Mike Holmes And Kids Michael Jr. & Sherry Talk Holmes Family Rescue - Exclusive Interview

Over the past two decades, Mike Holmes has made a name for himself both on and off screen as an expert builder and contractor who's not only passionate about delivering quality work but also about sharing his knowledge of the construction trade with others. He has educated hundreds of clients and TV viewers about the ins and outs of renovation and construction, and he had a captive audience at home too: his children Michael Jr. and Sherry. And to his delight, they inherited his talent and passion for building. In Mike Holmes' latest show on HGTV, "Holmes Family Rescue," he joins forces with Michael and Sherry as they help overwhelmed families rebuild homes rendered uninhabitable by unethical or incompetent contractors.


Of course, working with family members is quite different from working with regular hired hands, and things can get pretty fraught if a family's communication and power dynamics are off. But for Holmes family, it's been a rewarding experience, made even better with the knowledge they're putting needy families in safe, comfortable homes. In this exclusive interview, Mike, Michael, and Sherry Holmes share what it's like working together, some favorite memories from their projects, and their upcoming friendly Christmas competition.

Holmes Family Rescue evolved naturally from Mike Holmes' career

First, how did "Holmes Family Rescue" get started?

Mike: Go ahead, Mike.

Michael Jr.: I was going to say this was 20 years in the making. [Something] like that. My dad started "Holmes on Homes" and then it just kind of evolved from there. I guess that's the short answer to how "Holmes Family Rescue" got started.


Mike: It actually just expanded in to having Mike and Sherry on the show because they were so good in front of the camera that they became, I guess, the entity of the Holmes family, and we, all along, rescued families. It just made sense to be "Holmes Family Rescue."

So what is it like actually working while on camera? Does actually doing all this construction and stuff while on camera affect your work process?

Sherry: It takes more time than it would should we not have been on the camera. It never goes perfectly well. It's a lot slower. We need to make sure we catch everything and explain everything properly. It's also, I remember it being quite nerve-wracking when I started. I was terrified to work in front of the camera. Yeah.


Michael Jr.: Yeah. It's definitely a longer process. For example, whenever you're filming on camera, if there's anyone making sound in the background, they have to stop and wait because unless you're seeing that sound, it doesn't really translate onto camera, so it slows things down a bit.

I can see that. And how do the homeowners on the show find you? What's it been like working for them?

Michael Jr.: They all go to makeitright.ca and tell us their story. And what we're looking for more than anything is really good people because when we go in, they really do win the lotto. Most of them don't have anybody, and if we're going to go help someone, the whole idea is I'm going to teach people on the television show, but they got to be really good people. [With a] good story. And what that does is allows us to meet a wonderful family. It gets more encouragement to go just all out as much as we can to save their lives. Literally.

Working together professionally has brought the Holmes family closer

And I've got a question for Mike Sr. What is it like working with your kids professionally, and has that affected your relationships with them?

Mike: You know, it's always great working with your kids. For years now, they've been with me, and I'm starting to think it's been at least 15 years, probably more, but it's great to have them. Of course, there's up and downs. There's going to be days we don't agree or minor conflicts, but in the long run, I think it's really brought us closer together. That's my personal opinion. What do you guys think?


Sherry: I honestly would agree with that. I feel like there are challenges to it. We are a family, so you're going to argue, you're going to bicker. But at the same time, I think it's better because we can be very honest with each other. So if I don't like the way Michael or my dad are doing something, I can say that and give them my opinion or they can be helpful with me if I'm not sure if I need help with something or I can't make a decision.

I think we're really good at that back and forth and communicating. And also we can't stay in any kind of argument or tiff after work. We are family, so if we don't get along on the job site, you have no choice that you get along afterwards. So I think it's been really good for us.


Michael Jr.: Yeah. I would agree, and I can honestly say that I do believe that we have become closer from working together. Sure, there's been growing pains and when you start working for your dad at 14 years old — and then Sherry started something like 18 ... maybe 20 years old — you're still kids and you're still learning who you are and becoming who you are as an adult. And your parent has to learn that too. And then you're learning how to work for your parent. And so there are growing pains, but I'd say now we're closer than ever.

Michael and Sherry Holmes initially had other career plans

Actually, that brings me to the next question for Michael and Sherry. Did you two always want to go into construction? Was this something your father encouraged you to do?

Michael Jr.: Yeah, so my dad always says he had to bribe me to get into construction, and we have two different stories of how we got into construction personally, but I always thought I wanted to do something different. I wanted to do something on my own. And I wanted to be a firefighter when I was younger.


But when I started working for my dad between summers in high school at 14 years old, I loved it. And that was really as simple as it was, is that I started working with my hands and being able to build something and working hard, sweating to finish a project, and doing something different every day was really satisfying for me.

Sherry: Mine is similar because I absolutely did not want to work in construction. I don't think it's so much of not wanting to work in construction. It was definitely not wanting to do what my dad wanted me to do. I was more of a nomad. I was traveling. All I wanted to do was work odd jobs to make money so I could go and do anything I wanted.

So I used to like backpacking, and to me, work was work. I just needed to make money. It didn't matter. And my dad tried to continuously talk me into joining the construction crew, and I just adamantly refused for years. One being I was terribly shy, and two, I'm really bad at math.


So I was embarrassed about that kind of skillset. I finally agreed to join the crew when I was 21 years old. I said, "I'll give it a try," and went to New Orleans to build a house, and my dad was kind of like, "Hey, you get to travel and you get to help people. What do you think?"

So I joined the crew, and I think what really sealed the deal for me, was not only the satisfaction of learning that I can do what every other man can do, [but] I can learn construction. I can learn to read a measuring tape and do my math. And you just get to see what you can do with your bare hands. And the people you get to help are just phenomenal. I've never turned back, obviously.

Their toughest project was costly, time-consuming, and hot

A question for all three of you: What is the toughest project you've ever worked on?

Michael Jr.: That's an easy one.

Mike: Well, go ahead.

Michael Jr.: I was going to say ... Actually, no, that's not so easy. There was two for me. Years ago, my dad was filming "Holmes on Homes," and he almost stopped filming a show to help this family. And he ended up tearing down this house completely and rebuilding it from scratch. And that was an exhausting build.


There were weeks we did over a hundred hours, but then you look at New Orleans and when we did that show, that job, the heat was insane. We've never dealt with heat or humidity like that before. At least, I haven't in my life. And that was really challenging and to get that job done in two months was really tough.

Sherry: I think that's a really tough question. I'm not really sure. The hardest job. I think every job has its difficulties in different degrees. Definitely some more than others. I have favorite jobs, which sounds terrible. Hardest job. Probably just the ones we put the most hours in, but those are also some of my favorites. So I can't say. I don't know. I don't have a full answer to that. I apologize.


Mike: "Lien On Me" would be the hardest job. The one that my son said. The reason why was because they didn't have any money. The contractor took all they had and then liened their property. The first thing I had to do was put them up for a year. I paid for where they lived. I paid their electrical bills. I paid their telephone bill. I paid their legal bills.

We designed the world's strongest home because if I was going to build a home, I was going to make a testament to it. And that was a home that will withstand a hurricane, a tornado, and the test of time. I always talked about the "Three Little Pigs," and that's probably the reason it was so hard because it just had every single element of pain. It was financially huge.

We had to do it. It still cost the company a million to save their lives. At the end of it all, it really did save their lives, and now, ironically, they're living in a home that, in the area, is probably worth about $5 to $6 million. And I look at that and go, at the end, they, they had to hand me a dollar to make it legal because we couldn't just do it. It's got to be a dollar minimum.

But the family was wonderful, and in the long run, it's what we do, and then like Sherry and Mike said about New Orleans, it was also one of the hardest and obviously one of the favorites because the pros and cons were great. Build a house that will withstand Category 5 hurricanes. Save the families that are down there. Tell the story at the Lower Ninth and ... I'm telling you, I've never felt humidity like that in my life. We begged for rain. And then we begged for air conditioning.


Sherry: That was still my favorite job.

Holmes for the Holidays is a fierce — but fun – competition

My next question was what was your favorite job? Was that it? Were there other ones?

Sherry: I have two favorites. My very first job was New Orleans. I was 21 years old, never learned construction. My brother taught me how to read a measuring tape hidden behind one of the posts because I was embarrassed. I think I worked my butt off to try to prove that I could do what everyone else would do. I was scared of the camera. We worked seven days a week nonstop. We would work before seven in the morning. We'd work until after eight at night. And it was still one of the best things I've ever done to this day.


And the second would be High Park. We built a castle playground and it was phenomenal — for how many people can say they build a castle? And I actually met my husband building that project.

Mike: That's right.

Okay. The last question was, can you tell me a little bit about "Holmes for the Holidays"?

Mike: "Holmes for the Holidays" is such a family-oriented show. Sherry had a great idea to create a challenge that we all dress up our properties, and it brought out the real [sense] in the family of love, of imagination, and competition. And it's going to be one show that everyone out there is going to adore.

Sherry: It really just brings back the magic of Christmas. And that's what I found to be so important. I love the holidays, so very fun to do.


Michael Jr.: Yeah. And it's something different. We all work together as a family, but then it created this different family element. And then, of course, gets some competition in there, but it was so much fun to do together, to compete and enjoy those moments together.

Sherry: And it's something outside the job site too.

"Holmes for the Holidays" premieres on Saturday, December 18 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on HGTV, and new episodes of "Holmes Family Rescue" air Saturdays at 8 p.m. ET/PT.