Mike Holmes first shot to stardom on 22 March 2003, by starring in his own series entitled “Holmes on Homes.” Known for his commitment to rescuing homeowners from renovation disasters, Mike has built a reputation for his expertise and dedication to professionalism in his line of work.
That notwithstanding, there have been certain rumors regarding the quality of the many jobs Holmes has performed over the years, with even some legal proceedings being started against him within the past decade. All of these negative factors combined into an interesting concoction that leaves fans wondering as to what truly happened to the once-revered reality TV star.
Who really is Mike Holmes?
Michael James Holmes was born on 3 August 1963, in Halton Hills, Ontario, Canada. His early life was deeply influenced by his father, Jim Holmes, who was a skilled craftsman dedicated to the booming business of construction, working as a General Motors engineer thanks to his license for plumbing.
Jim Holmes instilled in his son a strong work ethic and a deep respect for the trade, teaching him the many intricacies contained in the profession. He would also often take Mike to various worksites, where the young child was able to obtain invaluable hands-on experience with building and renovation procedures.
This early exposure to the world of construction played a significant role in shaping Mike’s future career, as by the age of 18, he was already dead-set on what he was going to become. The TV star would later credit his father with everyone intrigued about the secret to his great success.
In addition to sharing trade knowledge, Mike’s father possessed a compassionate nature that resonated deeply with him. Growing up, he witnessed Jim’s acts of kindness, as he selflessly assisted neighbors with household repairs, extending a helping hand to those in need. Jim saw this as something that a man ought to do, regardless of success or personal interest, which most definitely had a deep impact on his offspring.
Mike’s mother, Shirley Holmes, was a homemaker who took great care of him and his younger brother Steve and older sister Lisa. Shirley was later characterized by Mike throughout his years of fame as a woman unafraid to challenge societal taboos. She tackled the birds and the bees conversation with all three of her children early on, for example, and thus helped them obtain maturity faster than their peers.
Born to (dis)assemble
The very first project undertaken by young Mike was brought on by the not-so-favorable financial circumstances that the family had found itself during the late ‘60s and early ‘70s. Unable to expand their home, the Holmeses needed Mike and Steve to share a room, while Lisa had her own.
The future construction star didn’t really enjoy these conditions, and so he meticulously crafted personal living quarters within the confines of a closet, using his father’s tools and the knowledge that he’d picked up by that time.
In spite of the child ruining a perfectly good space for storing clothes, the parents allowed him to keep up his very first project for some time. He was eventually told to revert it back to the way he first found it, after about a year of using it as his own little room.
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Mike’s curiosity led him to dismantle numerous toys throughout his childhood, much to the displeasure of his father, who struggled with a low income to provide for everything the children needed. This habit nevertheless showed Mike’s innate talent as a master craftsman, which garnered attention from many people around him.
The prodigious youngster undertook the task of rewiring the second floor of his family’s dwelling at merely six years old, exhibiting remarkable skill and undeniable talent. He wasn’t entirely content with this accomplishment though, and thus proceeded to utilize his father’s entire stock of lumber and nails to construct an extraordinary three-room tree fort in the front yard.
Three years had passed by, and that accomplishment was overshadowed as well, since he successfully completed renovating his uncle’s basement. He skillfully tackled all the necessary tasks, including electrical work, plumbing, the construction of a bar, and the installation of stairs, all under the watchful guidance of his father. Mike also harnessed his building prowess to craft awe-inspiring go-carts that left the neighborhood children’s mouths agape.
His academic journey was much less fulfilling, however, as the young construction genius had massive issues with authority, and often found himself at odds with teachers in elementary and high school. This animosity inadvertently led to a greatly reduced desire to study and actually pass his subjects, causing him to have some of the worst grades in the institution. Mike ultimately dropped out at the age of 16, to fully dedicate himself to what would later prove to be his greatest choice in life.
The one-of-a-kind businessman
Holmes wasted no time in reaching for success as soon as that was possible, having founded his first company as early as 19 years old. The contracting company had 12 employees under Mike’s charge, all of whom would set off to various construction sites, and build objects from the ground up, agreement by agreement.
This was only the beginning though, and so Mike sought to expand the business as far as he could. This required amassing considerable capital, whose primary source was the company he’d already established. The future star remained focused on the goal and kept taking increasingly better contracts, until two years of smooth sailing had gone by, and allowed for an upgrade.
Holmes founded his second enterprise in 1984, a renovation company that built upon the success of the previous one, relying on the fully experienced 13-man workforce to take construction work to the next level, and produce significantly higher earnings.
I'm Mike Holmes and I'm taking over HGTV's twitter account for the next hour to share some things that didn't make the show. We are thrilled that #HolmesAndHolmes is airing #OnHGTV. Who's watching? pic.twitter.com/mKJM3oWggC
— HGTV (@hgtv) January 13, 2020
Things progressed very well from that point onwards, with Mike hiring even more workers, to be able to take on much more significant projects. There seemed to be no end to Holmes’ rise to success at the time, which also allowed him to relax a little bit and take the time to find love.
He eventually met a certain Alexandra Lorex, and the initial strong chemistry was by all means mutual. They took no time in organizing a first date, and after a few years of a relationship, the two married at a local church. Their union ultimately produced three children – Mike Jr., Amanda and Sherry.
Eye of the storm
Just on the cusp of a perfect life with very few worries, Mike was faced with the terrifying prospect of the economic downturn that occurred in the 1990s; often referred to as the Great Recession, it was a complex event with numerous contributing factors. Two primary causes of this monetary crisis were demand-pull and cost-push inflation.
Demand-pull inflation comes into play when consumer demand for goods and services outpaces the available supply. This occurrence typically manifests in a flourishing economy, characterized by improved job prospects, heightened individual confidence, and an ensuing surge in spending abundant wealth on diverse products and services.
As demand outpaces supply, producers may respond by raising prices, which in turn contributes to overall inflation. It’s like a tug-of-war between consumers who want more products and producers who increase prices to meet the rising demand.
On the other hand, cost-push inflation arises when there’s a shortage in supply accompanied by sufficient demand. In this scenario, producers have the ability to raise prices due to various factors, so as to maintain their own sustainability. Global disruptions in the supply chain, where the flow of materials or components is interrupted, can lead to increased costs for producers, who may then pass on these additional expenses to consumers through higher prices.
Similarly, monopolies that control the entire supply of a particular good or service can manipulate prices upward, taking advantage of their dominant market position, while natural disasters damaging production facilities can also limit supply and drive up prices.
Government regulations and taxes that reduce the availability of certain goods or services can have a similar effect. Additionally, a country intentionally lowering the exchange rate of its currency can make imported goods more expensive compared to locally produced goods, resulting in higher prices for foreign products.
The Great Recession was a period of significant economic distress, with many individuals and businesses facing severe financial hardship. This greatly affected Mike’s company, causing their earnings to plummet to the point at which he had to declare bankruptcy, and give up his dream.
These frustrations and newfound poverty also took a massive toll on Holmes’ personal life, resulting in his divorce from Alexandra after about ten years of marriage. This time was especially hard for the future star, as he also had to deal with the loss of both parents, who died on dates that weren’t too far apart.
That notwithstanding, it seemed like lunacy to give up after everything he had already created, and so Mike set out to rebuild his empire by taking renovation jobs wherever he could. It took a while, but word of his expertise spread once again over the following decade, which eventually led him to where he is today.
Mike also met and started dating a certain Anna Zappia at the start of the 2000s, at which point he was still trying to get back what he once had. They married in a low-key ceremony at some point during the next eight years, and have remained together since.
Hitting the jackpot
Mike had finally found his place under the sun in 2003, at the launch of “Holmes on Homes,” which ran until 2009. This massive rise in popularity afforded him the opportunity to branch out into the world, and do what he loved doing most earlier – creating companies.
He founded the Holmes Group early in his TV-screen heyday, which subsequently grew into a conglomerate as several branch companies were added to it, such as Mike Holmes Protection and Holmes Approved Homes.
Certain magazines were also created by the ever-growing empire, including “Holmes: The Magazine to Make It Right,” which ran from 2009 to 2011, and was dropped due to a dispute with Dauphin Media Group. It was inherited by the “Make it Right” magazine, which Holmes Group and TC Media brought to the stores in 2013.
Trouble in paradise
In spite of his skyrocketing successes, Mike also found himself embroiled in various court proceedings. The most prominent of those is a complex case involving multiple parties and allegations of negligence and errors in the construction of homes.
The lawsuit was filed in December 2021 by Tarion, a consumer protection organization, and revolved around the construction of 14 properties in Meaford, Ontario, by Third Line Homes. The properties were part of the TerraceWood Development, which was promoted as a sustainable ‘boutique neighborhood of healthy homes in a beautiful harbor town.’
The homeowners of these properties have reported numerous deficiencies in their houses, including leakages, mold, and structural flaws. Some of these issues were so severe that they raised serious safety concerns, and some homes were deemed unsafe to enter without proper personal protective equipment. It is now believed that the cost of repairs for these defects will exceed $8 million.
The involvement of The Holmes Group in the legal proceedings stems from its endorsement of the TerraceWood Development through the ‘Holmes Approved Homes’ initiative. However, The Holmes Group firmly asserts that it was not directly involved in the construction of any of the TerraceWood homes, nor did it oversee their building process.
The Holmes Group maintains that Third Line Homes, the builder responsible for constructing the homes affiliated with the Holmes Approved Homes program, failed to register any of these structures. Consequently, The Holmes Group contends that no inspections were conducted by their organization in relation to the TerraceWood Development.
Third Line Homes’ principals and officers, Mary-Jo and Paul Osborn, are also named in the lawsuit. In their statement of defense, they claim that the properties were sufficiently built and free of defects. They also allege that Tarion failed to properly communicate homeowners’ complaints, which resulted in an inability to address these complaints and caused financial ruin for Third Line Homes. This case is ongoing – none of the allegations have been proven in court.
So, what does Mike do today?
In spite of the as-of-yet alleged violations of the law, Holmes has been able to continue on the trajectory he began following in 2003, with his conglomerate taking its name to ever greater lengths by various means, most popularly through new TV shows.
Their most recent series as of mid-2023 is entitled “Holmes Family Rescue,” in which Mike and his children set out to renovate badly constructed or otherwise dilapidated properties. It has aired for a season and a half since its inception in 2021, with the fifth episode of the second installment set to air on 19 July 2023.