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For regular viewers of HGTV, Mike Holmes has been part of the network’s television landscape for decades. The contractor first made waves in his native Canada with his series “Holmes on Homes,” in which he helped homeowners repair the damage inflicted on their domiciles by shady, incompetent builders, all while following his mantra of “Make It Right.”
The show eventually made its way to American airwaves, making Holmes a star on both sides of the border. More shows followed, along with books, speaking engagements, commercial endorsements, and even his own company, which extends to areas ranging from television production to home inspections to homebuilding. Holmes continues to be at the forefront of home-renovation television series, with his 2021 series “Holmes Family Effect” making its Canadian television debut in the plum timeslot immediately following the Super Bowl.
While Holmes is a familiar face to TV viewers, there’s still a lot that the average fan of his shows may not know about the Canadian powerhouse. Read on to discover the untold truth of Mike Holmes.
Mike Holmes' TV career was a total fluke
Mike Holmes’ ambitions laid only in the world of building and construction until the fateful day he was hired to build the set for a Canadian TV series focusing on DIY home renovation. As Canada’s The Globe and Mail recalled, Holmes couldn’t help himself from telling the show’s producer what a rotten idea it was to encourage homeowners to do their own repairs, explaining that a considerable chunk of his own contracting work came from fixing the damage done by clueless amateur renovators.
Holmes didn’t realize his “diarrhea of the mouth” would give the producer the genius idea of casting the opinionated, rough-around-the edges contractor in his own HGTV show. The producer pitched the idea: Holmes would help homeowners fix their own botched DIY efforts and the crappy workmanship of inept contractors, educating viewers along the way.
A pilot was shot, and producers evidently liked what they saw. In 2001, “Holmes on Holmes” made its debut on HGTV Canada. The show was an instant hit; as The Globe and Mail reported, by 2004, “Holmes on Homes” had become the most-watched show on HGTV Canada, and “Holmes is by far their biggest star.”
Mike Holmes was voted one of Canada's most-trusted people
When Mike Holmes first launched his career in television, he was as inexperienced as it gets in the world of entertainment. However, he proved to be a fast learner, and he demonstrated an innate talent for the medium — and not just in front of the camera. In fact, Holmes was savvy enough to realize he wasn’t just making a TV show, he was building a brand — and that brand was built on trust.
That bore out in 2010, when a Reader’s Digest Canada poll seeking the year’s most-trusted Canadians revealed Holmes landed in the runner-up spot, second only to scientist and broadcaster Dr. David Suzuki. As Holmes’ television reach grew, so too did the trust he engendered. In 2012, he took the No. 3 spot on Forbes’ list of the most-trustworthy celebrities (via Yahoo! News), bested only by Morgan Freeman (who captured the top spot) and director , who came in second.
Discussing making it onto Forbes’ list in an interview with Reader’s Digest Canada, Holmes was characteristically humble. “I’m just some contractor from Canada,” Holmes said. “I guess it means that people believe in what I believe in.”
The details of Mike Holmes' connection to Brad Pitt
After the devastation that Hurricane Katrina wreaked on New Orleans in 2005, Brad Pitt launched the Make It Right Foundation in 2007, with a mission of rebuilding the neighborhoods destroyed by flooding.
Had Pitt done a little more due diligence, he would have discovered that “Make it Right” had already been trademarked by HGTV star Mike Holmes — who even had his catchphrase tattooed on his bicep. Rather than take the movie star to court, Holmes had another idea: He contacted Pitt’s reps, explained the situation and offered to join the organization’s efforts. “He had his vision of doing it when I talked to him,” Holmes told the Toronto Star of his discussion with Pitt, “but he [knew] he didn’t know enough about it.”
As a result, Holmes and his team travelled to the Big Easy, where they rebuilt a flood-damaged home in the Lower Ninth Ward. Ever the entrepreneur, Holmes also brought along a camera crew, resulting in the HGTV special “Holmes in New Orleans.”
Mike Holmes once had his own magazine
As Mike Holmes’ television success continued to grow, he decided to make a foray into the publishing business with Holmes: The Magazine to Make It Right. As a 2009 press release explained, the magazine was set to launch that November throughout Canada. “This is the magazine homeowners need to help them with their renovations,” Holmes said in the announcement. “It’s the magazine I was searching for and couldn’t find. So, I had to make my own magazine, and Make it Right.”
Unfortunately, the magazine didn’t last long, and it wound up dragging Holmes into the mud when the company that published it went belly up a couple of years later. As Holmes’ rep, Liza Drozdov, told the Toronto Star, Holmes’ company had no involvement in the day-to-day operations of the magazine, which was published by the now-defunct Dauphin Media Group. When Dauphin ceased operations, all the magazine’s subscribers — who’d paid up front — were left with no magazine, and they demanded refunds.
As the rep told the Star, the subscription money went directly to the publisher, not Holmes. “Mike feels terrible about it,” said Drozdov. “But it’s not his fault … he didn’t get any of that money.”
Mike Holmes is a serious reggae fan
One aspect of Mike Holmes’ personality that viewers may not have realized has to do with his musical tastes. “He loves reggae music,” Holmes’ son, Mike Holmes Jr., told HGTV Canada. “Everyone pictures him to be this rock and roll type of guy, but my dad actually loves to dance and vibe to reggae music.”
Holmes himself revealed this fact in a 2012 interview with The New York Times focusing on his favorite books and music. “I probably listen to more reggae music than the average person — Beres Hammond and Freddie McGregor, artists like that,” he said. A profile in The Globe and Mail noted that his truck was “filled with reggae dance CDs.”
Holmes reiterated his love for the Jamaica-birthed music genre in an interview with Canada’s Wheels website. Holmes declared, “I love reggae. I know people do not expect that — people think I’m a rock-and-roller, but I’m not.”
He once had a side gig as a TV spokesperson for instant coffee
As Mike Holmes’ television popularity grew in his native Canada, so too did the opportunities presented to him. One such opportunity arose in 2006, recalled The Globe and Mail, when Nestlé Canada was about to unveil a new instant coffee. In search of a celebrity to become the face of this new brand, the company commissioned a Canada-wide survey to determine which celebrities were most trusted by the public.
When Holmes landed in the survey’s top spot, Nestlé approached Mike Quast, who headed up business development at Holmes’ company, The Mike Holmes Group. Quast wasn’t sure if Holmes would be interested in shilling instant coffee, but decided to ask him what kind of coffee he drank. When Holmes revealed he was a fan of Nescafé’s instant coffee, the wheels were set in motion for a nationwide Canadian advertising campaign that ran for several years and apparently sold a lot of coffee.
“When they approached me about the commercial, I said if they can relate the commercial to what I do and keep it real, I’d say yes to it,” Holmes told Sudbury.com, “because the real truth is I drink Nescafé and have for years.”
Mike Holmes has starred in a lot of TV shows
Since the debut of “Holmes on Homes” all those years ago, Mike Holmes has gone onto appear in numerous other series. According to IMDb, after “Holmes on Homes” ended its run in 2009, he debuted a new series, “Holmes Inspection,” which followed a similar format to his earlier show, with the twist being that the homeowners’ problems were the result of a shoddy home inspection.
From there, the shows came fast and furious, starting with 2013’s “Holmes Makes It Right.” In 2015, he launched the primetime competition series “Home Free” on Fox, followed by “Holmes Buy It Right” the following year. He then teamed up with son Mike Holmes Jr. for the 2016 series “Holmes and Holmes,” and returned in 2019 with a revamped version of one of his earlier shows, “Holmes Makes It Right: Retooled.”
In 2019, Holmes left his longtime home at HGTV Canada and entered into an agreement with rival Canadian media conglomerate Bell Media. Under that deal, he unleashed several more shows: “Holmes 911,” “Holmes Next Generation” and “Holmes Family Effect,” all of which featured Holmes alongside son Mike Jr. and daughter Sherry.
Mike Holmes has his own line of workwear
Some celebrities have been known to slap their names on any old shoddy product to pull in a few bucks for an endorsement deal. That wasn’t an option for Mike Holmes, who was savvy enough to realize that his entire media career was built upon a foundation of trust. As a result, he proved to be incredibly picky when he decided to expand his business interests by launching his own branded line of workwear.
However, that’s not to say there weren’t a few bumps along the way. As The Globe and Mail reported, Holmes’ company, The Holmes Group, initially partnered with Canadian manufacturer Richlu that produced Tough Duck products for his own Holmes Workwear products, but the goods were reportedly marketed as “a premium version of the existing line.” That did not fly as far as Holmes was concerned, as he insisted on having his merchandise stand alone, which is eventually what came to be.
Holmes’ instincts were on the money. More than a decade after the product launch, Holmes Workwear continues to be sold in such retail hotspots as Home Depot, Costco and even Amazon.
This is Mike Holmes' endgame
From the get-go, Mike Holmes has made it his mission to educate his viewers about the importance of hiring trained, experienced contractors. That message is one that he’s never stopped trumpeting. In fact, Holmes admitted that television has been a means to an end as part of a larger plan — and that his time on television could be coming to an end while he pursues that greater goal.
“I don’t want to keep doing TV, to be honest with you, but I’m not done yet. I’ll know when I’m done when the industry has changed, it’s as simple as that,” Holmes said during a 2013 speech to university students, as reported by Algonquin Times. Television, he insisted, is “not who I am.” However, he explained, he was also “smart enough to know how to use the angle for it to try and get where I need to be, which is changing the industry — with the government, with education, with the next generation and the communities and houses that we’re building.”
The way Holmes saw it, “It’s people who actually stand up with voice and talk — properly — that will make change.”
Mike Holmes turned his TV empire into a family business
At a certain point in his television career, Mike Holmes began bringing his progeny into the picture. As a result, all of his recent series have included daughter Sherry and son Mike Jr. According to Holmes, this wasn’t some grand nepotistic strategy, but just the way things turned out, given that Mike Holmes’ children have long been fascinated by their dad’s dual roles as iconic contractor and TV star.
Sherry, in fact, accompanied her father to New Orleans as part of his construction crew, and the fuse was lit. “It was phenomenal,” Sherry told the The Times Colonist of her experience building a house with her dad. “I would do it again in a heartbeat.” Mike Jr. noted, “My dad is a perfectionist,” adding, “He is who he is on TV, outside TV. He’s an old-school kind of guy. ‘Do it right the first time.’ ‘Don’t take sick days.’ ‘Work it off.'”
Holmes, however, offered his own perspective: “I love working with my kids, watching them build on what they know and get better every day.”
He's a firm believer in giving back
A certain degree of altruism has always been woven through Mike Holmes’ TV series, started with him fixing botched home repairs in the original “Holmes on Homes” and extending through to subsequent TV projects, such as “Holmes Inspection” and “Holmes in New Orleans.”
That desire to give back was front and center in Holmes’ 2021 series “Holmes Family Effect,” which made its debut on Canadian television before crossing the border to air on in the U.S. on Fox. Meanwhile, as the show’s title hints, Holmes isn’t the only star of “Holmes Family Effect.” He co-stars with daughter Sherry and son Mike Jr. As Fox noted, the series follows Holmes and his offspring as “they help beloved community institutions, the people who work there and those who benefit from them.” They do this by surprising “deserving people by transforming their spaces.”
“My favourite part was always surprising our heroes and seeing the looks on their faces but also getting to show them the finished project,” Sherry told TRNTO. “We might have done the work, but they’re the real heroes for caring for their communities and doing an amazing job spreading good vibes and positivity.”
This is Mike Holmes' favorite room in his house
Everyone has their own favorite, special space in their domiciles. For Mike Holmes, that area is his garage. “Some people have a meditation or yoga room — I have my garage,” Holmes told Canada’s National Post. “To me, it’s the same thing. I can go out there, have a beer, and Zen out for a bit.”
Then again, Holmes’ garage isn’t exactly typical. That became clear in his series “Mike’s Ultimate Garage,” in which son Mike Holmes Jr. transformed the space into a “solar-powered man cave with remote-controlled skylights, car lifts, weight room, bar, entertainment system, and tool shop,” all under his dad’s specifications.
In fact, when Holmes spoke with the National Post, he shared that he’d just discovered that June had been designated as “Garage Door Safety Month.” Holmes admitted that his first impulse was to think that designation was “pretty ridiculous.” As he ruminated on it, however, Holmes’ mind opened. “But the more I thought about it, the more I like it,” he explained. “Why? It’s a good opportunity to break down a very specific topic about our home, and do a deep dive into it and learn something new about it.”
Mike Holmes has a surprising net worth
Mike Holmes may have been the unlikeliest of television stars, but there’s no questioning the stratospheric degree of success he’s experienced. According to Celebrity Net Worth, the humble contractor has amassed a net worth that’s been estimated somewhere in the range of $30 million.
That’s an impressive number, and it reflects the diversified ventures that his company, the Holmes Group, have embraced over the years. As Holmes’ website illustrated, along with his numerous television shows, Holmes has his hand in a number of other pies, such as endorsing an array of “Holmes-approved” products within the home-renovation realm. Then there’s his workwear collection and his own nationwide home inspection business in his native Canada. Holmes has also forged relationships with homebuilders throughout Canada who will construct houses under the stringent specifications laid out by the “Holmes on Homes” star.
In addition, Holmes has also authored several books, including “Make It Right: Inside Home Renovation with Canada’s Most Trusted Contractor” and his 2015 tome “The Holmes Manual,” in which he shares construction knowledge he’s accumulated throughout his career.
He launched his own Holmes on Homes podcast
In the spring of 2021, Mike Holmes decided there was one more medium he wanted to conquer: podcasting. This led to the launch of his “Holmes on Homes Podcast,” yet another extension of his mission to educate the public about the importance of proper building techniques. “Twenty years on television and my whole goal is to help people in trouble and educate you, the public, on things you need to do to do things right the first time,” he said in a trailer for the podcast.
The podcast, he explained, just “seems to be the next stepping stone that is necessary,” giving him another platform from which he can deliver “key information” straight to listeners “with nothing stopping me — no holds barred.”
In his podcast’s freshman season, Holmes covered a range of different topics, including sinks and faucets and electrical safety. In one episode, Holmes welcomed a “building biologist” to discuss how to build healthy homes. “I want to bring in lawyers, I want to bring in government people, I want to talk about the dangers of this world,” Holmes shared.
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