Communication graduate Brandyn Chambers in the spotlight on HGTV’s ‘Battle on the Beach’
Recent University of Missouri–St. Louis graduate Brandyn Chambers followed his father, Roosevelt, through the front door of the house overlooking the waterfront in Surfside Beach, Texas.
Their steps were slow as they looked up and around to survey the work that needed to be done.
“Everything is going to have to go,” Roosevelt said while Brandyn kicked his boot at a rotting window frame.
That was how the cameras captured the father-and-son duo’s introduction to the home renovation project they were about to undertake as contestants on Season 2 of the HGTV show “Battle on the Beach,” which debuted on June 5.
“It’s a lot of work that needs to be done,” said Brandyn, who last month earned his master’s degree in communication. “But the work can be done, and I think we’re the best people for the job, really.”
Roosevelt Chambers, owner of Chambers Development LLC, has been working in home renovation and remodeling for the past 34 years, reinventing properties in St. Louis and St. Charles County throughout that time. Lately, his business has even taken to tearing down existing homes and replacing them with entirely new houses.
“I still remember going to jobs and watching my dad when I was a kid,” Brandyn Chambers said. “He’s more of a director now, but back then, he would bring me to a house for an hour and he was doing a lot of the work. It was cool to see him do a lot of the labor, just renovating and completely flipping homes and making them look like almost brand new – gut renovations.”
Brandyn, who spent most of his childhood in Weldon Spring, Missouri, picked up a few lessons as a kid, but much more of his attention went to dribbling and shooting a basketball. He wound up getting recruited to play in college, first at NCAA Division II Quincy University and later Missouri Western State University before finishing his career at NAIA Columbia College. He graduated with a degree in finance in 2016.
It was after Brandyn finished college that he started working alongside his father and began to learn more about the ins and outs of the family business.
“I was able to just solidify and understand what’s going on,” Brandyn said. “I actually learned and retained the information.”
Brandyn also brought with him a flair for marketing and social media. He started Facebook and Instagram accounts under the name “Stunning Renovations” to help spread the word about their company and show off their work.
Those efforts helped them get the attention of Discovery Inc., which owns HGTV. Brandyn said a representative of the company originally reached out to see if he and his father have interest in appearing on one of the network’s show involving renovating a lighthouse. They declined to pursue that opportunity, thinking it wouldn’t be a good fit, but a then a recruiting producer contacted them again to discuss “Battle on the Beach.”
“She was like, ‘You guys might not even want to do this because I understand that the jobs that you guys are doing are building homes, but it’d be some good exposure,’” Brandyn recalled. “She said it would be a little bit of work. My dad and I were just like, ‘Yeah, we’ll give it a shot, see what’s going on.’ We went through the process, and ultimately, we’re grateful.”
The show pits three teams against each other in a competition to renovate and add the most value to three identical beach houses in Surfside Beach, located along the Gulf Coast, about 40 miles southwest of Galveston.
Each team is given a budget of $80,000 to remake their property, and they’re assigned a mentor from one of HGTV’s other home remodeling shows to help guide their design and work. Brandyn and his father worked with Taniya Nayak, who is known for her work hosting shows such as “Restaurant Impossible” and “Build It Forward.”
They filmed the second season of “Battle on the Beach” over six weeks starting in February, and new episodes have been premiering on television each Sunday at 8 p.m. CT.
Brandyn felt fortunate to be working on his graduate internship at a nonprofit basketball academy during the spring semester, having already completed all of his coursework for his master’s degree.
His supervisor encouraged him to do the show and send him work that he was to do remotely alongside filming in February and March. It made for a busy and often stressful six weeks as they tried to meet the show’s tight deadlines, but Brandyn wouldn’t trade the experience.
“It was a cool opportunity for us to showcase to the world and showcase to future generations within our family,” he said.
Brandyn had always been interested in television and in mass media, which is one of the reasons he was moved to go back to school to pursue his master’s, enrolling at UMSL in January 2020.
In some ways, that ended up being fortunate timing because the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic slowed so many things in Brandyn’s day-to-day life and gave him more free time to focus on his studies. He also found time to work as a graduate teaching assistant.
“It was awesome,” Brandyn said of the experience. “I learned so much about communication theories, and I feel like I’ve gotten so much better as a writer and storyteller and as a researcher from my communications program.”
He had a long list of faculty members who made an impact on him over the past 2½ years, from Suahn Jang Cho and Alan Heisel to Amber Reinhart and Stephanie Van Stee.
Brandyn had the honor of serving as a student marshal, leading his fellow graduates onto the floor at the Mark Twain Athletic Center during the second commencement ceremony for the College of Arts and Sciences last month.
“It was a very surreal moment,” he said. “I know my parents were proud, and I was super proud of myself to be able to do that.”
Brandyn hopes to apply lessons he learned in his master’s program toward his work with his father as they build relationships with clients and contractors and continue to grow their business.
He loves the creativity his work allows him to display.
Brandyn and his father have been getting set to start new home projects in Rock Hill and Ladue this summer, and they’ve also enjoyed getting to see themselves on television, even if it seems a bit surreal.
He thinks people will want to tune into the remainder of the season.
“They need to watch because me and my dad, we do some pretty cool work,” Brandyn said. “They definitely need to watch that. Win or lose, we do some cool work that they’ll be excited to see.”
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