helped his late father, Jim, do repairs around the
family’s modest home in Toronto’s tough East
End. “I was always beside him, watching, infatu-
ated with his ability to change things—to take
down walls or redo our house’s plumbing,” Holmes
wrote in the introduction of Make It Right: Inside
Home Renovation with Canada’s Most Trusted
Contractor (Harper Collins, 2007), the first of
three best-selling books he has written on home
renovations (a fourth is coming out this spring).
“He realized I wasn’t going away, so he started to
Notably, Holmes rewired the family home
(under his dad’s supervision) at age 6. At 12, he reno-
vated an uncle’s basement on his own. “I did the
whole thing,” says Holmes, “the paneling, the stairs,
the dropped ceiling—everything.” Hired at 19 to run
a renovation company with 14 employees, he soon
started his own company and began doing major
renovations of homes and businesses across Toronto.
In addition to his passion for the building
trades, Holmes developed a hatred for the botched
jobs done by other contractors, which he was
often hired to repair.
“I really got sick and tired of seeing all the crap
work,” Holmes tells The Connection. “It made me
want to educate homeowners.”
Through his TV shows, such as Holmes
Inspection, an hour-long program that does more in-depth investigations of home renovations gone bad
(“It’s like Holmes on Homes meets CSI,” he says), public appearances (often through the Holmes
Foundation, a charity he founded to fund and fuel
youth interest in the building trades) and the pages
of Holmes Magazine (which was launched in the U.S.
in the fall of 2010), Holmes has become an international household name.
Media and marketing experts offer many reasons for his success. Holmes, not surprisingly, has his
own opinion on the matter.
“I think the biggest reason is that people need
help buying or fixing their homes. And let’s face it:
Houses are the biggest thing most of us will ever buy
in our lives. You have to protect that investment.” C
FEBRUARY 2011 ;e Costco Connection 37
Quebec City freelance journalist Mark Cardwell says
he hammers words better than he does nails.