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


Average: 3 (3 votes)

Recent Features

  • How to Winterize Your Home>>

    Beat the deep-freeze and save money on your energy bill.>>

  • 6 Bathroom Renovation Tips From the Experts>>

    When it comes to a bathroom overhaul, creating a beautiful space and boosting the value 
of your home go hand in hand. According to Toronto real estate agent Heikki Walden of Camber Walden Group, “A bathroom renovation will give you a 100 per cent return on your investment”—the highest return of any home improvement.>>

  • 7 Tricks to Keep Your House Cool Without Air Conditioning>>

    When the weather heats up, turning on the air conditioning also means emptying your wallet. To avoid the high cost of air conditioning – and to be more environmentally friendly – follow these cool tips.>>

  • How To Buy a Good Mattress>>

    Choosing the right mattress can be confusing if you don’t know much about the mattress market. Here’s the inside story on how to get a great deal that will give you many a good night’s sleep.>>

  • 5 Essential DIY Home Security Tips>>

    Raise the alarm and step up your safety with these do-it-yourself home security tips guaranteed to keep your home secure from intruders.>>

  • 3 Tips for Transforming Your Roof Into an Oasis>>

    Transform your barren rooftop into the terrace of your dreams, like this one built by a DIY Montreal couple.>>

  • 10 DIY Car Wash Tricks and Tips>>

    Cut through that built up grime and dirt and get your car sparkling with these easy do-it-yourself car wash solutions.>>

  • 8 Easy DIY Door and Lock Fixes>>

    Stuck lock, squeaky hinge or loose doorknob? We’ve got eight DIY solutions to common door and lock problems.>>

  • 5 Tips for Creating an Income Suite>>

    Make a little cash on the side with these easy tips for building an income suite.>>

  • 6 Easy Steps to a Fall Home Makeover>>

    Fall has officially arrived. Now is the time to give our homes their seasonal makeover. Here’s how to get started.>>

  • 4 Tips for Designing Better Fences>>

    Steve Maxwell, Casa Guru’s home improvement expert, tells you everything you always wanted to know about designing the "ultimate" fence (but were afraid to ask).>>

  • New Roofing Options and Tips>>

    Considering a new roof for your house? You're in for some fun! Here's a quick overview of three interesting roofing options.>>

  • How to Avoid a Home Reno Nightmare>>

    A little due diligence can help lessen the chances of a renovation nightmare. Home renovations can be a large financial burden, that's why casaGURU's home improvement guru Steve Maxwell explains to homeowners how important contracts and research is through using a real life example of a disaster.>>

  • 6 Ice Cream Makers Worth Trying>>

    Bring some fun into the home by making your very own ice cream. Here are six ice cream makers currently on the market that churn out frozen treats at a moment’s notice.>>

  • 7 Worst Home Design Mistakes>>

    There are average home decor flubs, and then there are offenses against design itself. Here, the folks from the Design2Share podcast count down design's greatest Sins of the House.>>

Your Comments