TV

Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Holmes Jr. a wood chip off the old block

  • Print

Think back for a moment to all those times your dad would hover over you as you attended to some chore or other, and how he'd offer critical assessments at every step and drone on about how anything worth doing is worth doing right.

Then imagine what that experience might be like if your dad happened to be Canada's favourite contractor, ol' Mr. Make It Right himself, Mike Holmes.

Or better yet, why not just ask Mike Holmes Jr., who had the unenviable task of leading the construction crew when his father's dream garage was being built.

With Mike Sr. constantly looking on, and a camera crew documenting his every move, the younger Holmes oversaw the erection of one of the most ambitious, most complex and most manly man-cave-ish garage projects you'll ever see. And of course, the entire arduous, year-long experience was turned into an HGTV special, Mike's Ultimate Garage, which premières Monday at 7 p.m.

"It was life changing," the younger Holmes says during a recent telephone interview, in which he and his famous father compare notes on the garage project, which began -- with foundation bricks already in place -- early in 2013 and was completed while last winter's snow was still on the ground.

"It was extremely stressful, and one of the many things I learned from it is how to handle my stress better. You need to enjoy life. And don't get me wrong, it was a fun project and I did enjoy it, but I needed to learn how to manage my stress better during the job."

Mike Jr., 25, had just completed his first semester of carpentry training at a Toronto-area college when Mike Sr. stopped by his job site and offered him the chance to lead the garage project crew. For a relatively inexperienced tradesman whose previous work was limited mostly to renovations, it was no small undertaking -- the mega-garage in question is an 1,800-square-foot behemoth that is fully self-powered (thanks to 40 roof-mounted solar panels), features state-of-the-art water-recovery technology and boasts a full workshop (complete with two car lifts), a recreation room and workout area, and a lavishly appointed second-floor bar area.

"I had always wanted a garage," the elder Holmes says. "I have a big workshop, which I love, but the cars didn't mix in well with all the tools, because I was terrified of scratching them and they were always getting dirty. So I had stopped even playing with (the cars) in the shop, and realized that we had to build this garage.

"And then it hit me that if I could teach my son how to do this incredible garage project, and how to run the crew, then maybe we should be filming this. So I threw the idea at the network, and Shaw (which owns HGTV) said they liked it."

As stressful as it was for Mike Jr. to run the project and deal with a very steep learning curve, it might have been even more nerve-racking for his Type-A father and mentor to maintain a hands-off approach so that his son could fully benefit from the experience.

"It was hardest when he was really stressed, when it looked like he wasn't going to make it," the garage's proud owner explains. "So what I'd do is just say, 'Hey, come here,' and we'd go talk in the back yard, or I'd take him for dinner. I would tell him, 'You're doing good,' and just try to help him stay on top of it.

"And at the end of this, I know now that he can do anything... this was like throwing him in the ocean, and he had to swim home."

Given the many months and hundreds of hours of footage that were involved in filming this special, it would have been easy to propose Ultimate Garage as a six- or 12-episode series. But the contractor who has built a TV empire on the strength of Holmes on Homes, Holmes Inspection and Holmes Makes it Right (which had its season première last week) insists that a two-hour special is the right format for this HGTV effort.

"I knew that this would be good on television, but it also came to the point of, 'Do we want to be like the Kardashians ... or do we just want to make an action-packed, wonderful show?' And the latter idea took hold. We don't want people to get bored with something like this -- and I don't think they would have -- but this way, they're going to sit down on Monday night and be riveted by it. You're going to spend two hours watching, and then you'll kind of wish there was more."

brad.oswald@freepress.mb.ca

Twitter: @BradOswald

 

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition August 30, 2014 G3

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Inside peek at Real Pirates, new Manitoba Museum exhibit

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • PHIL.HOSSACK@FREEPRESS.MB.CA 101130-Winnipeg Free Press Columns of light reach skyward to the stars above Sanford Mb Tuesday night. The effect is produced by streetlights refracting through ice crystals suspended in the air on humid winter nights. Stand Up.....
  • June 24, 2012 - 120624  -  Amusement riders on the last day of The Ex Sunday June 24, 2012.    John Woods / Winnipeg Free Press

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

Who will you vote for in Wednesday's mayoral race?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google