Thursday, February 13, 2014

The Family That Builds Together

When Mike Holmes started doing Holmes on Homes some 10+ years ago, I'm sure he would have never guessed two things that are very evident today. First, that the show would be a huge success and catapult this seemingly ordinary contractor into legendary status along the likes of Bob Villa and Tim the Tool Man Taylor. Secondly, I doubt Mike could have ever dreamed that the empire he was building would one day become a family affair. With all three of his children, his uncle, and his son-in-law all working along side of him, there's bound to be some drama and a whole lot of love on every job site. As this article from The Province reveals, Mike Jr. and Sherry never thought they'd be following in their dad's footsteps so closely. Growing up, they had other plans, but once the bug bit, there was no going back. With their "make it right" ethos that was undoubtedly drilled into them from early on, there's no doubt they make their father proud every single day.

For more information on Mike and Sherry and their appearance at the BC Home and Garden show this February, see Mike Holmes, Jr. and Sherry Holmes to Appear at the B.C. Home and Garden Show.


The family that builds together
Close to Holmes: Mike Jr. and Sherry follow in famous dad's construction footsteps

Joanne Sasvari
Special To The Province

One thing both Mike Jr. and Sherry Holmes knew growing up: They weren't going to go into construction. Sure, their father was the famous Mike Holmes, the respected residential contractor and star of television's Holmes on Homes. But they had other plans.
"For me, I wanted to get into firefighting," Mike Jr. says. And Sherry didn't want a career at all - she just wanted to make enough money to travel. "It was always something random," she says. "I can't do just one thing because I get bored."
But then Mike Jr., now 22, took a summer job with his dad when he was 14 just to make some money. "I fell in love with it, and now I've been doing it for eight years," he says.
And Sherry, now 26, found herself at loose ends in 2008 and joined the family on a project with actor Brad Pitt's Make It Right Foundation to build a home in New Orleans' Lower Ninth Ward, which had been devastated by Hurricane Katrina. She had no construction experience, and conditions were brutal - long days in punishing heat and humidity - but to her surprise, she loved every minute of it.
"It was phenomenal," she says. "I would do it again in a heartbeat."
Now both siblings are hammering and sawing alongside their dad on HGTV's Holmes Makes It Right. And they'll be here in Vancouver, offering tips, advice and anecdotes at the BC Home + Garden Show, Feb. 19 to 23 at BC Place Stadium (
Their dad couldn't be more proud of how his kids have followed in his work boots. (His oldest daughter Amanda also works for the family business, but behind the scenes. "She refuses to get the attention," Sherry says.) "They've both done so much, and they're just at the start of their careers," Mike Sr. says. "Sherry is already a tiling pro - she's better
than other guys that have been tiling for years. And she's creative. She likes trying different colours, patterns, different types of tiles, products and learning new tricks, different ways to make the job easier, better."
As for his son, who is now a site supervisor on the show and will one day take over the family business, Mike Sr. says: "Look at him - he's 6'3", looks like a model, and he's my son, but he's humble, he helps anyone he can and he has a good heart. I'm proud of the man he's become. I love working with my kids, watching them build on what they know and get better every day."
Not that it's always easy working as a family.
"My dad is a perfectionist. He is who he is on TV, outside TV," Mike Jr. says. "He's an old-school kind of guy. 'Do it right the first time.' 'Don't take sick days.' 'Work it off.' " And yes, there has been the occasional disagreement on the job.
"Of course, of course," Sherry says with a laugh. "It's the family aspect of the business."
"But he means well," Mike Jr. says. "And he's taught me well."
We wanted to know...
We had just a few more questions to ask Mike Jr. and Sherry Holmes, who star alongside dad Mike Holmes in HGTV's Holmes Makes it Right.
Q: What was your career highlight? Mike: "I just finished building my dad's garage and that's something I'm extremely proud of."
Sherry: "Mine would definitely be the New Orleans build."
Do you have a favourite tool or gadget? Sherry: "My stiletto hammer is my favourite tool ever. I love it to death." Mike: "My cordless Paslode nail gun. It's my baby. I'm not even kidding."
What's your best tip for DIY-ers? Mike: "Like my dad says, check your contractors' references and make sure you do background checks."
Sherry: "I'm going to say do your homework. Try to do some research and come up with some ideas so you can present something to your contractor. They're not going to know what you want if you don't."
What was you most embarrassing moment on set? Sherry: "Oh, there's a lot. The guys used to love scaring the hell out of me." But perhaps hitting herself in the face with a chunk of drywall - on camera - was the worst."
Mike: "I was talking to some people on set and I stepped on a rake and it smacked me in the face. It wasn't painful. It was embarrassing."
What's the best advice your dad ever gave you? Mike: "Treat people how you want to be treated. It goes to every aspect of life. It creates a better environment." Sherry: "His best advice to me is happiness is a choice. And that applies to everything. If you make yourself happy, you'll love coming to work."

© The Province 2014

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