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 RightYes. 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

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