Sunday, August 24, 2014

O'Shea Builders teams up with HGTV for remodel - By Michelle Libby

Warren O’Shea is passionate about building and quality of work. His honest demeanor and attitude shines through and when HGTV found out about his work on the website, a photo-based sharing website to find contractors, they asked him to bid on a project for its new show “Vacation House for Free.” 

O’Shea, no stranger to television, agreed to meet with the producers and because of his knowledge of TV production, he got the job. He has been on two episodes of On Your Side and as a professional contractor, both for Channel 13 and he worked on the Restaurant Impossible for the Food Network renovating Uncle Andy’s in South Portland.  

“I’m a big advocate for consumer rights. You don’t need a license to be a contractor, but you need one to sell bait. That’s wrong,” O’Shea said. 

“I’ve been in construction for eight years,” the Cape Cod native said. He’s done a variety of jobs like commercial fishing and restaurant manager before settling on construction. Now he mostly does renovations of existing homes. 

The “Vacation House for Free” is a show where the premise is if you fix up your home, you can rent it for 16 weeks and then pay for the construction and some of the mortgage, allowing you to live there for free. The theme of the episode is maximizing space.

The home O’Shea Builders is working on is on the water in Oakland. He had three interviews before knowing that he had the job. He said he spent at least two weeks designing the layout of the bathroom to make sure there were two doors to meet code. “Creative design solved many problems,” he said. “I have a bit of a track record for media, but it’s not like I expected (to get the job).” 

The renovations were designed with the client and although O’Shea did not go to design school, his hands on experience has helped him learn how to create plans that work for both the client and the state codes. He calls it “design on the fly” and he does this by getting to know the clients and how they like their homes. 

“My show is the most involved, most logistically complicated because it’s so difficult to get to for the trucks,” he said. The whole rebuild will take six weeks wrapping up around September 16. The host of the show is Matt Blashaw, who also hosts “Yard Crashers.” 

Working with HGTV can be challenging because everything has to be approved in New York and he’s working with designers who have inspirational photos, but aren’t as concerned with which materials make a certain look. 

O’Shea said there is a film man on site every day and they do a lot of time lapse photography.
“I live in a construction site. Everywhere I look I say, ‘I have to do this or order that’,” O’Shea said. He is spending the week in Oakland and returns home on the weekends. “I’m working a 12 hour day plus, easily,” he said. 

The Windham resident doesn’t usually travel to Oakland to work, liking to stay in the Windham, Portland, Falmouth, Cape Elizabeth and Scarborough areas. 

O’Shea builders is not handyman work. He does high-end work with tile, paint, electrical and roof work. If he can’t do it, he has electricians and plumbers who will handle the job. He employs four year round and occasionally subs out work. 

O’Shea’s specialty is kitchens and bathrooms, he said. He likes to do custom tile and showers. The company’s motto is “We’ve got this.” No matter the project, big or small…“We’ve got this.”
“It’s all about attitude. O’Shea Builders does free estimates.

The show aired its first episode last Sunday night. New episodes will air every Sunday night at 10 p.m. on HGTV. There are 12 episodes scheduled. O’Shea anticipates his show will air in December.
For more information about the show, visit

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