Michael Flurry interviews with HGTV for an upcoming episode of the networks series, ''You Live in a What?'' (Rick Hickman / Special to the American Press)
Michael Flurry interviews with HGTV for an upcoming episode of the networks series, ''You Live in a What'' (Rick Hickman / Special to the American Press)
Last Modified: Tuesday, October 23, 2012 7:15 PM
“You live in what?”
Not only is it a question that was posed to Michael and Lauren Flurry when people found out they had renovated a 1940s fuel station into a one-bedroom, one-bath home, but it is also the name of the television show on which the home will be featured.
The home, in which the Flurrys formerly resided and now manage as a rental property, will be featured in a broadcast on the upcoming season of “You Live in What?” on the HGTV network.
The series debuted in May. HGTV travels the country in search of unique places people call home. Previous renovations have included former churches, rice silos, train depots and an ice cream factory.
AMS Pictures, a Dallas-based company, is in charge of production with producer and director Monika Watkins at the helm.
“As the title suggests it is interesting houses that people have converted from a previous business into a residential space,” Watkins said. “Where this was previously a gas station, now it is someone’s home. It is these types of unique conversions that ... the show is all about.”
Michael Flurry purchased the property, which was Yoder Pottery at the time, in June 2005 and finished converting it into his home in late October 2006.
“My job allows me to drive around, and I stumbled on this property and I looked inside and saw it was pretty dilapidated. I was naïve back then and thought I could just throw some paint on the walls and be done,” Flurry, a Lake Charles police officer, recalled.
The home, at 520 Seventh St., was originally Gulf Gas Station, which was built in the early 1940s by then owner Joe Crawford.
Despite turning the property into a livable home, Flurry kept several of the original components from the fuel station, including the gas pumps in the bedroom wall, the sliding garage doors, the tire racks and even a “Gulf” sign in the kitchen.
“You would never think of someone to look at a gas station and say, ‘That would make a good home,’ ” Watkins said. “We are always looking for people who have kept some of the original property, and they have done that here with the tire racks and garage doors, among other things.”
The transformation was no easy task for Flurry, who was inexperienced in the renovation field at the time, enlisting numerous family members and friends to aid in the process.
“This was a great learning experience for me, but luckily I had a lot of help from my family. Before this I could barely swing a hammer, and afterward I was able to go on and renovate the home we now live in,” he said.
In 2007 Michael and Lauren were presented an award for Adaptive Reuse of a Commercial Building from the Calcasieu Parish Historical Preservation Society. The award could be the reason why HGTV and AMS Productions found the home. “AMS Pictures has a research team that goes out and finds unique homes that have been recognized to feature in the show,” Watkins said.
Flurry recalls one of the bigger renovation challenges being creating a kitchen and foyer area where the oil change bays had once been.
“They are probably my favorite part of the home. Knowing that the oil change bays were once right where I am standing is pretty cool,” he said.
In the end, renovations cost more than what Flurry paid for the property itself.
“It was originally $55,000, but luckily I only had to borrow $20,000 to get it. Then I would have to say the renovations cost about $65,000,” he said.
Flurry said being on HGTV is exciting; he is a fan of the channel.
“I think it is way cool to have HGTV out here,” he said. “I was raised by all women so I have always secretly watched HGTV, so it makes me happy.”