Little Grass Shack
James Brennan Showcases Nuts and Bolts of Local Home Improvement
If you’ve run across James Brennan while shopping at the hardware store and thought, “Haven’t I seen this guy before?”, you probably have. James has had various parts on virtually every national TV show shot in Hawaii since Magnum P.I., including Unsolved Mysteries and Lost.
More recently, his familiar mug is seen on OC16’s The Little Grass Shack, Hawaii’s only locally produced home improvement show. Think This Old House without the heating ducts, frost heave or snow loads and with a strong focus on local issues like termites and moisture control.
Little Grass Shack was James’s brainchild, a chance to combine his abiding passions for home improvement and television. The transition from in front of the camera to behind it wasn’t as easy as he thought it would be. “There’s a lot of planning and organization that go into producing a good television show,” he says. “It’s a lot more complex than one might think.”
By 2001, the first episode of Little Grass Shack was on the air. Unlike other popular home improvement shows on HGTV, James chose a longer format, focusing 13 half-hour segments on each new construction or remodeling project. “The trend now is to do 30 or 60 minutes on an entire project and boom, you’re done and here’s the end product,” says James. “It’s always been my intention to educate as well as entertain. I spend a lot more time with topics than people usually see.”
James talks with individual contractors, breaks down different processes step by step and shows how to work with new products and materials. He might spend an entire episode on framing walls, installing windows, or laying down a roof, for example. The end result, he hopes, will give people more background, whether they do it themselves or decide to hire a contractor.
It’s a goal much like RSVPstyle’s. “The two projects contrast but also complement each other,” says James. “I’m talking more about the hammer and nails stuff and Cathy’s talking about inspiration, color and texture. The end result is the same. We want you to end up with something that you’re happy with and that you can enjoy.”
Little Grass Shack can be seen on Saturdays and Sundays at 10 a.m. on OC16, with repeats airing at 4:30 p.m. Saturdays and 1:30 p.m. Sundays and throughout the week.