From the Ottawa Citizen:
Mike Holmes lets his son build him an ultimate garage
Published on: August 27, 2014 Last Updated: August 27, 2014 11:12 AM EDT
Celebrity contractor Mike Holmes shows his son, Mike, Jr., the blueprints for his dream garage. Holmes has given the reins to his son, who will build the garage on the new HGTV show Mike’s Ultimate Garage, which airs Monday.HGTV Canada / Ottawa Citizen
Mike Holmes is not a man accustomed to taking the back seat. But he does just that when his son, Mike Holmes, Jr., assumes control of a project dear to his dad’s heart in Mike’s Ultimate Garage, a two-hour special airing Monday on HGTV Canada.
MJ, as the 25-year-old with the-boy-next-door good looks is known, has appeared on his father’s popular television shows, including Holmes Makes It Right. This time he takes over as project lead at the block-frame stage of an 1,800-square-foot, razzle-dazzle garage his father has always dreamed of owning and steers the build to completion. Dad is on site to advise during part of that process, but MJ, with both a deadline and his father’s reputation for perfectionism looming, bans Holmes as he applies the finishing touches for the big “reveal.”
MJ, a second-year carpentry student at George Brown College in Toronto, has led renovation projects in the past, but this is his first new build. And it’s a jaw-dropper: located at his father’s home, the garage boasts everything from two car lifts and a second-storey gym to a green roof and 40 solar panels to make it totally off-grid.
We caught up with father and son recently to talk about the project and their work together.
MJ, what’s the trick to working successfully with your father?
A: Not everyone can do it; it depends on your relationship, and we have a really good one. There’s times it gets frustrating and we butt heads, but at the end of the day we look at each other, resolve our problems and go on from there.
Mike, how difficult was it to surrender control to MJ?
A: It was very hard. I’m the guy that’s on a site from beginning to end. It’s the first time I’ve walked away and had someone else finish it. I was out every morning in my robe with a coffee walking around the garage, peeking, but I never did go in.
MJ, what’s the most important thing you’ve learned from your dad?
A: To treat people how you want to be treated, and that you get what you give. (At one point in the show, MJ says, “As much as he comes across as a big, scary guy, he’s one of the nicest people you’ll ever meet.” Mike, meanwhile, says to both his son and a crew member, “Love ya, man,” which is kind of the brawny, guy version of the more direct, “I love you.”)
MJ, what’s he taught you about leadership?
A: We’ve worked with guys that scream and yell, and it’s a toxic workplace. Having a leader with a good attitude creates a good work site and an efficient work site.
Mike, your three children — MJ, Sherry and Amanda — are all involved in your company. What are you proudest of about them?
A: That all my kids know how to be good people, and their ability to handle life. They’re also in the trades and damn good at it.
Mike, your Ultimate Garage is extremely well-built. What sort of things do you see done badly in other garages?
A: If we keep building with minimum code, you’re going to have crap garages. If we build better and smarter, it will last forever — it’s that simple.
MJ, do you plan to continue the family tradition and become a multi-media personality like your father?
A: Someone’s got to take over the company one day, and I figure who better than his son? We share the same blood, the same passion. Who better to carry on the legacy?
Mike, any plans to retire?
A: I will one day. I guess I just have to let it all go. Will I ever be out of it completely? That’s a really good question. (Adds his son, “I don’t think so. I don’t think he can stop.”)
Mike’s Ultimate Garage, a one-night only show, airs at 8 p.m. Monday on HGTV Canada. The new season of Holmes Makes It Right began earlier this week on HGTV.