From Where I Sit – Beats the School of Hard Knocks

Several years ago I wrote a column extolling the virtues of handyman extraordinaire Mike Holmes. Actually, it bordered on becoming an ode. I talked about his gold necklace, bib Carhartt overall, and bulging biceps. That sexiness aside, I said that what most women really love about him is the commitment to get the job done, and done right. He was and is the renovation knight in shining armour.

Mike’s become an industry unto himself with TV shows like Holmes on Homes, Holmes Inspection, and Make it Right, all appearing on multiple networks. He’s been a celebrity judge on the American and Canadian Handyman Challenge reality shows. He writes books and has a syndicated column. Holmes is also a trusted expert and makes appearances at trade shows and on countless lifestyle shows.

don’t get me wrong; I still love Mike and the industry integrity he represents. He is obviously driven and single-minded in his zealous pursuit of competent work done by qualified people. That explains his intensity.

But now I find myself drawn to the sweeter, softer Bryan Baeumler. As the host of several of his own home improvement shows, he’s a media darling. The show I enjoy most is Disaster DIY, where typically a wife at the end of her rope contacts Bryan to save the day, the project, and the marriage.

The botched projects border on the unbelievable and are often dangerous as well. Think faulty wiring, structural deficiencies, and tripping hazards. Yet no matter how big a buffoon, how lazy, of how much of a procrastinator the DIYer may be, Bryan manages to teach his lessons with humour, tough love, and compassion. He’s got a mischievous twinkle in his eye as he plays to the camera and exposes the shoddy workmanship and poor technique.

Baeumler makes a yeoman effort to teach the well-intentioned but bumbling homeowner through coaching, demonstrating, and encouraging him. Sometimes it takes, sometimes it doesn’t. When it appears the guy is hopeless at tiling or taping or whatever but has learned some other skill, Bryan steps in and does it himself.

I can’t leave Scott McGillivray out of the equation. He’s the hot, young star (with great hair) of Income Property fame and also has been a guest judge on Handyman Challenge along with Baeumler and Holmes. Infinitely successful as a landlord, contractor, and TV personality, he comes across as sensible, grounded, and fun. He bought his first income property in his early 20s and now owns hundreds. He’s passionate and creative in the way he sees potential in unused spaces.

Those are just three great reasons why I love HGTV. I know first-hand how hard it is to be a homeowner, renovator, and human being working without a huge budget or a cast of thousands. We’ve made our own blunders, so frankly, I’d rather learn from any one of those guys. It sure beats the school of hard knocks, from where I sit.

Hazel Anaka’s first novel is Lucky Dog. Visit her website for more information or follow her on Twitter @anakawrites.