Looking to renovate your home? HGTV’s ‘Renovation Aloha’ hosts share their top tips


HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) – Tristyn and Kamohai Kalama never dreamed they’d one day be hosting their own show on HGTV.

“It wasn’t on the goal board,” Tristyn said. “It wasn’t something we set out to do. And so having cameras follow your business and your journey is definitely all the things. It’s exciting, it’s stressful, it’s fun, it’s crazy.”

Their new series, “Renovation Aloha,” which premiered on Feb. 20, focuses on the Kalamas’ business of buying some of the grungiest, most rundown properties on Oahu and transforming them into beautiful homes for local families.


It wasn’t always easy for Tristyn and Kamohai — both entrepreneurs who were born and raised in Kailua.

Between 2016 and 2018, when they got married and started a family, they racked up $80,000 worth of debt and were living paycheck to paycheck.

“We were just trying to figure out how in the heck we could survive here — not just survive, but thrive, achieve home ownership, raise our children in a place that we love, that we grew up,” Tristyn said.

All it took was going to one real estate seminar that motivated them to start their own journey of real estate investing.

And in 2018, thanks to some friends, the Kalamas got an email about having their own show.

“It was funny because we both thought it was a scam, but as time progressed, all of our friends who were in the real estate space were like, ‘Hey, I gave this production company your number because they’re looking to make a show in Hawaii,” Kamohai said.

So they clicked on the link in the email, and the rest is history.

The Kalamas said it was an “intense,” three-year process that involved multiple Zoom calls, sizzle reels (or promotional videos), filming a pilot and filming the entire series.

Since “Renovation Aloha” premiered in February, it has thus far been received extremely well by the public, the Kalamas said.

“We’re hearing from people all over the place, how much they enjoyed the show, how inspiring it is,” Kamohai said. “You know, it’s cool because a lot of people look at Hawaii as a tourist destination. And that’s what it is. But there’s so much more to Hawaii, to our culture, to our people, to other places outside of those normal tourist spots.”

The Kalamas describe “Renovation Aloha” as simply what they’re already doing with their business: Helping people who are in dire situations — from those dealing with reverse mortgages to divorce — by buying their homes, flipping them and selling them to local families.

“We found a vehicle that has allowed us to thrive here, but we also have found a vehicle that allows us to create impact in the community as well, where we’re able to get these distressed situations, these distressed families, these distressed homes , breathe new life into them and then put local families back into these homes,” Tristyn said.

“So that’s the end goal and always has been.”

You can follow their journey with new episodes of “Renovation Aloha” on Tuesdays at 7 pm Hawaii time on HGTV.

Tristyn and Kamohai Kalama never dreamed they’d one day be hosting their own show on HGTV.
Tristyn and Kamohai’s top home renovation tips:
  • Properly vet your contractor

Tristyn: The first one would be properly vetting your contractor. All contractors aren’t made equal. There’s amazing ones. And those are the ones you want to work with. So you can do that through two ways. Asking for references and actually going through the process of contacting those people and then walking – The second way is walking current job sites, whether they’re current or they’re finished. So you can see a finished product and you can also see a current job site. I think that’s really, really important is to properly vet your contractor. You want to read the on that’s the first, that’s the first one which is kind of a two in one.

  • Sign appropriate documentation

Tristyn: Every time we work with a contractor, there needs to be an agreement in place that protects both you as the customer who’s paying for renovations and also protects the contractor. And then there are certain things that should be in that agreement, which are timelines, milestones, payment schedules. There’s no handshake agreements.

I know that in Hawaii we’re very I trust you at your word. But then when it comes to your home and hundreds of thousands of dollars, there has to be a handshake and then also a wet signature so that both parties are protected.

Tristyn: One is not enough. My dad always taught me you need at least three bids when you’re doing anything and the cheapest is probably not the one you should be going with. Because the saying is true. You get what you pay for.

  • Change out the lighting in your home

Kamohai: It’s a very simple thing that you can do that is cost effective but makes the biggest impact on a house. So I’m talking about all your fences and lighting in your living room, right? All your vanity lights, you can put in recessed lights. We didn’t have those back in the day. Right. And those are a very cheap, easy thing to be able to do.

  • Change out the hardware on your property

Kamohai: So you’re not going in and you’re getting rid of your cabinets and buying new cabinets, that can be a very expensive process. But if you take all that hardware off and get a nice new modern hardware and put them on, it can literally transform your spaces

Tristyn: 100%. Love me a good whirlpool and a good light fixture. Let me tell you.