to visit.

I think one of the most interesting questions of the night was about Holmes Approved Homes, and whether or not Mike was planning on branching outside of Canada. The user asked specifically if the Holmes Approved Homes blueprints and approved materials list could be taken to a reputable builder outside of Canada. Mike answered in the affirmative! Good news for us south of Canada!

Yes! I absolutely have and I would love to build houses all over the world--or at least North America to start.
We are moving toward having the Holmes Approved program available in parts of the US soon. Just looking now for good builders to partner with who want to Make it Right.

We all knew the question was bound to pop up... the question was asked about why HGTV in the US wasn't airing Holmes Makes It Right until 2013. Mike's answer has consistently been "I don't know," as it was tonight. But I'd like to put my best educated guess in as to why exactly there has been such a lengthy delay. Personally, I think it's the election in the USA that's holding things up. Americans have their minds wrapped around current events right now, and it just wouldn't be fair or right to Mike and his show to have it running against the presidential debates and the election coverage, which coincidentally also air on Tuesdays at 9PM EST. Americans right now are fixated on politics, and will be so until after November. From what I've seen of it, Holmes Makes It Right is a fantastic show, and it deserves to air at a time where people will be free and open to watch it. And that's my best guess as to why the air date for Holmes Makes It Right was pushed back until "early 2013." Makes sense to me.

Someone asked Mike if he would be doing some promo appearances in the USA when Holmes Makes It Right premiered in 2013, and also asked about his new grandbaby. Mike's answer:

 ...Baby Emily was born last Thursday [October 18]--she's beautiful.
 I would like to come down to the US again to do some appearances, and maybe when the series airs there we'll set something up.

Awwww... how sweet. Looks like little Wyatt has a sister! Congrats Mike, Amanda, Adam, and the rest of the Holmes/Bellanger family.

And then there were two questions in a row about the Holmes Makes It Right "Super Mike" promo. (One of them came from me!) Someone asked Mike about the big "H" photo shoot, and then stated it was "hot." Believe it or not, I did NOT submit that question. Although it does sound a lot like something I would say :-) Mike's answer:

It was ridiculous honestly. I am not really comfortable with all the publicity stuff. But thanks!!

Oh Mike, sometimes you gotta do ridiculous stuff when you're a huge, ginormous, world famous iconic celebrity, right? Well, at least to me you are ;-) I asked Mike how he felt about donning a cape and being a superhero for a day for the "Super Mike" contest, with a follow up question of "if you were a real super hero, what would be your super powers?" Of course, that was a trick question, being that Mike Holmes is a REAL super hero. Nevertheless, Mike was kind and humored me. Mike's answer:

It felt great--and kind of weird at the same time. A little embarrassing putting that cape on. I think I like the Hulk better than Superman.
If I had a superpower, it would be making more hours in a day--so I could get the work done, and still relax with my family.

So Mike would rather turn into a large green half naked man than fly around in a cape. Hmmm... interesting. Later on, another person also mentioned the super hero theme in her question, stating that she was glad Mike didn't have to wear matching tights with his cape. Mike concurred.

Mike was asked by one user if he and the "Grow it Right" crew were going to sprout epic facial hair in support of "Movember." Movember is of course when typically clean shaven men grow mustaches to raise awareness and money for prostate cancer.

You had better believe it!! That was a lot of fun for all of us. Prostate cancer is an important cause for all of us personally--Uncle Billy who we all love, is a survivor.

During the build, Mike and his crew were working through a heat wave and had to take frequent breaks, cooling down in the Toronto FD's "cooling chairs," which were chairs with bags of cool water in them to lower people's body temperatures. Mike's a pretty resourceful guy, though, and when it comes to cooling off after a hard day's work, he's knows how to do it...

Other than the cooling chairs--- this was the best way to beat the heat in the park.
That was a lot of great chat packed into one little hour! Full of great tid bits of information about the show, about Mike, and about the "Building Castles" episode which the Holmes Spot followed so closely earlier this year. Just as I was about to sign off, Mike posted one more thing...

And that, my friends, was the Homes Spot Highlight reel for the October 23, 2012 live chat with Mike Holmes! Hope you enjoyed it as much as I did!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Live Chat During Tomorrow's New Episode of Holmes Makes It Right

A week or so ago, Mike Holmes announced on his website that he would be having a live chat on October 23 during the new episode of Holmes Makes It Right. You can still submit questions via up until pretty much the end of the chat.

From Mike's Facebook page today:

Don't miss "Building Castles" an all-new episode of Holmes Makes It Right Tuesday October 23rd at 9pm/et on HGTV Canada

For more photos, videos and trades/supplier lists for every episode visit:

I'm going to be chatting LIVE tomorrow (Tuesday) night from 9-10pm/et during the second episode of Holmes Makes It Right on HGTV Canada. If you have a question about the playground rebuild project - send it in to:

Monday, October 22, 2012

Building Castles

Tomorrow's new episode of Holmes Makes It Right is a very special one, and I'm sure when I finally get to see it in 2013, it will be just as awesome for me as it will be tomorrow night for everybody in Canada! In May of this year, Mike Holmes became involved in rebuilding the Jamie Bell Adventure Playground, which was burned down by an arsonist in March. The playground was a Toronto mainstay, and many of the residents felt the need to rebuild it bigger and better. That's when Mike stepped in, lending a hand and his name to the effort. He met with city planners and community members, as well as the children who would be using the park, asking for input. The kids told Mike they wanted castles and lots of slides. Parents told Mike they wanted safety, with plenty of head clearance so they didn't bump their noggin chasing after their little ones. What they got was an experience that would create many memories and strengthen community bonds.

In July of this year, Toronto residents came together despite a nasty heat wave and gave their all to help rebuild the playground. Mike and his crew were there to direct the numerous volunteers and professionals who came out in droves to not only meet Mike and his crew, but also to strengthen their community through service. All of their hard work and effort was filmed for tomorrow's new episode of Holmes Makes It Right, entitled "Building Castles."

I got the chance to interview someone who was there during the community build day that took place in July. Belinda, who came out to Toronto with her family, had deep roots in the community and felt the need to preserve the park that she loved so much. Much thanks and gratitude for her willingness to share her experiences!

The Holmes Spot: Why did you get involved with the Jamie Bell Adventure Playground rebuild project?

Belinda with Damon
Belinda: I got involved with the Jamie Bell Adventure Playground community rebuild because I wanted to give back to a community that has given me so many great memories. Growing up in Toronto, I used to go to High Park every summer. Giving back, was the right thing to do. I wanted to make sure kids now and in the future are able to have the same type of memories that I have. My kids wanted to get involved too, because they've been taught that if someone needs help, you don't turn your back on them. Allowing them to be part of it too, just reinforced that lesson.

The Holmes Spot: What was your experience like during the community build day in July this year?
Belinda: It was a lot of hard work, especially with the heat, although it was a little cooler that day than what it had been all week, but it was also a lot of fun. We had cameras following us around all day, even getting in our way at times, but because we were busy, you forget that they are there....except for when they get right up in your when the kids and I were re-painting the old part of the castle structure....At one point Mike's film crew were only inches from my daughter's face. She was trying to paint and I was giving her instructions on the proper way of cutting in. The camera guy was actually in the way.

Belinda and Mike
The Holmes Spot: What was your most memorable experience of that day?
Belinda: My most memorable experience would have to be, seeing what goes into filming a television show like Mike's. Also, seeing how so many great people came together to help out a community.....not just people from the area, but from all over.

The Holmes Spot: What was it like seeing Mike Holmes and his crew at work?
Belinda: It was great seeing first hand, Mike and his crew at work. We actually watched them earlier in the week when they were just starting the castle, and then again the day of the community rebuild...when the castle was getting close to completion. Whenever we needed a break, from moving wood chips, we would sit and watch the crew working. It was great seeing them work as a team, and watching the progress they made on the castle. Overall the whole thing was a great that we will never forget. It left us with a really good feeling inside, knowing that we were able to help in some small way, and knowing that so many kids will get a lot of enjoyment out of it.

Make sure you tune in tomorrow to HGTV Canada see the new episode of Holmes Makes It Right, "Building Castles." If you don't live in Canada, Mike's new show will premiere in early 2013. The exact date is TBD.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Mike Holmes - “I’m Not Done Yet, I’m Just Beginning”

This is a great little article from the Calgary Herald. Mike's never been known for taking shortcuts, and on his new series, which premiered on October 16 in Canada, he's going bigger than ever. He's not just helping homeowners when things go wrong, he's fixing whole communities. In a world full of good, bad, and the ugliest of contractors, Mike Holmes is taking on the ugly in Holmes Makes It Right. Read on...

Mike Holmes is making it right again on new TV series

Mike Holmes is making it right again on new TV series

Mike Holmes on the set of his new HGTV Canada show, Holmes Makes it Right.

Photograph by: Courtesy HGTV Canada , Handout

Mike Holmes is back, and he’s bigger than ever.
The larger-than-life overalled contractor premieres his newest TV show, Holmes Makes it Right, on Tuesday on HGTV Canada, and this time, the problems are “unimaginable,” according to the network that launched Holmes’s TV career more than a decade ago.
Not, of course, that “quick fix” has ever been part of Holmes’s vocabulary.
From Holmes on Homes to Holmes Inspection, on location from Canmore to New Orleans, his shows have always been about homes gone wrong — unfinished or failed renovations, or ineffective home inspections. So what’s different this time?
“It’s the storylines that are driving the show,” says Holmes in a recent phone interview. “What you’re going to see is such a diversity of stories.”
Like the second episode, which shows a community rebuilding the castle playground in Toronto’s High Park after an arsonist burned it to the ground.
“It was great to see not only the whole community, but the fire department, the government, the police, volunteer carpenters coming together,” Holmes says. “Just like New Orleans, it takes something really bad to make something good. Here was a story about a simple castle in a playground (that) was burned . . . the good that comes out of it far outweighs the bad. Hopefully it will never happen again.”
The new show is part of a three-year exclusive contract that Holmes has signed with HGTV Canada, with 54 episodes on their way. In the first season, however, the traditional 13 episodes has become nine, thanks to the scope of the jobs, from an $80,000 reno disaster to building an accessible outdoor deck and dining area for a teacher who was paralyzed in a hit and run accident. Holme says a construction timeline measured in months and a television production schedule measured in weeks didn’t always come together.
“Each and every story is massive and it’s already pushed us on our deadlines,” he says. “The majority of these are half a million dollar jobs . . . that pushes everyone beyond their limits. It’s a story itself just seeing that, how working until midnight every night just beats up the crew.”
The shows include interviews with homeowners and crew members, touching on what’s challenging them and how the job is going, offering a more intimate look inside the rebuilding process. Fans will be happy to hear that Holmes is putting on his toolbelt, taking an active role in fixing the problem, along with the returning crew, including his right-hand man Damon, and two of his kids, Sherry and Mike Holmes Jr.
First up is a bad roof that a family has been dealing with for 40 years. When Holmes and his crew take a look, they discover attic mould, virtually no insulation, and a major heat loss. It takes re-engineering a truss roof into a custom roof to protect the house.
“There are all kinds of different stories — it’s not just about the bad contractor or the bad inspector. In the first episode, they’re such characters, the homeowners. I think people are going to love it, just getting to know them like I did.”
Holmes says the crew is currently working on fixing a kitchen reno in which a husband-and-wife contractor team took money and then failed to do the job — doing the same thing to some 70 other families.
“I call it the good, the bad and the ugly of contractors. That’s the ugly. The bad I can deal with, they need to learn. The ugly, they need to go to jail, point blank,” he says.
He’s heading to court to help those homeowners, but has some advice for anyone considering hiring a contractor for a home reno: investigate the contractors first. Ignore the excitement of the reno planning process, and focus instead on gaining knowledge.
“Good guys want you to check them out — they’ll bring their list of references with them. Bad guys don’t. They don’t bring it in the door.”
Locally, Holmes says his Wind Walk community development near Okotoks finally has the green light. He plans to break ground in the spring using a mix of old and tested techniques along with new technology to create an integrated approach to sustainable living.
“It’s about time — I’m looking forward to Canada seeing its greenest community,” he says. “It’s 100 per cent self sustainable. The proof’s in the pudding — watch me show you.
“I’m not done yet, I’m just beginning.”

Saturday, October 20, 2012

"Super Mike" Photo Shoot

This is a real treat. HGTV finally posted this to YouTube a couple of days ago (it's been on the HGTV Canada website for a while, but it's inaccessible to anyone outside of Canada).

This is the behind-the-scenes footage for the "Super Mike" promo that's been bounced around the internet for the last couple of weeks to advertise Mike's new show, which premiered in Canada on October 16. In it, they describe the concept behind the shoot, and why Mike's familiar face was of secondary focus.

(By the way, this would make a great 3x4 poster. I think the Holmes Group should really consider this as a merchandising idea.)


Friday, October 19, 2012

Holmes Makes It Right - Episode 2 Preview

If you're Canadian, don't miss the next new episode of Holmes Makes It Right! The preview is already up, and will cover the Jamie Bell Adventure Playground rebuild, which took place in July of this year. If I'm lucky, a friend of mine who was actually there with her family during the community build day will give us some behind the scenes insight into what it was like to be there building with Mike and his crew!

See also:

Jamie Bell Adventure Park Rebuild Comes To A Close With Community Build Day
Mike Holmes Helps to Rebuild Jamie Bell Adventure Playground in Toronto
Jamie Bell Adventure Playground in High Park Grand Re-Opening
Mike on The Morning Show - "Holmes Makes It Right in High Park"
Now THAT'S A Castle!
Picture Time! Yesterday's Build at the Jamie Bell Adventure Playground in High Park
Jamie Bell Adventure Playground Community Build - YouTube Videos

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Advice For Canadian Home Buyers

The Canadian premiere of Mike's new show a couple of days ago has fatigued me to the max, and I haven't even seen it. Since The Holmes Spot has been thanklessly covering all the buzz, from Facebook and Twitter, to HGTV and ET Canada, I figured it's time for a break. Shortly before the new show aired, an article was posted to the Ottawa Citizen in regards to the cooling Canadian housing market. Mike advises people to consider all the variables when buying a home and make a wise decision. Buying a home is a huge investment, and it's not something that should be done without a great deal of thought. He also talks about the new show as well. It's a great little read...

Mike Holmes, host of new HGTV series, has advice for Canadian home buyers

Mike Holmes, host of new HGTV series, has advice for Canadian home buyers

Mike Holmes is shown in a recent handout photo. With Canada's housing market showing signs of cooling, prospective buyers need to stop looking for their "dream home" and be practical, says celebrity contractor Holmes.THE CANADIAN PRESS/ho-Susan Snee

TORONTO - With Canada's housing market showing signs of cooling, prospective buyers need to stop looking for their "dream home" and be practical, says celebrity contractor Mike Holmes.
"We need to buy with a solid mind, meaning, is the area smart to buy in?" the construction and renovation expert said in a recent phone interview to promote his new series, "Holmes Makes It Right," debuting Tuesday (at 9pm ET/PT) on HGTV Canada.
"What is the area? Does it contain asbestos, does it have termites in the area? We can find all this out before we look but we're not doing that little bit of homework that is so necessary, even trying to find the right home inspector before we buy," he added.
"When it comes to your home, one thing that's really clear: this is about the most money you're ever going to spend in your life — don't you want to spend your money right? Buy with a proper conscience of what you need to buy and not of what you think you want."
In "Holmes Makes It Right," the beloved, brawny Toronto native does what he did in his previous series, "Holmes on Homes" and "Holmes Inspection": he comes to the rescue of distraught homeowners suffering from contracting work gone wrong.
Only this time, he's also taking on larger projects, including the redesign and build of an arson-destroyed High Park playground in Toronto, and the construction of an accessible outdoor deck and dining area for a paralyzed teacher.
"The storyline in 'Holmes Makes It Right' is so much bigger and I'm the type of guy, I can't turn a blind eye to something," said Holmes, who is still in touch with many of his clients from past episodes and often gets thank-you presents and cards from them.
"So if I actually walk in the house and I see a lot more wrong with it, I'm my own worst enemy because then I'll say, 'We need to look into this, we need to look into this,' and before we know it, from what is scheduled to be a three-week job turns into six months of construction and a half a million dollars later."
Holmes said when he first agreed to be on television over 10 years ago, he vowed it would just be for two years because he's too busy.
"And 'Hotel California' stepped in where you won't let me go," he said with a laugh, noting that out of the 100,000 emails he gets from viewers a year, "probably 60,000 of them are begging for help and are in real turmoil."
"That I can't help everyone is the hardest thing that I face. I wish I could. A lot of these people may go bankrupt, lose their home ... (go through) divorce — I call it divorce dust. But I'm doing what I can and I'm trying to teach so they don't fall in this trap."
While Holmes may hear from viewers often, that's not the case when it comes to the contractors whose shoddy work led to the disasters he sees in homes.
"Out of almost 200 shows that I've finished by this date, there's only two contractors that I've heard from," he said. "They put the tail between their legs and sort of run. It's a shame but it's expected.
"They realize they were wrong and I can only hope that the majority learn from what they saw on television."
Holmes figures his services are so in demand because of "an epidemic" of poor construction.
"We're building wrong in the first place," he said. "We're building with minimum code and not even trying to push above that or at least educate as so why you should."
Holmes often hears about minimum-code problems from condo dwellers who tell him they can hear — and smell — their neighbours.
"STC means Sound Transmission Class and that's around 50 when it comes to a condo," he said.
"The truth is, we knew the sound transmission class of 50, you can hear your neighbour and more than likely you'll smell them too. Don't you think you'd want them to up it a bit, shouldn't the condo guys be upping it? I would, and brag about it."
One of the biggest pieces of advice Holmes has for prospective buyers is to look for the year in which the home was built.
"Anything before 1980 has a possible 50/50 chance of containing asbestos in the plaster, tile and attic insulation. And if you just knew that, that's education."
They should also insist on getting a home inspection, even if the real estate agent discourages it in order to secure a strong bid.
"Don't buy the house without it," said Holmes.
"How many times do I see a real estate clipping that says, 'All new electrical, totally renovated, just gorgeous, move-in ready.' Meanwhile, did (the real estate agent) even check to see if there were permits pulled or did they even care?"
When it comes to hiring a contractor, homeowners should look for a passion in the person they're hiring.
"It's about caring and I always do it in a simple equation — we've got two cooks, one loves to cook, one hates to cook. What burger do you want to eat? Really simple, right?" said Holmes.
And with the cooler temperatures setting in, Holmes advises homeowners not to wait until the last minute to do seasonal maintenance: make sure the furnace is working properly, the ducts and fireplace flue/chimney are clean, and the roof is in good condition.
"When it comes to your home, learn what you need to do. Start from the outside, work your way in. Do not start from the inside and work your way out. I can't say that enough."

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Holmes Makes It...Awesome!

So, tonight was the premiere of Mike's new show, Holmes Makes It Right. Unfortunately for me, I didn't see it. Since I don't live in Canada, I will have to wait until 2013 to see the show air. However, the buzz on Facebook and the internet is incredible. Looks like Mike has yet another hit on his hands. From the wild and crazy promotions this afternoon in Toronto, to the live Tweets on Twitter from Mike, it appears that Mike not only made it right, he made it awesome!!! Here's some of the buzz from yesterday's launch of Mike's new hit show.

This from the Winnipeg Free Press:

Making it right, and bigger Mike Holmes expands focus to include entire communities

Mike Holmes
Of course, it's about the hammers and nails, the concrete and lumber, the wiring and plumbing and flooring and shingles and spray-foam insulation.
But Mike Holmes says his new HGTV series, Holmes Makes It Right, is also about much more than building materials and homes in desperate need of repair.
"One thing I love is that we've really brought in even more of a reason to 'Make It Right'," he says. "We've always had story arcs in the show, and there's always a happy ending; I didn't want to change those, but (this series) is very driven by the stories, by the homeowners and what's happened to them -- whether it's someone who's been harmed by the house blowing up or falling down or burning down, or someone coming back from the war in Afghanistan, or whatever."
Holmes Makes It Right, which premieres tonight at 8 on HGTV, the contractor-turned-TV-personality also expands the horizons of his reno/rescue efforts beyond the residential repairs that have been the staple of his earlier shows. In the new series, Holmes and his crew tackle some larger projects that affect entire communities.
The series opener focuses on a family-home roof repair, but next week's instalment finds the Holmes team working to rebuild a massive playground structure in Toronto's High Park neighbourhood after the beloved castle-shaped apparatus was destroyed by arson.
"Somebody, drunk and stupid, goes in and burns the place down," Holmes explains, "and the community is in an uproar. The government calls me in and, working with the fire department, the police department and the community, we build a castle that's even bigger and safer for the kids.
"It's a very story-driven episode, and it's driven by the children."
Since launching his first series, Holmes on Homes, on HGTV in 2001, Holmes has steadily gained popularity, evolving from a beloved specialty-TV character into a trusted and highly marketable global brand. A champion of proper procedures, permits and inspections, Holmes says he's gratified that his TV shows have helped homeowners become more educated while at the same time inspiring young people to consider careers in the skilled trades.
"Something that I'm very proud of is seeing the number of young people getting into the trades," he says. "I'd like to think that it's partly because of the (Holmes) shows -- though the only thing that really matters is that it's happening -- that it's becoming a cool thing to get into the trades.
"We're seeing a six per cent increase in women getting into the trades, and the opportunities are growing for both men and women. This is a really good change ... and I'm really proud of that."
Holmes admits he has heard the criticism leveled by some in the contracting industry that his shows create unrealistic expectations for homeowners looking to have work done properly on limited budgets.
"Yes, I'm hearing that a bit too often," he says. "I really want to stress that it's not about building a Taj Mahal, or going overboard for television purposes. The reason I do what I do is to teach people that if you spend your money properly, it comes back to you. I'm not going to go into a house and turn a blind eye to all structural and plumbing and electrical problems I see just because I'm there to fix the HVAC or the roofline. If I see a problem, I will take it apart, because I see it as an opportunity to educate everyone out there.
"For those (contractors) who say it's not realistic because I'm using more expensive products -- spray foam (insulation), mould-resistant drywall, Parallam beams -- well, that's what we should be doing, and I want people to learn that if you don't spend your money right, you will be fixing it down the road."
He adds that it's up to contractors to help their customers make the best decisions about home-renovation priorities.
"That's where the contractor has to educate the homeowner," he explains, "by saying, 'Look, you don't have enough money to fix all your problems, but if you look at it in stages of what we can do, then we can help you spend your money wisely.' It's our job to let them know the order they should be doing things in."
Holmes says the sheer number of requests he receives from homeowners in crisis -- he gets more than 100,000 emails from viewers every year -- suggests that there's still a lot of sub-par contracting work being done out there in the home-reno world.
"The hardest part for me is that I can't help all of them," he says. "I'd love to help everyone; I wish there was a 1-800-IVEBEENSCREWED number that people could call. But it's impossible; I can't do it. All I can do is continue doing what I'm doing and hope that people pay attention so they don't get screwed."
Holmes laughs when asked his opinion of the marketing materials for Holmes Makes It Right, which feature the contractor pulling open his jacket to reveal a Superman-style "H" logo on his chest.
"It was HGTV's idea to do that, but I think it's really cute," he offers. "I think what they're trying to say is that he -- meaning me -- is hero to the people out there who he goes out to help. And with so many kids out there watching the show, I think it's a great idea to let the kids know that there's an opportunity for them to become a hero, too. I think that's fabulous." Twitter: @BradOswald
Holmes Makes It Right
Featuring Mike Holmes
Tonight at 8

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition October 16, 2012 D1
Here's a quick news release regarding the "Super Holmes" promotion from Canada Newswire:

It's a Bird! It's a Plane! It's… Super Holmes! Mike Holmes Contest hits the Streets of Toronto

Photo Opportunity with Mike Holmes
and "Mike-A-Likes"

TORONTO, Oct. 16, 2012 /CNW/ -

WHAT: The Spot A Super Holmes Contest is landing in Toronto on October 16th. From 11am - 4pm Mike Holmes and his look-alikes, clad in superhero capes and Mike's classic overalls, will be popping up across Toronto! Fans who spot Mike or one of his Mike-alikes can take a photo and be entered into a contest to win $5000 cash, or one of two secondary prizes from Roxul The Better Insulation or Milwaukee Tools, both valued at $2,500.
The brand-new series Holmes Makes It Right premieres Tuesday Oct 16th at 9pm on HGTV Canada.
WHEN: Tuesday October 16th, 11am - 4pm
WHERE: High-traffic locations across Toronto
WHO: Mike Holmes and his look-alikes, dressed as 'Super Holmes' in overalls and capes

Image with caption: "HGTV star Mike Holmes poses with 'Mike-alikes' who are popping up across Toronto today in the Spot A Super Holmes Contest. Fans who get their picture taken with them are being entered into a chance to win $5000. The new series Holmes Makes It Right premieres tonight at 9pm ET/PT on HGTV Canada.(CNW Group/ HGTV - Home & Garden Television)". Image available at:
SOURCE: HGTV - Home & Garden Television
For further information:
on the contest, specific locations for photo opportunities, or info about Holmes Makes It Right, please contact:

Sarah Stevens
Publicist, HGTV and DIY Network Canada
Shaw Media
Cell: 647-669-7164

Yesterday, Mike appeared on the Morning Show in Canada. Here are some screen caps. To view the video, go to the Global Toronto website and watch it!

Mike also appeared on "Every Second Counts" where he failed to identify a Jimi Hendrix song, but got $50 towards a charity anyways. He vowed to get it right next time. Mike's not a rock guy anyways. Perhaps if it were a Reggae song, he might of had a chance.

And last but not least, the Mike Holmes Fact of Fiction Wrap Up from HGTV Canada:
How Well do You Know Mike Holmes? Fact or Fiction Wrap Up
Posted by Tina Taus, Web Producer Tuesday, October 16, 2012 3:18 PM EDT

Tonight’s the night! Mike Holmes’ new series Holmes Makes it Right premieres at 9pm ET|PT. And in the seven day countdown leading up to the premiere we revealed a new fun fact about Mike. Today we’re revealing the answer to yesterday’s final quiz which stated: “Mike created his own signature drink.” If you guessed this statement was “fiction” you are… incorrect. It’s fact, Mike indeed has some mixology skills too! He has created a signature Holmes-tini drink which is made up of:
  • 1 part vodka
  • 1 part coconut rum
  • 1 part peach schnapps
  • 1 part pineapple juice

Also, here are some other fun facts about Mike we didn’t ask during our week of quizzes which you may be surprised to learn:
  • You may think Mike has blue eyes, but they are in fact green.
  • Mike is a certified scuba diver, he scuba dives on Caribbean vacations
  • Mike has two honourary doctorates from BCIT & Niagara University


About the whole "Mike has green eyes" thing... yeah, I've seen Mike's eyes. In person. They looked very very blue to me. My husband thought they were blue too. And then a friend told me that Mike told her that his eyes were not blue or green, but hazel. Upon further examination, I determined that they looked greenish bluish greyish hazelish. I've come to the conclusion that Mike apparently doesn't know what color his eyes are, and therefore neither do I. So until I get further information, I'm going to leave the eye color question up on the shelf. Maybe if he didn't squint so much, we wouldn't be having this conversation.


Don't forget the ET Canada coverage:

Readers Digest Canada also released an interview with Mike today:

Making It Right: An Interview with Canadian Contractor Mike Holmes

The celeb contractor opens up about gaining trust, exposing mistakes, and tackling some surprising projects on his new show Holmes Makes It Right.

By Malcolm Johnston

Forbes magazine recently named you the third most trustworthy celebrity in the world, behind Morgan Freeman and Ron Howard. Were you surprised? It did make me wonder. I’m just some contractor from Canada. I guess it means that people believe in what I believe in.

The level of trust you’ve developed is a politician’s fantasy. Have you considered a run for office? No. But if I were prime minister, the first thing I’d do is fire everyone and start again. I’d hire normal people.

Much of the trust you’ve built has come at the expense of contractors. You expose their shortcuts and become the hero; they’re vilified. Any dirty looks at Home Depot? A few. People sometimes drive by and yell profanities. But in all my shows, only one contractor stood up to me. He came to the job site and said, “I did everything right!” I told him to watch the show.

What percentage of contractors are doing good, honest work? I call it the good, the bad and the ugly: 20, 70 and ten percent, respectively.

You were front and centre on Holmes on Homes, and then switched to a background role on Holmes Inspection. Are we going to see more of you in Holmes Makes It Right? Yes. And there are no limitations on what I’ll tackle. It could be a reno for a soldier who’s returning from Afghanistan. It could be the Toronto Zoo. It could be repairing Toronto’s High Park playground, which burned down.

A big part of your appeal is your outrage. People love to watch you go ballistic over shoddy construction jobs. What’s the maddest you got while filming the new show? At one house, I discovered a huge foundation problem. The whole place had to be torn down—I couldn’t fix it. Someone had bought it, covered up everything, painted it and then flipped it, and the new buyers were left holding the bag. And you know what was in the bag.

Water? Well, I’d say browner.

Your business empire is rapidly expanding. Do you ever get a chance to kick back? I got one week off this summer, and I sat on my boat on Lake Ontario like a vegetable. It’s a 41-foot apartment: two bedrooms, two bathrooms, a living room and a kitchen.

What did you name it? Wake It Right.
Of course. Your slogan, “Make it right,” is everywhere—even tattooed on your right arm. It applies to everything. If you’ve done something wrong in your relationship, make it right.

Does your “Make it right” philosophy extend into the kitchen? When you’re cooking do you ever deviate from the recipe and toss in a handful of chili flakes? I experiment. I’m a great cook. You should taste my meat loaf, it’s unreal. I learned it from my dad.

You must be the perfect neighbour: You’ve always got the right tool. I think the neighbours love me. I’m quiet and courteous. But they don’t ask for my tools, which is fabulous.
(Photo: The Holmes Group)

Holmes Makes It Right debuts Oct. 16 on HGTV

Mike Holmes also appeared on 95.3 Virgin Radio with Drew Savage today. Visit the website to hear the phone interview:

Mike Holmes!

Posted By: Drew Savage·10/16/2012 9:23:00 AM

Drew Savage - Blog

Canada's favourite handy-man Mike Holmes joined the show this morning to talk about his new show, "Holmes Makes It Right", which debuts tonight on HGTV. He also dolled out some great home reno tips for the everyone else who may be considering upgrading their home.

HMIR_BlogOct2_MainWell, that's it. I didn't even include all the Tweets and Facebook stuff from Mike. I figured this was enough to digest for one night.

Enjoy Mike's new show, you lucky Canucks. And we Americans will just have to wait patiently until the new year. But our time will come... and soon!!!