A few years ago, we at BuildDirect had a chance to contribute to Mike Holmes’ first American project; helping a couple in Pasedena, CA with an unfinished, and under-functioning renovation. That’s what he does – he helps homeowners abandoned by unskillful and unscrupulous contractors, and makes it right.
The episode of Mikes Holmes on Homes program was called “Pasadena 911”, and we donated bamboo flooring, slate, and porcelain tile. It was a great opportunity to contribute to the work of someone we as a company admire.
As dedicated as he is to helping people, there is a special kind of pain which a highly competent contractor feels at being constantly exposed to shoddy work, and being called upon to work with what’s been done in order to (that phrase again) make things right. So, it seemed time for Mike to try something different
In a blog post written the year after the project in Pasedena, Mike talked about deciding to build a home from the ground up, making it sturdy, and above all, making it sustainable. It turned out to be a revelation about how all homes should be built. Here’s the story.
The home was owned by another person in trouble, with work done on their home that was so shoddy that the only way of making it right was to raze it and start again. A demolition and reconstruction of this scale is not the norm for Mike, as many of you know who watch the Holmes on Homes show. But, even in the midst of this very ambitious project, it was necessary. And it brought Mike to realization not only about how this project needed to be approached, but about how all residential projects should be approached.
As taken from the original Mike Holmes green built home post:
This house is a prototype for the houses I believe we should all be building. Think about it: Wouldn’t you love a house that won’t blow down or burn down or rot? A house that won’t have mould? A house with the best indoor air quality possible? A house that will be low maintenance, will save you money by being energy efficient and that will outlast you? People have asked me for years what kind of house I’d build if I could take it all down and start again. This is it.
The house features solar panels, a green roof, and a gray water recovery systems. But another aspect is its concrete structure designed to withstand the rigors of weather as well as being sustainable, and known for its heat-retention. Mike took this approach to yet another project of course; working with actor Brad Pitt’s Make It Right project, an effort to rebuild New Orleans’ hurricane-ravaged Ninth Ward.
When Mike Holmes heard about the Make It Right Foundation, and the familiar phrase used to name it, his interest was peaked. Not, because of the trademark, but in how he could get involved. After all, here was a chance to build from the ground up once again and to build it in a way that will stand up to any natural forces that had previously caused so much suffering in the area.
In both of these cases, adversity and disaster paved the way to opportunity, and allowed a clock to be reset in terms of how a home should be built. And best of all, at the forefront was a prominent, well established, and respected TV personality known for his dedication to an industry, to the welfare of homeowners, and to his highly upfront and sensible attitude when it comes to how a home should be built. This positions sustainable practices as the voice of reason in an age that is looking at dwindling resources and less predictable climates.
The benefits of green building is particularly relevant in areas where people depend on affordable living that is also safe living. With sustainability and smarter building as exemplified in Mike Holmes’ work, there should not ever be a choice between the two. If any effort will make it right, then surely it’s this.