Mike Holmes Jr. saw a chance to give back to a man who helped him so much over the years. Mike Holmes Sr. considered it an ideal opportunity to educate, prepare – perhaps even test – his son. For both, it was a lesson in fun.
When Mike’s Ultimate Garage premiers on HGTV Canada, Monday, September 1 at 8 p.m. ET/PT, there will be a lot more to absorb than the unveiling of a futuristic, over-the-top man cave designed by Canada’s most trusted contractor Mike Holmes and built by his son, Mike Jr., who takes over as foreman for the first time.Beyond the car lifts, lit stairways, weight room and remote-controlled skylights, the massive, 1,850-square-foot garage features some of the latest green building techniques, including solar panels with battery backup, mold resistant dry wall that actually removes volatile organic compounds, and a green roof that collects rain water in a cistern. Then, just when you think you’ve seen it all, a secret room is revealed.
“I really wanted to make sure this was tripped out with all the bells and whistles I could give him,” says Mike Jr., noting it was his first time working with some of the newer technology, like the 40-panel rooftop solar system. “It was a lot to get used to. I had 10 different guys talking at once … they were trying to explain how it all works and it was like they were talking a different language.”
And though he’s tempted to grab hold of the reins, Holmes Sr. is forced to stay on the sidelines watching.
“I was on him, but what I was trying to do was teach him to be 10 steps ahead of everyone else,” says Holmes Sr. “As a white helmet, you need to out-think everyone. You need to be so far ahead of everything that you know exactly 10 days from now what you’re going to be doing on a job site.”
Pressure mounts as Mike Jr. grapples with the complexities and demands of running a complicated job site, compounded by the scrutiny of his dad. At times he feels like calling it quits. But he perseveres, with the help of the Holmes crew and his sister Sherry, aiming to wrap things up before the snow flies.
“It was extremely nerve-wracking, but I think one of the things I really learned about this is to manage my stress a bit better,” says Mike Jr., noting that sometimes he had to suppress the urge to micro manage and just let the crew do their job. “That’s one of the things my dad taught me. He kept telling me to relax, take a step back, breathe, don’t stress, and be positive.”
When the big reveal comes, Holmes’ pride in his son is evident though you can’t help but think he’s still on the lookout for mistakes. Nevertheless, he maintains the only thing he has changed in the months since filming is the layout of the furniture. Everything else is “exactly what I wanted,” he says.
No doubt, Mike’s Ultimate Garage is an incredible build. The end result is jaw-dropping in many ways. But most of all, the two-hour special is a lesson about family, working together and having fun, says Holmes.
“The take away for me is life is as fun as you make it,” he says.