Question: What is the biggest or most frightening renovation that you have ever encountered?
Answer: I think the biggest and most frightening was the Christmas special where the house could have fallen down and killed the whole family. Not to mention that they were going to go bankrupt and lose the house had nobody stepped in to help them. It was really scary; from the first day I went there it was like, "I don’t even want to be in here."
Q: What was the end result?
A: Let’s see: about a four-hundred thousand dollar job, four-thousand square feet, five bathrooms. And they got their lives back.
Q: How did they react?
A: Very well. She cried, it almost made me cry. It was a wonder.
Q: Have you ever encountered a client problem that you haven’t been able to fix?
Q: What is your favourite type of room to renovate?
A: Great question. I love to create; it doesn’t matter to me to be honest. I love decks, bathrooms, kitchens, basements. But if I was to try to put it into one… my God. I did a $52,000 bathroom once, which I designed and created. It was very nice. You need once specific room? Ok, if I had to pick one I would have to say the bathroom.
Q: What are the tools you cannot live without?
A: My cordless tools. My five-pack cordless with the reciprocating saw, skill saw, drill, jigsaw, and flashlight.
Q: In your opinion, what would be the ideal start-up tool kit for a new homeowner?
A: It would be the five-pack cordless set. No doubt in my mind.
Q: Now what if you couldn’t afford it, if it was beyond their price range?
A: Well there are a lot of different brand names out there that will be within their price range, but the number one tool for a homeowner to have is a cordless drill.
Q: Even if the homeowner isn’t comfortable using more advanced tools?
A: Absolutely. You know, if you have a light cordless drill it is very simple to use. Everybody has to drill holes in walls to put plugs in to hang pictures. You’ll just get better at it using it. It would definitely be the tool you can’t live without.
Q: What are the benefits of buying old real estate as opposed to new real estate or vice versa?
A: Well the benefits of buying old real estate are that old houses are built better than houses built today. The older homes were built by craftsmen and today homes are built by pieceworkers. Anytime you have anything built with piecework, it’s not something you want to own.
Q: Why were homes built better in the past?
A: They were built with heart.
Q: What is your biggest renovation pet peeve?
A: People have no patience. We don’t have patience anymore. People don’t have the patience to wait for a contractor. They don’t have the patience to deal with a contractor. They don’t have the patience to do it right. There’s no patience.
Q: Is there a specific problem that you encounter time and time again that really infuriates you?
A: Well there’s no doubt that electrical, plumbing, and the structural problems are pretty well equal. I have to always educate the homeowner on what he or she needs. Everyone knows what they want, but you have to educate them on what they need. The biggest problem that I see is that many contractors do not have the talent to educate homeowners about what they need.
Q: What is the most common complaint?
A: It’s usually something in the finishing. It’s usually "my tiles are cracked," "my grout is cracked," "there’s a small leak." Everybody just thinks it’s something small, which ends up turning into something very big. The number one complaint is the floors: the hardwood or the tile.
Q: What is the worst case scenario if something is wrong with the floors?
A: Well that would be if it were one hundred percent installed incorrectly. This could end up costing you twice the amount it cost in the first place.
Q: How did you get started in the renovation industry?
A: My father was a Jack-of-all-trades. He was a great inspiration to me because he had talent to do things, and from there I just went 100 miles an hour forward.
Q: Did you ever have any other career aspirations? Any dreams as a young boy to be a doctor, a lawyer, etc.?
A: I never did. As a young boy I never wanted to be a professional contractor, but… Maybe at one point I wanted to be a police officer.
Q: How did you become the host of Holmes on Homes?
A: I had a big mouth. I got to know the executive producer of HGTV and I said, "You guys need a show like this…" and I went off. Then they said to me that they wanted a pilot right away and I said "not a chance," and then they convinced me to try it. The producer asked me to build him a custom home, and I told him if you are going to put a show on the channel about renovations you are going to have to explain the right ways of doing things, and the wrong ways of doing things, and the implications of doing them wrong. I went off, talking about it for over half an hour, about this show idea that I had. I wasn’t even thinking of me personally doing it, I was just giving him an idea. He jumped out of his chair and said "I want a pilot right away."
Q: How has doing this show changed your life and your business?
A: I thought I was busy in renovations! well, that has gotten worse! It’s very surreal. To walk anywhere and be recognized by almost everyone is very surprising. Everybody knows who I am. I’m no longer an average person. However, it’s all positive, which is a good thing. It doesn’t bother me.
Q: How do you feel about the female response to your show and to you in particular? Women think that you are appealing and they think you’re cute. They hug you a lot.
A: Well the hugs are how I get paid. Just kidding. I think it is cute that the women think I’m cute. It’s cute.
Q: Do you not notice that women are attracted to you?
A: Well, I guess I do but I don’t really think about it. But as I said, I think it’s cute every time I hear it.
Q: How many pairs of overalls do you own?
Q: Do you wash them yourself?
A: No. I take them to the cleaners because I just don’t have a regular life.